IEEE Awards Booklet - 2014 - 14

2014 IEEE MEDALS

IEEE Medal of Honor
Sponsored by the IEEE Foundation

B. Jayant Baliga

For the invention, implementation, and commercialization of
power semiconductor devices with widespread benefits to society

B. Jayant Baliga is considered the world's preeminent power semiconductor scientist. His development of the insulated
gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) transformed the way we utilize
power and has improved the comfort, convenience, and health
of billions of people around the world while reducing environmental impact. Dr. Baliga's invention of the IGBT in 1979
and subsequent development and commercialization while with
General Electric led to the world's most important semiconductor switch. Dr. Baliga combined the physics of bipolar and
metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET)
technologies to create a device far superior to both, resulting
in lighter and more efficient power converters. His leadership
and perseverance in convincing General Electric to continue
investing in IGBT development and his ability to address and
overcome design and technology challenges were critical to the
IGBT's successful commercialization. IGBTs enabled the creation of cost-effective and efficient automobile electronic ignition systems that have reduced gasoline consumption by an
estimated 1.1 trillion gallons, resulting in reduction of carbon
dioxide emissions by 22 trillion pounds. The IGBT also made
possible the adjustable speed motor drives for refrigeration and
air conditioning and the miniature electronic ballast in energysaving compact fluorescent bulbs. The improved efficiency of
these devices due to IGBTs has resulted in a reduction in energy
usage of over 50,000 terawatt hours and 56 trillion pounds in
carbon dioxide emissions. IGBTs are also an essential component of compact and lightweight portable defibrillators used to

control the shock delivered to victims of cardiac arrest and save
the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. All commercially available electric and hybrid vehicles use IGBTs to
control the transfer of power from the battery to the electric
motors. IGBTs are also important in wind- and solar-power
generation stations, converting electricity to power suitable for
consumer and industrial use.
Dr. Baliga's pioneering contributions include the "Baliga Figure
of Merit" for evaluating the pros and cons of materials and devices
operating in high-frequency circuits. He was able to demonstrate
that wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC)
and gallium nitride (GaN) could provide significant performance
improvements over silicon for power electronics. His SiC power
device innovations have been commercialized since 2005 by numerous companies for use in solar inverters and motor control applications. Dr. Baliga is also responsible for four successful spin-off
companies from his research at North Carolina State University.
Inventions that have been commercialized by these companies include the TMBS rectifier used as bypass diodes for solar panels, the
super-linear RF silicon power MOSFETs used in cell-phone base
station amplifiers, and MOSFETs used to deliver power to microprocessors and graphics chips in laptops and servers.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Baliga received the 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barrack
Obama, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. Government to
an engineer. Dr. Baliga is currently a Distinguished University
Professor at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Scope: For an exceptional contribution or an extraordinary career in the IEEE fields of interest
14 | 2014 IEEE AWARDS BOOKLET



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