EPC Technical Articles

Using GaN FETs with Controllers and Gate Drivers Designed for Silicon MOSFETs

Gallium Nitride (GaN) FETs have revolutionized the power electronics industry, offering advantages such as smaller size, faster switching, higher efficiency, and lower costs compared to traditional silicon MOSFETs. However, the rapid evolution of GaN technology has sometimes outpaced the development of dedicated GaN-specific gate drivers and controllers. Consequently, circuit designers often turn to generic gate drivers designed for silicon MOSFETs, necessitating careful consideration of various factors to ensure optimal performance.

Bodo’s Power Systems
February, 2024
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EPC optimistic about GaN sector

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) is optimistic about GaN despite geopolitical challenges and the changing landscape in the compound semiconductor sector.

DIGITIMES
September, 2023
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GaN power components will be cheaper than silicon ones, says EPC

Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor company Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) is taking a fresh stab at the power component landscape, challenging the longstanding silicon hegemony.

DIGITIMES
September, 2023
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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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Power Packaging for the GaN Generation of Power Conversion

Since the launch of GaN-on-Si enhancement mode power transistors in March 2010 there has been a slow but monotonic shift towards adoption and replacement of silicon-based power MOSFETs. Initial adoption came from risk-taker visionaries in applications such as lidar, high-end audio amplifiers, robots, vehicle headlamps, and high-performance DC-DC converters. For the expansion of GaN for power conversion to get beyond the early adopters, a more user-friendly format than the WLCP needed to be developed. This format, however, needed to preserve the key attributes of small size, low RDS(on), high speed, excellent thermal conductivity, and low cost. In other words, the best package would be the least amount of package technically possible. Enter the PQFN…

Bodo’s Power Systems
March, 2023
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GaN’s Evolution from Science Project to Mainstream Power Conductor

Power-conversion technologies are experiencing the first tectonic shift since the move from bipolar to MOS. That shift, of course, is due to the viral adoption of wide-bandgap power devices. At this point, GaN is more than a specialty technology; it is a broad-scale replacement for silicon MOSFETs in applications ranging from 30 V up to 650 V — a multibillion-dollar market.

Power Electronics News
December, 2022
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eBook: The Next Silicon Frontier

Despite the continued progress in traditional transistor scaling, the semiconductor industry has reached an inflection point. The demand for faster, smaller, smarter, and more energy-efficient chips calls for new design and manufacturing paradigms. This eBook includes contributions from technology and market experts Malcolm Penn, Future Horizons; Tim Burgess and Bernd Westhoff, Renesas Electronics; Jean-Christophe Eloy, Yole Group; Luc Van den hove, imec; Ezgi Dogmus, Poshun Chiu, and Taha Ayari, Yole Intelligence; Alex Lidow, Efficient Power Conversion; Victor Veliadis, PowerAmerica; Richard Collins and Yu-Han Chang, IDTechEx; and Jean-René Lèquepeys, CEA-Leti.

EETimes
December, 2022
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Podcast: electronica 2022 preview

From Nov. 15 to 18, electronica 2022 will bring the international electronics industry together at the Munich exhibition grounds. Wide Bandgap Semiconductors, Renewable Energies, Smart Grid, and Energy Storage will be the major topics covered by the Power Electronics Forum at electronica 2022. In this podcast, onsemi president and CEO Hassane El-Khoury, Silanna Semiconductor North America CEO Mark Drucker, and of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) CEO Alex Lidow will introduce the Power Electronics Forum. Interview with Alex Lidow starts at 31:55

EETimes
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Dispelling a Myth – GaN and Motor Drivers

There is a commonly held belief in the industry that GaN devices are wasted on inverters for electric motors. After all, if the performance of the system is restricted by the use of a 20KHz PWM, then there can be little benefit in using a material that gains the majority of its advantages from faster switching speeds. However, according to Marco Palma, Director of Motor Drives Systems and Applications at EPC, there are some ways that GaN can still prove effective in that role.

Power Systems Design
September, 2022
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Interview with Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation

Easy Engineering interviewed EPC’s Director of Marketing, Renee Yawger, on the current state of GaN adoption and the future of GaN technology.

Easy Engineering
May, 2022
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GaN vs. Silicon Smackdown

One way to tell when a new technology has passed the tipping point of adoption is by the voices advocating the status quo. The more conservative voices tend to cite older information that, given the fast change of trajectory that occurs at a tipping point, can lead to poor decisions for new designs. In the world of GaN power devices the tipping point occurred in the past two years when the rate of new GaN-based designs started to double year-on-year, and the legacy MOSFET designs started to face critical supply shortages due to their finely tuned, but less flexible supply chains. GaN devices, on the other hand, have remained in stock at most major distributors due to their relatively new and flexible supply chains utilizing older silicon foundries, but affording these foundries a new and vibrant future. In this article we will address some of the common misconceptions still showing up in articles and at conferences, usually presented by advocates of the status quo.

Bodo’s Power Systems
May, 2022
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Wide-bandgap (WBG) Components Build a Green World that is Highly Efficient and Saving Energy

The mainstream materials for wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor power components are silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). They become various power system applications' most-preferred devices today with the rising awareness of energy conservation and sustainability. This was the first time Tech Taipei 2022 Conference used WBG as its theme. Speakers from key players in the industry were invited from design, manufacturing and testing fields to share with over 400 participants at the conference their latest technology and application trends.

EE Times Taiwan
March 25, 2022
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Roadblocks to GaN Adoption in Power Systems

In this article, the most common reasons for some customers to be slower in their embracing what is clearly a displacement technology for their older silicon-based power MOSFETs will be discussed. Without going into the detailed statistics, a list of reasons, in order of frequency is derived. This list is based upon the understanding that some applications will place higher emphasis than others on certain characteristics of GaN. Our discussion is limited to devices rated at less than 400 V, as that is the application focus for Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) FET and IC products.

Power Systems Design
March, 2022
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Low-Voltage GaN FETs in Motor Control Application; Issues and Advantages: A Review

In the field of motion control, there is a growing use of GaN devices, especially in low voltage applications. This paper provides guidelines for designers on the optimal use of GaN FETs in motor control applications, identifying the advantages and discussing the main issues.

Energies Journal
October, 2021
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GaN Devices for Smaller, Lighter, Smoother Motor Drives

Today, the permanent magnet motor, also known as DC brushless motor (BLDC), is widely used and offers higher torque capability per cubic inch and higher dynamics when compared to other motors. So far, silicon-based power devices have been dominant in the inverter electronics, but today their performance is nearing their theoretical limits. There is an increasing need for higher power density. Gallium nitride (GaN) transistors and ICs have the best attributes to satisfy these needs.

Power Systems Design
November, 2021
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FET Roundup: eGaN FETs, Next-gen SiC FETs, and “RibbonFETs” Hit the Scene

This month has been a busy one in the FET space. Here are a few FETs from EPC, UnitedSiC, and Intel that depart from traditional silicon transistors in interesting ways.

All About Circuits
October, 2021
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Meeting the Power and Magnetic Design Challenges of Ultra-Thin, High-Power Density 48 V DC-DC Converters for Ultra-Thin Computing Applications

Over the past decade computers, displays, smart phones and other consumer electronics systems have become thinner while also becoming more powerful. As a result, the market continues to increase its demand for thinner power supply solutions with greater power density. This article examines the feasibility of adopting various non-isolated dc-dc step-down topologies for an ultra-thin 48 V to 20 V rated to 250 W. It examines the pros and cons of various non-isolated topologies and how the topology impacts the choice of the power transistors and magnetics, specifically the inductors, as these two components account for the bulk of the losses in a converter. The article also undertakes a detailed analysis of the challenges to design thin inductors for these applications, including examining the factors that drive inductor losses, inductor size, and the design tradeoffs, including the impact on EMI. For this work, an ultrathin multilevel converter topology was selected, built, and tested. The experimental results obtained from this converter were used to further refine the operating setting and component selections that resulted in a peak efficiency exceeding 98%.

Michael de Rooij, EPC
Quentin Laidebeur, Würth Elektronik

IEEE Power Electronics Magazine
September, 2021
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Bodo’s Wide Bandgap Expert Talk - GaN Session - June 2021

A roundtable discussion with GaN industry experts hosted by Bodo’s Power Systems. Guests included:

  1. Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion
  2. Doug Bailey, Vice President Marketing & Applications Engineering at Power Integrations
  3. Dilder Chowdhury, Director, Strategic Marketing, Power GaN Technology at Nexperia
  4. Tom Ribarich, Sr. Director Strategic Marketing at Navitas Semiconductor

Using GaN FETs can be as simple as using Silicon FETs – an example in 48V systems

In this article, the author introduces a GaN FET compatible analog controller that yields a low bill-of-material count and give designers the ability to design a synchronous buck converter in the same simple way as using silicon FETs, and offers superior performance for 48 V power systems.

Power Electronics News
April, 2021
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GaN in Space Applications

Gallium nitride power device technology enables a new generation of power converters in space operating at higher frequencies, higher efficiencies, and greater power densities than everachievable before. GaN power devices can also exhibit superior radiation tolerance compared with Silicon MOSFETs depending upon their device design.

Power Electronics Europe
December, 2020
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