Gallium Nitride (GaN)'s Potential in MedTech
GaN Talk – Renee Yawger
Apr 26, 2023
The medical technology industry includes medical devices which simplify the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and chronic illnesses. According to Fortune Business Insights, The global medical devices market is projected to grow from $495.46 billion in 2022 to $718.92 billion by 2029 at a CAGR of 5.5%.
The demand for high efficiency MedTech devices is increasing for several reasons:
- The growing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer require continuous monitoring and care.
- The increasing emphasis on early diagnosis and treatment increases the patient population requiring diagnostic procedures and testing.
- The aging population is increasing demand for ophthalmic and orthopedic procedures and related equipment as these procedures are more common in the geriatric population.
- The growing emphasis on fitness among adults and from healthcare agencies toward monitoring and diagnosis have increased demand for wearable devices, such as fitness trackers.
- The shift toward homecare settings is boosting demand for portable devices and wearable devices for the treatment of chronic illnesses.
High efficiency MedTech devices can provide better and faster diagnosis, treatment, and patient monitoring, leading to improved outcomes and higher patient satisfaction. High efficiency devices can help reduce overall healthcare expenses by minimizing hospital stays, reducing complications, and improving efficiency. More efficient, lower cost devices can increase accessibility to a larger patient population. For these reasons, GaN is becoming the solution that healthcare companies are turning toward as healthcare needs grow and technology continues to advance.
Gallium Nitride (GaN) Technology Explained
Gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors exceed the performance capability of silicon in speed, power handling, efficiency, size, and cost. GaN FETs and ICs are a high-volume manufacturable alternative to traditional silicon-based devices that can provide higher efficiency, smaller size, and lower cost for a variety of MedTech applications, including DC-DC conversion, motor drives, and wireless power, among others.
Advantages of GaN in MedTech
Gallium nitride (GaN) is a material that is being increasingly used in MedTech applications because it offers several advantages over traditional silicon-based devices.
GaN allows for higher power density in smaller form factors. This means that GaN-based power adapters can deliver the same or higher power output as traditional silicon-based solutions in a much smaller size, making MedTech systems more portable and lightweight.
GaN devices have lower power losses than silicon-based devices, meaning they can operate at higher efficiency levels. This makes them particularly useful in medical devices that need to operate for extended periods of time on battery power.
Faster Switching Speed
GaN devices can switch on and off more quickly than silicon-based devices, so they can operate at higher frequencies. This makes them useful in applications such as wireless charging and wireless power transfer for wearable devices and reducing ‘cable clutter’ in hospital environments.
Improved Thermal Performance
GaN devices have better thermal conductivity than silicon-based devices, which means they can dissipate heat more effectively. This makes them useful in high-temperature applications like surgical tools and medical lasers, making them safer and enabling an improved user experience.
Higher Resolution Scanning Devices
The high switching frequency of GaN allows for more precise control over the signals generated and detected by medical imaging systems and allows for higher data transmission rates and faster image acquisition times, resulting in higher resolution images. The higher power handling capability of GaN is important for imaging systems that require high power output to penetrate dense tissue and high-quality images. These benefits lead to more accurate diagnoses and better patient outcomes.
Applications for GaN in MedTech
The unique properties of GaN make it an attractive alternative to traditional silicon-based devices for many MedTech applications, enabling devices that are more efficient, powerful, and compact, resulting in improvements in patient care, while reducing medical costs.
- DC-DC Conversion: GaN-based DC power supplies for medical systems provide increased efficiency, smaller form factors, and reduced EMI to avoid interference.
- Motor Drives: GaN-based BLDC motors are used in surgical robotics because they can operate at high frequencies, which allows for more precise cutting and ablation, reducing risk and speeding recovery. GaN also allows for much smaller and lightweight motors.
- Wireless Power: GaN-based wireless power systems increase safety and reduce the cost of medical care by reducing cable clutter in the medical environment. In addition, as wearable health and fitness trackers continue to become ubiquitous, GaN FETs and ICs are enabling efficient, fast wireless charging in a small, low-profile footprint.
Choosing the Right GaN Product for your MedTech Application
When choosing a GaN product for your MedTech application, consider the performance requirements, size and weight restrictions, reliability of product and supplier, and cost. The latest generation of GaN devices will offer the best combination of these factors. It is possible to locate the latest generation in the product selector guide by filtering for ‘Preferred’ in the status column.
There are also several design tools available to help choose the correct GaN product for your application, including the buck calculator, thermal calculator, and cross-reference tool. All of these can be found in the Power Bench suite of tools.
The Future of Gallium Nitride and MedTech
GaN devices are already being used in a variety of MedTech applications, including medical imaging, surgical tools, and wearable devices. As the technology continues to improve and costs continue to decrease, we can expect to see even wider adoption of GaN in the MedTech industry.
For more information on how GaN can improve performance in your MedTech designs, contact EPC