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    GaN transistors to demo power efficiency at APEC 2107 show in Florida

    By Majeed Ahmad | March 21, 2017


    TI’s GaN-based LMG5200 module for 48V-to-POL applications in datacenters (shown on top) uses eGaN power FETs from EPC.

    Gallium nitride (GaN) chips are going to have a show of power — and how they can boost power density and energy efficiency — at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) being held on 26-30 March 2017 in Tampa, Florida.

    Texas Instruments will showcase how its GaN-based 48 to POL half-bridge controllers can facilitate greater energy efficiency at the AC-to-processor stage. TI claims that its GaN modules allow designers step to down 48V to lower output voltages in a single stage while eliminating the need for the intermediate bus DC/DC conversion stage.

    The wastage of power in datacenters is now well documented. A recent Energy Imperative story chronicled how chipmakers like Maxim-Integrated, STMicro, and Vicor are warming up to the 48V datacenter architecture in order to reduce distribution and conversion power losses.

    According to TI, its 48V to POL power solution with GaN is 2 to 4 percent more efficient than silicon-based systems. Moreover, as shown in the above image, TI’s GaN module uses a total of 140 components at 1.1-inch2 of power supply area, compared to 242 components used at 4.2-inch2 in two-stage silicon solution.

    In its LMG5200-based modules, designed for 48V to 1V conversion, TI uses GaN transistors from Efficient Power Conversion (EPC), which is also going to be a major presence at the APEC show in Florida. The chipmaker, for instance, will exhibit a LiDAR sensor design for autonomous vehicles that are based on its GaN FETs.

    Then, there is going to be Transphorm, another GaN semiconductors upstart, which plans to demonstrate a switch-mode power supply solution at the event. Transphorm has recently qualified its 650V GaN chips for the high-voltage power conversion applications.

    Panasonic will also exhibit the 600V GaN power chips based on its gate injection transistor (GIT) technology. The devices to be showcased by Panasonic at APEC 2017 include evaluation boards and proof-of-concept solutions.