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3 September 2014

Transphorm awarded patents for GaN power conversion

Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA, which designs and provides gallium nitride (GaN)-based power conversion devices and modules for power supplies and adapters, motor drives, solar inverters and electric vehicles, has secured fundamental patents in the area of GaN power conversion.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent number 8,816,751 (‘Inductive Load Power Switching Circuits’) was granted on 26 August and patent application number 13/887,204 (‘Bridge Circuits and Their Components’) was allowed by the USPTO on 27 August. Both are directed towards the operation and use of GaN transistors in a multitude of applications including half bridges (the basic building blocks of a variety of power conversion circuits). Counterparts of these patents have also been issued in China and Taiwan and are pending in several other countries.

The patents belong to a bridge circuit patent family based on the TRANSPHORM DIODE-FREE GaN solution, where a GaN transistor also serves the function of the conventional anti-parallel or fly-back diode required in traditional approaches. This not only helps eliminate diode components but also eliminates the cost, space and energy loss associated with them, resulting in compact, higher-efficiency systems, says Transphorm. Bridge circuits are used in virtually all power converters/inverters, including photovoltaic (PV) inverters, motor drives, DC-DC blocks of power supplies, and many power factor correction (PFC) circuits such as ultra-high-efficiency Totem-Pole PFCs. These bridge circuits cover more than 60% of the total market.

Over the last several years, GaN semiconductors have emerged as a leading technology enabler for the next wave of compact, energy-efficient power conversion systems, ranging from ultra-small adapters, high-power-density PCs, server and telecom power supplies to highly efficient PV inverters and motion control systems, says Transphorm. A strong IP position is essential to ramping any commercial GaN business, it believes.

Transphorm has established a power conversion platform that, enabled by its EZ-GaN technology, has allowed it to introduce what is claimed to be the first 600V GaN products. The firm’s products are backed by a broad intellectual property portfolio comprising more than 450 independent patents/patent applications and more than 1100 worldwide patents/patent applications — claimed to be the most extensive IP portfolio in the GaN power arena. “Based on my years of experience with patent portfolios of emerging semiconductor companies, Transphorm’s is the best and most complete I have ever encountered,” remarks Roger Borovoy, Transphorm’s IP counsel from Fish & Richardson.

“Transphorm’s patent portfolio comprises fundamental IP in all key areas, ranging from material growth of GaN-on-silicon, device structures and fabrication, and packaging and circuits, with a particularly far-reaching impact on the use of GaN in applications,” reckons Transphorm’s co-founder & president Primit Parikh. “No matter how other GaN providers manufacture their products, they will have to consider Transphorm’s GaN bridge circuit patent family for bridge applications, by far the largest market segment for high-voltage GaN.”

Transphorm’s easy-to-embed power conversion modules are claimed to reduce energy loss by more than 50% and simplify the design and manufacturing of a wide variety of electrical systems and devices, including motor drives, power supplies and inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles. The firm adds that its access to high-scale foundry manufacturing through its relationship with Fujitsu enables it to meet growing demand from global customers needing energy-saving GaN power conversion products.

See related items:

Transphorm and Fujitsu to merge GaN power device businesses

Tags: Transphorm GaN-on-Si GaN HEMT

Visit: www.transphormusa.com

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