Recent advancements in the semiconductor sector include the use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) components. Gallium Nitride “GaN” is a promising material to replace silicon in power electronics application in the 650 V market sector, such as solar (PV) inverters, power supplies, motor controllers or LED drivers. Power systems based on GaN can be lighter, more compact, significantly more efficient and potentially cheaper than those based on Silicon.
The consumer electronics sector has, for specific cases, started adopting the GaN components in mass production, making use of one of the most obvious benefits of GaN: the increased switching frequency and therefore resulting in higher power density. In particular, the AC/DC chargers for mobile applications are targeted, which can achieve high power capability whilst still being compact.
But what about the market of industrial electronics, where a lot of power conversion is needed? As mentioned, the GaN technology allows for quite great performance, but it comes with a price: it requires some specific attention points during the design. These attention points vary from small differences in control voltage to high dV/dT slopes capable of latching up the gate drivers, something which can cause a lot of trouble if it occurs in a real application.