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Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) conduction losses are somewhat higher compared to gate turn-off thyristors (GTOs) and integrated gate-commutated thyristors (IGCTs). Turn-off losses, on the other hand, are lower.For this reason, the optimum IGBT switching frequency is higher with respect to GTOs and IGCTs of the same ratings.
The IGBT can be applied without any protective networks ("snubbers"), thus enabling extremely simple system topologies. The price of this simplicity is that a larger portion of the system losses is dissipated in the silicon, thus reducing maximum switching power through thermal constraints.
A unique feature of all IGBTs is their ability to withstand short-circuits (high current flow and high voltage across the device at the same time). In a short circuit, the current through the IGBT remains limited to a level given by the device's design and it is possible to safely turn off the short circuit within 10 microseconds with the normal gate control and without permanent damage to the device.
IGBTs are fabricated as small semiconductor chips with a typical size of 1 cm2. Together with their companion diodes, they are built into modules with different electrical and mechanical configurations and various electrical ratings.
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