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GaN vs. Silicon Smackdown

GaN vs. Silicon Smackdown

One way to tell when a new technology has passed the tipping point of adoption is by the voices advocating the status quo. The more conservative voices tend to cite older information that, given the fast change of trajectory that occurs at a tipping point, can lead to poor decisions for new designs. In the world of GaN power devices the tipping point occurred in the past two years when the rate of new GaN-based designs started to double year-on-year, and the legacy MOSFET designs started to face critical supply shortages due to their finely tuned, but less flexible supply chains. GaN devices, on the other hand, have remained in stock at most major distributors due to their relatively new and flexible supply chains utilizing older silicon foundries, but affording these foundries a new and vibrant future. In this article we will address some of the common misconceptions still showing up in articles and at conferences, usually presented by advocates of the status quo.

Bodo’s Power Systems
May, 2022
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Model Behavior to Determine GaN Performance

Model  Behavior to Determine GaN Performance

Users of GaN FETs and ICs now have a tool to determine the derating needed in an application and reduce voltage derating factors. EPC has developed a first principle physics-based model to explain RDS(on) rise in GaN transistors under hard switching conditions. This article provides demonstrations for two synchronous rectification application examples.

Electronic Specifier
May, 2022
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Multi-phase MHZ Converter with GaN

Multi-phase MHZ Converter with GaN

This article presents a two-phase DC/DC GaN converter with 120 VDC input operating at 6.7 MHz. 120 VDC is a standard voltage level in the secondary power system at the International Space Station (ISS). Using GaN FET’s high power density and ultra-fast switching, Tell-i’s newly developed SDK board uses two phases to exceed normal switching speeds. Supporting a standard 120-V bus voltage, as used in systems like the ISS, the multi-phase configuration allows interleaving converters to achieve effective switching at 3 MHz, 5 MHz, and an outstanding 6.87 MHz. Optimal and compact layout is achieved with the use of four EPC2019 GaN transistors and two LMG1210 gate drivers for small gate drive and power loops.

Power Electronics News
April, 2022
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Wide-bandgap (WBG) Components Build a Green World that is Highly Efficient and Saving Energy

Wide-bandgap (WBG) Components Build a Green World that is Highly Efficient and Saving Energy

The mainstream materials for wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor power components are silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). They become various power system applications' most-preferred devices today with the rising awareness of energy conservation and sustainability. This was the first time Tech Taipei 2022 Conference used WBG as its theme. Speakers from key players in the industry were invited from design, manufacturing and testing fields to share with over 400 participants at the conference their latest technology and application trends.

EE Times Taiwan
March 25, 2022
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High Performance 1 kW per Phase 48 V/12 V Converter Using GaN ePower Stage

High Performance 1 kW per Phase 48 V/12 V Converter Using GaN ePower Stage

Automotive 48 V/12 V converters are essential in modern hybrid electric vehicles, as the energy is exchanged between the 48 V and 12 V buses. This two-voltage system accommodates legacy 12 V systems and provides higher power for 48V to loads such as vacuum and water pumps, electric super chargers, steering, and audio systems. Among all the requirements for the 48 V/12 V converter, efficiency, power density, size and cost are on the top of the list. This article addresses these design criteria by employing the GaN ePower™ Stage, EPC23101, and compares it with a previous design using discrete EPC2206 devices.

Bodo’s Power Systems
March, 2022
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Premium Motor Drive Performance at Low Cost for e-bikes, Drones, and Robotics with GaN FETs from EPC

Premium Motor Drive Performance at Low Cost for e-bikes, Drones, and Robotics with GaN FETs from EPC

The EPC9167 GaN-based inverter reference design enhances motor system performance, range, precision, torque, all while lowering overall system cost. The extremely small size of this inverter allows integration into the motor housing resulting in the lowest EMI, highest density, and lowest weight.

Robotics Tomorrow
March, 2022
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Roadblocks to GaN Adoption in Power Systems

Roadblocks to GaN Adoption in Power Systems

In this article, the most common reasons for some customers to be slower in their embracing what is clearly a displacement technology for their older silicon-based power MOSFETs will be discussed. Without going into the detailed statistics, a list of reasons, in order of frequency is derived. This list is based upon the understanding that some applications will place higher emphasis than others on certain characteristics of GaN. Our discussion is limited to devices rated at less than 400 V, as that is the application focus for Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) FET and IC products.

Power Systems Design
March, 2022
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Better thermal management of eGaN FETs

Better thermal management of eGaN FETs

A few simple thermal management guidelines can help conduct heat away from GaN FETs. Enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN) FETs offer high power-density with ultra-fast switching and low on-resistance, all in a compact form factor. However, the power levels these high-performance devices provide can be limited by extreme heat-flux densities. If not managed properly, the generated heat can compromise reliability and performance. Fortunately, chip-scale packaging for eGaN FETs can be leveraged at the board-side and the backside (i.e., case) to better dissipate heat.

Power Electronics Tips
February, 2022
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Automotive Buck/Reverse-Boost Converter with GaN for Efficient 48 V Power Distribution

Automotive Buck/Reverse-Boost Converter with GaN for Efficient 48 V Power Distribution

Demonstrating the design of a bi-directional DC-DC converter for automotive 48 V power distribution, showing how GaN technology is a powerful enabler for efficient electrification. The trend towards increasing electrification in the automotive industry enables car makers both to deliver new innovations to market cost-effectively and to meet increasingly stringent emissions legislation. Raising the vehicle’s main bus voltage to 48 V helps meet the demands of power-hungry systems such as the start-stop motor/generator of a mild hybrid vehicle, as well as loads such as electric power steering, electric supercharging, and vacuum and water pumps.

Bodo’s Power Systems
December, 2021
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ePower Chipset Family for High Power Density Applications Chosen as Bodo’s Power System ‘Product of the Month’

ePower Chipset Family for High Power Density Applications Chosen as Bodo’s Power System ‘Product of the Month’

EPC has introduced a 100 V, 65 A integrated circuit chipset designed for 48 V DC-DC conversion used in high-density computing applications and in 48 V BLDC motor drives for e-mobility, robotics, and drones. The EPC23101 eGaN IC plus EPC2302 eGaN FET offers an ePower Chipset capable of a maximum withstand voltage of 100 V, delivering up to 65 A load current, while capable of switching speeds greater than 1 MHz.

Bodo’s Power Systems
February, 2022
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CES 2022: GaN Technology for the Next Future

CES 2022: GaN Technology for the Next Future

The year 2021 was a transitional year in which the world decided to open its doors to GaN. In this interview with Power Electronics News during CES week, GaN industry experts confirmed that GaN is now proving its superiority over silicon.

Power Electronics News
January, 2022
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Low-Voltage GaN FETs in Motor Control Application; Issues and Advantages: A Review

Low-Voltage GaN FETs in Motor Control Application; Issues and Advantages: A Review

In the field of motion control, there is a growing use of GaN devices, especially in low voltage applications. This paper provides guidelines for designers on the optimal use of GaN FETs in motor control applications, identifying the advantages and discussing the main issues.

Energies Journal
October, 2021
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GaN Devices for Smaller, Lighter, Smoother Motor Drives

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

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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