Isolation is a means of preventing DC and uncontrolled AC currents between two parts of a system, while allowing signal and power transfer between those two parts. Electronic devices and integrated circuits (ICs) used for isolation are called isolators. Isolation is required in modern electrical systems for a variety of reasons. Some examples include protecting human operators and preventing damage to expensive processors in highvoltage systems, breaking the ground loop in communication networks, and communicating to high-side devices in motor-drive or power-converter systems (Figure 1). Examples of applications that need isolation include industrial automation systems, motor drives, medical equipment, solar inverters, power supplies, and electric vehicles (EVs).
Recent advances in isolation technology are enabling new solutions, reducing system cost, and allowing customers to push the performance envelope of their equipment.