GaN Talk a blog dedicated to crushing silicon

Motor Drives Showdown – GaN vs. Silicon

Motor Drives Showdown – GaN vs. Silicon
Sep 14 2021

This GaN Talk blog discusses the advantages of using GaN-based inverters instead of silicon-based inverters for motor drive designs to operate smoother while reducing size and weight. These advantages are critical for motor drives used in typical applications such as warehousing & logistical robots, servo drives, e-bikes & e-scooters,  collaborative and low voltage robots and medical robotics, industrial drones, and automotive motors.

Omdia forecasts that worldwide shipments of warehousing and logistics robots will grow rapidly over the next 5 years from 194,000 units in 2018 to 938,000 units annually by 2022, with the rate of growth slowing after 2021 as many major players will have adopted robotic systems by then.  Worldwide revenue for this category will increase from $8.3 billion in 2018 to $30.8 billion in 2022, providing significant opportunities for established participants and emerging players.

From Development Board to Buck Converter

From Development Board to Buck Converter
Aug 17 2021

EPC development boards offer the opportunity to evaluate eGaN® FETs and ICs in common applications. For example, the EPC9094 half-bridge development board can be configured as a buck or boost converter. The EPC9094 features the newly released EPC2054 200 V 43 mOhm max eGaN FET in a 1.3 x 1.3 mm 2 x 2 pin WLCSP package. The very low RDS(on) value of this very small FET permits it to support high current loads from a high voltage supply. To demonstrate this ability, we will modify the EPC9094 development board to a buck converter. Using a 140 V supply, Spice simulation suggest 28 V output at 2.5 A will offer a high 90% efficiency. A Vishay IHLP-4040DZET330M11, 33 uH, 4.4 A, 95 mOhm Max, 10.2 x 10.8 x 4 mm inductor is selected which will provide 40% ripple at 500 Khz. Output capacitors consisted of four 10 uF Y5V 50V 1210 ceramic capacitors. The simulation showed a tradeoff between ripple current and overall efficiency when switching frequency was changed between 500 kHz down to 375 kHz. The simulation also showed that adjusting the dead time to permit full ZVS transition from high to low maximized the light load efficiency performance in the buck converter.

High-Quality, Low-Cost Audio Achieved with GaN

High-Quality, Low-Cost Audio Achieved with GaN
Jul 29 2021

Until recently, to achieve high-quality sound from an audio amplifier cost thousands of dollars and relied on a large, heavy, power-hungry class-A amplifier. Now, the advent of gallium nitride FETs and ICs is ushering the age of high quality, lower cost class-D audio amplifiers. 

Distortion Performance Issues Lowered with GaN

Historically, meeting the required distortion performance targets (THD+N, TIM and IM) for high-quality audio, class-D amplifiers had to resort to incorporating large amounts of feedback circuitry to compensate for poor open-loop performance. The source of this distortion was the silicon power MOSFET.

Intelligent Power Amplifier Module based on GaN FETs

Intelligent Power Amplifier Module based on GaN FETs
May 10 2021

Guest GaN Talk Blog by: Pavel Gurev, Sinftech Rus LLC

This article originally appeared in Bodo’s Power Systems April 2021

In the past few years, gallium-nitride (GaN) FETs have become more widespread in power electronics. Due to their outstanding characteristics, GaN FETs play an increasingly important role in miniaturization of the switching converters with very high-power densities exceeding 100 W / cm3 and more. The efficiency of converters based on GaN transistors can reach 99.5%. Due to the extension of the conversion frequency towards the MHz range, the magnetic components (chokes, transformers) also decrease in size significantly. However, designers face numerous challenges in implementing practical GaN transistor designs. The best family members are presented in wafer-level chip-scale package; the drivers are also quite miniature.

Pulsing 1550 nm Lasers for Lidar

Pulsing 1550 nm Lasers for Lidar
Apr 20 2021

Pulsed lidar systems typically use either 905 nm or 1550 nm lasers for optical emission.  Above 1400 nm, various elements of the eye absorb the light, impeding it from reaching and damaging the retina.  As laser power is increased, not all of it is absorbed, and at some point, retinal damage may occur.  Since 905 nm light does not get absorbed, it does reach the retina, so care must be used to limit the energy density to prevent damage.

If the decision is to use 1550 nm light, efficiency differences in the semiconductor laser make it necessary to use higher current for the same optical power emitted compared with 905 nm light.  Additionally, the same characteristics that allow the light to be absorbed by the eye before getting to the retina cause it to be absorbed by the atmosphere.  This phenomenon is amplified as humidity increases to fog, rain, or snow.  The drive power required for a 1550 nm laser may be up to 10 times higher than for a 905 nm laser based system.  Fortunately, there is a solution to deliver the power necessary to drive 1550 nm lasers while maintaining the edge speed and pulse required for high resolution in pulsed lidar applications.

GaN + Digital Control + High-Performance Magnetics
Designing an Ultra-thin, Highly Efficient (>97%), Multilevel DC-to-DC Converter

GaN + Digital Control + High-Performance Magnetics<br>Designing an Ultra-thin, Highly Efficient (>97%), Multilevel DC-to-DC Converter
Apr 07 2021

GaN-based solutions coupled with digital control and high-performance magnetics can increase efficiency, shrink the size, and reduce system costs for high density computing applications like ultra-thin laptops and high-end gaming systems.

As computers, displays, smart phones and other consumer electronics systems have become thinner and more powerful over the past decade, there is increasing demand for addressing the challenge of thinner solutions while extracting more power out of limited space.

The multilevel converter is an exceptional candidate to shrink the size of the magnetic components and achieve high efficiency in a compact solution. Leveraging the advantages of eGaN® FETs, such as small size and low loss, further enhances the performance of a multilevel solution. This blog will evaluate the EPC9148, a 48 V to 20 V, 250 W three-level converter using eGaN FETs and digital control which achieves a peak total system efficiency of 97.8% and only 4.1 mm component height.

eToF™ Laser Driver ICs for Advanced Autonomy Lidar

eToF™ Laser Driver ICs for Advanced Autonomy Lidar
Mar 22 2021

Co-written by Steve Colino

Laser drivers for light distancing and ranging (lidar) are used in a pulsed-power mode. What are the basic requirements for these laser drivers?

A new family of integrated laser driver ICs meets all these requirements.  The first release, the EPC21601 laser driver IC, integrates a 40 V, 10 A FET with integrated gate driver and 3.3 V logic level input in a single chip for time-of-flight (ToF) lidar systems used in robotics, surveillance systems, drones, autonomous cars, and vacuum cleaners. This chip offers frequency capability up to 200 MHz in a low inductance, economical, 1 mm x 1.5 mm BGA package.

Why GaN for DC-DC Space Designs

Why GaN for DC-DC Space Designs
Mar 03 2021

Power electronics engineers are constantly working towards designs with higher efficiency and higher power density while maintaining high reliability and minimizing cost. Advances in design techniques and improved component technologies enable engineers to consistently achieve these goals. Power semiconductors are at the heart of these designs and their improvements are vital to better performance. In this EPC space blog, we will demonstrate how GaN power semiconductors allow for innovation in the harsh radiation environments of space applications.

GaN power semiconductors offer designers in the high reliability market a sudden and significant improvement in electrical performance over their silicon power MOSFET predecessors. Table 1 compares radiation hardened GaN and Si power semiconductor device characteristics important for circuit designers to increase efficiency and power density in their converter.

How GaN is Revolutionizing Motor Drive Applications

How GaN is Revolutionizing Motor Drive Applications
Feb 09 2021

Rethinking the Ordinary and Overcoming Mental Biases

Motor drive applications span several markets: industrial, appliance, and automotive. A commonality that occurs regardless of market is that when a new technology is proposed, it faces resistance to its adoption; after all, it is human nature to stick with what is known and resist change.

Reduce Audible Noise in Motor Drive Designs Using eGaN FETs and ICs

Reduce Audible Noise in Motor Drive Designs Using eGaN FETs and ICs
Jan 15 2021

Brushless DC (BLDC) motors are popular and finding increasing application in robotics, e-mobility, and drones. Such applications have special requirements such as lightweight, small size, low torque ripple, low audible noise, and extreme precision control.  To address these needs, the inverters powering the motors need to operate at higher frequency but require advanced techniques to reduce the resultant higher power loss. Enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN ®) transistors and integrated circuits offer the ability to operate at much higher frequencies without incurring significant losses.