GaN (Gallium Nitride) material is quickly becoming a winning solution for all electronics applications that require high performances in terms of efficiency; this is evident when a comparison is done between GaN and the SiC, which is another new “rising star” substrate for integrated electronic circuits (see Figure 1):
A comparison between SiC and GaN materials in terms of efficiency and junction temperature as the power varies (Source: GaN Systems)
The comparison between these two materials can be done by measuring the power conversion efficiency in two similar application circuits mounting GaN- and SiC-based ICs (see Figure 2):
“A lot of engineers don’t have a good feel for how Gallium Nitride FETs perform compared to Silicon Carbide equivalents. So GaN Systems devised two 650-V, 15-A switching supplies using SiC and GaN to see how they compared.” (Source: GaN Systems)
The adoption of GaN is compatible with other materials normally utilized by the electronics industry demonstrated by a new partnership between two large companies, MACOM and STMicroelectronics that have recently signed an agreement to produce GaN-on-Silicon for RF applications:
“This agreement punctuates our long journey of leading the RF industry’s conversion to GaN on Silicon technology. To date, MACOM has refined and proven the merits of GaN on Silicon using rather modest compound semiconductor factories, replicating and even exceeding the RF performance and reliability of expensive GaN on SiC alternative technology,” said John Croteau, President and CEO, MACOM. “We expect this collaboration with ST to bring those GaN innovations to bear in a Silicon supply chain that can ultimately service the most demanding customers and applications.”
“ST’s scale and operational excellence in Silicon wafer manufacturing aims to unlock the potential to drive new RF power applications for MACOM and ST as it delivers the economic breakthroughs necessary to expand the market for GaN on Silicon,” said Marco Monti, President of the Automotive and Discrete Product Group, STMicroelectronics. “While expanding the opportunities for existing RF applications is appealing, we’re even more excited about using GaN on Silicon in new RF Energy applications, especially in automotive applications, such as plasma ignition for more efficient combustion in conventional engines, and in RF lighting applications, for more efficient and longer-lasting lighting systems."
Do you think this new approach to the demanding applications of electronics will empower more potential efforts in electronics technologies?