Frequently Asked Questions

eGaN® Technology

What do these GaN FETs look like and how do they work?

eGaN transistors are very similar to lateral FETs (Field Effect Transistors) made in silicon. For a general discussion of the devices and technology, go to http://epc-co.com/epc/documents/product-training/Appnote_GaNfundamentals.pdf.

The following videos also cover the basics of GaN:
How To GaN 01: Introduction – Material Compositions
How to GaN 02: Introduction – Performance Characteristics




Figure 2: Scanning electron micrograph
cross section of an eGaN FET

Where is eGaN FET technology going in the future?

First launched in 2010, eGaN FETs are already in their third generation and we are just getting started with this remarkable new technology. EPC is working to make eGaN FETs higher performance, easier to use, and lower cost than the aging power MOSFET. EPC is also developing products with breakdown voltages at 600 V and beyond, integrated circuits with multiple power devices on a single chip, and IC with drivers monolithically integrated onto the chip with the power devices. A video on the future of GaN is available: How To GaN 11: A Look into the Future



What is the best way to evaluate EPC’s transistors without designing a custom PCB?

EPC offers several tools to help simplify the evaluation process of EPC’s eGaN® FETs. We have development boards available which include all the critical components on a single board that can be easily connected into any existing system. The boards contain all the critical components and layout for optimal switching performance, including a gate drive circuit, an on-board gate drive supply, and bypass capacitors.

The list of available development boards and supporting documentation is growing and can be found at http://epc-co.com/epc/Products/DemoBoards.aspx

EPC also provides P-SPICE, T-SPICE, LT-SPICE, and Spectre models for all devices on the Design Support page; http://epc-co.com/epc/DesignSupport/DeviceModels.aspx. Our experience has shown that the device models portray an extremely accurate representation of actual device performance. The results of our testing can be found in application note http://epc-co.com/epc/documents/product-training/Circuit_Simulations_Using_SPICE.pdf.

For the engineer able to deploy the time and resources necessary to assemble EPC’s transistors directly onto a PCB, go to http://epc-co.com/epc/documents/product-training/Appnote_GaNassembly.pdf. This application note describes process conditions as well as low-cost lab apparatus that can be used to build state of the art systems on an engineer’s bench top. Quick reference to Die Attach and Detach are also available on the web along with video demonstration at http://epc-co.com/epc/DesignSupport/AssemblyBasics.aspx.

How does the cost of a system using EPC’s eGaN® FETs compare with a similar performance system using conventional silicon MOSFETs?

Cost comparisons between products of different technologies can be tricky. The figure of merit improvement of eGaN devices compared to silicon based solutions of the same voltage range from a 3X improvement at 40V to a 10X improvement at 200V, and as much as 50X for radiation tolerant products (GOMAC Tech 2013). The eGaN devices achieve this in a much smaller footprint for the same function. This increase in performance per area presents an opportunity to design higher efficiency systems that utilize lower cost components.

Does EPC plan to introduce integrated products based on the GaN technology, specifically with respect to integrated drivers?

The structure of the GaN devices lends itself well to integration. The GaN switch is isolated from the base silicon material making it possible to place multiple devices on the same Si wafer and eliminate parasitic components. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. Updates on new product developments will be posted on our website, so please check back often at www.epc-co.com. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Does EPC plan to introduce products for high voltage operation?

The voltage range of EPC’s current product offering is 30V – 300V. EPC plans to expand our product line to include 600V products. At that point, EPC eGaN® FETs will cover 90% of the applications currently served by the existing power MOSFET market. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. Updates on new product developments will be posted on our website, so please check back often at www-epc-co.com. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Will EPC make FETs with blocking voltages of 800V - 1200V in the near future?

We believe the technology is very capable of much higher blocking voltages; due to the nature of its high electron mobility, eGaN devices can be designed for high voltages with much less impact on RDS(ON) than silicon. Additionally, as a small device, the capacitances are much lower than those of trench MOSFETs per area allowing very high switching speeds. The result is a device that can provide the high blocking voltage requirement with little penalty on RDS(ON) and speed. We do not currently have products beyond 600V on our roadmap for 2013. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. Updates on new product developments will be posted on our website, so please check back often at www-epc-co.com. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Is it also possible to produce p-channel enhancement mode GaN transistors?

Enhancement mode and depletion mode n-channel GaN devices are available on the market today. EPC supplies only enhancement mode n-channel devices at the present time. Whereas it is possible to make a p-channel device, the performance is quite poor compared with silicon. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Is it also possible to combine standard Si N-MOS with GaN. This would allow for added logic and analog parts to control the main GaN transistor?

EPC is developing IC technology based on our eGaN FET platform. The integration of signal level components with power GaN transistors could enable one of the most significant changes in semiconductor history! For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Is EPC ISO certified?

EPC received ISO 9001:2008 qualification for our quality management systems in September, 2011. EPC partners with world-class ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 9001 certified wafer fabrication and assembly suppliers and EPC contracts exclusively with Digi-Key Corporation, an ISO 9001 certified organization, for the global distribution of our products. For more information on EPC’s Quality and Environmental programs please visit http://epc-co.com/epc/AboutEPC/QualityandEnvironmental.aspx.

Does EPC have plans to produce GaN diodes?

We do not currently have plans to release discrete GaN diodes. It should be noted that the current eGaN FETs can be made to act as a diode; there is no physical diode that bypasses the switch in the reverse direction, however, when current is forced from source to drain, the drain voltage falls to the point where it begins to turn the channel on, acting just like a diode. As no minority carriers are present, these devices have no reverse recovery.

Updates on new product developments will be posted on our website, so please check back often at www-epc-co.com. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future” You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.

Does EPC have plans to produce multi-FET single packages?

Our initial product offering includes single discrete transistors, however, in the future we expect to introduce devices with multiple transistors on a single chip. Updates on new product developments will be posted on our website, so please check back often at www.epc-co.com. For a preview of EPC’s technology roadmap, watch the video “How to GaN 11: A Look into the Future”. You can also sign up to receive news and product updates from EPC at http://bit.ly/EPCupdates or by texting "EPC" to 22828.