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Predicting GaN Device Lifetimes In Solar Microinverters And Power Optimizers

Predicting GaN Device Lifetimes In Solar Microinverters And Power Optimizers

Microinverters and power optimizers are widely utilized in modern solar panels to maximize energy efficiency and conversion. Such topologies and implementations usually require a minimum of 25 years of lifetime, which is becoming a critical challenge for market adoption. Low-voltage gallium nitride (GaN) power devices (VDS rating < 200 V) are a promising solution and are being used extensively by an increasing number of solar manufacturers.

In this article, a test-to-fail approach is adopted and applied to investigate the intrinsic underlying wear-out mechanisms of GaN transistors. The study enables the development of physics-based lifetime models that can accurately project the lifetimes under the unique demands of various mission profiles in solar applications.

How2Power
August, 2023
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A high efficiency, 3 kW capable, 2-phase, 3-level Converter using paralleled eGaN FETs

A high efficiency, 3 kW capable, 2-phase, 3-level Converter using paralleled eGaN FETs

As the revolution of renewable energy as well as transportation electrification progresses, the need for residential energy storage systems is increasing. A high efficiency DC-to-DC converter is usually required to exchange energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar panels, with a battery. The fast-switching speed and low RDS(on) of gallium nitride (GaN) FETs can help save energy by reducing power consumption inside the DC-to-DC converter. This article shows how to design a high efficiency 100 – 250 V to 40 - 60 V DC-to-DC converter.

Power Electronics Europe
May, 2023
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The Evolution of Low Voltage Power Distribution in Automotive Electronics – From ICE to MHEV to BEV

The Evolution of Low Voltage Power Distribution in Automotive Electronics – From ICE to MHEV to BEV

Automotive electronics have gone through several eras of evolution in the past 30 years. From the pure internal combustion engines (ICE) that had mostly mechanical, or engine-driven systems, to the mild hybrid (MHEV) with the addition of electrical motivation, to the fully battery-electric car (BEV). In each of these three eras, the architecture, and even the basic semiconductor components for converting and distributing electrical power changed. This article discusses this evolution and makes some speculations about likely further evolutionary directions.

Power Systems Design
August, 2023
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Accurate Characterization of Low-Voltage, Small-Form–Factor GaN FETs

Accurate Characterization of Low-Voltage, Small-Form–Factor GaN FETs

Lower-voltage GaN FETs are reducing size, minimizing cooling requirements and improving efficiency.

Lower-voltage GaN FETs (i.e., 100 V) are reducing size, minimizing cooling requirements and improving efficiency for many traditional Si-based power MOSFET applications. In this article, the challenges to repeatably and reliable characterization of the dynamic performance of these devices is discussed. Careful and thoughtful mechanical and electrical design of a customized GaN fixture and test board can overcome many of these challenges, enabling the confident use of these new WBG devices in your power-converter designs.

Power Electronics News
July, 2023
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40 V Rad Hard GaN FETs Set New Performance Standards for Demanding Space Applications

40 V Rad Hard GaN FETs Set New Performance Standards for Demanding Space Applications

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) expands its family of radiation-hardened (rad-hard) gallium nitride (GaN) products for power conversion solutions with two new 40 V devices rated at 62 A and 250 A to address critical spaceborne and other high-reliability applications.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— July 2023 — EPC announces the introduction of two new 40 V rated radiation-hardened GaN FETs.EPC7001 is a 40 V, 4 mΩ, 250 APulsed, rad-hard GaN FET in a small 7 mm2 footprint. EPC7002 is a 40 V, 14.5 mΩ, 62 APulsed, rad-hard GaN FET in a tiny 1.87 mm2 footprint.  Both devices have a total dose radiation rating greater than 1,000K Rad(Si) and SEE immunity for LET of 83.7 MeV/mg/cm2 with VDS up to 100% of rated breakdown. These new devices, along with the rest of the Rad Hard family, are offered in a chip-scale package.  Packaged versions are available from EPC Space.

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In-situ RDS(on) Characterization and Lifetime Projection of GaN HEMTs under Repetitive Overvoltage Switching

In-situ RDS(on) Characterization and Lifetime Projection of GaN HEMTs under Repetitive Overvoltage Switching

Transient voltage overshoot is a common phenomenon in GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) under high slew rate switching conditions. The dynamic parametric instability under such stress is a critical concern for GaN applications. This work, for the first time, accurately characterized the evolution of dynamic on-resistance (RDS(on)) in GaN HEMTs under repetitive voltage overshoot up to billions of switching cycles. The dynamic RDS(on) increase was found to be the dominant device degradation under overvoltage switching. Such findings were obtained from a high-frequency, repetitive, unclamped inductive switching (UIS) test with active temperature control and accurate in-situ RDS(on) monitoring. A physics-based model was proposed to correlate the dynamic RDS(on) drift with the peak overvoltage, and a good agreement with experimental data was achieved. This model was further used to project the lifetime of GaN HEMTs. For 100 V rated GaN HEMTs switched under 100 kHz and 120 V spikes, the model projects less than 10% dynamic RDS(on) shift over 25 years of continuous operation. This work addresses the major concerns of overvoltage switching reliability of GaN HEMTs and provides new insights of the electron trapping mechanism.

IEEE Xplore
Ruizhe Zhang, Ricardo Garcia, Robert Strittmatter, Yuhao zhang, Shengke Zhange
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EPC Confirms Continued Supply of Leading-Edge Gallium Nitride Power Devices

EPC Confirms Continued Supply of Leading-Edge Gallium Nitride Power Devices

On July 3rd, 2023, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it would put in place certain restrictions on the exporting of gallium and germanium, among other materials, starting in August of this year. EPC’s wafer technology is ‘GaN-on-Si’, although the amount of gallium in each device is miniscule. There are significant sources of gallium available worldwide and EPC’s needs are relatively small, we expect no short or long-term interruption of supply.

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Improving Performance While Reducing Size and Cost with Monolithic GaN Integration

Improving Performance While Reducing Size and Cost with Monolithic GaN Integration

Gallium Nitride (GaN) heterojunction field effect power transistors in the 15 V to 350 V range have shown to give significant advantages over silicon in efficiency, size, speed, and cost in applications such as power conversion, motor drive, and pulsed light for lidar. GaN integration provides numerous system benefits for many high frequency applications. GaN integration is just beginning, and the benefits are assured to increase over time.

Bodo’s Power Systems
June, 2023
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GaN Power-Conversion Solutions Eye Next-Gen Apps

GaN Power-Conversion Solutions Eye Next-Gen Apps

EPC, a leader in enhancement-mode gallium-nitride (GaN) FETs and ICs, delivered multiple technical presentations on GaN technology and showcased applications at PCIM Europe 2023 in Nuremburg. We spoke with the company's Founder and CEO, Alex Lidow, about the power industry and how it's being impacted by GaN devices.

Electronic Design
May, 2023
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Podcast: EPC’s Progress in GaN Reliability in RadHard and New Space Applications

Podcast: EPC’s Progress in GaN Reliability in RadHard and New Space Applications

In this episode of Spirit: Behind the Screen, Spirit Electronics CEO Marti McCurdy chats with EPC’s CEO Alex Lidow and Marketing Director Renee Yawger about the progress of GaN. They discuss GaN’s performance under high radiation as well as the extensive testing, failure modes and device lifespan detailed in EPC’s Phase 15 reliability report. With the full potential of GaN still to be explored and new EPC products releasing frequently, including new half-bridge drivers, low-side drivers and full power stage, GaN is especially useful in New Space and commercial space applications.

Spirit: Behind the Screen
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Efficient Power Conversion Sues Competitor Innoscience at ITC to Protect Patents in Emerging GaN Technology

Efficient Power Conversion Sues Competitor Innoscience at ITC to Protect Patents in Emerging GaN Technology

Case Spotlights Next-Gen Tech Replacing Silicon

(El Segundo, California)—Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC), the global leader in gallium nitride (GaN) technology, today filed complaints in federal court and in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) asserting four patents of its foundational patent portfolio against Innoscience (Zhuhai) Technology Company, Ltd. and its affiliates (collectively, Innoscience).  These patents cover core aspects of the design and manufacturing process of EPC’s proprietary enhancement-mode gallium nitride power semiconductor devices.  These patents encompass innovations that enabled GaN-based power devices to mature from a research project to a mass-producible high-volume alternative to silicon-based transistors and integrated circuits with GaN devices having higher efficiency, smaller size, and lower cost. 

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Performance Benefits of Using Next-Gen Monolithic Integrated GaN Half-Bridge Power Stages in DC-to-DC and BLDC Motor Drive Applications

Performance Benefits of Using Next-Gen Monolithic Integrated GaN Half-Bridge Power Stages in DC-to-DC and BLDC Motor Drive Applications

Monolithic GaN integration has matured to the point that complex circuits such as a half bridge gate driver with various features can now be realized. This article will cover DC-to-DC and BLDC motor drive application examples that benefit from monolithic half-bridge integration.

Power Electronics News
May, 2023
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150 ARMS Motor Drive Reference Design with GaN FETs Provides Best Performance for eMobility, Forklifts, and High-Power Drones

150 ARMS Motor Drive Reference Design with GaN FETs Provides Best Performance for eMobility, Forklifts, and High-Power Drones

The EPC9186 GaN-based inverter reference design enhances motor system performance, range, precision, and torque for high power applications.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— May, 2023 — EPC announces the availability of the EPC9186, a 3-phase BLDC motor drive inverter using the EPC2302 eGaN® FET. The EPC9186 supports a wide input DC voltage ranging from 14 V to 80 V. The high-power capability of the EPC9186 supports applications such as electric scooters, small electric vehicles, agricultural machinery, forklifts, and high-power drones.

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Test-to-Fail Methodology for Accurate Reliability and Lifetime Evaluation of eGaN Devices in Solar Applications

Test-to-Fail Methodology for Accurate Reliability and Lifetime Evaluation of eGaN Devices in Solar Applications

Modern solar panels are demanding increasingly higher power density and longer operating lifetimes. Solar applications including power optimizers and panels with built-in microinverters are becoming the prevailing trend for an increasing number of solar customers, where low voltage GaN power devices (VDS < 200 V) are extensively used.

Bodo’s Power Systems
May, 2023
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Growing GaN Ecosystem for BLDC Motor Drives

Growing GaN Ecosystem for BLDC Motor Drives

Gallium nitride (GaN) transistors and ICs have the best attributes to satisfy BLDC inverter needs. The superior switching capability of GaN helps to remove dead time and increase PWM frequency to obtain unmatched sinusoidal voltage and current waveforms for smoother, silent operation with higher system efficiency

Power Systems Design
May, 2023
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Highest Power Density for Regulated DC-DC Converters Achieved Using EPC GaN FETs and Analog Devices Controller

Highest Power Density for Regulated DC-DC Converters Achieved Using EPC GaN FETs and Analog Devices Controller

EPC and Analog Devices introduce a reference design using a new Analog controller fully optimized to drive EPC GaN FETs and achieving greater than 96.5% efficiency.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— July, 2022 — EPC announces the availability of the EPC9158, a dual output synchronous buck converter reference design board operating at 500 kHz switching frequency that converts an input voltage of 48 V - 54 V to a regulated 12 V output and delivers up to 25 A per phase or 50 A total continuous current. The combination of the new Analog LTC7890 synchronous GaN buck controller with ultra-efficient GaN FETs from EPC enables a highly efficient solution in a small footprint for high power density applications. The solution achieves 96.5% efficient at 48 V to 12 V and 50 A continuous current.

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EPC GaN Experts to Showcase Latest Generation Power Semiconductors at PCIM Europe 2023

EPC GaN Experts to Showcase Latest Generation Power Semiconductors at PCIM Europe 2023

EPC’s GaN Experts will be available during PCIM Europe 2023, showcasing the latest generation of GaN FETs and ICs in a wide variety of real-world applications.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — April 2023 — — EPC, the world’s leader in enhancement-mode gallium nitride FETs and ICs,will be delivering multiple technical presentations on GaN technology and showcasing applications at PCIM Europe 2023 in Nuremburg, 09 – 11 May (see detailed schedule below). In addition, the company will demonstrate its latest eGaN® FETs and ICs in a large variety of customer end products in Hall 9, Stand 318.

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