Dr. Krishna Shenai received his B.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (1979), M.S. degree from the University of Maryland (1981), and Ph.D. (EE) degree from Stanford University (1986) in Electrical Engineering. Currently, he is working at Argonne National Laboratory as the Principal Electrical Engineer within the Energy Systems Division. He leads a group at Argonne which aims to develop and commercialize Wide Band Gap (WBG) semiconductor materials and devices for power electronic applications.
Dr. Shenai’s talk was about the current area of research in Wind Band Gap power devices. He has been working in the area of power semiconductor materials and devices for more than 30 years, and also considered as a pioneer in this field. He is also credited for the multi-billion dollars of annual sales revenue by developing several key concepts and foundation technologies of major power electronics products.
The talk started with a few famous quotes by Thomas Alva Edison like “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Then Dr. Shenai talked about the history of US power grid citing the milestones; Edison invented DC in 1882, Tesla invented AC in 1888 and Westinghouse invented the DC to AC converter in the same year. Then he discussed the importance of Silicon in electricity. Describing how silicon has remained the industry workhorse for solid-state electrical power switching, he spoke about the joint effort to develop silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductor switching devices in the past two decades. These two devices are the new area of research because of their superior electrical and thermal performances compared to silicon power switching devices.
At the end, Dr. Shenai focused on the concept of a “Perfect Power System” and how Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at IIT is working in realizing that concept. Overall, it was a very informative and interactive talk which was attended by large bunch of students and ECE faculty members.