Minki Kim receives best presentation at APEC 2021

Doctoral student Minki Kim is the winner of a best presentation award at APEC 2021 in the wireless power transfer session. His presentation is based on his paper titled “High-Frequency, Mid-range Wireless Power Transfer System using Critical Coupling Coefficient Adjustment.” He  is working on his research under the guidance of professor Jungwon Choi. 

Kim has been working on high-frequency, high-power, mid-range Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) systems using wide-bandgap semiconductors. In the APEC conference paper, he addresses a challenge posed by magnetic resonance coupling (MRC) in long distance power transfer: MRC coils can operate efficiently only when the transmitting and receiving coils are at a specific distance, and frequency. To overcome the challenge, he proposes a method to increase the transmission distance by controlling the critical coupling coefficient of the inductor coils. A design approach, the method optimizes the inductance value in a selected coil dimension at a specific switching frequency, which enables an increase in the transmission distance. Kim’s goal is to design a bidirectional WPT system for battery-powered movable applications such as automotive guided vehicles (AGV), drones, and robots.

Kim comes to ECE from South Korea. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kyungpook National University, and his master’s degree from Seoul National University. The degrees were in electrical engineering and computer science. After graduation, he joined the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI) in Daejeon, where he worked for almost a decade. While working as the lead engineer on a power system design project based on wide-bandgap semiconductors, Kim noticed that although he had a general understanding of how conventional inverters and converters work, he would need deeper knowledge of power electronics to design a power system that was a significant improvement over existing ones. He was also keen on learning how to design topologies that took advantage of new materials such as gallium nitride, silicon carbide, and diamond power semiconductors. His work experience inspired him to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota.

Broadly, Kim is interested in topics in power electronics such as power conversion systems and power semiconductors. His master’s degree work and his professional practice with ETRI have shaped his interest in power conversion systems that can operate at high-frequency using gallium nitride field-effect transistors and silicon carbide metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors. These have the potential to reduce the size of power modules that operate at high temperatures.

The Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) is a prominent conference in the power and energy area and is especially significant to practitioners of power electronics.