GaN Talk a blog dedicated to crushing silicon

Mar 04, 2022

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

Marco Palma, Director of Motor Drives Systems and Applications

Mobility is a driving factor in all economies. Electro mobility (or e-Mobility) is a clean and impactful way of keeping the gears of commerce grinding without contributing to the environmental stresses of inefficient motors or fossil fuel burning engines that cause damage to our planet. There is an ever-increasing demand for highly efficient and compact motor drive designs. EPC’s GaN-based motor drive reference designs for eMobility applications are in development to jump-start the competitive and environmentally friendly alternatives that support this trend.

Feb 11, 2022

The 48 V/12 V Automotive Evaluation Power Modules (EPC9137, EPC9163, EPC9165) Utilize the Two-Phase Synchronous Buck/Boost Topology

Yuanzhe Zhang, Director, Applications Engineering at EPC

The 48 V/12 V automotive evaluation power modules (EPC9137, EPC9163, EPC9165, etc) utilize the two-phase synchronous buck/boost topology. The edge connectors and controller card are also designed to operate two modules in parallel with one controller, effectively achieving four-phase and therefore double the rated current and power. An example using EPC9137 modules are shown in Figure 1.

Jan 07, 2022

How to Design a 12 V to 48 V / 500 W 2-Phase Boost Converter Using eGaN FETs and the Renesas ISL81807 Controller with Same BOM Size as Silicon, Offering Superior Efficiency and Power Density

Jianglin Zhu, Senior Applications Engineer

48 V is being adopted in many applications, including AI systems, data centers, and mild hybrid electric vehicles. However, the conventional 12 V ecosystem is still dominant, so a high power density 12 V to 48 V boost converter is required. The fast-switching speed and low RDS(on) of eGaN FETs can help address this challenge. In this post, the design of a 12 V to 48 V, 500 W DC-DC power module using eGaN® FETs directly driven by eGaN FET compatible ISL81807 controller IC from Renesas in the simple and low-cost synchronous boost topology is evaluated.

Oct 25, 2021

How to Design a 12V-to-60V Boost Converter with Low Temperature Rise Using eGaN FETs

Jianglin Zhu, Senior Applications Engineer

Modern displays, such as laptops and PC monitors, typically require a low power boost converter. In this application, the screen intensity is low to moderate and the converter is operated at light load most of the time, so the light-load efficiency is very important. The low switching loss of eGaN FETs can help address this challenge. This GaN Talk will examine the design of a 12 V to 60 V, 50 W DC/DC power module with low temperature rise using eGaN FETs in the simple and low-cost synchronous boost topology.

Sep 14, 2021

Motor Drives Showdown – GaN vs. Silicon

Marco Palma, Director of Motor Drives Systems and Applications

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.

Aug 17, 2021

From Development Board to Buck Converter

Mark Gurries, Field Applications Engineer

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.

Jul 29, 2021

High-Quality, Low-Cost Audio Achieved with GaN

Renee Yawger, Director of Marketing

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.

May 10, 2021

Intelligent Power Amplifier Module based on GaN FETs

EPC Guest Blogger,

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.

Apr 20, 2021

Pulsing 1550 nm Lasers for Lidar

Steve Colino, Vice President, Strategic Technical Sales

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.

Apr 07, 2021

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

Renee Yawger, Director of Marketing

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.