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Myths about Gallium Nitride Semiconductors

Myths about Gallium Nitride Semiconductors
1月 16 2023

Gallium nitride (GaN) has emerged as the technology to offer greater efficiency, significantly reduce system size and weight, and enable entirely new applications not achievable with silicon. So, why do so many myths still prevail about GaN and what are the facts?

One of the reasons so much misinformation persists about GaN is that suppliers of the incumbent silicon technology use scare tactics including rumors of reliability problems, design challenges, high prices, and unreliable supply chains to dissuade potential GaN users.

Despite these attacks, GaN continues to gain acceptance not only in enabling applications such as lidar, but into traditional applications where the silicon MOSFET previously held the dominant position, like data centers and vehicle electronics. This article will debunk the most common myths about GaN and show how GaN FETs and GaN ICs are creating a displacement cycle in power conversion.

Shrink Motor Drives for eBikes and Drones

Shrink Motor Drives for eBikes and Drones
9月 18 2022

GaN is a game changer for motor drive applications. For designers to take advantage of this technology, fast and reliable time-to-market is critical. Easy-to-use reference designs using state-of-the-art electronics and techniques provide a valuable tool to speed time to market. The EPC9173 tool allows designers of eBikes and drones to enhance motor system size, performance, range, precision, and torque, all while simplifying design for faster time-to-market.  

The EPC9173 integrates all the necessary circuits to operate a 3-phase BLDC motor with high performance, 48 V input, 1.5kW output, and three-phase inverter using six EPC23101  GaN ICs. Thanks to the high-power density and the high electrical conductivity of GaN ICs, the EPC9173 delivers up to 25 ARMS on each leg and supports PWM switching frequencies up to 250 kHz under a natural convection passive heatsink. The resultant quality of the current output waveforms, lesser torque oscillations, and total system efficiency increase the performance of the motor-drive system. Further, the extremely small size of this inverter allows integration into the motor housing resulting in the lowest EMI, highest density, and lowest weight.

How to Design a 2 kW 48 V/12 V Bi-Directional Power Module with GaN FETs for 48 V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles

How to Design a 2 kW 48 V/12 V Bi-Directional Power Module with GaN FETs for 48 V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles
8月 25 2022

Environmental pressures are creating pressure to quickly adopt newer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation options.  In 2025, 1 in 10 vehicles sold are expected to be a more fuel efficient 48 V mild hybrid.  These systems will require a 48V – 12V bidirectional converter, with power ranging from 1.5 kW to 6 kW. The design priorities for these systems are size, cost, and high reliability. GaN power conversion solutions are perfect to support a 48 V to 12 V bidirectional converter used in these newer models.

A new reference design demo board, the EPC9165, is available to help jump start the design of a 2 kW bi-directional converter.  The EPC9165 is a synchronous buck/boost converter with other supporting circuitry including current sensors and temperature sensor.  The EPC9528 controller board ships with the EPC9165 to incorporate digital control and housekeeping power supply; this board uses the dsPIC33CK256MP503 digital controller from Microchip.

Making a Fast, Efficient, Small 350 V Half Bridge Module with eGaN FETs

Making a Fast, Efficient, Small 350 V Half Bridge Module with eGaN FETs
8月 22 2022

Submitted by Richard Locarni, Director of New Business Development, Sensitron and Brian Miller, Field Application Engineer, EPC

The basic building block used in many power systems is the half bridge which consists of two power FETs in series and their respective gate drivers. While discrete FETs and gate drivers can be used to make this function on a board, often it is advantageous to use a half-bridge module.  There are many benefits of using a half-bridge module including the use of a single pre-qualified part, shorter lead times, and higher performance.  Sensitron (sensitron.com) has been a supplier of power modules for over fifty years, and their latest product is even more attractive due to the use of EPC’s eGaN FETs.  Sensitron collaborated with Efficient Power Corporation to use the recently released EPC2050 GaN FET to develop a 350 V half bridge module. Designed for commercial, industrial, and aerospace applications, the SPG025N035P1B half bridge intelligent power module is rated at 20 A and can be used to control over 5 kW.  Shown in Figure 1 is the significant package size reduction which was achieved by upgrading from Si and SiC to GaN:

Use the Superior Power Density of Gallium Nitride FETs to Design a USB PD3.1 Power Supply with a 240 W, Universal AC Input

Use the Superior Power Density of Gallium Nitride FETs to Design a USB PD3.1 Power Supply with a 240 W, Universal AC Input
8月 04 2022

48 volts is increasingly being adopted as the new standard for computing data centers and consumer electronics such as laptops. The new USB PD3.1 standard is also making inroads into laptops driven in part by the increase in USB voltage to 48 V that increases the total power delivery up to 240 W given a current limit of 5 A for the connectors and cables. Compatible power supplies using the new USB PD standard also face increasing pressure to yield a small form factor solution driving the need for high power-density. The fast-switching speed and low RDSon of GaN FETs address this challenge in multiple circuits that make up the power supply.

CEO Corner – Alex Lidow Dispels the Myth that GaN Devices Cost More than Silicon

CEO Corner – Alex Lidow Dispels the Myth that GaN Devices Cost More than Silicon
8月 03 2022

Back in 2015 Venture Beat published an article on gallium nitride chips taking over from silicon.  In that article I made the assertion that widespread adoption of gallium nitride-based power semiconductors would be possible because GaN FETs would have higher performance AND lower cost than silicon.  Yet, there is still a widespread misconception that GaN has not yet reached that milestone…that is a false myth.  In this blog post, I will attempt to dispel this myth with the caveat that this discussion is limited to devices rated at less than 400 V, as that is the application focus for EPC’s FET and IC products.

It has been more than 12 years since the first GaN-on-Si power transistors started in volume production, and in many applications, such as lidar and space electronics, adoption has been extremely rapid.  But what about other markets such as consumer products, computers, motor drives, and automotive?  Even in each of those areas GaN devices have started to appear in volume as the predicted tipping point of better performance AND lower cost is a reality.

GaN Power Devices Achieve a High-Efficiency 48 V, 1.2 kW LLC Resonant Converter in a ⅛th Brick Size

GaN Power Devices Achieve a High-Efficiency 48 V, 1.2 kW LLC Resonant Converter in a ⅛th Brick Size
7月 21 2022

There is increasing demand for extracting more power from standard 48 V bus converters for server applications' ever-increasing power requirements. GaN power devices allow a designer to achieve a converter's goals: high efficiency, small size & high current handling, ease, and high reliability. To whet your appetite, EPC designed a 1.2 kW resonant converter demo board (EPC9174) in an 1/8th brick form factor that achieves an impressive 97.3% peak efficiency.

How to Use the GaN FET Thermal Calculator to Boost Reliability and Shorten Time-To-Market in Power Electronics System Designs

How to Use the GaN FET Thermal Calculator to Boost Reliability and Shorten Time-To-Market in Power Electronics System Designs
5月 07 2022

When “displacement” technologies such as EPC’s GaN power FETs and ICs are introduced and new levels of performance are possible, modeling your design offers comfort and insight to your circuits’ capabilities and needs. This blog post discussed the latest addition to the “EPC GaN Power Bench, our on-line modeling tool library, EPC’s GaN FET Thermal Calculator

See How GaN is Leading the 48 V Revolution Across Multiple Industries at APEC 2022

See How GaN is Leading the 48 V Revolution Across Multiple Industries at APEC 2022
3月 16 2022

APEC is The Premier Global Event in Applied Power Electronics

Preparations are well underway for EPC to head to Houston for the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC). The team is excited to be back, in-person exhibiting a large variety of demonstrations showcasing how the superior performance of GaN is transforming the delivery of power across many industries, including computing, communications, and e-mobility.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the key application areas we will be showcasing in Booth 1302 at APEC.