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Silicon Is Dead…and Discrete Power Devices Are Dying

Silicon Is Dead…and Discrete Power Devices Are Dying

For over four decades, power management efficiency and cost have improved steadily as innovations in power MOSFET structures, technology, and circuit topologies have kept pace with the growing need for electrical power. In the new millennium, however, the rate of improvement has slowed dramatically as the silicon power MOSFET approaches its theoretical bounds. At the same time, a new material, gallium nitride (GaN) is steadily progressing on its journey toward a theoretical performance boundary that is 6,000 times better than the aging silicon MOSFET and 300 times better than the best GaN products on the market today.

EETimes
June, 2020
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Podcast: Moore's Law and GaN

Podcast: Moore's Law and GaN

Alex Lidow has deep roots in the electronics industry. His father and grandfather founded International Rectifier in 1947. Alex eventually ran the company himself for 12 years. He is currently the CEO of EPC, a company that manufactures gallium nitride-based power transistors and integrated circuits. These products are now found in lidar systems for autonomous vehicles, in 4G/LTE base stations, in DC-DC converters for servers and satellites, and in a wide variety of medical products.

EE Times on Air
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Categories: Interviews

GaN Makes a Frontal Attack on Silicon Power MOSFETS

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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Facts Say About An Account from a Scientist: he saved the world's 15% energy consumption prior. Now, he discovers silicon's replacement material

Facts Say About An Account from a Scientist: he saved the world's 15% energy consumption prior. Now, he discovers silicon's replacement material

This scientist got his Ph.D 40 years ago who saved the world's 15% energy consumption at one time. He is continuing his journey of innovations now in discovering silicon's replacement material for humankind.

My father always taught me that the true worth of an individual is measured based on their contribution to society. As I entered graduate school in 1975 I knew my passion was in the field of semiconductors, and I felt my best contribution to society would come from finding a successor to silicon. I did my graduate work in Gallium Arsenide, but realized by the time I received my PhD in 1977 that Gallium Arsenide’s prospects were limited as a semiconductor due to the basic materials properties, I went to work applying everything I learned to making better devices in silicon.

Fortune China
June 15, 2017
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GaN-on-Silicon Power Devices: How to Dislodge Silicon-Based Power MOSFETs

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.

Alex Lidow
March, 2017
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Silicon Rival Stalks Apple, Google, Tesla-Facing Chip Markets

Silicon Rival Stalks Apple, Google, Tesla-Facing Chip Markets

Silicon Valley's namesake raw material faces a promising new rival: gallium nitride (GaN). Some say the newcomer is poised to swarm the $30 billion semiconductor power supply market. It's a market that involves "anything that plugs into a wall" ranging from Apple (AAPL) iPhone chargers to Tesla Motors' (TSLA) luxury electric cars.

Investor's Business Daily
Allison Gatlin
July 2016
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A Silicon Pioneer Plays Taps for Silicon and Power Cords

A Silicon Pioneer Plays Taps for Silicon and Power Cords

Tuesday I was fortunate enough to have a meeting with Alex Lidow, founder of chip company EPC of El Segundo, California, and something of an luminary of the chip world. Lidow came up with the “power MOSFET,” a device that went on to be the basis of billions in semiconductor sales, in 1977.

His new company, whose initials stand for “Efficient Power Conversion,” proposes replacing silicon, the original basis of the MOSFET, and one of the most prevalent types of semiconductor around, with a different material, Gallium Nitride, commonly abbreviated as GaN — or “eGaN,” as Lidow calls the company’s new, improved form of GaN.

Barron's
Tiernan Ray
June 29, 2016
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eGaN vs. Silicon - Comparing Dead-time Losses for eGaN FETs and Silicon MOSFETs in Synchronous Rectifiers

eGaN vs. Silicon - Comparing Dead-time Losses for eGaN FETs and Silicon MOSFETs in Synchronous Rectifiers

There have been several comparisons of eGaN FETs with silicon MOSFETs in a variety of applications, including hard-switched, soft-switched, and high-frequency power conversion. These studies have shown that eGaN FETs have large efficiency and power density advantages over silicon MOSFETs. Here we’ll focus on the use of eGaN FETs in synchronous rectifier (SR) applications and the importance of dead-time management. We show that eGaN FETs can dramatically reduce loss due to dead-time in synchronous rectifiers above and beyond the benefits of low RDS(on)and charge.

Power Systems Design
By: Dr. John Glaser & Dr. David Reusch, Efficient Power Conversion
June 13, 2016
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Paultre on Power - Power GaN

Author: By Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD
Date: 3/12/2013

In this podcast, we talk to Alex Lidow of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) about GaN devices and their impact on the power industry. EPC is a leader in enhancement-mode Gallium Nitride based power management devices. EPC was the first to introduce enhancement-mode Gallium-Nitride-on-Silicon (eGaN®) FETs as power MOSFET replacements in applications such as point-of-load converters, Power over Ethernet (PoE), server and computer DC-DC converters, LED lighting, cell phones, RF transmission, solar micro-inverters, and class-D audio amplifiers with device performance many times greater than silicon power MOSFETs.

http://www.powersystemsdesign.com/paultre-on-power---power-gan?a=1&c=6282

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Categories: Interviews

Are GaN Transistors Ready for Prime Time?

Gallium Nitride transistors have been available since Eudyna and Nitronex first introduced depletion-mode RF transistors in about 2005. Since then many new companies have entered the field with both RF transistors (e.g. RFMD, Triquint, Cree, Freescale, Integra, HRL, M/A-COM, and others), and transistors designed to replace power MOSFETs in power conversion applications (e.g. Transphorm, International Rectifier, GaN Systems, microGaN, and Efficient Power Conversion). This article discusses if this ground swell of activity mean that GaN transistors are ready to replace power MOSFETs, and, if so, why?

By Alex Lidow, Ph.D., CEO, EPC
Power Pulse.Net

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Market Adoption of Enhancement Mode Gallium Nitride Transistors (eGaN® FETs) - Interview at IIC 2012

Alex Lidow, the co-inventor of the HEXFET power MOSFET and CEO of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), discusses the market adoption of Enhancement Mode Gallium Nitride Transistors (eGAN FETs) due to their tremendous size and performance advantages over silicon power MOSFETs, eGaN's “disruptive” technological impact on power semiconductor markets and potential applications, and EPC’s upcoming introduction of eGaN power devices for high voltage AC/DC converters and high power motor control applications.

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Categories: Interviews

Alex Lidow, CEO, interviewed in ECN's Tinker’s Toolbox

Alex Lidow is interviewed by ECN's Editorial Director, Alix Paultre, on the Tinker's Toolbox, ECN's audio interview website.  The interview explores the attributes of GaN technology, applications opened as a result of GaN's superior performance to MOSFETs and reasons for the take-up of eGaN FET products over the past year.

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Categories: Interviews

Alex Lidow, CEO, presents at Innovation Technology Conference

 View video of EPC's CEO, Alex Lidow as he presents "eGaN - Starting from the GaN"  at the Innovation Technology Conference in China.