Anker is a very well known leader for cheap USB-C cables, chargers for smartphones and laptops, and battery solutions to charge electronics on-the-go. As all players in this field, they work on size reduction and power density. As electronics become smaller and it seems power supplies struggle in following the same path.

Anker held a product presentation event in New-York, where they presented their latest products. One of these being the Atom PD1. It’s a 27W USB-C charger with a very small form factor and the following specifications:

  • Total Output Wattage: 27W
  • Input: 100 – 240V ~ 1.2A 50 – 60Hz
  • Power Delivery Output: 5V – 3A / 9V – 3A / 15V – 1.5A / 20V – 1.1A
  • Size: 1.61 in x 1.37 in x 1.49 in (4.1 cm x 3.5 cm x 3.8 cm)
  • Weight: 2.2 oz (62 g)

Anker claims it’s using GaN power devices, in order to reach such form factor and density. No information has been given about who is supplying devices for this charger, and we do not have a ASRP for this product. We, at PntPower, extensively promised Gallium Nitride power devices would be used in chargers. We still believe it’s going to be the one market segment to kickstart production. We expect now to see more and more high-end chargers with a small form factor being released. It will help and build the base of a steady production need for commercial GaN power devices.

GT Advanced Technologies opened and filled a new facility in Hudson with crystal furnaces from their former location in Merrimack. The objective? Start production of SiC wafers and target the growing Silicon Carbide devices market driven by new Power Electronics applications.

GT Advanced Technologies is well known to have been driven close to bankruptcy after a dangerous deal with Apple on Sapphire supply in 2015. The company is now reborn. The CEO, Greg Knight, announced its almost a completely new structure, that kept the former name. The engineering and finance team stayed, and found a new site for SiC production. According to M. Knight, they have the experience from the past, of installing, ramping up and running thousands of furnaces, so they will ramp up very quickly.

The objective is to be ready as a leading supplier for the Silicon Carbide market boom to come in 2021 or 2022. The process is based on GT Advanced Technologies ‘SiClone’ sublimation furnace and SiC seeds.

They also want to reduce cost, with six inch wafers at 1000$ in a near future.

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iGaNPower, (GaN Power International) a GaN start-up based in Vancouver, Canada, has announced they designed and succeeded in manufacturing a first E-mode GaN high electron mobility transistor with a 1200V breakdown voltage.

This start-up is not part of the most visible GaN start-ups on the market today. It’s based in Canada, but seems to be part of Midea group, a Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer. They already have available devices, according to their website: 650V devices, in TO-220 or DFN 6×8, from 10 to 30 Amps, all shown as available (2 months leadtime), or even “in stock”.

Source: http://iganpower.com/news/

Transphorm Inc. today announced availability of its third generation (Gen III) 650-volt (V) GaN FETs. Power transistors built on Gen. III technology yield lower electromagnetic interference (EMI), increased gate noise immunity, and greater headroom in circuit applications.

The latest evolution of Transphorms’ devices, Gen III, to be released include the TP65H050WS 50 mΩ FET and TP65H035WS 35 mΩ FET, both available in standard TO-247 packages. Technologically, the incorporation of a new MOSFET along with other design modifications enable Gen III devices to deliver:

  • An increased threshold voltage (noise immunity) to 4 V from 2.1 V for Gen II, eliminating the need for a negative gate drive.
  • A gate reliability rating of ±20 V; an 11 percent increase versus Gen II.

As a result, switching is quieter, and the platform delivers performance improvement at higher current levels with simple external circuitry.

Regarding learned design techniques, Transphorm published elegant solutions for oscillation suppression in its app note 0009: Recommended External Circuitry for Transphorm GaN FETs. Example recommendations include the use of DC-link RC snubbers and switching-node RC snubbers that add further stability without adverse impact on efficiency. Notably, the solutions can benefit half-bridge and bridgeless totem-pole PFC topologies.

“It’s important to us to evolve our GaN technology based on customer need and real-world experience. Our Gen III FETs exemplify what’s possible when we adhere to that basic philosophy,” said Philip Zuk, Vice President of Technical Marketing, Transphorm.

Gen III 650 V Product Line Details:

Availability: Currently shipping

  • TP65H050WS 50 mΩ TO-247 unit price: 8.86 USD (sold in 1000 unit quantities)
  • TP65H035WS 35 mΩ TO-247 unit price: 11.55 USD (sold in 1000 unit quantities)

Optimal output ratings: 1.5 kW to 5.0 kW applications depending on design criteria

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VisIC Technologies, a Gallium Nitride (GaN)  power semiconductors start-up based in Israel, announced that it has closed $10 million in a Series D round of financing lead by a private investor.

“The insulated thermal pad is another welcome feature enabling the increase of the power stage reliability and density. Ultimately, 1200V rated GaN devices might be an attractive alternative in the 1200V segment dominated by SiC technology today.”

VisIC’s technology offering in combination with ongoing R&D designs by large players in the power electronics industry, made it possible to close this round of funding on favorable terms.

“We are very excited by the level of enthusiasm of VisIC’s investor, who believes in the enormous potential of VisIC’s GaN products. With the new funding, we can expand our portfolio further to address more market segments. Furthermore, we will increase our technical support team to assist our growing worldwide customer base.” said Tamara Baksht, VisIC Technologies’ founder and CEO.

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Enphase Energy, Inc., and SunPower Corporation, today announced a definitive agreement for Enphase to acquire SunPower’s microinverter business for $25 million in cash and 7.5 million shares of Enphase common stock. Key highlights of the acquisition include:

  • Advances AC Modules (ACM) as the future of residential solar
  • Enhances SunPower’s Equinox™ Home Solar System with a custom line of Enphase’s IQ microinverters for use with SunPower AC Modules
  • Enphase expects to add $60-$70 million annualized revenue in second half of 2019 at 33%-35% gross margin
  • Adds over 140 patents to Enphase’s strong IP portfolio
  • Expects to close by end of the third quarter of 2018 with initial IQ shipments in the fourth quarter
  • $25 million cash to be funded from Enphase’s balance sheet in two installments

“We are pleased to become the microinverter supplier for SunPower’s AC Modules,”

said Badri Kothandaraman, president and CEO of Enphase Energy. “The IQ 7XS 320W AC microinverter in an ACM strongly complements SunPower’s high efficiency solar cells, communication and racking to create a high performance, high quality and easy-to-use Equinox™ Home Solar System, providing exceptional value to homeowners, dealers and architects.”

IQ 7 is Enphase’s seventh-generation microinverter platform leading the industry with its software-defined architecture, broad regulatory compliance, advanced “Smart Grid” features, and a high fire safety rating. The IQ 7XS microinverter offers 97.5% CEC efficiency and was designed specifically for the SunPower’s X Series 96-cell PV modules with peak AC output power of 320W and a Maximum Power Point (MPP) tracking range of 53-64V.

“SunPower customers will continue to see the same quality, high performance that they see now as Enphase exclusively co-develops microinverters for our industry leading residential Equinox solar product,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. “As a result of this strategic partnership, SunPower looks forward to benefitting from Enphase’s expertise, allowing us to continue containing costs, leveraging R&D support and helping streamline our business priorities.”

The transaction is expected to close at the end of the third quarter of 2018 subject to product qualification and other closing conditions under the definitive asset purchase agreement.

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The French start-up Exagan, based in Grenoble and Toulouse, is launching its G-FET power transistors and G-DRIVE intelligent fast-switching solution, featuring an integrated driver and transistor in a single package. The firm claims that the GaN-based devices are easy to design into electronic products, paving the way for fast chargers that comply with the USB power delivery (PD) 3.0 type C standard while providing exceptional power performance and integration.

Exagan is showcasing the use of its high-power-density GaN-on-silicon devices to create ultra-fast, efficient and small 45-65W chargers, including demonstrating its electrical-converter expertise and how both the G-FET and G-DRIVE can benefit new converter product designs and their applications.

“The market potential for our products is enormous including all portable electronic devices as well as homes, restaurants, hotels, airports, automobiles and more,”

reckons president & CEO Frédéric Dupont. “In the near future, users will be able to quickly charge their smart phones, tablets, laptops and other devices simply by plugging a standard USB cable into a small, generic mobile charger.”

The ability of USB type C ports to serve as universal connections for the simultaneous transfer of electrical power, data and video is leading to tremendous growth.

Aiming to accelerate the power electronics industry’s adoption of cost-effective GaN-based solutions for the charger market, Exagan uses 200mm GaN-on-Si wafers, achieving highly cost-efficient high-volume manufacturing. The firm is now sampling its fast, energy-efficient devices to key customers while ramping up production to begin volume shipments of G-FET and G-DRIVE products.

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Infineon Technologies AG is starting volume production for CoolGaN™ products by the end of 2018, the company announced during PCIM Europe 2018 edition. Engineering samples of the high reliable GaN solution in the market are available now.

“Infineon is the global leader in power solutions and we truly believe that the next big thing in power management is gallium nitride,”

said Steffen Metzger, Senior Director High Voltage Conversion at Infineon. “Our goal is to be the first choice for customers when it comes to GaN power, and we have all assets in place to live up to this ambition. The market for GaN has been gaining a strong momentum; the advantages of using this technology in certain applications are evident. From operating expense and capital expenditure reduction, through higher power density enabling smaller and lighter designs, to overall system cost reduction, the benefits are compelling.”

Full production of CoolGaN 400 V and 600 V e-mode HEMTs will start by end of 2018:

  • CoolGaN 400 V will be available in 70 mΩ in SMD
    • Bottom-side cooled TO-leadless
    • Top-side cooled DSO-20-87 package
  • CoolGaN 600 V comes in
    • Top-side cooled DSO-20-87 package
    • Bottom-side cooled DSO-20-85.

The portfolio will be complemented with 70 mΩ and 190 mΩ 600V CoolGaN devices in bottom-side cooled TO-leadless  and DFN 8×8 packages with190 mΩ, the 600V CoolGaN portfolio will be complemented.

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Kyoto based semiconductor manufacturer ROHM, plans a new production building at its Apollo plant in Chikugo, Japan. The expanded production capacity is intended to meet the growing demand for silicon carbide (SiC) power devices.

The global SiC market is forecasted to exceed $1bn by 2021. The largest share comprises power supply applications, such as PV inverters, EV fast chargers and on-board chargers among other main power electronics applications.

Rohm started mass production of SiC power devices:  Schottky diodes and MOSFETs, in 2010. It’s the first supplier to produce complete SiC power modules and SiC trench MOSFETs. Rohm is considered as a Silicon Carbide leader in the Power Electronics world, where it was not a Silicon power devices (IGBT & MOSFET) leader.

Rohm SiC fab Apollo new builidng

The new three levels building at Apollo will increase production area by about 11,000m². Construction work is scheduled to begin in February 2019 and be completed by the end of 2020.

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Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) has announced the EPC2050, a 350V GaN transistor with a maximum RDS(on) of 65 mΩ and a 26A pulsed output current. Applications include EV charging, solar power inverters, motor drives, and multi-level converter configurations, such as a 3-level, 400 V input to 48 V output LLC converter for telecom or server power supplies.

The EPC2050 is 1.95 mm x 1.95 mm (3.72 mm2) integrated a half bridge with gate drivers. It occupies five times less area than a comparable silicon solution, using the usual Wafer-Level Package (WLP) used by EPC corp. for all their devices. EPC’s 350V transistor can handle thermal conditions more efficiently than plastic packaged MOSFETs, according to the company.

“The performance and cost gap of silicon with eGaN technology widens with the 350 V, EPC2050, that is almost 20 times smaller than the closest silicon MOSFET.”

said Alex Lidow, EPC’s CEO.

 

EPC2050 350V GaN device transistor half bridge

The EPC9084 development board is a 350V maximum device voltage, half bridge featuring the EPC2050, and the Silicon Labs Si8274GB1-IM gate driver. This 51mm x 38 mm board is designed for optimal switching performance and contains all critical components for easy evaluation of the 350 V EPC2050 eGaN FET.

The EPC2050 eGaN FET is priced for 1K units at $3.19 each and the EPC9084 development board is priced at $118.75 each from Digikey.

GaN Systems, the Canadian Gallium Nitride power transistor start-up, revealed during APEC 2018 conference in San Antonio, TX, its new product line. GS-010-120-1-T is an enhancement mode GaN-on-Si power transistor with a rated breakdown voltage of 100V, and a current capability of 120A, with a 5 mOhm Rdson. It surpasses the 90A of the latest GaN Systems high current device.

GaN Systems target the 48V applications in automotive, industry and renewable energy applications. Using 48V bus is quite a new trend pushed by form factor reduction needs, especially for automotive applications: Battery charging, BMS, auxiliary systems or small EV, as demonstrated recently by Valeo.

GaN Systems plans to develop technology solutions on these two main voltages: 100V and 650V, to target new applications and innovation spreading in this field.

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Microchip Technology is more a microcontroller and mixed-signal and analog devices manufacturer. They decided to acquire Microsemi Corporation.

They found an agreement where Microchip Technology will acquire Microsemi’s shares at $68.78, which will represent a total of equity of $8.35 billion. Both companies are looking at building a common strategy, joining Microsemi’s position on Power devices and Power Electronics markets, and Microchip position in analog and control devices.

The terms of the agreement have already been accepted by both companies’ Board of Directors, but it still needs confirmation of validity from the authorities and acceptance from Microsemi’s stakeholders. It’s expected to close by the end of Q2 2018.

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