EPC Technical Articles

Bodo’s Wide Bandgap Expert Talk - GaN Session - June 2021

A roundtable discussion with GaN industry experts hosted by Bodo’s Power Systems. Guests included:

  1. Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion
  2. Doug Bailey, Vice President Marketing & Applications Engineering at Power Integrations
  3. Dilder Chowdhury, Director, Strategic Marketing, Power GaN Technology at Nexperia
  4. Tom Ribarich, Sr. Director Strategic Marketing at Navitas Semiconductor

Extreme GaN – What Happens When eGaN FETs are Exposed to Voltage and Current Levels Well Above Data Sheet Limits

Recently, Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) did a series of tests to take eGaN® FETs beyond their data sheet limits to quantify the effects of large amounts of overstress voltage and current and the results are published here for the first time.

Bodo’s Power Systems
May, 2021
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Minimizing Thermo-mechanical Stress in Chipscale eGaN Devices

Enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN) FETs have demonstrated excellent thermomechanical reliability in actual operation in the field or when tested according to AEC or JEDEC standards. This is because of the inherent simplicity of the “package,” the lack of wire bonds, dissimilar materials, or mold compound. Recently, an extensive study of underfill products was conducted to experimentally generate lifetime predictions. A finite element analysis at the end of this section explains the experimental results and generates guidelines for selection of underfill based on key material properties.

Bodo's Power
March, 2021
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GaN Is Revolutionizing Motor Drive Applications

In last month’s Safety & Compliance column in How2Power, “WBG Semiconductors Pose Safety And EMI Challenges In Motor Drive Applications,”[1]Kevin Parmenter made some assertions about the difficulties of using SiC, and to a lesser extent GaN, power semiconductors in large motor-drive applications. This commentary is a response to that article, showing that GaN can be a game changer in low-voltage integrated motors.

How2Power
February, 2021
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Intrinsic Failure Mechanisms in GaN-on-Si Power Transistors

Standard qualification testing for semiconductors typically involves stressing devices at-or-near the limits specified in their data sheets for a prolonged period of time, or for a certain number of cycles. The goal of qualification testing is to have zero failures out of a large group of parts tested. By testing parts to the point of failure, an understanding of the amount of margin between the data sheet limits can be developed, but more importantly, an understanding of the intrinsic failure mechanisms of the semiconductor can be found.

IEEE Power Electronics Magazine
December, 2020
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GaN Reliability Testing Beyond AEC for Automotive Lidar

An automotive application using GaN power devices in high volume is lidar(light detection and ranging) for autonomous vehicles. Lidar technology provides information about a vehicle’s surroundings, thus requiring high accuracy and reliability to ensure safety and performance. This article will discus a novel testing mechanism developed by EPC to test eGaN devices beyond the qualification requirements of the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) for the specific use case of lidar.

Power Systems Design
December, 2020
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GaN Reliability Testing Beyond AEC Proves Robustness for Automotive Lidar Applications

Gallium nitride (GaN) power devices have been in volume production since March 2010 and have established a remarkable field-reliability record. An automotive application using GaN power devices in high volume is lidar (light detection and ranging) for autonomous vehicles. Lidar technology provides information about a vehicle’s surroundings, thus requiring high accuracy and reliability to ensure safety and performance. This article will discuss a novel testing mechanism developed by Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) to test eGaN devices beyond the qualification requirements of the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) for the specific use case of lidar.

eeNews Europe
July 30, 2020
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Improving Reliability For GaN And SiC

Why these chips are gaining ground, and what still needs to be addressed. Suppliers of gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) power devices are rolling out the next wave of products with some new and impressive specs. But before these devices are incorporated in systems, they must prove to be reliable.

Semiconductor Engineering
June, 2020
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Testing GaN Devices to Failure

Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices have been in volume production since March 2010 with remarkable field reliability. This article details how by testing parts to the point of failure an understanding of the amount of margin between the data sheet limits can be developed, but more importantly, an understanding of the intrinsic failure mechanisms can be found. By knowing the intrinsic failure mechanisms, the root cause of failure, and the device’s behavior over time, temperature, electrical or mechanical stress, the safe operating life of a product can be determined over a more general set of operating conditions.

Power Systems Design
March 3, 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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Why go for GaN?

GaN technology has matured to a point where it can challenge traditional silicon technology.  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 article, the factors leading to the rapid acceleration of the adoption rate are explored.

Electronics Weekly
January 2019
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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.

IEEE Spectrum
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Gate Voltage Stress Reliability

The previous installment in this series focused on the physics of failure surrounding thermo-mechanical reliability of EPC eGaN wafer level chip-scale packages. A fundamental understanding of the potential failure modes under voltage bias is also important. This installment will provide an overview of the physics of failure associated with voltage bias at the gate electrode of gallium nitride (GaN) field effect transistors (FETs). Here we look at the case of taking the gate control voltage to the specified limit and beyond to investigate how eGaN FETs behave over a projected lifetime.

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec
November 29, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Strain on solder joints

The first three installments in this series covered field reliability experience and stress test qualification of EPC’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN) field effect transistors (FETs) and integrated circuits (ICs). Excellent field reliability that was documented is the result of applying stress tests covering the intended operating conditions the devices will experience within applications. Of equal importance is understanding the underlying physics of how eGaN devices will fail when stressed beyond intended operating conditions (e.g. datasheet parameters and safe operating area). This installment will take a deeper dive into the physics of failure centered around thermo-mechanical reliability of eGaN wafer level chip-scale packages (WLCSP).

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec
September 7, 2016
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Documenting GaN Technology Reliability after Millions of Device Hours of Rigorous Stress Testing

EPC Phase Eight Reliability Report documents a combined total of over 8 million GaN device-hours with zero failures. The report examines, in detail, the stress tests that EPC devices are subjected to prior to release as qualified products and analyzes the physics of failure.

Bodo’s Power Systems
September 1, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Examining eGaN Field Reliability

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) FETs and integrated circuits (ICs) are finding their way into many end user applications such as LIDAR, wireless charging, DC-DC conversion, RF base station transmission, satellite systems, and audio amplifiers.

Field reliability is the ultimate metric that corroborates the quality level of eGaN® FETs and ICs that have been deployed in customer applications. In our first installment we provided an overview of eGaN FET field reliability which included 6 years of volume production shipment, and greater than 17 billion total device hours recorded. A subsequent calculated Failure In Time (FIT – failures in 109 hours) of approximately 0.24 FITs shows excellent field reliability performance to date.

Plant Analog
Chris Jakubiec
May 1, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure

In this series we will look at the various ways the reliability of eGaN® technology has been validated, and how we are developing models from our understanding of the physics of failures that can help predict failure rates under almost any operating condition. In this first installment and the next, we will look at the field experience from the past six years of GaN transistors use in a variety of applications from vehicle headlamps to medical systems to 4G/LTE telecom systems. Diving into the failure of each and every part leads to some valuable lessons learned.

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec, Robert Strittmatter, Ph.D., and Alex Lidow, Ph.D.
March 1, 2016
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eGaN FET Safe Operating Area

In this article, we show that high electron densities and very low temperature coefficients give the eGaN FET major advantages over the power MOSFET needed for today’s high performance applications. High electron density yields superior RDS(ON), while positive temperature coefficients inhibit hot spot generation within the die, resulting in superior Safe Operating Area capabilities.

By Yanping Ma, Ph.D., Director of Quality, EPC
Bodo's Power Systems

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How2 Understand eGaN Transistor Reliability

Efficient Power Conversion’s (EPC) enhancement-mode gallium-nitride (eGaN) power transistors, although similar to standard power MOSFETs, deliver performance unattainable by silicon-based devices.

Yanping Ma, PhD, Efficient Power Conversion, El Segundo, Calif.
How2Power
October, 2010

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