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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.

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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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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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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Navitas Semiconductor today announced that GaNFast™ power ICs are used in the ‘Mu One’, a universal 45W consumer charger with an ultra-slim form factor: 14mm thickness. A Navitas GaN power IC is used in combination with USB-PD (USB Type C plug). The 45W adapter can fast-charge a smartphone or charge a laptop.

GaN power ICs reduce the size, weight and cost of  passive components by operating at higher frequency, and keeping losses low. The use of such devices using GaN ICs was expected for more than a year. Precedents small and light chargers include Dart from FiNSix, Zolt from Avogy, or the 55cc from Innergie (a subsidiary of Delta Electronics). PntPower analyzed the trend in previous articles (here, here and here) and will soon publish an update on this topic.

This time, the device is produce by Made in Mind, a UK based start-up:

“At Made in Mind, we are pre-programmed to challenge industry norms, we seek the finest of partners who share our beliefs. The Navitas GaNFast chips in the Mu One gave us a tremendous edge on speed-of-charging, efficiency and size”.

Commented Mathew Judkins, CEO of Made-in-Mind.

“Consumers can anticipate a wide range of fast-charging, high-density solutions in the coming months as our customers deliver a new class of power adapters with our GaNFast power IC technology.”

said Gene Sheridan, Navitas CEO.

The Mu One 45W adapter is available via a crowdfunding campaign, similarly to its competitors.

Panasonic developed a new gate technology for GaN Power Devices. The insulated-gate transistor allows a continuous stable operation with no variation in its threshold voltage. It’s called MIS, for Metal Insulated Semiconductor. While continuing to improve and produce its GaN GIT, Panasonic worked on this new type of GaN devices based on MIS gate structure. Hysteresis normally occurs in MIS type GaN devices. Here, Panasonic managed to obtain continuous stable operation, which is required to operate the devices at high frequency.

They announced a few of the characteristics:

  • Continuous stable operation: maximum gate voltage of +10V
  • Drain current: 20A
  • Breakdown voltage: 730V
  • OFF operation time of 1.9 ns and ON operation time of 4.1 ns

A mix of Panasonic previous GaN technology, and gate structure innovation

The transistor is based on some previously developed and proven innovation from Panasonic as their GaN-on-Si technology. This allows the breakdown voltage of 730V. They also developed a crystal growth process to from the recessed gate structure without defects or processing damages. This allows the normally-off operation with such a drain current capability.

Source: Panasonic

The new gate insulator is based on AlON (Aluminum Oxynitride). It suppresses the hysteresis phenomenon usually observed for such a gate structure, created by electron traps within the insulator.

No production or commercialization roadmap has been given.

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VisIC technologies, the GaN Israeli start-up, released two major announces at the same time: They are partnering with TSMC for mass production agreement, and they are starting to sample 1200V GaN transistors (and it’s a first).

VisIC 1200V GaN module:

The 1200V device released by VisIC for sampling is a half-bridge module with HEMTs, push-pull, over-current and over-temperature protection all included in the package. It logically use their in-house ALL-Switch technology: A lateral layer layout that improves switching capability and Rds(ON).

Bringing GaN transistors to the 1200V range allows new markets and applications for this wide band gap material. It could then target UPS and car chargers as well as PV inverters, EV traction inverter (see our Tesla’s IGBT based inverter article) and many more. 1.2kV is the limit where GaN is not only competing and enhancing Super Junction MOSFET applications but also IGBTs and SiC MOSFETs.

Partnership with TSMC:

TSMC’s partnership is not a first. The Taiwanese worldwide leader in chip manufacturing (TSMC is Apple Iphone processor manufacturer) has massively invested in GaN. It’s an opportunity for them to enter the power electronics market, opened by a new technology coming.

They also signed partnerships with other GaN device designers (GaNsystems and Dialog Semiconductor). It’s another main news and shows how TSMC quickly positioned themselves as a key player in a new born market.

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Corsair, a leader in parts and components for PCs and laptops, announced the release of their last PSU (Power Supply Unit), the AX1600i. This 1600W power supply is mainly targeting gamers PCs. The 1.6kW power is large enough to supply a Desktop PC with a large microprocessor and several energy consuming graphic cards.

The real innovation in this specific PSU is that it’s using GaN based semiconductor:

The AX1600i uses Transphorm’s TPH3205WS 650V FETs in a bridgeless totem-pole power factor correction (PFC) topology. The boost PFC stage is then very efficient and taking the most of GaN technology. They replace Silicon SuperJunction MOSFETs that were used in previous Corsair power supplies topologies in a 2-phased interleaved PFC topology, less efficient. The power supply is now placed at a more than 80 PLUS Titanium rating.

Corsair Power supply unit for desktop gamer PC GaN gallium nitride devices

Courtesy of http://www.tomshardware.com/

Corsair choose Transphorm as it seems to be the best options for volume production and matching the characteristics and topology they were aiming at. They come in TO247 package, similarly to most SuperJunction MOSFETs. The semiconductor start-up has been fully involved in the design and test process to reach the results presented now.

Courtesy of http://www.tomshardware.com/

The AX1600i is already available and priced at USD499.

Here are some of the main improvements advertised by Corsair:

  • Power output: 1600W, 6.5% increase
  • Size reduction: 20 mm shorter, 11% smaller
  • Thermal impact: equivalent 50°C continuous output
  • Audible noise impact: slower fan speed, less noise at full load

GaN was expected to be used in consumer power supplies:

This news is totally in line with PntPower market and technology analysis and publications: The best fitting market segment for GaN today is within power supplies. We expected to see more laptop power supplies and desktop power supplies, but only the power range changes.

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