EPC Technical Articles

Evolving eGaN FETs for power electronics

The combination of lower on-resistance, faster switching speeds, lower thermal impedance, and smaller physical size of eGaN FETs continues to raise the bar for power transistor performance. As GaN technology matures, not only does the performance of these transistors rapidly improve, but significant reductions in cost are also realized. Not only will GaN devices continue to enable new applications, they will replace silicon power transistors in cost-sensitive applications as well. As a matter of fact, the first signs of this happening are already here.

Power Systems Design
By: Johan Strydom, Ph.D.
September 26, 2015
Read Article

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper, Over: The Future of Computer Chips

In recent years, the acceleration predicted by Moore’s law has slipped. However, silicon could give way to new materials for making faster and smaller transistors.

New York Times
By: John Markoff
September 26, 2015
Read Article

The Man on a Mission to Turn Silicon Valley into Gallium Valley

Alex Lidow, scion of an engineering dynasty, thinks the essential material at the heart of the tech industry needs to change. Lidow, 60, is currently head of a company called Efficient Power Conversion, and is one of the tech world’s loudest advocates for making transistors and semiconductors from gallium nitride. Silicon is traditionally used for the transistors and semiconductors on which the technology industry relies. This is an amazingly lucrative business: according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents U.S.-based firms, the worldwide semiconductor industry was responsible for approximately $335.8 billion of sales last year alone.

Fast Company
September, 2015
Read Article

Alex Lidow's Quest To Replace Silicon And Revolutionize Electronics

The company Alex founded in 2007, called Efficient Power Conversion, or EPC, is wholly dedicated to the task of putting GaN in the forefront for use in a variety of things. Wireless power transmission, Class D audio amplifiers, (using a small circuit board, this would produce less heat, and extend battery life on portable systems); and pulsed lasers, or LiDAR (Light Distancing and Ranging), designed to quickly create 3D images useful in mapping and meteorology.

By: Bruce Rogers
September 3, 2015
Read Article

What is GaN?

The cost of electrical power is a key driver of socioeconomic vitality, as it enables us to improve our quality of life and advance new applications and industries. GaN (gallium nitride) has emerged as a displacement technology to the venerable, but aged, silicon solutions that will allow us to stay ahead of our demand for more and more efficient power.

View video

Single Amplifier for a Multi-mode Capable Wireless Power System

The proliferation of wireless power products and multitude of wireless power standards for mobile applications is leading to consumer confusion and hindering adoption. This article discuss a multi-mode capable amplifier topology capable of operation at both high (6.78 MHz) and low (100 kHz – 315 kHz) frequencies.

By: Michael de Rooij, Ph.D.
EEWeb – Wireless & RF Magazine
August, 2015
Read Article

Practical Layout Techniques to Fully Extract the Benefits of eGaN FETs

The trend for electronics is to continually push towards miniaturization while increasing performance. With silicon MOSFET technology fast approaching its theoretical limit, enhancement mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) FETs from EPC have emerged to offer a step change improvement in power FET switching performance, enabling next generation power density possibilities by decreasing size and boosting efficiency. This article will explore the recommended layout techniques required to fully extract the benefits of EPC’s eGaN FETs.

By: Ivan Chan & David Reusch, Ph.D.
EEWeb –Modern Printed Circuits
August, 2015
Read Article

Wireless Charging Metrics Debated

Wireless charging may have a standards battle to contend with, but there’s also a major a measurement problem. The quest for convenient living and energy conservation poses a ‘Ying/Yang’ dilemma living in the age of electronics. This is certainly the case with wireless power transfer technology. This rapidly emerging technology has the promise of “cutting the cord” and displacing the need for AC/DC wall adapters and perhaps eventually wall sockets. The question now is; will wireless power increase our carbon footprint by being less efficient than the traditional plug-in AC/DC wall adapters?” Are some wireless systems more efficient than others? These are two fundamental questions that need to be examined in an energy conscious world governed by energy efficient standards.

August 4, 2015
Read Article

Scientists are developing an x-ray pill you can swallow

A new product being developed might make checking for colon cancer as easy as swallowing a pill. The technology is based on a new type of chip from EPC that uses gallium nitride instead of the traditional silicon. CEO Alex Lidow told Quartz that his company’s chips can withstand the high voltage needed by the sensors inside the Check Cap.

July 30, 2015
Read Article

5G base station architecture: The potential semiconductor solutions

eGaN technology is expected to be one of the most important solutions to power efficiency in base station infrastructure for 5G; the peak-to-average ratios will be worse in 5G. Envelope tracking is obvious right now as one way eGaN power transistors will do this, but over the next 3 to 5 years more applications will emerge as eGaN technology progresses.

Steve Taranovich
July 17, 2015
Read Article

New Chips Provide a Spark for Wireless Charging

EPC garners the attention of MIT Technology Review with its new products targeted for wireless charging applications. Recognizing EPC as a catalyst for jump-starting the market for wireless power systems, the author highlights the need for universally accepted technology standards. He reinforces his position quoting Alex Lidow saying that “…convenience, cost, and efficiency” are all factors needed for broad adoption of any standard…

MIT Technology Review
July 15, 2015
Read article

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Introduces eGaN Power Integrated Circuit for a New Benchmark in Efficiency and Cost for A4WP Rezence Wireless Power Transfer

New EPC2107 and EPC2108 eGaN® power integrated circuits include monolithic half bridge and integrated bootstrap functions for A4WP compliant Class 2 and Class 3 solutions. In addition, development boards and complete wireless power solutions – transmit and receive devices – for quick and easy evaluations of these components are available.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — July 2015 — EPC announces the EPC2107 (100 V) and EPC2108 (60 V) eGaN half bridge power integrated circuits with integrated bootstrap FET, eliminating gate driver induced reverse recovery loses as well as the need for a high side clamp. This is the first time that a bootstrap FET has been integrated in an eGaN power circuit.

The Mobility Imperative: Untethered Consumers!

Consumers want to be able to go wirelessly where they want, when they want. They want televisions to be seamlessly synchronized with tablets, phones, laptops, and automobiles. They want all their communication, information, and entertainment to be available immediately, with high resolution, all the time. Recently the automobile industry has caught on to this trend and has begun to show its vision of the future for the fully mobile lifestyle.

Consumers also do not want to worry about running out of battery life – no more looking for an open outlet at the airport. This untethered life is the Mobility Imperative and it is driving innovation in consumer products, which in turn, is pushing the limits of silicon-based semiconductor technology.

Nikkei Business Publications
July 10, 2015
Read Article

A dialogue focusing on wireless power transfer application using gallium nitride devices

The latest gallium nitride technology has been propelling the development of wireless power transfer application. This is especially of interest to engineers at the time just after the merger of A4WP and PMA. The interview extensively covers various areas of interests in answering the question of wider adoption of GaN devices by the semiconductor industry including differentiations of GaN devices, lowering of costs, latest device innovations, high-frequency plus small-size device operations, heat management, how GaN’s markets would surpass silicon’s markets and the future development of gallium nitride technology.

Power System Design China
June 24, 2015
Read Article

Why Consolidation In The Chip Industry Matters To You

If expanding industries typically indicate vibrancy, a race to acquire and consolidate is generally reflective of the opposite – a period of slowed growth in mature, often once high-flying categories. And while many industries experience a period of stardom, followed by a sharp and steady decline, we should be extremely worried when they occur in industries that are fundamentally central to our socio-economic vitality.

June 26, 2015
Read Article

Energy-Saving Material Gets a Boost

The effort to take advantage of gallium nitride is partly a response to technical and economic factors that have slowed improvement in silicon-based chips.  While companies are still finding ways to fabricate smaller transistors in silicon, reductions in cost and power consumption have been more difficult to achieve. But gallium-nitride circuits can switch on and off much more quickly than silicon and handle higher voltages, said Alex Lidow, EPC’s chief executive. That makes the material particularly good for chores that involve power conversion.

Wall Street Journal
June 22, 2015
Read article

Revenge Fuels Energy Fight

Power conversion involves creating tiny devices that convert electricity from one form to another, enabling all manner of electrical gadgets to function. Till now, silicon had been the preferred medium for power conversion processors, but as that element reaches the limits of its efficiency, attention has focused on new materials.

Los Angeles Business Journal
June 21, 2015
Read article

eGaN FETs Yield High Broad Load Range Wireless Energy Transfer Efficiency

eGaN® FETs have previously demonstrated higher efficiency in loosely coupled wireless power transfer solutions when operating on-resonance using either ZVS Class D or Class E amplifiers. Practical Wireless Power systems however need to address the convenience factor of such systems, which results in reflected coil impedances that can significantly deviate from resonance as load and coupling vary. These systems still need to deliver power to the load and hence the amplifier needs to drive the coils over a wide impedance range. Standards such as the A4WP class 3 have defined a broad coil impedance range that address the convenience factor and can be used as a starting point to compare the performance of the amplifiers. In this installment both the ZVS Class D and Class E amplifiers will be tested at 6.78 MHz to the A4WP class 3 standard with a reduced impedance range to determine the inherent operating range limits. Factors such as device temperature and voltage limits will determine the bounds of the load impedance range each amplifier is capable of driving.

Bodos China
June, 2015
Read Article

Gallium Nitride Power Transistors Priced Cheaper Than Silicon

Last week, El Segundo, Calif.-based Efficient Power Conversion, announced that its offering two types of power transistors made from gallium nitride that it has priced cheaper than their silicon counterparts. “This is the first time that something has really been higher performance and lower cost than silicon,” CEO Alex Lidow says. “Gallium nitride has taken the torch and is now running with it.”

IEEE Spectrum
May 8, 2015
Read article

Podcast – GaN Has Finally Arrived

Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of EPC, talks with Alix Palutre of Power Systems Design on a new family of eGaN FETs that has superior performance, smaller size, high reliability, and a low price point. With this announcement, the last barrier to the widespread adoption of GaN transistors as silicon MOSFET replacements has fallen.

Power Systems Design
Press play button to listen to interview