Skip to content

Power Converters, Research and Wireless Charging

July 24, 2019
Akua McLeod
Electrical Engineering, Class of 2020

This summer, I’m working in the Stanford University Power Electronics Research Lab, coincidentally called the SUPERLab, with Professor Juan Rivas-Davila. The SUPERLab focuses on discovering new, meaningful, and exciting applications for high frequency power converters, by designing converters that are smaller and more efficient than the status quo.  So far, SUPERLab researchers have found novel approaches to a wide range of issues - picture everything from milk sterilization to plasma powered cube satellites. For me, getting to work in the SUPERLab is exciting because I’m learning how innovative power conversion circuits can advance critical energy technologies, like wireless charging for electric vehicles.

My own summer research project is focused on these energy-oriented applications. During this summer research experience, I’ve been working to create an automated process for measuring the efficacy of inductive components used in wireless charging. Essentially, the conventional method for testing the efficiency of these systems can be tedious and leave room for human error. By automating this process, I can help to make the testing process easier, more accurate and more user friendly. I hope my project this summer can help facilitate the development and testing of more efficient wireless charging systems.

Through mentorship from other SUPERLab members over these first four weeks of summer, I’ve also been learning a lot about how to approach this type of research. My experiences with this project have taught me to be more appreciative of process - to be thorough in my understanding of how existing research supports my own work and to start with simple iterations of the end goal as I begin to design, test and fine-tune my system. Ultimately, I’m excited for the learning journey that the rest of the summer will bring – both as I discover more about power electronics and more about myself as a researcher.