R&D Magazine annually awards the 100 top technologies the prestigious R&D 100 award. Amongst the winners this year was a technology from Argonne National Labs entitled, “Advanced Ceramic Film Capacitors for Power Electronics in Electric Drive Vehicles”. Energy Secretary Steven Chu praised the awardees on their cutting edge research. Thirty-six (36) of the awardees were DOE sponsored research.
The capacitor technology is described as applying a sol-gel (precursor of a ceramic material suspended in 2-methoxyethanol) to a copper foil (0.1-1mm) and then processing through drying (250C), pyrolizing (300-450C), and crystallizing (600-750C) as many times as needed to get the desired thickness. The ceramic film is comprised of lead-lanthanum-zirconium-titanium (PLZT) oxide. The foil can be integrated into/on printed circuit boards. The benefits include reduced weight, reduced space, and increased reliability. These features are expected to provide significant benefits in the design and utilization of inverters in future electric vehicles.
The lead inventor on the project was Balu Balachandran (who has won four R&D awards) and his co-inventors Beihaj Ma, Stephen Dorris, and Manoj Narayann.
For additional information please see:
USPTO Patent Application
By Brent Ward