TI introduces GaN field-effect transistors for automotive and industrial applications

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Texas Instruments (TI) has expanded its high-voltage power management portfolio with the next generation of 650V and 600V gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistors (FETs) for automotive and industrial applications.

With a fast-switching, 2.2-MHz integrated gate driver, these families of GaN FETs have been designed to help engineers deliver twice the power density, achieve 99% efficiency and significantly reduce the size of power magnetics. TI developed these FETs using its proprietary GaN materials and processing capabilities on a GaN-on-silicon (Si) substrate.

With vehicle electrification transforming the automotive industry, and consumers increasingly demanding vehicles that can charge faster and drive farther, engineers are being challenged to design compact, lightweight automotive systems without compromising on vehicle performance.

According to TI, these new GaN FETs can help reduce the size of electric vehicle (EV) onboard chargers and DC/DC converters by as much as 50% compared to existing Si or SiC solutions – enabling engineers to achieve extended battery range, increased system reliability and lower design cost. In industrial designs, the devices enable high efficiency and power density in AC/DC power-delivery applications where low losses and reduced board space are important – such as hyperscale and enterprise computing platforms as well as 5G telecom rectifiers.

“Industrial and automotive applications increasingly demand more power in less space, and designers must deliver proven power management systems that operate reliably over the long lifetime of the end equipment,” said Steve Lambouses, vice president for High Voltage Power at TI. “Backed by more than 40 million device reliability hours and more than 5 GWh of power conversion application testing, TI’s GaN technology provides the lifetime reliability engineers require in any market.”

In high-voltage, high-density applications, minimising board space is an important design consideration. TI’s GaN FETs integrate a fast-switching driver, plus internal protection and temperature sensing, enabling engineers to achieve high performance while reducing board space for their power management designs. This integration, plus the high power density of TI’s GaN technology, enables engineers to eliminate more than 10 components typically required for discrete solutions. Additionally, each of the new 30-mΩ FETs can support up to 4 kW of power conversion when applied in a half-bridge configuration.

GaN also has the advantage of fast switching, which enables smaller, lighter and more efficient power systems. Historically, the trade-off with gaining fast switching capability is higher power losses. To avoid this trade-off, these GaN FETs feature TI’s ideal diode mode to reduce power losses. In PFCs, for example, ideal diode mode reduces third-quadrant losses by up to 66% compared to discrete GaN and SiC metal oxide silicon FETs (MOSFETs). Ideal diode mode also eliminates the need for adaptive dead-time control, reducing firmware complexity and development time.

Offering significantly lower thermal impedance, the TI GaN FET packaging allows engineers to use smaller heat sinks while simplifying thermal designs. The new devices provide maximum thermal design flexibility, no matter the application, with the ability to choose from either a bottom- or top-side-cooled package. In addition, the FETs’ integrated digital temperature reporting enables active power management, allowing engineers to optimize system thermal performance under varying loads and operating conditions.