Latest GaN ICs Crank out More Speed, Efficiency, and Power Density
Leveraging gallium nitride (GaN) technology, the latest batch of power devices boast improved performance, high efficiency, and low design costs.
Thanks to its fast switching speed, good thermal conductivity and low on-resistance, gallium nitride (GaN) technology has gained traction in the power semiconductor industry. Semiconductor companies continue to leverage GaN technology to manufacture efficient power devices suitable for use in a wide range of applications.
In this article, we round up the latest crop of GaN devices that have been recently introduced to the market.
65 W and 100 W GaN Flyback Converters
For its part, STMicroelectronics (ST) introduced two VIPerGaN high-voltage power converters namely: the VIPerGaN100 and the VIPerGaN65. The VIPerGaN family of power converters integrates high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) and advanced pulse width modulator (PWM) controller to achieve higher power density, higher efficiency, and a reduced PCB size and cost
The VIPerGaN power converters find applications in consumer and industrial devices. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
ST says these new devices are aimed at meeting the design requirements of single-switch medium power quasi-resonant (QR) flyback converters. The VIPerGaN100 serves the requirements for flyback converters with an output power of 100 W, while VIPerGaN65 is specifically manufactured for flyback converters with an output power of 65 W.
The VIPerGaN devices incorporate a 650 V enhancement-mode GaN power transistor and support operation in quasi-resonant mode. The blend of quasi-resonant mode, support for dynamic blanking time, and support for valley synchronization all combine to reduce switching loss. Those features also boost the overall efficiency under all input line and load conditions, says the company.
Rich Protection Features
According to ST, the power converters are optimized for high reliability and protection as they feature robust safety and protection mechanisms which include overvoltage protection, overtemperature protection (OTP), overload protection (OLP), brown-in/out protection, and so on.
The two devices are offered in 5 mm × 6 mm QFN packages. Target applications for these high voltage converters include switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) for USB-PD chargers, smart-building controllers, home appliances, air conditioning, smart metering, lighting, and other industrial applications
Meanwhile, ST says that the power converters are eco-friendly because they are manufactured to meet the specifications of global energy savings and net-zero carbon emissions. More information is available in the datasheets for the VIPerGaN100 and VIPerGaN65.
Power Stage ICs Use GaN to Boost Power Density
Looking to enable seamless power conversion in DC-DC power applications, EPC has announced a pair of GaN-based power stage IC devices to its ePower Stage IC portfolio. Features devices include an input logic interface, level shifting, bootstrap charging, and gate drive buffer circuits. Also included are GaN-based output field-effect transistors (FETs).
The company says that integrated power stage IC enables designers to make easy layouts and designs of robust power devices and solutions. It also helps to save space on PCB and increase overall efficiency and performance.
The new 15 A EPC23103 and 25 A EPC23104 power stage ICs are follow ons to the company’s existing 35 A EPC23102 product. Image used courtesy of EPC
The new power stage ICs comprise a half-bridge gate driver integrated with internal high-side and low-side FETs. According to the company, the FETs are integrated with the half-bridge gate driver by employing the company’s in-house proprietary GaN IC technology.
The devices boast low on-resistance. As such, the EPC23103 has a drain-source on-resistance of 7.6 mΩ at the high-side and low-side FETs while EPC23104 has a drain-source on-resistance of 11 mΩ at the high-side and low-side FETs.
Low on-resistance ensures fast switching speed. Though the two devices support a maximum input voltage of 100 V and could be comfortably operated with a minimum voltage of 80 V , the EPC23103 has a power stage load current of 25 A while EPC23104 has a power stage load current of 15 A.
The devices are packaged in a 3.5 mm × 5 mm QFN package. The thermally enhanced QFN packaging of the device enables low thermal resistance from the junction to the top-side heatsink. More information can be found in the datasheets for the EPC23103 and the EPC23104.
Control IC Technology Can Manage Fast GaN Switching
Because GaN devices are known for their fast switching speeds, the control of these speeds has become challenging for designers. At the same time, there is a growing need to develop miniaturized power solutions through high-speed switching. With all that in mind, Rohm Semiconductor has unveiled a high-speed control IC technology that would not only control speed but also accelerate the performance of GaN devices.
The control IC technology incorporates the company’s Nano Pulse Control technology. Nano Pulse Control is an analog power supply technology that enables the conversion of high voltage to low voltage using a single IC. Importantly, this conversion is done swiftly in nanoseconds.
Rohm’s new control IC technology enables miniaturized power solutions suitable for use in data centers, base stations, and so on. Image used courtesy of Rohm
According to the company, the control IC technology is designed for power supply IC in an attempt to enhance its control pulse width. Consequently, the company found a breakthrough by significantly improving the control pulse width of power ICs from 9n s to an industry record best of 2 ns. In addition, Rohm says that energy is greatly conserved when EcoGaN devices are used with the Control IC.
Engineers can use the Rohm’s new control IC technology to step down from high voltages of up to 60 V to low voltages down to 0.6 V. This can all be done using a single power supply IC in 24 V and 48 V power applications. Rohm says it’s working on making its 100 V 1-channel DC-DC control IC technology commercially available in the second half of 2023.