20 September 2017
Navitas’ GaN power ICs enable smallest 65W USB-PD laptop adapter
To keep pace with the dramatic size and weight reductions in laptop designs over the last 10 years, Navitas Semiconductor Inc of El Segundo, CA, USA has launched what it claims is the smallest 65W USB-PD (Type C) adapter reference design.
Founded in 2013, Navitas introduced what it claimed to be the first commercial GaN power ICs. The firm says that its proprietary 'AllGaN' 650V platform process design kit monolithically integrates GaN power field-effect transistors (FETs) with logic and analog circuits, enabling smaller, higher-energy-efficiency and lower-cost power for mobile, consumer, enterprise and new energy markets.
High-frequency, high-efficiency AllGaN Power ICs have been used to deliver 65W in only 45cc/2.7in3 and only 60g in weight by minimizing the size, weight and cost of transformers, filters and heat-sinks. By contrast, existing silicon-based designs can require 6-7in3 and weigh over 300g, says the firm.
“Finally, a laptop adapter is thin and light – like the laptop it charges – and at a great price,” says VP of sales & marketing Stephen Oliver. “Power designers have been faced with several, conflicting industry challenges, from new USB Type C connectivity and USB PD (Power Delivery) output compliance to statutory energy-efficiency standards and the ever-present issue of cost,” he adds. “Navitas’ GaN power ICs deliver the simultaneous achievements of high-speed operation and high efficiency to enable a single system design that meets all of those challenges – at the same or lower cost than old, slow silicon designs”.
The new NVE028A reference design uses GaN power ICs in an active clamp flyback (ACF) topology running 3-4x faster and with 40% lower loss than typical adapter designs, to deliver smaller size and reduced costs. The design is fully compliant with European CoC Tier 2 and US DoE Level VI efficiency standards, in addition to reaching peak efficiencies of over 94% at full load.
“China power supply manufactures have been looking for wide-band-gap components like this, to further increase the power supply’s efficiency and power density to satisfy the requirement of customers,” comments Mark Dehong Xu, president of the China Power Supply Society (CPSS) and director of Zhejiang University’s Institute of Power Electronics.
Unlike earlier attempts at high-density adapters, the NVE028A achieves small size (51mm x 43mm x 20.5mm cased) and what is claimed to be breakthrough power density (1.5W/cc, 24W/in3 cased) using simple, standard, low-cost manufacturing techniques.
“Since we introduced the AllGaN platform at APEC’16, Navitas has announced single and half-bridge GaN power ICs, the world’s smallest 150W adapter, and now the world’s smallest, fully compliant 65W USB-PD design,” says Navitas’ CEO Gene Sheridan. “This is the flexible, high-performance, cost-effective platform that meets and exceeds the targets of the mobile and consumer charger markets”.