Technical Session Details T1.1

T1.1 GaN Integration Drives the Second Revolution in Power Conversion:

  • Presenter:​ Stephen Oliver, Navitas Semiconductor

  • Abstract: Forty years ago, the industry experienced a first revolution in power electronics. The silicon (Si) bipolar-junction transistor was surpassed in on-state and switching performance by the development of commercial power MOSFETs such as International Rectifier’s ‘HEXFET’. With the new, ‘fast’ powertrain components came advances in magnetic materials.  New, kHz-switching regulator topologies or ‘switched-mode power supplies’ (SMPS) challenged the dominance of traditional 50 Hz linear regulators, offering the promise of higher efficiencies, higher densities and even lower cost. Device integration, in the form of analog application-specific ICs (ASICs) developed by Silicon General, Unitrode & others, was the catalyst to enable simple, cost-effective and industry-proven designs.

    In the following decade, the power supply industry experienced a 5x increase in power density, a 5x reduction in losses in energy savings and a 3x reduction in costs. The next 30 years saw incremental improvements but no performance shifts as dramatic as the first revolution.

    Today, we are at the start of the second revolution. Gallium Nitride (GaN) powertrains replace Si switches, MHz-switching magnetic materials are broadly available and new, soft-switching topologies such as Active Clamp Flyback (ACF) and critical conduction mode (CrCM) totem-pole PFC are available. Forty years later, device integration is again the catalyst to sparking the performance, size and cost revolution.

    Early discrete GaN implementations need complex, expensive control and protection circuits, which restrict device performance and so limit application advances and market adoption. Now, the monolithic, lateral integration of FET, drive and logic - all in GaN – creates easy-to-use, high-speed, “digital-in, power-out” GaNFast™ Power ICs to drive speed and efficiency increases in power conversion. Designers can now achieve 3x power density increases at similar or lower BOM costs vs. typical old and slow Si systems.

    The presentation will review introduce the GaN power IC structure, and circuit-related reliability structures / techniques. System benefits will be described using a wide range of converters from 27W to 3.2kW and 300 kHz to 1MHz+.

  • Presenter Biography: Stephen Oliver is VP Sales & Marketing for Navitas Semiconductor. He has over 25 years’ experience in the power semiconductor and power supply industries in computing, industrial, automotive and telecom markets with Motorola and Philips (NXP) in the UK, and International Rectifier and Vicor in the USA. He holds a B.Eng (Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Manchester University, UK and an MBA in Global Marketing & Strategy from UCLA, USA. Stephen hold several patents in power semiconductors, is a Chartered Engineer and is currently Chairman of the Power Sources Manufacturers’ Association (PSMA). 

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