Nexperia Enters the Gallium Nitride FET ArenaNovember 20, 2019 by Gary Elinoff
Nexperia's newly announced GAN063-650WSA is a 650-volt gallium nitride power FET featuring an RDS(on) of 60 mΩ.
The 650-volt GAN063-650WSA will be the first in a portfolio of GaN devices now under development at Nexperia.
This rather major new technological direction for the Dutch-based company wasn’t completely unexpected. It was announced back in April of 2018 that Cree had inked a patent licensing agreement Nexperia.
Nexperia’s GAN063-650WSA. Image from Nexperia
This arrangement provided Nexperia with access to Cree’s extensive knowledge base of gallium nitride (GaN) power devices.
How GaN Devices Differ from Silicon Devices
As discussed in an earlier article about gallium arsenide, gallium nitride is a wide bandgap material. A material’s bandgap is the space between that substance’s atomic shell layers. This greater space means that it takes more energy to get the semiconductor's electrons to “jump” to the next shell and to make the semiconductor shift into its conductive state.
This translates into smaller-sized semiconductors for a given RDS(on) and breakdown voltage when compared to silicon semiconductors. GaN also offers a faster-switching speed and high reverse-recovery performance, which decreases loss and increases efficiency.
Gallium nitride. Image courtesy of the University of Bristol
Toni Versluijs, general manager of Nexperia's MOS business group explains, “This is a strategic move for Nexperia into the high voltage area, and we can now deliver technology suitable for xEV power semiconductor applications. Our GaN is a technology that is ready for volume production, and with scalability to meet high volume applications.”
GAN041-650WSA, a sister of GAN063-650WSA, compared to Si MOSFET. Image from Nexperia
Versluijs goes on to state that “The automotive sector is a key focus for Nexperia and one which is forecast to grow significantly for two decades as electric vehicles replace those powered by traditional internal combustion engines as the preferred means of personal and public transport.”
Device Specifics for the GAN063-650WSA
The GAN063-650WSA is a normally-off device. Its maximum drain-source voltage (VDS)—over its -55°C to 175°C temperature range—is 650 volts. The maximum drain current is 34.5 amps at 25°C and at a voltage between gate and source (VGS) of 10 volts.
Equivalent circuit for the GAN063-650WSA. Image from Nexperia
The maximum power that the unit can safely dissipate is 143 watts.
The gate-drain charge (QGD) is 4 nanocoulombs, and the total gate charge (QG(tot)) is 15 nanocoulombs. These are typical readings at 25°C with ID = 25 A; VDS = 400 V; and gate-source (VGS) of 10 volts.
Nexperia foresees GAN063-650WSA being used in a number of applications, including IoT infrastructure.
And, in addition to automotive applications, the GAN063-650WSA is aimed at:
- Bridgeless totem-pole power factor correction
- Servo motor drivers
- Hard and soft switching converters
- Photovoltaic and UPS inverters
GAN063-650WSA's is designed with high ruggedness and stable switching for a number of applications. Image (modified) used courtesy of Nexperia
The unit is AEC-Q101 qualified. It is available in a TO-247 plastic package with dimensions of 20.45 mm x 15.6 x 4.95 mm.
Around the Industry
The changeover to wide bandgap semiconductors is proceeding apace in the electronics industry, and Nexperia will find that it has a lot of competition in the GaN marketplace.
For example, Transphorm’s TP90H050WS is a 900V, 50mΩ GaN FET. It too is a normally-off device. At 25°C, the unit can support a continuous ID of 34 amps.
Gansystem’s GS-065-150-1-D likewise is a 650-volt GaN power transistor that can handle 150 amps. RDS(ON) is 10 mΩ and the device can switch at speeds greater than 10 MHz.
What are your thoughts on the move toward GaN? Share your thoughts in the comments below.