EPC Technical Articles

GaN Devices for Smaller, Lighter, Smoother Motor Drives

Today, the permanent magnet motor, also known as DC brushless motor (BLDC), is widely used and offers higher torque capability per cubic inch and higher dynamics when compared to other motors. So far, silicon-based power devices have been dominant in the inverter electronics, but today their performance is nearing their theoretical limits. There is an increasing need for higher power density. Gallium nitride (GaN) transistors and ICs have the best attributes to satisfy these needs.

Power Systems Design
November, 2021
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Motor Driver Applications in Space

As the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere and space are opened to commercial development, motors will become increasingly important to systems places there for various functions. With the inevitability of manufacturing in space, motors – including their drivers – will take on even more functions. Of equal importance will be the motor drivers selected to drive those motors efficiently and reliably.

Components in Electronics
October, 2021
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Just How Fast is GaN Fast?

A recent design for an ultra-high speed, low-impedance pulse generator to evaluate oscilloscope probe performance and for determining the feasibility of an in-socket load for ASIC emulation using EPC eGaN™ FET, EPC2037 reveals just how fast these power devices are.

Signal Integrity
March 12, 2020
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What’s New with Gallium Nitride?

Alex Lidow is the CEO of Efficient Power Conversion, probably the most prominent advocate for gallium nitride, delivering the first GaN transistor in 2009. After a decade of selling products, DESIGN&ELEKTRONIK editor Ralf Higgelke met him to discuss some of the latest advances in that area.

February 20, 2020
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Qualifying and Quantifying GaN Devices for Power Applications

It’s okay to start using gallium-nitride (GaN) devices in your new designs. GaN transistors have become extremely popular in recent years. These wide-bandgap devices have been replacing LDMOS transistors in many power applications. For example, GaN devices are broadly being adopted for new RF power amplifiers used in cellular base stations, radar, satellites, and other high-frequency applications. In general, their ability to endure higher voltages and operate at frequencies well into the millimeter-wave (mmWave) range have them replacing traditional RF power transistors in most amplifier configurations.

Electronic Design
November, 2019
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GaN in Space

This article discussed an oft forgotten or little-noticed part of the spacecraft enabling travel into outer space---power management in the space vehicle. Wide bandgap semiconductors like gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC), as well as diamond, are looking to be the most promising materials for future electronic components since the discovery of silicon. These technologies, depending upon their design, offer huge advantages in terms of power capability (DC and microwave), radiation insensitivity, high temperature and high frequency operation, optical properties and even low noise capability. Therefore, wide bandgap components are strategically important for the development of next generation space-borne systems. eGaN devices are quickly gaining momentum in the space industry and we will see many more applications for them by NASA and commercial contractors in future programs like Artemis and other programs in countries around the globe pursuing efforts into Space.

Power Systems Design
November, 2019
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Executive Interview with Alex Lidow on Winning GaN Applications

Ahead of December’s Power Conference in Munich, Bodo Arlt took the opportunity to get an insight into Alex Lidow’s thoughts on where the GaN market is now and where he sees the potential applications for the future. Dr. Lidow is the CEO and Co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC).

Bodo’s Power Systems
November, 2019
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Data center power in 2019

It is expected that there will be more than 175 zettabytes of data by 2025. Data center construction and deployment, as well as upgrading efforts in existing older ones, is booming with the advent of 5G, starting in earnest at the 2020 Olympics in Japan (6G is already being discussed for future development) and the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

It makes so much sense to me that GaN should be the power transistor of choice in Data Center power architectures where size, efficiency and speed are critical. In all the topologies with 48 VIN, the highest efficiency was achieved with GaN devices.

June 2019
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GaN Makes a Frontal Attack on Silicon Power MOSFETS

Today’s GaN FETs are improving rapidly in size and performance. The benchmark devices are still 300 times away from their theoretical performance limits. The early GaN adopters needed the speed. Big examples were lidar systems for autonomous cars, drones, and robots, and 4G/LTE base stations. The volume has grown, and now GaN power devices are at a point where the prices are equivalent to the slower, bigger and aging power MOSFET. Thus, it is time for GaN’s frontal assault!

Bodo’s Power Systems
June 2019
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GaN enhancement for 48V DC/DC power conversion in servers and automotive

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) has recently introduced two new, 100V, GaN devices that are able to handle 48V server and automotive needs. I will be examining the 48V server power solutions to the processor as well as in automotive and energy storage systems (See my article Bi-directional DC/DC power supplies: Which way do we go?) bi-directional supplies, in an EDN exclusive article coming up in the near future. GaN power transistors MUST be a part of these kinds of architectures; from my point-of-view there is no better alternative.

Planet Analog
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The Power and Evolution of GaN

Gallium nitride(GaN)-on-silicon low voltage power devices have enabled many new applications since commercial availability began in 2010. New markets, such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR), envelope tracking, and wireless power, emerged due to the superior switching speed of GaN. These new applications have helped develop a strong supply chain, low production costs, and an enviable reliability record. 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. In this series, a few of the many, high volume applications taking advantage of GaN to achieve new levels of end-product differentiation will be discussed. First, it is useful to explore the factors attributing to the rapid acceleration of the adoption rate.

Power Systems Design
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EPC at APEC 2018 by EE Online

EPC CEO & Co-Founder, Alex Lidow gives Lee Teschler from EE World Online a tour of the EPC booth at APEC 2018 where EPC demonstrations included a high-power density 48 V – 12 V non-isolated converter capable of delivering over 700 W. In addition, a range of 3-D real-time LiDAR imaging sensors used in autonomous vehicles were displayed. Also, a single desktop implementing a high power resonant wireless charging solution capable of generating 300 W to wirelessly power a wide range of devices including cell phones, notebook computers, monitors, wireless speakers, smart watches, and table lamps.

View videos below.

How eGaN Transistor Technology Improves LiDAR Performance
Why Gate Drivers are Joining eGaN Transistors on the Same Chip
Graphics-Intensive Applications Benefit From Power-Dense eGaN® DC-DC Converters

Will GaN and the Tesla SpaceX car survive space radiation? Yes and no.

Two space travel related stories hit my desktop this week; one that rapidly generated major international headlines and one that slid very quietly onto my email screen.

The headline-hitter was the successful launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket with its payload of a Tesla sports car, complete with a dummy driver at the wheel. The second was about Gallium Nitride technology that would be suitable for space applications.

Electro Pages
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Peregrine Semiconductor Unveils the World’s Fastest GaN FET Driver

GaN-based FETs are disrupting the power conversion market and are displacing silicon-based metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). Compared to MOSFETs, GaN FETs operate much faster and have higher switching speeds in the smallest possible volume. The promise of GaN is that it can dramatically reduce the size and weight of any power supply. To reach their performance potential, these high-performance GaN transistors need an optimized gate driver.

Peregrine Semiconductor
July 12, 2016
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'Tis the season to be wasteful

In 2014, data centers in the United States consumed approximately 100 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy. To add insult to injury, the power needed to support this rapidly growing demand comes from an electrical grid that is wildly inefficient and is based on infrastructure that was created, in large part, more than a century ago. Just how significant is this waste? It turns out that the power grid supplies 150W of power to meet the demands of a digital chip that may need only 100W. Moreover, the amount of wasted energy is even greater because every watt of power lost through power conversion is transferred into heat. And it is necessary to remove that heat from the server farm by expensive and energy-intensive air conditioning. It takes about 1W of air conditioning to remove 1W of power losses, effectively doubling the inefficiency of this power conversion process.

New materials have emerged that can convert electricity more efficiently and at a lower cost. By eliminating the inefficiencies in this final stage in the server farm power architecture we can realize a direct saving of 7 billion kWh per year. This is doubled when air conditioning energy costs are added, bringing the total to about 14 percent of the total energy consumed by servers in the US alone. The cost savings are also significant. At the average cost of $0.12 per kWh, that’s a savings of $1.7 billion annually, which does not include the additional savings in system cost resulting from fewer power converters and air conditioners.

Datacenter Dynamics
December 15, 2015
By: Alex Lidow
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