Voltage ratings are often specified for many electronic components, including capacitors, resistors and integrated circuits, but traditionally this has been rare for inductors. Recent trends, particularly the introduction of higher voltage rated semiconductor devices, have created a new emphasis on operating voltage as part of the inductor selection process. This paper explores these trends — including the replacement of silicon MOSFETs by gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) — and how they have enabled circuit operation directly from higher voltages. It also discusses how newer energy sources, such as 48 volt automotive batteries instead of traditional 12 volt systems, have driven the need to more carefully consider inductor operating voltage. Inductors once considered optimized for high current, low voltage applications are finding homes in new designs that apply higher voltage stress to the inductor.
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