Isolated Gate Driver Timing Fundamentals

Isolated gate drivers are required anywhere level shifting, isolation, and gate drive strength are required. The isolation provided can be functional in nature, or can provide a safety barrier between two regions of different voltage potential. Isolated gate drivers find use in systems that often require tight timing and reproducible, reliable switching. This presentation covers details about the fundamental timing specifications found in most isolated gate driver datasheets, and provides methods and insight on how to properly use isolated gate drivers. The importance of different specifications are highlighted. Depending on the switch technology being driven, the important timing related specifications can change. Trade-offs between timing, robustness, efficiency, and cost are explored. Specific topics include propagation delay, propagation delay skew, drift, pulse width distortion, rise and fall times, setting deadtime, total system delay, and protection timing (reaction vs. reporting).
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Ryan Schnell is an applications engineer at Analog Devices. Ryan has a background in power and control systems. His current focus is on defining and developing isolated gate drivers that use iCoupler® technology. He holds a B.S. and an M.S in electrical engineering, and a Ph.D. in power electronics from the University of Colorado.