GaN Transistors Race Beyond Performance Limits as New Products Roll
As gallium nitride (GaN) technology gathers steam, new GaN transistor products are emerging to satisfy today’s engineering needs.
One of the larger trends in the field of power electronics and beyond is the transition from standard silicon FETs to wide-bandgap alternatives. Amongst these wide-bandgap materials, one of the most impressive is gallium nitride (GaN).
Now, thanks to its rising popularity, it seems as if the GaN market finally has a push of momentum behind it. Last month we saw significant GaN product releases come out of a number of major companies in the field.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most recent GaN news to understand the state of the technology and where it’s headed.
GaN Systems New Transistor
In mid-June, GaN Systems made headlines in the industry when it announced a new GaN transistor for its portfolio of devices. The new device, called the GS-065-018-2-L, is a 650 V, 18 A, 78 mΩ bottom-side cooled transistor that is designed to improve efficiency, thermal management, and power density in devices. Coming in an 8x8 mm PDFN package, the new transistor offers impressive specs like a 1.5 ns turn-on delay and a 5 ns rise time which help support high switching frequencies greater than 1 MHz. On top of this, the device offers a maximum transient VDS of 850 V, ensuring a high level of reliability and safety.
Package and schematic symbol of the new GaN transistor. Image used courtesy of GaN Systems
According to GaN Systems, the new device is targeted for applications like 100 W- 800 W adapters and industrial power supplies, where replacing silicon transistors with a GaN alternative can lead to higher power efficiency and a lightweight system.
EPC’s Rad-hard Offerings
Mid-June also saw Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) bring a new GaN FET to the market.
EPC’s newest device, called the EPC7018, is a radiation-hardened (rad-hard) FET that is designed explicitly for space electronics applications. According to the datasheet, the EPC7018 is a 100 V device that is capable of sustaining a continual 90 A, or a pulse 345 A, while offering an RDSON of 3.9 mΩ. Coming in a small 13.9 mm2 footprint, the device is optimized for space applications and offers radiation-hardened features such as a total dose radiation rating of 1 Mrad and SEE immunity for LET of 85 MeV/(mg/cm2).
The EPC7018’s package. Image used courtesy of EPC
According to EPC, the EPC7018’s RDSON of 3.9 mΩ marks the lowest on-resistance for a rad-hard solution on the market. With this comes power savings and mitigation of thermal management challenges. All together, EPC lists DC-DC power conversion, motor drives, LiDAR, satellite EPS, and more. More information is availble from the EPC7018's datasheet.
Finwave’s 3D GaN FinFET
Our final piece of GaN news in this roundup comes from Finwave Semiconductor, who (likewise in mid-June) announced its intentions to use GaN to target 5G applications.
According to Finwave, which was previously known as Cambridge Electronics, one of the largest challenges facing 5G is the inability of current hardware approaches to deliver the high linearity needed to operate effectively at millimeter-wave frequencies. In these applications, it’s crucially important for RF power amplifiers to be able to offer high efficiency, output power, and linearity. To achieve that, the industry has recently turned to RF-SOI technology, but Finwave feels that even this is not enough.
3D rendering of Finwave’s 3DGaN device. Image used courtesy of Finwave
Instead, Finwave intends to address 5G design challenges with GaN-on-silicon solutions, enabling CMOS logic interfacing with GaN amplifiers. Finwave’s proprietary technology to this end is their 3DGaN technology, which is a GaN-on-silicon FinFET structure that aims to offer the cost model of silicon with the performance of GaN.
According to Finwave, its 3DGaN technology enables high linearity, power, and efficiency in millimeter-wave power amplifiers. The ultimate hope is that its technology can help enable the next generation of cheaper and more performant 5G systems for applications like video streaming, autonomous vehicles, and more.
The Road to More GaN Builds Momentum
With several impressive new GaN products reaching the market, it seems clear that GaN has a decent amount of momentum behind it. Once a subject of academia, GaN has finally made it mainstream, and the performance it is bringing is largely unrivaled.
Interested in other GaN-related news? Read on in the articles down below.