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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
Unlike silicon, whereby specific manufacturing processes and packaging are required to insulate semiconductors from the effects of radiation, GaN devices are largely resistant to the damage caused by space radiation due to their physical characteristics and structure. In an interview with Alex Lidow, CEO at EPC, Power Electronic News have discovered the features of GaN for space applications.
Power Electronics News
Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) publishes Phase-12 Reliability Report adding to the extensive knowledge found in their first eleven reports. With this report, EPC demonstrates field experience of 226 billion eGaN ® device hours and a robustness capability unmatched by silicon power devices.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— January 2021 — EPC announces its Phase-12 Reliability Report, documenting the strategy used to achieve a remarkable field reliability record. eGaN devices have been in volume production for more than eleven years and have demonstrated very high reliability in over 226 billion hours of operation, most of which are in vehicles, LTE base stations, and satellites, to name just a few applications with rigorous operating conditions.
GaN power transistors are an ideal choice for power and RF applications to support extreme space missions. Through its new eGaN® solutions, EPC Space guarantees radiation hardness performance and SEE (single-event effects) immunity, with devices that are specifically designed for critical applications in commercial satellite space. These devices have exceptionally high electron mobility and a low-temperature coefficient with very low RDS(on) values.
Small satellites bring a more cost-effective approach to low-Earth-orbit (LEO) missions, helping to deliver low-cost internet access across the globe. For this application, GaN FETs partnered with a radiation tolerant pulse width modulation controller and GaN fet driver allow more efficient switching, higher frequency operation, reduced gate drive voltage and smaller solution sizes compared to the traditional silicon counterparts.
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.
Freebird Semiconductor and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) have entered into an agreement whereby Freebird will develop products for use in high reliability space and harsh environment applications based upon eGaN® power transistors and integrated circuits.
NORTH ANDOVER, MA. — April 2016 — Freebird Semiconductor Corporation, North Andover, Massachusetts announces the signing of an agreement with Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC), the leading provider of enhancement-mode gallium nitride power transistors to develop products for use in high reliability, space, and harsh environment applications based upon EPC’s eGaN® technology.