Researchers want to disrupt the energy and health care industries with small

MRI machine

Researchers at the University of Houston plan to develop a miniature pulsed electrical system that would power handheld mobile MRI machines. credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Pulsed electrical systems store large amounts of energy for a specified period of time and are released immediately afterwards.

The development of these systems is closely linked with the nuclear age. In the mid-20th century, pulsed power systems were also used to make other military weapons, such as radar systems and rail guns.

As the 20th century progressed, pulsed electrical systems were the key to the creation of X-ray machines, then MRI machines and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based equipment for fossil fuel production.

Now researchers at the University of Houston, led by Harish Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor in the Cullen College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, are working to develop the next generation of miniature pulsed power systems.

In a research paper published in IEEE Transactions on Industrial ElectronicsIn this article, they propose creating a mini-pulsed power system that can shrink the system’s energy storage components, such as capacitors, and provide an instant surge of power. The paper demonstrated that energy storage elements could be reduced to less than a tenth the size of conventional pulsed power systems used on critical applications such as radar.

The architecture of their new pulsed power system proved so compelling that the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently awarded them a $1 million grant to build a gallium nitride (GaN)-based miniature pulsed power system. gave. Krishnamurthy’s team will work with Harvard University researchers and Schlumberger, a sub-recipient of the grant.

“Initially we will have a compact pulsed power supply for highly environmental fluid characterization that can reduce the cost of downhole well logging tools used in fossil and geothermal power generation. This will be followed by mobile hand-held There will be a smaller converter suitable for MRI machines. However, we think we can expand our technology to create smaller water-purification systems, pulsed laser systems and pulsed electromagnetic radiation sources,” Krishnamurthy said. Doctoral student Yu Yao is the paper’s lead author.

Krishnamurthy said, “We are essentially building a small high-density energy storage machine that will help reduce the space these machines use, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in material costs and improving their reliability. ”


Power electronics and electric machine system design to revolutionize clean energy mobility


more information:
Yu Yao et al, GaN based two-phase converter with high power density and fast response for pulsed load applications, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1109/TIE.2022.3159946

Provided by University of Houston

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