Power electronics is the technology associated with the efficient conversion, control and conditioning of electric power by static means from its available input form into the desired electrical output form.
Power electronic converters can be found wherever there is a need to modify the electrical energy form (i.e. modify its voltage, current or frequency.) With "classical" electronics, electrical currents and voltage are used to carry information, whereas with power electronics, they carry power. Some examples of uses for power electronic systems are DC/DC converters used in many mobile devices, such as cell phones or PDAs, and AC/DC converters in computers and televisions. Large scale power electronics are used to control hundreds of megawatt of power flow across our nation.
Research in this area includes power electronics applications to control large scale power transmission and distribution as well as the integration of distributed and renewable energy sources into the grid. NCSU also has a strong program on the emerging applications of wide bandgap semiconductor devices that offer high oeprating temperatures, higher efficiency and higher power density.