Application Notes

EPC offers a variety of technical documents including application notes and white papers for your use in designing with and evaluating our Gallium Nitride (GaN) based products and solutions.

Using Enhancement Mode GaN-on-Silicon Power FETs (eGaN® FETs)

Using eGaN FETs is very similar to using power MOSFETs. However, due to the significantly better performance, there are some design and test considerations to maximize performance.

Assembling eGaN FETs

eGaN FETs and integrated circuits from EPC have taken a very different approach to packaging power semiconductors – we have ditched the package altogether. EPC’s innovative wafer level, chip-scale packaging has enabled a new state-of-the-art in power density.

Accurately Measuring High Speed GaN Transistors

The increase in switching speed offered by GaN transistors requires good measurement technology, as well as good techniques to capture important details of high-speed waveforms. This application note focuses on how to leverage the measurement equipment for the user’s requirement and measurement techniques to accurately evaluate high performance GaN transistors.

Paralleling High Speed GaN Transistors

In this application note, we will discuss paralleling high speed GaN transistors in applications requiring higher output current. This work will discuss the impact of in-circuit parasitics on performance and propose printed circuit board (PCB) layout methods to improve parallel performance of high speed GaN transistors.

Simplifying Design with DrGaNPLUS

Gallium nitride based transistors and ICs offer designers of power converters a path towards achieving higher output power, higher efficiency, and higher power density. This application note will address an eGaN FET module designed as a way for power-conversion systems designers to easily evaluate the exceptional performance of gallium nitride transistors.

Thermal Performance of eGaN FETs

While the thermal performance of traditional silicon MOSFETs is well understood, measuring the thermal performance of eGaN FETs requires some further explanation. This Applications Note investigates the testing method and results of thermal resistance measurements on eGaN FETs.

eGaN FET Safe Operating Area

A basic limitation of a power transistor is temperature. Calculations of device temperature during operation assume that power dissipation is spread evenly over the entire active area of the device, which is not always true. This paper will describe the thermally derived Safe Operating Area (SOA) of power GaN FETs which demonstrate very good SOA characteristics while maintaining superior RDS(on). The paper will then compare thermally derived calculations with measured results.

Circuit Simulation Using Device Models

An accurate circuit and device model is a valuable tool for developing new topologies, building successful designs, and shortening time to market. This article describes the status and use of EPC device models, and illustrates some important considerations when incorporating EPC eGaN devices into a circuit model.

eGaN Parametric Characterization Guide

The EPC GaN transistors generally behave like n-channel power MOSFETs. Common curve tracers, parametric analyzers, and automatic discrete device parametric testers that are used for an n-channel power MOSFET will be applicable for the characterization of GaN transistors. This applications note provides guidelines to characterize DC parameters using Tektronix 576 curve tracer, Keithley 238 parametric analyzer, TESEC 881-TT/A discrete device test system.

Visual Characterization Guide

A detailed description of the EPC enhancement mode transistors and integrated circuits physical characteristics is given including the visual criteria all devices must meet before they are released for shipment to customers.

Dead-Time Optimization for Maximum Efficiency

In this white paper we continue our exploration of optimization issues and look at the impact of dead-time on system efficiency for eGaN FETs and MOSFETs.

Selecting eGaN FET Optimal On-Resistance

In this white paper the die size optimization process for selecting the eGaN FET optimal on-resistance is discussed and an example application is used to show specific results. Since ‘optimum’ means different things to different people, this process is aimed at maximizing switching device efficiency at a given load condition.

Optimizing PCB Layout with eGaN FETs

This white paper will explore the optimization of PCB layout for an eGaN FET based point of load (POL) buck converter, comparing the conventional designs and proposing a new optimal layout to further reduce parasitics.

Impact of Parasitics on Performance

With improvements in switching figure of merit provided by eGaN FETs, the packaging and PCB layout parasitics are critical to high performance. This white paper will study the effect of parasitic inductance on performance for eGaN FET and MOSFET based point of load (POL) buck converters operating at a switching frequency of 1 MHz, an input voltage of 12 V, an output voltage of 1.2 V, and an output current up to 20 A.

eGaN FET Drivers and Layout Considerations

eGaN FETs differ from their silicon counterparts because of their significantly faster switching speeds and consequently have different requirements for gate drive, layout, and thermal management which can all be interactive.

eGaN FET Electrical Characteristics

In this paper the basic electrical characteristics of eGaN FETs are explained and compared against silicon MOSFETs. A good understanding of the similarities and differences between these two technologies is a necessary foundation for understanding how much we can improve existing power conversion systems.

Generation 5 eGaN Technology A Quantum Leap into a New Universe of Performance!

Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC), the world’s leader in enhancement mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power FETs and ICs has developed a next generation of eGaN technology that makes it possible to cut the size of our products in half, while giving the power system designer access to significantly higher performance. This is EPC’s fifth generation (Gen 5) GaN technology and it is further evidence that GaN-on-silicon is a rapidly improving technology that is already more than 10 X higher performance than silicon MOSFETs while costing less to produce.

eGaN FETs Deliver the Performance of GaN at the Price of Silicon

Power transistors made using gallium nitride (GaN) instead of silicon have been in production for several years. A new line of eGaN FETs is now available that are not only much faster and smaller than power MOSFETs with similar on-resistance and voltage ratings, but these new transistors are priced favorably at comparable volumes. This is the first time in 60 years that there has been a non-silicon technology that has both superior performance and price compared with their silicon-based counterpart.

GaN Integration For Higher DC-DC Efficiency and Power Density

Beyond just performance and cost improvement, the greatest opportunity for GaN technology to impact the power conversion market comes from its intrinsic ability to integrate multiple devices on the same substrate. In the future, GaN technology, as opposed to common silicon IC technology, will allow designers to implement monolithic power systems on a single chip in a more straightforward and cost-effective way.

Fourth Generation eGaN FETs Widen the Performance Gap with the Aging MOSFET

Fourth generation of GaN-on-silicon enhancement mode transistors (eGaN FETs) sets new performance records. This family of products range from 30 V to 200 V and significantly widen the performance gap between the aging power MOSFET and gallium nitride-based transistors.

Introducing a Family of eGaN FETs for Multi-Megahertz Hard Switching Applications

In this application note we present the new EPC8000 series devices and highlight some of the key features that make this transistor family suitable for high frequency applications. That will be followed by two application examples, a 10 MHz envelope tracking converter and a 6.78 MHz class D wireless power transfer system. In conclusion, small signal RF characteristics will also be provided.

Fundamentals of eGaN FETs

The basic requirements for power semiconductors are effciency, reliability, controllability, and cost effectiveness. High frequency capability adds further value in size and transient response in regulators, and fidelity in class D amplifiers. Without effciency and reliability, a new device structure would have no chance of economic viability.

Is it the End of the Road for Silicon in Power Conversion

For the past three decades, power management efficiency and cost have shown steady improvement as innovations in power MOSFET structures, technology, and circuit topologies have paced the growing need for electrical power in our daily lives. In the last few years, however, the rate of improvement has slowed as the silicon power MOSFET has asymptotically approached its theoretical bounds. Now the superior performance of gallium nitride technology is displacing the power MOSFET.

eGaN® FET Advantages in 48 V – 12 V Power Conversion

In this application note, we will demonstrate how system optimization for a 48 V – 12 V nonisolated, fully regulated, intermediate bus converter (IBC) can achieve higher power density and efficiency with eGaN FETs. We will also take a detailed look at an eGaN FET based multilevel topology that can further maximize the benefit of using eGaN FETs over conventional silicon solutions.

eGaN ICs for Low Voltage DC-DC Applications

In this application note, we introduce EPC’s new eGaN IC – EPC2112 that includes an integrated gate driver used in a 27 W, 14 V – 48 V input to 19 V output single-ended primary-inductor converter (SEPIC) built on the EPC9131 demonstration board. The SEPIC converter is ideal for applications with a wide input voltage range and where the output voltage can be either below or above the input voltage.

eGaN FETs for Lidar – Getting the Most Out of the EPC9126 Laser Driver

Lidar is a form of radar where the electromagnetic radiation happens to be in the optical band. In the last few years, one particular form of lidar, time-of-flight (TOF) distance measurement, has become popular. If a laser is used as the optical source, one can measure the distance of a small spot even at a long range. When combined with steerable optics, one can sweep the spot distance measurement and map objects in 3-D space.

eGaN ICs for Low Cost Resonant Wireless Power Applications

In this application note, we introduce two class-E amplifiers designed, built and tested using EPC’s gate driver integrated FETs the EPC2112 and EPC2115 for operation as an AirFuel™ Alliance compatible wireless power amplifier. Highly resonant wireless power systems operate at 6.78 MHz and eGaN® FET’s have proven to yield higher efficiency and power density designs over MOSFET versions. The ability to integrate multiple devices, performing additional functions such as synchronous bootstrapping, on a single monolithic substrate has further enhanced the performance of wireless power amplifiers.

eGaN FETs for Low Cost Resonant Wireless Power Applications

Resonant wireless power systems use loosely-coupled, highly-resonant coils that are tuned to high frequencies (6.78 MHz or 13.56 MHz). The AirFuel Alliance has developed the standard for resonant wireless power applications. They address convenience-of-use issues such as source to device distance, device orientation on the source, multiple devices on a single source, higher power capability, simplicity of use, and imperfect placement.

Envelope Tracking Power Supply for Cell Phone Base Stations Using eGaN FETs

Modern communication systems demand high data capacity and high speed. The long-term evolution (LTE) standard for the fourth-generation (4G) and the fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems requires signals with higher PAPR compared with prior generations. This increase reduces the efficiency of the power amplifier (PA). Envelope tracking, or supply modulation, uses a dynamic power supply to vary the PA supply voltage in accordance with the time-varying envelope of the input signal so that the efficiency of the PA is maximized.

eGaN FETs for Photo-Voltaic Inverter Applications

Photo-Voltaic (PV) inverter size and cost are dominated by thermal management and passive elements used for bulk energy storage and filtering. Using eGaN FETs to increase efficiency and/or increase switching frequency will reduce the size and cost of the system.

eGaN FETs Small Signal RF Performance

Even though the eGaN FET was designed and optimized as a power-switching device, it also exhibits good RF characteristics. EPC’s small 200 V eGaN FET was selected for RF evaluation and should be viewed as a starting point from which the RF characteristics of future eGaN FET part numbers can be optimized for even better RF performance at higher frequencies.

eGaN FETs in High Frequency Resonant Converters

In this white paper eGaN FET technology is applied in a high frequency resonant converter. Previously, the advantages provided by eGaN FETs in hard switching isolated and non-isolated applications were addressed. This paper will demonstrate the ability of the eGaN FET to improve efficiency and output power density in a soft switching application, as compared to what is achievable with existing power MOSFET devices.

Improve DC-DC Forward Converter Efficiency

DC-DC converter designers can achieve higher power density at lower power levels by using forward converters with synchronous rectification and gallium nitride transistors. One very typical application is a 26 W, 48 V to 5 V , Power over Ethernet Powered Device (PoE-PD).

Improve DC-DC Flyback Converter Efficiency

DC-DC converter designers can achieve low cost at low power densities by using flyback converters and enhancement mode gallium nitride transistors. To evaluate the performance of eGaN FETs in a flyback converter, two different converter designs were created and compared to MOSFET equivalent versions of the same design.

Benchmark DC-DC Conversion Efficiency with eGaN FET-Based Buck Converters

Improvements in buck converters over the past few years have been limited by the power MOSFET’s sedate switching speeds which, in this “hard-switched” topology, translates into lower power conversion frequencies (size and cost), lower efficiency (size and cost), and lower VIN/VOUT ratios (less efficient power management systems). In this paper we show that eGaN FETs unlock a new spectrum of performance that can be translated into significant power conversion system cost and performance improvements.


How to Exceed 98% Efficiency in a Compact 48 V to 6 V, 900 W LLC Resonant Converter Using eGaN FETs

The rapid expansion of the computing and telecommunication market is demanding an ever more compact, efficient and high power density solution for intermediate bus converters. The LLC resonant converter is a remarkable candidate to provide a high power density and high efficiency solution. eGaN FETs with their ultra-low on-resistance and parasitic capacitances, benefit LLC resonant converters by significant loss reduction that is challenging when using Si MOSFETs.

Exceeding 98% Efficiency in a Compact 48 V to 12 V, 900 W LLC Resonant Converter Using eGaN FETs

The rapid expansion of the computing and telecommunication market is demanding an ever more compact, efficient and high power density solution for intermediate bus converters. The LLC resonant converter is a remarkable candidate to provide a high power density and high efficiency solution. eGaN FETs with their ultra-low on-resistance and parasitic capacitances, benefit LLC resonant converters by significant loss reduction that is challenging when using Si MOSFETs.

Achieving Best-in-class 48 V to 12 V, 60 A DC-DC Converter Performance with the EPC9130 Multiphase Buck

Single-phase buck converter can work efficiently at output currents up to 25 A, but the power efficiency drops significantly at higher currents. A compact, cost effective, high-power and high-efficiency 48 V to 12 V buck converter, suitable for high-power computing and telecommunication applications, can be achieved by employing eGaN FETs such as EPC2045 in a multiphase topology.

Boosting Power Density in 48 V to 5-12 V DC-DC Converter Using EPC2053, with up to 25 A Output

The smallest, most cost effective, highest efficiency and 25 A capable non-isolated 48 V to 5-12V converter, suitable for high-performance computing and telecommunication applications, can be accomplished by employing eGaN® FETs such as the EPC2053. The EPC9093 GaN development board configured as a synchronous buck converter yields a main power stage area of only 10 mm x 9 mm, at least 2x smaller than its Si equivalent, and is capable of producing an output voltage ranging from 5 V to 12 V.

Building the Smallest and Most Efficient 48 V to 5 - 12 V DC-DC Converter using EPC2045 and ICs

The smallest, most cost effective and highest efficiency non-isolated 48 V to 12 V converter, suitable for high-performance computing and telecommunication applications, can be achieved by employing eGaN® FETs such as the EPC2045. The EPC9205 configured as a synchronous Buck converter yielded a power density of 1400 W/in3 and is capable of delivering 15 A.

Building a Low Cost, High Efficiency 12 V to 1 V POL Converter Using EPC2111

The smallest, most cost effective and highest efficiency non-isolated 12 V to 1.0 V POL converter, suitable for high-performance computing, cryptocurrency and telecommunication applications, can be achieved by employing monolithic eGaN® IC half-bridges such as the EPC2111. The EPC9204 configured as a synchronous Buck converter yielded a power density of 1000 W/in3 and is capable of delivering 12 A.


How to Build an Ultra-Fast High-Power Laser Driver - That Sees Farther, Better, and at a Lower Cost!

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technology which transmits pulses of light from the sensor and measures the reflection to determine the location and distance of objects. The extremely high performance of GaN and the ultra-low inductance of the chip-scale package make eGaN FETs the ideal switches for pulsed laser drivers.


The Growing Ecosystem for eGaN FET Power Conversion

eGaN FET-based power conversion systems offer higher efficiency, increased power density, and lower overall system cost than Si-based alternatives. These advantageous characteristics have spurred the presence of an ever increasing ecosystem of power electronics components such as gate drivers, controllers, and passive components that specifically enhance eGaN FET performance.

How to Design an eGaN FET-Based Power Stage with an Optimal Layout

eGaN FETs are capable of switching much faster than Si MOSFETs, requiring more careful consideration of PCB layout design to minimize parasitic inductances. Parasitic inductances cause higher overshoot voltages and slower switching transitions. This application note reviews the key steps to design an optimal power stage layout with eGaN FETs, to avoid these unwanted effects and maximize the converter performance.

Designing PCB Footprint for EPC eGaN FETs and ICs

EPC’s wafer level chip-scale packaging such as the Land Grid Array (LGA) and Ball Grid Array (BGA) packages shown in figure 1, has enabled a new level of performance in power conversion. Many of these parts use a fine pitch down to 400 μm which means a proper PCB footprint design is essential for consistent and reliable assembly of the GaN device. Here are the guidelines of designing a correct footprint for any EPC part working from the datasheet.

How to Manually Assemble an eGaN FET or IC

EPC’s innovative wafer level, Land Grid Array (LGA) and Ball Grid Array (BGA) packaging has enabled a new level of performance in power conversion. Proper assembly techniques are essential to take full advantage of GaN technology capability. Here are the guidelines for manual assembly of these FETs and ICs.

How to Get More Power Out of a High-Density eGaN-Based Converter with a Heatsink

eGaN FETs and ICs enable very high-density power converter design, owing to their compact size, ultra-fast switching, and low on-resistance. The limiting factor for output power in most high-density converters is junction temperature, which prompts the need for more effective thermal design. The chip-scale packaging of eGaN also offers six-sided cooling, with effective heat extraction from the bottom, top, and sides of the die. This application note presents a high-performance thermal solution to extend the output current capability of eGaN-based converters.

How to Effectively Measure High Performance eGaN FETs in Applications

Advancements in eGaN FET-based converters’ in-circuit capability drives high performance measurement requirements. This article compares various measurement techniques and technologies’ capability of accurately evaluating high performance eGaN FETs in applications.

Data center power applications
LiDAR applications
Wireless power applications
Envelope tracking applications
Space applications
Class D Audio applications
Medtech applications
Motor control
Power inverter applications