Silicon Labs Sends Its Isolated Gate Drivers to Space

October 30, 2020 by Luke James

Silicon Labs has announced a "high-reliability partnership" with Teledyne e2v HiRel, a provider of high-performance semiconductors to the aerospace and defense markets.

Silicon Labs recently announced that it intends to enter into a high-reliability (HiRel) isolation partnership with Teledyne e2v HiRel, a provider of high-performance, high-reliability semiconductors to the aerospace and defense markets. 

Under the terms of the new agreement, Teledyne will offer a new line of high-reliability products based on Silicon Labs’ isolated gate driver technology, which is optimized for similar applications in the space, aerospace, military, and oil and gas markets.


Custom High-Reliability Solutions

As part of the agreement, Teledyne e2v HiRel hopes to market custom high-reliability solutions based on the Silicon Labs Si827x isolated gate driver family designed for markets that require advanced technology and high reliability.

According to Teledyne, the gate drivers based on the Si827x family will be screened and qualified by them accordingly for specific market specifications. Initially, their focus will be on satellite power systems that support satellite communications. 


Simplified block diagram for a single Si827x channel

Simplified block diagram for a single Si827x channel. Image used courtesy of Silicon Labs


“The combination of Silicon Labs’ industry-leading isolation with Teledyne’s expertise in space and aerospace will give high-reliability customers a new level of performance in their complex systems,” said Brian Mirkin, Vice President and General Manager of Power Products at Silicon Labs. 

Mirkin went on to add that their silicon isolation technology IP is designed for specialized markets like aerospace that require high-performance noise immunity and flexible driver configurations for successful management of high-speed switching needs.


Designed for GaN Applications

According to Teledyne, the new product line based on Silicon Labs’ gate drivers will be useful for gallium nitride (GaN) applications because, according to the Silicon Labs press release, it features “faster switching rates and options for either a single driver or a combination of two 4 A isolated drivers in a single integrated circuit package." 



Teledyne e2v HiRel's TDGD27x isolated gate drivers for 650 V GaN power HEMTs. Image used courtesy of Teledyne e2v HiRel

“We anticipate a great deal of demand from our customer base with this new level of isolation reliability excellence we are able to offer,” said Mont Taylor, Teledyne e2v HiRel Vice President of Business Development. 

This partnership is the latest in a series of acquisitions and partnerships designed to bring together a wide variety of talent for the acceleration of research and development in fields like the Internet of Things (IoT), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.


Silicon Labs' Recent Moves in Connectivity Business

In January, Silicon Labs teamed up with Quuppa to deliver a highly accurate indoor asset tracking solution based on Bluetooth Low Energy to reduce the cost and complexity of developing location positioning applications. Then in April, they acquired Redpine Signals’ connectivity business to expand Silicon Labs’ leadership in IoT wireless technology. More recently, the company collaborated with Amazon on Sidewalk, a new shared network for IoT consumer devices. 

This strategy appears to be working for the fabless global technology company with its Q3 2020 earnings released on October 28 showing an IoT revenue growth up to $133.2 million, an increase of 16 percent sequentially, and 3 percent year-on-year despite a 5 percent fall in infrastructure and automotive revenue. This is likely down due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the automotive industry hard.