This post was originally published by M. Di Paolo Emilio on the Power Electronic News web site.
Power switching devices based on gallium nitride technology (GaN) are in volume production now and delivering high efficiency and power density in real-world power applications. This article will examine how to implement high-power solutions with GaN technology, presenting application examples that demonstrate how GaN devices can effectively work even beyond 600 volts.
GaN devices differ from best-in-class field-effect transistors (FETs) and other silicon-based components in several important respects. GaN devices enable solutions that increase power density by two or more times over silicon-based approaches. As a result, component and package size can be reduced, yielding a solution with a smaller PCB footprint. GaN devices also offer higher efficiency than their silicon predecessors, albeit at a comparably higher overall system cost.