Automotive Electronics

GaN FETs Extend Cost/Performance Benefits over Silicon

Efficient Power Conversion Corporation has advanced the performance capability while lowering the cost of off-the-shelf gallium-nitride transistors with the introduction of the EPC2045 (7mΩ, 100V) and the EPC2047 (10mΩ, 200V) eGaN FETs. Applications for the EPC2045 include single-stage 48V-to-load Open Rack server architectures, point-of-load converters, USB-C, and LiDAR. Wireless charging, multi-level ac-dc power supplies, robotics, and solar micro inverters are example applications for the 200V EPC2047.

Widening the performance/cost gap with equivalent silicon power transistors, the 100V, 7mΩ EPC2045, cuts the die size in half compared to the prior-generation EPC2001C eGaN FET. The 200V, 10mΩ EPC2046 eGaN FET also cuts the size in half so that it is now about 15-times smaller than equivalently rated silicon MOSFETs.

Alex Lidow, EPC's co-founder and CEO explained, "The performance, size, and cost improvements in our new generation products are made possible by a process breakthrough which enables EPC to both reduce the electric fields in the drain region during breakdown, and significantly reduce the number of traps that could cause electrons to become inactive."

Designers no longer have to choose between size and performance they can have both. The chip-scale packaging of eGaN products handles thermal conditions far better than the plastic packaged MOSFETs since the heat is dissipated directly to the environment with chip-scale devices, whereas the heat from the MOSFET die is held within a plastic package.

"We are very excited about how our innovative gallium-nitride technology used in the development of these eGaN FETs is changing the industry, Lidow further stated. "These new products demonstrate how EPC's gallium-nitride transistor technology is increasing the performance and reducing the cost of eGaN devices for applications currently being served by MOSFETs."

"Further, advancements in EPC's GaN technology will continue to enable new end-use applications that go beyond the capability of silicon devices. These products are evidence that the performance and cost gap with MOSFET technology continues to widen. In the near-term we will be introducing both lower-voltage and higher-voltage devices based on our latest-generation eGaN technology, and we are working on integrated GaN devices with increasing levels of functionality that will make it even easier to achieve the performance and cost benefits of eGaN in system designs," Lidow concluded.

There are three development boards available to support easy in-circuit performance evaluation of the EPC2045 and the EPC2047 respectively. The EPC9078 and EPC9080 support the 100V EPC2045, whereas the EPC9081 features the 200V EPC2047.

A virtue of underlying GaN process developments is that these devices have significantly lower capacitance than their silicon counterparts. This condition translates into lower gate drive losses and lower device switching losses at higher frequencies for the same on-resistance and voltage rating. In the case of the EPC2045, a 30 percent reduction in power loss with a 2.5 percentage points better efficiency than the best comparable MOSFET was achieved in a 48V-to-5V circuit operating at 500kHz switching frequency.

In contrast to silicon MOSFETs, the switching performance of eGaN FETs improves even though they are significantly smaller this attribute introduces a "virtuous cycle" for eGaN products going forward that will result in continued introduction of smaller devices with higher performance.

Low volume pricing for the EPC2045 100V, 7mΩ product at 1K units is $2.66 each, and low volume pricing for the EPC2047 200V, 25mΩ product at 1K units is $4.63 each. The development boards are priced at $118.25 each. Both products and development boards are available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key.

Efficient Power Conversion Corporation
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