Center for Power Optimization of Electro-thermal Systems

Facilities & Testbeds

POETS has extensive facilities available for fabrication and testing of the types of intricate electro-thermal systems under study.

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

The POETS headquarters, located on the Engineering campus, consists of 5,000 sq. ft. of collaborative work space for students and faculty, meeting and conference room areas equipped for up to a 50-person webinar, and the POETS administrative offices.

A newly-constructed 10,000 sq. ft. testbed facility, POETS South, includes bay areas, offices and meeting areas just south of the UIUC campus. This testbed facility will allow for high-power testing of electrical systems such as motors, drives, power electronics, batteries, etc. Additional capability includes advanced thermal management systems and vehicle-level integration. The flexible and modular layout encourages a variety of testing from small prototypes to full scale systems using 100s of kW with a focus on aircraft and off-highway systems.

In addition, the Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electro-Mechanics (CEME) at Illinois has extensive facilities for power systems ranging from 0.1 kW to 100 kW. 

CEME has been developing advanced high-performance power testbeds since 1999, including “hardware-anywhere-in-the-loop” testbeds intended for direct operation of electric and hybrid on-highway vehicle subsystems and components in a MATLAB/Simulink environment. Motors, battery packs, and other major components can be swapped with models within the control loop. CEME supports work on power GaN processing and high-performance power electronics.

Stanford University

Through Stanford, POETS researchers have access to world-class facilities for fabrication and characterization of materials systems and devices that would form the basis of new electro-thermal components and modules. These facilities include the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility (SNF), the Stanford Nanocharacterization Lab (SNL), and the Stanford Nano Center (SNC). These campus-wide shared facilities are part of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with management support from Stanford University.

In addition, POETS access to unique characterization equipment for performing a wide range of experiments to study the electrical and thermal properties of devices. The facilities at the SNF enable POETS researchers to build device structures with feature sizes as small as ~10 nm. 

There are also capabilities to deposit a wide variety of materials including oxides, nitrides, and metals. All of the device structures used within POETS can be fabricated using the facilities available here or in HiDEC at the University of Arkansas.

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has advanced laboratory facilities such as the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT), which started in 2005. These facilities house grid-scale regenerative power electronic drives, circuit breakers, transformers, controls, data acquisition units and large-scale dynamometers.

Key to providing the flexibility and re-configurability required for this facility are six MVA regenerative drives under computer control. The building itself is a two-story, 7,000 sq. ft., high-bay facility that offers dc power supplies rated for 45 kW at 800 V and 700 kW at 600 V. As part of the facility, an on-highway vehicle testbed has been developed and utilized to evaluate next generation power electronics for the automotive sector.

The Low-Temperature Co-Fired Ceramics (LTCC) laboratory at the High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC) is one of the few research and prototyping LTCC facilities in North America. High-power and high-temperature power modules are routinely fabricated here. This provides a unique facility for creating many of the integrated and packaged power modules forming the basis of power electronics components.

Howard University

POETS researchers at Howard University have access to the Applied Fluids Thermal Engineering Research Laboratory (@FTERLab). This lab primarily provides experimental and computations fluid dynamics (CFD) solutions for fluid dynamics applications. Researchers in the @FTERLAB develop novel thermal management techniques and system architecture for power modules.

In addition to thermal modelling and simulation of power modules, material characterization under cryogenic temperatures is also conducted in the @FTERLab. Extreme environment testing is one of the core research topics. Researchers have access to a server cluster, FTIR Spectrometer and scanning electron microscope (SEM).

A new facility the project uses is Howard University’s Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB, ) currently under construction which is scheduled to open in Fall 2014. The IRB on campus is a cornerstone of the University’s academic renewal initiative and a public expression of Howard’s commitment to 21st century research. This 81,000 square-foot mixed-use academic building will support and promote interdisciplinary research and educational collaboration. The IRB will include wet and dry laboratories, instructional space, research support space, ground floor retail, and centralized offices for faculty, students and academic staff. The Interdisciplinary Research Building will enrich the research and instructional environment for the project. More information can be found at http://www.howard.edu/expandingthecapstone/researchbldg.htm.