EPC Technical Articles

Reflections On APEC 2016: GaN’s Momentum, More Magnetics And An Inspiring Plenary

At this year’s APEC 2016, news about GaN power technology was probably more dominant than at any time in the past. Real product demos using GaN, new product and technology announcements, attention to GaN in the plenary, and other discussions all reinforced the impression that GaN power devices have arrived and the technology is making inroads in the marketplace. One of the tell-tale signs is a slight shift in the discussions, away from what the devices can do to what else is needed to support the design-in of GaN power transistors.

How2Power Today
David Morrison
April 1, 2016
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Multiple Charging Modes from a single amplifier

Though there are two standards for charging appliances wirelessly, a single circuit can be devised to serve as a charging node for both of them.

Design World
Michael de Rooij, Ph.D., Vice President, Applications Engineering
March, 2016
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Alex Lidow - Envelope Tracking for Power Management Using eGaN Devices

Alex Lidow talks about advanced envelope tracking for power management. The ability of an amplifying system to follow the signal and only output the power needed to express it can save significant amounts of energy and improve performance.

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Look Out Silicon Valley, Here Comes Gallium Beach

Alex Lidow is a man on a mission. His Southern California company, Efficient Power Conversion or EPC, is using Gallium Nitride (GaN) chips instead of silicon for exciting applications, from wireless power charging and 4G LTE to augmented reality and autonomous vehicles.

But can this hot new technology ultimately displace the ubiquitous silicon chip in a $300 billion semiconductor market?

Fox Business
By Steve Tobak
March 18, 2016
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The Quest for Server Power Efficiency

Glamour items like energy harvesting and wireless power transfer are likely to make "guest appearances" at next week's APEC Conference. GaN transistor deployments will be carefully monitored. But on-going efforts to promote data-center energy transfer efficiency retain their "bread-and-butter" utility.

EE Times
By: Stephan Ohr, Consultant, Semiconductor Industry Analyst
March 16, 2016
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How This Entrepreneur Rose From the Ashes to Challenge Silicon Valley

After getting his PhD in applied physics at Stanford, Alex Lidow spent 30 years at International Rectifier (IR), a publicly traded chip company founded by his father Eric Lidow back in the 1940s.

Alex pioneered IR’s power management technology, co-authored the core-patents on which its business was built, became co-CEO with his brother, Derek, in 1995, and ran the company solo after Derek left to found market research firm iSupply in 1999.

By: Steve Tobak
March, 2016
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Rethinking Server Power Architecture in a Post-Silicon World

The demand for information in our society is growing at an unprecedented rate. With emerging technologies, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things, this trend for more and faster access to information is showing no signs of slowing. What makes the transfer of information at high rates of speed possible are racks and racks of servers, mostly located in centralized data.

Alex Lidow, Ph.D., David Reusch, Ph.D., and John Glaser, Ph.D.
March, 2016
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eGaN Technology Reliability and Physics of Failure

In this series we will look at the various ways the reliability of eGaN® technology has been validated, and how we are developing models from our understanding of the physics of failures that can help predict failure rates under almost any operating condition. In this first installment and the next, we will look at the field experience from the past six years of GaN transistors use in a variety of applications from vehicle headlamps to medical systems to 4G/LTE telecom systems. Diving into the failure of each and every part leads to some valuable lessons learned.

Planet Analog
Chris Jakubiec, Robert Strittmatter, Ph.D., and Alex Lidow, Ph.D.
March 1, 2016
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Thoughtful Board Design Unlocks the Promise of GaN

Power transistors with faster switching speeds will enable power supplies with smaller form factors and higher energy transfer efficiencies. Indeed, the elimination of heat sinks will give designers the ability to visualize entirely new form factors for power bricks and modules, including those enabling wireless power transfers. Gallium-nitride (GaN) transistors fabricated on silicon substrates can boost efficiencies and help shrink the footprint of power supplies.

Electronic Design
March, 2016
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20 MHz Bandwidth Envelope Tracking Power Supply Using eGaN FETs

This article presents an envelope tracking power supply using EPC8004 high frequency eGaN® FETs for 4G LTE wireless base station infrastructure. An ET power supply with four-phase soft-switching buck converter using eGaN FETs is able to accurately track a 20 MHz 7 db PAPR LTE envelope signal with greater than 92% total efficiency, delivering 60 W average power. The design is scalable to satisfy different power levels by choosing different eGaN FETs.

Bodo’s Power Systems
Yuanzhe Zhang, Ph.D., Michael de Rooij, Ph.D.
March, 2016
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Radiated EMI Filter Design for an eGaN FET Based ZVS Class D Amplifier in 6.78MHz Wireless Power Transfer

In this installment, we present a method to design a suitable EMI filter that can reduce unwanted frequencies to levels within radiated EMI specifications, and do this without negatively impacting the performance of the wireless power coil. In addition, the overall radiated EMI design aspects will also be covered.

EEWeb - Wireless & RF Magazine
Michael de Rooij, Ph.D.
February, 1, 2016
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Getting from 48 V to load voltage

Improving low-voltage DC/DC converter performance with GaN transistors:
The emergence of commercially available and cost-effective gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors begins a new age in power electronics. There are significant benefits in using enhancement-mode gallium nitride FET (eGaN FET) devices in power converters for existing data center and telecommunications architectures centering around an input voltage of 48 VDC with load voltages as low as 1 VDC. High-performance GaN power transistors can enable new approaches to power data center and telecommunications systems with higher efficiency and higher power density than possible with previous Si MOSFET based architectures.

Power Systems Design
David Reusch, Ph.D., and John Glaser, Ph.D.
January, 25, 2016
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DesignCon 2016 book signing with engineering icons

Some of the best minds in our industry, like the group that was at a DesignCon 2016 book signing. Among them was Michael de Rooij, Efficient Power Conversion VP of Application Engineering who signed copies of his book Wireless Power Handbook, Second Edition. DesignCon attendees enjoyed browsing and buying books and having the authors autograph them as well. The authors also answered questions and discussed their areas of expertise with inquiring minds in attendance.

EDN Network
January 22, 2016
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EPC received the Readers’ Choice Company of the Year award from Powerpulse.net

According to Powerpulse.net, “This selection is based on EPC's domination of the 50 most-read product news stories for 2015. EPC products account 8 of the top 50 product stories for 2015 (as measured by readership). This is the first time that a single company has accounted for such a large number of product news stories (that amounts to 2 per quarter), including 1 in the Top 10 and 5 in the Top 20.”

January 4, 2016
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L.A. Tech Execs Make 2016 Predictions

With the backdrop of slower global economic growth and expected higher interest rate in 2016, Alex Lidow, CEO of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation opines that companies looking for late-stage financing will see a greater emphasis on fundamentals such as revenue, margin and cash flow, and a lower emphasis on less-tangible metrics, such as the size of an audience without strong monetization.

Los Angeles Business Journal
December 23, 2015
By: Garrett Reim
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The shrinking chip sector

With mega deals for mergers and acquisitions took place in the past year, would innovations be stalled? Alex Lidow, CEO of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation said if you look at semiconductor end sales in this century, we have only seen a 5% compounded annual growth rate. It’s clearly showing signs of an end market that is very large and very mature and in the same time, the cost for a new facility or new product has skyrocketed.

Market Watch
December 23, 2015
By: Therese Poletti
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'Tis the season to be wasteful

In 2014, data centers in the United States consumed approximately 100 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy. To add insult to injury, the power needed to support this rapidly growing demand comes from an electrical grid that is wildly inefficient and is based on infrastructure that was created, in large part, more than a century ago. Just how significant is this waste? It turns out that the power grid supplies 150W of power to meet the demands of a digital chip that may need only 100W. Moreover, the amount of wasted energy is even greater because every watt of power lost through power conversion is transferred into heat. And it is necessary to remove that heat from the server farm by expensive and energy-intensive air conditioning. It takes about 1W of air conditioning to remove 1W of power losses, effectively doubling the inefficiency of this power conversion process.

New materials have emerged that can convert electricity more efficiently and at a lower cost. By eliminating the inefficiencies in this final stage in the server farm power architecture we can realize a direct saving of 7 billion kWh per year. This is doubled when air conditioning energy costs are added, bringing the total to about 14 percent of the total energy consumed by servers in the US alone. The cost savings are also significant. At the average cost of $0.12 per kWh, that’s a savings of $1.7 billion annually, which does not include the additional savings in system cost resulting from fewer power converters and air conditioners.

Datacenter Dynamics
December 15, 2015
By: Alex Lidow
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Tsinghua Has $47B To Crush Apple Supplier Qualcomm

EPC CEO and Co-Founder Alex Lidow comments on Tsinghua's $47B "Warchest" and quest to be #3.

Investor's Business Daily
by: Allison Gatlin
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CMOS Logic, Silicon’s Alamo and GaN’s Yorktown

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) CEO Alex Lidow tells Light Reading he might be within two years of a breakthrough that would upend the entire semiconductor market: CMOS logic implemented in gallium nitride (GaN).

Light Reading
By: Brian Santo
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How to get 500W in an eighth-brick converter with GaN, part 1

DC-DC “brick” converters are familiar to many engineers, and have wide usage in telecommunications, networking, data centers, and many other applications. This is due in large part to adoption of a common footprint defined by the Distributed-power Open Standards Alliance (DOSA) and generally accepted input/output voltage ranges. These converters provide isolation and voltage step-down, and have become increasingly sophisticated, with features that enable advanced system optimization and control.

EDN Network
November 23, 2015
By: John Glaser
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