High-voltage (HV) pulses are used in electroporation to subject pulsed electric field (PEF) onto a sample under treatment. Pulse-waveform shape, voltage magnitude, pulse duration, and pulse repetition rate are the basic controllable variables required for particular PEF application. In practice, a custom-made pulse generator is dedicated for each PEF application with limited flexibility in changing these variables. In this paper, a universal pulse-waveform generator (UPG) is proposed, where the controller software algorithm can manipulate a basic generated multilevel pulse waveform to emulate many different PEF pulse waveforms. The commonly used PEF HV pulse waveforms can be generated as bipolar or monopolar with controllable pulse durations, repetition times, and voltage magnitudes. The UPG has the ability to generate multilevel pulses that have controllable dv/dt, which allows reduction of the electromagnetic interference generated by the converter. The UPG topology is based on half-bridge modular multilevel converter (HB-MMC) cells forming two transition arms in conjunction with two bistate arms, together creating an H-bridge. The HB-MMC cell capacitors provide a controllable energy source which charge from the dc input supply and discharge across the load, while the two bistate arms allow charging the HB-MMC cell capacitors. Hence, the UPG topology offers modularity, redundancy, and scalability. The HB-MMC individual cell capacitance is low and the cell voltages are balanced by employing the sorting and rotating algorithm used in conventional HB-MMC topologies for HV dc transmission applications. The viability of the proposed UPG converter is validated by MATLAB/Simulink simulation and scaled-down experimentation.
- high voltage (HV)
- modular multilevel converters (MMCs)
- pulse-waveform generator
- pulsed electric field (PEF)
- series-connected insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs)
- transition arm