EPC Technical Articles

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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eGaN vs. Silicon - Comparing Dead-time Losses for eGaN FETs and Silicon MOSFETs in Synchronous Rectifiers

There have been several comparisons of eGaN FETs with silicon MOSFETs in a variety of applications, including hard-switched, soft-switched, and high-frequency power conversion. These studies have shown that eGaN FETs have large efficiency and power density advantages over silicon MOSFETs. Here we’ll focus on the use of eGaN FETs in synchronous rectifier (SR) applications and the importance of dead-time management. We show that eGaN FETs can dramatically reduce loss due to dead-time in synchronous rectifiers above and beyond the benefits of low RDS(on)and charge.

Power Systems Design
By: Dr. John Glaser & Dr. David Reusch, Efficient Power Conversion
June 13, 2016
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Raytheon's work on gallium nitride semiconductors could have a reach beyond radars

ANDOVER, Mass.—At the front door of Raytheon's Integrated Air Defense Center, there's a reminder of how big microwave electronics used to be—the original microwave oven. The now ever-present kitchen device was invented after a Raytheon engineer discovered his candy bar melted while he was standing near a magnetron used in a radar system the company was developing. Nearly the size of a refrigerator, the original microwave looks like it would cook a whole lot more than whatever was put within its metal grate, which was meant to contain the microwaves from its magnetron.

Ars Technica
June 9, 2016
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Dell readies laptops with wireless charging while Intel retreats from its development

The chip giant's execs are leaving the AirFuel Alliance as the company pivots away from PCs, but WiTricity was showing off Dell notebooks using its wireless charging mat at Computex.

Sean Portnoy
June 8, 2016
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Intel Ceases Work On Wireless Charging

For the last three years, Intel has been stoking demand for PCs ahead of the next big buying cycle with the promise that new machines will be totally wireless. “We carry around a lot of wires,” Kirk Skaugen, Intel’s senior PC exec said at Computex Taipei 2015. “We carry about six cables each for our phones, our tablets and our PCs. We want to get rid of all those cables.”

Elise Ackerman
June 6, 2016
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Improving Thermal Performance with Chip-Scale Packaged Gallium Nitride Transistors

With power converters demanding higher power density, transistors must be accommodated in an ever decreasing board space. Beyond gallium nitride based power transistors’ ability to improve electrical efficiency, they must also be more thermally efficient. This article evaluates the thermal performance of chip-scale packaged eGaN® FETs and compares their in-circuit electrical and thermal performance with state-of-the-art silicon MOSFETs.

Bodo’s Power Systems
David Reusch, Ph.D. and Alex Lidow, Ph.D.
June 1, 2016
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Intersil Extends Leading Radiation Tolerant Portfolio with Gallium Nitride Power Conversion ICs for Satellite Applications

MILPITAS, Calif., May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, today announced plans to extend its market leading radiation tolerant portfolio to include Gallium Nitride (GaN) power conversion ICs for satellites and other harsh environment applications.

PR Newswire
May 25, 2016
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5 Industries That Are Actually Ripe for Disruption

The number one barrier to improving every electronic product – from smart wearables and laptops to handheld tools and electric cars – is battery technology. The current state-of-the-art in rechargeable batteries, Lithium Ion, has been around for 25 years. As tech goes, that’s pretty old. It’s time for something new, don’t you think?

Steve Tobak
May 13, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure - Examining eGaN Field Reliability

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) FETs and integrated circuits (ICs) are finding their way into many end user applications such as LIDAR, wireless charging, DC-DC conversion, RF base station transmission, satellite systems, and audio amplifiers.

Field reliability is the ultimate metric that corroborates the quality level of eGaN® FETs and ICs that have been deployed in customer applications. In our first installment we provided an overview of eGaN FET field reliability which included 6 years of volume production shipment, and greater than 17 billion total device hours recorded. A subsequent calculated Failure In Time (FIT – failures in 109 hours) of approximately 0.24 FITs shows excellent field reliability performance to date.

Plant Analog
Chris Jakubiec
May 1, 2016
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Data center next generation power supply solutions for improved efficiency

Claude Shannon started it all when he wrote “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” in 1948 in which he reduced the communication of information to 1s and 0s, essentially binary digits. That theory led to the ability to transmit data without error in the noise-filled environment of the real world. Shannon would have been 100 years old on April 30, 2016.

EDN Network
Steve Taranovich
April 16, 2016
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WiGaN: Low Cost Differential-Mode Wireless Power Class-E Amplifier Using eGaN FETs

In this installment of WiGaN, a differential-mode class-E amplifier for 6.78 MHz loosely coupled resonant wireless power applications is presented. It uses the EPC2037 eGaN® FET which has a small (0.9 mm x 0.9 mm) footprint and can be driven directly with a logic gate. The amplifier is AirFuel™ Class 2 compatible, capable of delivery up to 6.5 W load power over an impedance range of 70j Ω.

EEWeb - Wireless & RF Magazine
Yuanzhe Zhang, Ph.D., Director of Applications Engineering
Michael de Rooij, Ph.D., Vice President of Applications Engineering
April 12, 2016
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What GaN circuits can do for wireless charging

In this short video, EPC's Alex Lidow explains why GaN FETs may make it possible to wirelessly charge a variety of vehicles, including flying drones. Wireless charging circuits employing GaN FETs work at 13.56 MHz, a switching frequency difficult to reach with ordinary silicon FETs. The GaN transistors used are also five to ten times smaller than silicon devices able to handle the same power levels.

Design World
April 11, 2016
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Why GaN circuits make better Lidar

In this short video, EPC's Alex Lidow explains why GaN FETs can comprise circuits able to deliver Lidar resolutions down to a couple inches. Conventional silicon FETs performing the same tasks would be able to resolve images only down to a few feet. The secret is in the super-fast rise and fall times made possible by the GaN FETs.

Design World
April 11, 2016
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Why gallium nitride is '6,000 times better' than silicon

Silicon -- the core ingredient in semiconductors and the driving force behind the electronics industry -- is reaching its limit, says Alex Lidow, CEO of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation. His Los Angeles-based company is investigating the capacity of gallium nitride (GaN) to disrupt the $400 billion (£277bn) silicon industry with its improved powers of semiconducting. "This is the first 
time that there is a semiconductor that is both lower cost and has a higher performance than silicon," Lidow says.

Wired Magazine
Emma Bryce
March 31, 2016
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Highlights from APEC 2016 – GaN, 48V POL, wireless charging and more!

Emerging applications such as 48V-to-point-of-load (POL), wireless power and USB Type-C had a lot of interest. Google joined the Open Compute Project a few weeks ago and proposed a computer server-rack architecture based on a 48V power-distribution bus to improve overall system efficiency. While the 48V bus has been around for a long time, the push (and challenge) is for high-efficiency 48V-to-POL voltage regulators. EPC showcased TI’s 48V-to-1V EVM which uses the LMG5200 GaN module (driver and FETs), announced at APEC last year, and a new TI analog controller (TPS53632G).

TI E2E Community
Pradeep Shenoy
Mar 28, 2016
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APEC 2016: An Engineer's Perspective on a Power Conference

You might have seen some behind-the-scenes tweets from the life of the ECN editor (and News Director) and while a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes an engineer's perspective on a conference is worth a little more.

With that in mind, I reached out to some APEC engineers and attendees to get the lowdown on this year's Applied Power Electronics Conference in Long Beach, CA. We talked about how the show compared to last year, the biggest trends, and how APEC went for their companies.

Kasey Panetta
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