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GaN-on-Silicon Power Devices: How to Dislodge Silicon-Based Power MOSFETs
Gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors designed for efficient power conversion have been in production for seven years. New markets, such as light detection and ranging, envelope tracking, and wireless charging, have emerged due to the superior switching speed of GaN. These markets have enabled GaN products to achieve significant volumes, low production costs, and an enviable reliability reputation. All of this provides adequate incentive for the more conservative design engineers in applications such as dc-dc converters, ac-dc converters, and automotive to start their evaluation process. So what are the remaining barriers to the conversion of the US$12 billion silicon power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) market? In a word: confidence. Design engineers, manufacturing engineers, purchasing managers, and senior management all need to be confident that GaN will provide benefits that more than offset the risk of adopting a new technology. Let's look at three key risk factors: supply chain risk, cost risk, and reliability risk.