EPC Technical Articles

GaN – Crushing Silicon One Application at a Time

Enhancement mode gallium nitride transistors have been commercially available for over four years and have infiltrated many applications previously monopolized by the aging silicon power MOSFET.

Power Pulse
By: Alex Lidow
October, 2013

EPC8000 Family Highlighted as “Green Product of the Month” in Bodo’s Power Systems

With the introduction of this family of eGaN® FETs, power systems and RF designers now have access to high performance gallium nitride power transistors enabling innovative designs not achievable with silicon.

October, 2013
Bodo's Power Systems

How to GaN: eGaN FETs in Hard Switching Intermediate Bus Converters

In this installment more complex hard switching converters used for isolated DC to DC power conversion will be discussed.

By: Alex Lidow
October, 2013

Enhancing the inefficiency of an RF power amp: The envelope tracking (ET) system

In this EDN article Steve Taranovich explores the envelope tracking system as a potential solution to the notoriously inefficient wideband power amplifiers (PAs) used I wireless telecom and other base station transmitters. An ET solution implementing high speed eGaN FETs in a multi-phase buck converter is explored.

How To GaN: eGaN FETs in High Frequency Buck Converters

In this installment the optimum layout will be implemented in a high frequency buck converter yielding greater than 96% efficiency switching at 1 MHz.

By: Alex Lidow
September, 2013

How to GaN: Driving eGaN FETs and Layout Considerations

The previous columns in this series discussed the benefits of eGaN(r) FETs and their potential to achieve higher efficiencies and higher switching speeds than possible with silicon MOSFETs. This installment will discuss driver and layout considerations to improve the performance achievable with eGaN FETs.

By: Alex Lidow
August, 2013

eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out: A Retrospective of Sixteen Articles

When a new technology is introduced, it is not reasonable to think that engineers will intuitively know how to effectively and efficiently take advantage of the performance enhancements that the new technology offers – there is always a learning curve. This is being borne out in the case of the rapidly emerging technology of high performance gallium nitride transistors.

GaN FET technology was made available to the general power conversion engineering community in mid-2010 when Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) introduced the industry’s first commercially available GaN transistor. Since that time, EPC has continued on two parallel paths – one to expand their portfolio of products and the other to share what it learns about the use of the technology with power conversion systems design engineers. One of these educational efforts has been to work with the editors of Power Electronics magazine and publish a bi-monthly series of articles on the characteristics of GaN technology and its applications.

This series is entitled eGaN FET -- Power Silicon Shoot Out. Articles in the series took on both basic issues and specific applications using gallium nitride components. It is timely to make a quick review of the sixteen articles to make certain that we have accomplished the goal of assisting engineers in climbing the learning curve. This retrospective look will give us insight into what further topics and studies are needed to advance the adoption of GaN technology, the need to learn is never finished.

By: JOHAN STRYDOM, Ph. D., Vice President, Applications, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation
MICHAEL DE ROOIJ, Ph.D., Executive Director of Applications Engineering, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation
DAVID REUSCH, PH.D., Director, Applications, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation

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How To GaN: Enhancement Mode GaN Transistor Electrical Characteristics

For a power system designer who has worked with a power MOSFET, upgrading to an enhancement mode GaN transistor is straightforward. The basic operating characteristics are quite similar and yet there are a few characteristics that need to be considered in an efficient design in order to extract the maximum benefit from this new generation device. EEWeb By: Alex Lidow July, 2013 More ...

Delivering Efficient Power Conversion with Package-Free HEMTs

Packaging has its downsides: It increases the footprint and the price of a power MOSFET, while degrading its performance through unwanted increases in resistance and inductance. The best solution is to ditch the package, a step that allows GaN HEMTs to be cost-competitive with silicon incumbents, argues Alex Lidow from Efficient Power Conversion Corporation.

Compound Semiconductor
June, 2013

How To GaN: Introduction to Gallium Nitride (GaN) Transistor Technology

The first installment in a new monthly column by Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC, introduces the concept that GaN-on-silicon power devices could be a superior replacement for the aging power MOSFET.

By: Alex Lidow
June, 2013

eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out Volume 14, Part 1: eGaN FET Small Signal RF Performance

Even though the eGaN FET was designed and optimized as a power-switching device, it also exhibits good RF characteristics. This article, the first of a two-part series on RF performance, focuses on RF characterization in the frequency range of 200 MHz through 2.5 GHz.

By: Michael de Rooij, Ph.D., Executive Director of Applications Engineering, Efficient Power Conversion
Johan Strydom, Ph.D., Vice President of Applications, Efficient Power Conversion
Matthew Meiller, President, Peak Gain Wireless

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Exploring gallium nitride technology

It has been three years since the commercialization of gallium nitride (GaN) devices as MOSFET replacements in a commercial DC-DC application. With the emergence of GaN devices, coupled with now attainable applications previously not achievable with MOSFET-based FETs, a favorable stage has been set for GaN-device developers to release emerging application potential largely unimagined and untapped.

EETimes Asia
May 16, 2013

Highly Resonant Wireless Power Transfer System Teardown

This article is an overview of the elements needed to assemble a wireless power transfer system. The EPC9104 demonstration system from EPC showcases the high frequency, voltage, and power required for efficient wireless power transfer.

EDN Europe
March 2013

eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out Volume 13, Part 2: Optimal PCB Layout

Optimizing PCB layout for an eGaN FET based point of load (POL) buck converter will reduce parasitics, thus leading to improved efficiency, faster switching speeds, and reduced device voltage overshoot compared to conventional MOSFET based designs.

By David Reusch, Ph.D., Director, Applications, Efficient Power Conversion

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eGaN FETs Increase Efficiency, Power Density in Industrial POL Converters

Designers of point of load (POL) converters used in 24 VDC systems traditionally have had to decide between the high cost of an isolated converter and the low frequency and efficiency of a buck converter. When compared with the 12 V POL converter common in computing systems, the higher voltage of the 24 V POL converter increases FET voltage to at least 40 volts to accommodate switch-node ringing and increases commutation and COSS losses. eGaN FETs, from EPC, offer ultra-low QGD for low commutation losses and low QOSS for lower losses when charging and discharging the output capacitance. In addition, the innovative Land Grid Array (LGA), wafer level packaging of EPC’s eGaN FETs allow ultralow inductance in both the high frequency power loop and gate drive loop, and most importantly, the path common to these loops, known as the common source inductance (CSI) to help minimize current commutation losses. Low charge and CSI of eGaN FETs allow designers to push power density higher by pushing frequency higher without the efficiency penalty of traditional MOSFETs.

David Reusch, Ph.D., Director, Applications
Stephen L. Colino, V.P., Sales & Marketing

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eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out Volume 13, Part 1: Impact of Parasitics on Performance

The ability of enhancement mode gallium nitride based power devices, such as the eGaN® FET, to achieve higher efficiencies and higher switching frequencies than possible with silicon MOSFETs has been demonstrated for a variety of applications. With improvements in switching figure of merit provided by eGaN FETs, the packaging and PCB layout parasitics are critical to high performance. This first part of this article will study the effect of parasitic inductance on performance for eGaN FET and MOSFET based point of load (POL) buck converters operating at a switching frequency of 1 MHz, an input voltage of 12 V, an output voltage of 1.2 V, and an output current up to 20 A.

By David Reusch, Ph.D., Director, Applications, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation

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eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out Part 12: Optimizing Dead Time

Initial shoot-out articles showed that eGaN® FETs behave similarly to silicon devices and can be evaluated using the same performance metrics. Although eGaN FETs perform significantly better by most metrics, the eGaN FET ‘body-diode’ forward voltage is higher than its MOSFET counterpart and can be a significant loss component during dead-time. Body diode forward conduction losses alone do not make up all dead-time dependent losses. Diode reverse-recovery and output capacitance losses are also important. In this article, we discuss dead-time management and the need to minimize all dead-time losses.

By Johan Strydom, Ph.D., Vice President of Applications, EPC Power Electronics Technology

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Enhancement Mode GaN Making Wireless Power Transmission More Efficient

January 2, 2013

In this article we show that enhancement mode GaN transistors enable significant efficiency improvements in resonant topologies and demonstrate a practical example of a wireless power transmission system operating in the 6.78 MHz range.

By Alex Lidow PhD, CEO; Michael deRooij PhD, Executive Director of Application Engineering; David Reusch PhD, Director of Application Engineering, EPC Bodo’s Power Systems (www.bodospower.com)

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nPower PEG Uses eGaN Technology from EPC to Charge Mobile Devices from People-Power

The nPower® PEG is the world's first human-powered charger for hand-held electronics. The product from Tremont Electric uses eGaN® FETs from Efficient Power Conversion Corp. in their nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator).


eGaN FET-Silicon Power Shoot-Out Part 11: Optimizing FET On-Resistance

So far in this series, significant efforts have been made to show the performance improvements that can be achieved with eGaN® FETs over silicon MOSFETS in both hard and soft switching applications. In every case, eGaN FETs showed improvement over MOSFETs. In this volume of the eGaN FET-Silicon power shoot-out series, the die size optimization process is discussed and an example application is used to show specific results.

By Johan Strydom, Ph.D., Vice President of Applications, EPC
Power Electronics Technology

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