Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Energy Integrations’ gallium nitride (GaN) story

Energy Integrations’ gallium nitride (GaN) story


Gallium nitride (GaN) energy semiconductors proceed to push the boundaries of high-voltage electronics, as evident at this yr’s Utilized Energy Electronics Convention (APEC) in Lengthy Seashore, California. GaN units are transferring past quick chargers for cell telephones, tablets, and recreation machines into the realm of automotive, renewable vitality, and industrial purposes.

At APEC 2024, throughout his plenary presentation titled “Innovating for Sustainability and Profitability,” Energy Integrations CEO Balu Balakrishnan revealed that his firm had been delivery GaN switches for 2 to a few years in excessive quantity earlier than anyone knew it. “We by no means marketed our GaN expertise as a result of we noticed it as a way to an finish to ship excessive effectivity and efficiency.”

Determine 1 Balakrishnan talked about his firm’s GaN historical past and future roadmap at APEC 2024. Supply: Energy Integrations

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That was fairly a revelation as a result of, in accordance with Omdia, Energy Integrations was the primary provider of GaN energy semiconductors in 2022, with almost 17% market share. Furthermore, in October 2023, Energy Integrations unveiled a 1,250 V GaN IC; it claims energy conversion effectivity as excessive as 93% whereas enabling extremely compact flyback energy provides that may ship as much as 85 W with out a heatsink.

Earlier, in March 2023, the Silicon Valley-based energy semiconductor provider launched a 900-V GaN IC as a part of its InnoSwitch3 household of flyback switcher ICs. It delivers as much as 100 W with higher than 93% effectivity and eliminates the necessity for warmth sinks.

Determine 2 The 1,250-V GaN energy provide IC is a part of the corporate’s InnoSwitch flyback switcher ICs. Supply: Energy Integrations

Energy Integrations claims to be the primary to market with high-volume shipments of GaN-based power-supply ICs in 2019. A GaN swap, built-in with a controller and every little thing else in a single bundle, was first utilized in a pocket book adapter design. “Two clients had been very suspicious, saying there isn’t a approach you possibly can have that stage of effectivity with silicon,” Balakrishnan instructed the APEC viewers. “So, we needed to inform them underneath a non-disclosure settlement (NDA).”

“Effectivity goes to be the mantra in energy electronics for a very long time,” he added. Balakrishnan additionally mentioned that GaN will finally be cheaper than silicon for high-voltage switches. “There is no such thing as a elementary purpose why it gained’t be cost-effective in the long term.”

Nevertheless, he clarified that GaN will exchange silicon in sure areas. “Everyone thinks it should exchange silicon, however GaN gained’t exchange silicon in controllers and digital circuitry,” he added. Balakrishnan and his engineers at Energy Integrations additionally imagine that GaN will get to the purpose the place it’ll be very aggressive with SiC whereas being cheaper to construct.

As Balakrishnan famous, GaN has been talked about for a very long time, however the problem was working reliably on excessive voltage. It’s ascent to voltages as excessive as 900 V, 1,250 V, and probably even greater voltages reveals that GaN is prepared for industrial limelight.

Consequently, stakes for GaN semiconductor gamers, together with Energy Integrations, are getting greater as effectively.

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