Why GaN is the next step in power management

Article By : Steve Taranovich

Gallium Nitride FETs have a decided advantage over silicon FETs because they much higher conductivity and smaller size.

« Previously: Where is GaN heading?

Efficient Power Conversion's team is leading the GaN power element development toward a process perfection effort and on through to the creation of a growing set of high profile industry applications to performance heights that the power industry has never seen.

Automotive LED headlamps

Gallium Nitride (GaN) FETs have a decided advantage over silicon FETs because they much higher conductivity and smaller size/capacitance which enable a more efficient power conversion at high switching frequency (fSW). Some issues must be resolved before using GaN in automotive applications. GaN’s high fSW incurs larger di/dt and dv/dt transitions which inject high frequency electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise into the input bus. This unwanted noise can create a malfunction in a safety-critical system. The implementation of a large input filter can reduce this EMI, but will increase the size and cost of the solution—not a good thing in automobiles.

There are various techniques that may be employed to alleviate this problem. GaN’s higher switching frequency ensures operation well above the AM radio band. Soft switching architectures may be employed to remedy this problem as well.

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Figure 1: EPC’s eGaN power drive circuitry demo for automotive LED Headlamps at APEC 2017.

Aerial mapping

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Figure 2: This Phoenix Aerial Systems aerial drone using 40A, 5ns-wide pulses can be used for high-definition aerial mapping via a drone.

Wireless Power Transfer: “Cut the cord”

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Figure 3: Alex Lidow explaining the exciting aspects of ‘cutting the cord’ with wireless power.

Wireless Power Table top

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Figure 4: EPC’s team, led by Michael de Rooij, PhD, created this embedded wireless power demo at APEC 2017. An innovative new antenna design was developed by Dr. de Rooij and embedded into this table with excellent power transfer distance capability as well as capability to power all of the devices you see on this table with no need to position the devices accurately over any antennas.

Wireless power wall-mounted flat-screen TV

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Figure 5: The wireless power electronics that enable a large flat-screen TV to be mounted to a wall without power wiring. The design bypasses the AC circuitry inside the TV and directly powers the electronics with wireless DC power.

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Figure 6: An explanation of the wirelessly-powered TV.

Be ready for more big announcements by the Efficient Power Conversion team as we progress further into 2017. I will be covering these announcements in technical detail.

First published by EDN.

« Previously: Where is GaN heading?

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