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Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT)

IGBTs are combinations of MOSFETs and bipolar transistors.


An insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) is a solid state switch that is used in many industrial and automotive applications, as well as home appliances. Because of the bipolar transistor structure, it can handle extremely high current current, and is tolerant to spikes and overloads.

The IGBT is a three-terminal device that combines the characteristics of MOSFETs and bipolar transistors. There are multiple types of IGBTs, with on-off delay features and various features to reduce heat, improve power density and increase efficiency. IGBTs are used for 400-volt to 10-kilovolt applications.

They are used in the field of power electronics. Basically, power electronics make use of solid-state electronics to control and convert electric power. The conversion is performed with various semiconductor-switching devices.

However, power MOSFETs and IGBTs are reaching their theoretic limits and suffer from unwanted energy losses. A device may experience energy losses for two reasons—conduction and switching. Conduction loss is due to the resistance in the device, while switching losses occur during the on and off states.