Dr. Alex Huang Among Virginia Tech Patent-Holders

March 02, 2005
Blacksburg, Va. -- Virginia Tech faculty and staff members and students who received 20 patents during 2004 will be honored by the university and Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) at a reception at the German Club on March 14. "The creativity, contributions to knowledge, and technology transfer that patents signify are an important form of scholarship," said Brad Fenwick, vice president for research at Virginia Tech.


Alex Huang, formerly a CPES faculty member, now at North Carolina State University, and graduate student Bin Zhang invented "Emitter Turn-off Thyristors and Their Drive Circuits (6,710,639)." Lee said a thyristor is a solid-state switching device for semiconductors to convert AC current in one of two directions. "Thyristor devices are the work horse of the high power industry used throughout the nation's electricity grid. They are easy to turn on, but hard to turn off," said Lee. "Alex came up with an emitter turn-off thyristor that uses its own energy to turn off the thyristor device. You do not have to monolithically integrate the technology into silicon. You can use one device to turn off the other. It works at up to 5000 volts." The U.S. Department of Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority sponsored the research. It is licensed to Silicon Power and Solitronics. Zhang, who is from Shi Jia Zhuang in Hebei Province, China, earned his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering in January 2005 and now works at Linear Technology Corporation as an integrated circuit design engineer.

Huang's second patent, "Method and Circuits for Reducing Dead Time and Reverse Recovery Loss in Buck Regulators (6,737,842)," provides more efficient methods and circuits for powering microprocessors. It is licensed to Semiconductor Research Corp. Co-inventors are Nick Sun, a former student now with National Semiconductor Corp., and Yuming Bai, who received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering in 2003 and is now with Vishay Siliconix of Santa Clara, Calif.

Read the whole article at EurekAlert...