EPC Technical Articles

Wireless power challenges and opportunities

Wireless power transfer (WPT) technology is destined, in the very near future, to rock the electrics and electrical world we live in. Eric Giler, now president of WiTricity, an MIT spinoff, gave an excellent TED presentation in 2009 entitled, "A demo of wireless electricity." In this demonstration, Giler powered a small TV via wireless power transfer—that was 2009. We have come a long way since then; please read on for a technical glimpse into this amazing field (pun intended) of opportunity for designers.

EDN Network
January 26, 2017
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Podcast: Bloomberg Radio Interview with Alex Lidow at CES 2017

EPC CEO and Co-Founder, Alex Lidow, discusses the life changing applications on display at CES with Bloomberg Radio. Applications such as LiDAR for autonomous cars with the potential to disrupt the transportation industry and wireless power with the potential to eliminate power cords are highlighted as well as how GaN enables these new technologies.

Listen to Interview
January, 2017

Velodyne LiDAR Announces Breakthrough Design for Miniaturized, Low-Cost Solid-State LiDAR Sensors

Velodyne LiDAR Inc., the recognized global leader in Light, Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, today announced a groundbreaking design for a solid-state LiDAR sensor that can deliver a subsystem cost of under $50 U.S. when sold in high-volume manufacturing scale.

Venture Beat
December, 13, 2016
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Velodyne Says It's Got a "Breakthrough" in Solid State Lidar Design

Lidar is a fantastic sensor for autonomous cars. Most companies developing self-driving vehicles seem to agree that the massive amount of long range, high accuracy data that you get from lidar is necessary, especially for complicated and variable urban environments. Really, the only reason why there's been so much focus on getting autonomy to work with just cameras and radar is that cameras and radar are cheap, and lidar is ridiculously expensive.

IEEE Spectrum
December, 13, 2016
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Velodyne Unveils Lower-Cost LiDAR In Race For Robo-Car Vision Leadership

Carmakers and tech firms competing to develop automated vehicles seek a combination of sensors and cameras that provide maximum perception and visibility of surroundings at a cost that’s manageable for mass production.

December, 13, 2016
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Taiwan Technology Standards Agency Introduces AirFuel Alliance's Resonant Wireless Charging Standard

The AirFuel™ Alliance, a global consortium of industry leaders focused on enabling and accelerating the adoption of wireless power technology, signed a Letter of Intent today with the Taiwan Association of Information and Communication Standards (TAICS), to establish a wireless charging ecosystem in Taiwan by introduction of AirFuel's resonant technology standard.

The AirFuel-driven ecosystem will be capable of supporting consumers and businesses with interoperable wireless charging options in a variety of public places – from coffee shops to airports to hotels – thanks to the AirFuel resonant standard and integrated network. AirFuel Alliance chairman, Ron Resnick said, "By introducing AirFuel's resonant technology into Taiwan's wireless charging ecosystem, TAICS is further establishing Taiwan as a global innovator and leader in wirelessly powered deployments."

eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Gate Voltage Stress Reliability

The previous installment in this series focused on the physics of failure surrounding thermo-mechanical reliability of EPC eGaN wafer level chip-scale packages. A fundamental understanding of the potential failure modes under voltage bias is also important. This installment will provide an overview of the physics of failure associated with voltage bias at the gate electrode of gallium nitride (GaN) field effect transistors (FETs). Here we look at the case of taking the gate control voltage to the specified limit and beyond to investigate how eGaN FETs behave over a projected lifetime.

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec
November 29, 2016
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Faster, Smarter, Better: The Next Chip Revolution


The world around us will soon be engulfed by machines that affect our living spaces, our bodies, and our experience of light and sound, powered by a novel combination of semiconductors and miniature engines. Tasks as basic as charging a smartphone or cooking an egg—and as complex as scanning for colon cancer or powering flying drones on long journeys—stand to be transformed.

October 22, 2016
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Tesla starts Autopilot upgrades tonight

Tesla Motors is releasing a new version of Autopilot overnight, adding features the company says will make it safer and more reliable. Investigators are probing what role the self-driving system played in a pair of fatal crashes in Florida and China.

Silicon Beat
September 21, 2016
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Why We'll Soon Be Living In A Class D World

Class A has been the serious audiophile's gold standard for decades. Today however, we are at the early stages of a seismic shift towards widespread Class D audiophile adoption. Why? Because a new type of Class D audio is quickly approaching the performance of Class A, with benefits not enjoyed by the reigning incumbent. A new transistor technology called Gallium Nitride (GaN) is poised to uproot the high-end audio world. In fact, GaN-based Class D is much more power-efficient than traditional, MOSFET-based Class D and offers orders of magnitude better performance.

Audiophile Review
September 17, 2016
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LiDAR, not just radar and cameras, will be critical to self-driving car safety

The chief technology officer of a technology supplier that enables Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot driving technology believes the carmaker is pushing the safety envelope too far.

"It is not designed to cover all possible crash situations in a safe manner," Amnon Shashua, CTO and executive chairman at Israel-based Mobileye NV, told Reuters Wednesday.

September 15, 2016
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How This Tech in Self-Driving Cars Is Paving a Road Beyond Silicon

In the future, self-driving cars will require laser-based sensing tech, and these systems will need new types of high-speed transistors and chips that can beat out silicon.

That’s the assertion of Alex Lidow, a Stanford PhD physicist, entrepreneur, and CEO and founder of Efficient Power Conversion (commonly called EPC), a company based in El Segundo, Calif. that makes transistors and chips out of a material that operates more quickly and efficiently—and costs less than silicon.

September 8, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Strain on solder joints

The first three installments in this series covered field reliability experience and stress test qualification of EPC’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN) field effect transistors (FETs) and integrated circuits (ICs). Excellent field reliability that was documented is the result of applying stress tests covering the intended operating conditions the devices will experience within applications. Of equal importance is understanding the underlying physics of how eGaN devices will fail when stressed beyond intended operating conditions (e.g. datasheet parameters and safe operating area). This installment will take a deeper dive into the physics of failure centered around thermo-mechanical reliability of eGaN wafer level chip-scale packages (WLCSP).

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec
September 7, 2016
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Documenting GaN Technology Reliability after Millions of Device Hours of Rigorous Stress Testing

EPC Phase Eight Reliability Report documents a combined total of over 8 million GaN device-hours with zero failures. The report examines, in detail, the stress tests that EPC devices are subjected to prior to release as qualified products and analyzes the physics of failure.

Bodo’s Power Systems
September 1, 2016
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EPC engineers demonstrate the capabilities of the EPC9121 multi-mode wireless power charging kit at PCIM Asia 2016

Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) shares the immediate availability of a complete demonstration multi-mode wireless power charging kit, the EPC9121, for simplifying the evaluation process of using eGaN FETs and ICs for highly efficient multi-mode wireless power charging systems that can cut across any standard used in the receiving units.

The superior characteristics of eGaN® FETs and ICs enable a lower cost single transmit amplifier solution that can wirelessly charge devices regardless of the wireless power standard used in the receiving device.

View video of the latest EPC9121 demo kit with engineers at PCIM Asia 2016, and the related interview

Emerging server technologies: 6 hot trends to watch

Gallium Nitride ICs: Increasing server power efficiencies - Reducing waste power, cooling, and space aren't just data-center-size concerns; they're also battles fought inside the confines of each rack. And, sometimes, even one small change can make a big difference.

August 2, 2016
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Peregrine Semiconductor Unveils the World’s Fastest GaN FET Driver

GaN-based FETs are disrupting the power conversion market and are displacing silicon-based metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). Compared to MOSFETs, GaN FETs operate much faster and have higher switching speeds in the smallest possible volume. The promise of GaN is that it can dramatically reduce the size and weight of any power supply. To reach their performance potential, these high-performance GaN transistors need an optimized gate driver.

Peregrine Semiconductor
July 12, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure Blog #3

The first two installments in this series reported in detail on field reliability experience of Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) FETs and integrated circuits (ICs). The excellent field reliability of eGaN devices demonstrates stress-based qualification testing is capable of ensuring reliability in customer applications. In this installment we will examine the stress tests that EPC devices are subjected to prior to being considered qualified products.

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec
July 9, 2016
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Silicon Rival Stalks Apple, Google, Tesla-Facing Chip Markets

Silicon Valley's namesake raw material faces a promising new rival: gallium nitride (GaN). Some say the newcomer is poised to swarm the $30 billion semiconductor power supply market. It's a market that involves "anything that plugs into a wall" ranging from Apple (AAPL) iPhone chargers to Tesla Motors' (TSLA) luxury electric cars.

Investor's Business Daily
Allison Gatlin
July 2016
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A Silicon Pioneer Plays Taps for Silicon and Power Cords

Tuesday I was fortunate enough to have a meeting with Alex Lidow, founder of chip company EPC of El Segundo, California, and something of an luminary of the chip world. Lidow came up with the “power MOSFET,” a device that went on to be the basis of billions in semiconductor sales, in 1977.

His new company, whose initials stand for “Efficient Power Conversion,” proposes replacing silicon, the original basis of the MOSFET, and one of the most prevalent types of semiconductor around, with a different material, Gallium Nitride, commonly abbreviated as GaN — or “eGaN,” as Lidow calls the company’s new, improved form of GaN.

Tiernan Ray
June 29, 2016
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