introduction of power electronics
Power electronic devices may be used as switches, or as amplifiers. An ideal switch is either open or closed and so dissipates no power; it withstands an applied voltage and passes no current, or passes any amount of current with no voltage drop. Semiconductor devices used as switches can approximate this ideal property and so most power electronic applications rely on switching devices on and off, which makes systems very efficient as very little power is wasted in the switch. By contrast, in the case of the amplifier, the current through the device varies continuously according to a controlled input. The voltage and current at the device terminals follow a load line, and the power dissipation inside the device is large compared with the power delivered to the load.