6 February 2018
VisIC samples first 1200V GaN power module
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
VisIC Technologies Ltd of Nes Ziona, Israel - a fabless developer of power conversion devices based on gallium nitride (GaN) metal-insulator-semiconductor high-electron-mobility transistors (MISHEMTs) – is sampling what are claimed to be the first 1200V GaN modules, and is announcing a manufacturing partnership with Hsinchu-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TMSC, the world's biggest semiconductor wafer foundry) on their GaN-on-silicon technologies that were announced last year. Engineering samples are now in design with lead customers, and trade demonstrations will take place during PCIM Asia (Power conversion and Intelligent Motion) 2018 in Shanghai, China (26-28 June).
The fast power switch module performs with what is claimed to be the highest efficiency in the industry, enabling small but efficient electric vehicle (xEV) chargers and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.
The new VisIC module is based on TSMC’s 650V GaN-on-silicon process, which provides high yield and fast ramp-up capabilities, while VisIC’s GaN high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) design provides a switching time below 10ns.
With 1200V ratings, the GaN module offers typical on-resistance of just 40mΩ. Target applications are power converters for motor drives, three-phase power supplies and other applications requiring current switching up to 50A.
VisIC’s 1200V GaN device is a half-bridge module that integrates GaN HEMTs with push-pull and over-current and over-temperature protection in a single package. The design takes advantage of VisIC’s Advanced Low Loss Switch (ALL-Switch) technology, which uses a patented, high-density lateral layout that results in fast switching performance and low RDS(on).
The high-voltage GaN module offers reduced gate charge and capacitances with low RDS(on), so the switching energy for the GaN device is as low as 140µJ. Consequently, switching losses are 3-5 times lower than comparable silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs.
VisIC says that, with its 1200V GaN module, designers can greatly reduce system size without compromising performance, yielding ultra-small EV chargers for electric cars or highly efficient motor drives for industrial applications.
The GaN power device market rise to more than $332.5m in 2022, forecasts market research & strategy consulting company Yole Développement in its ‘GaN Power Epitaxy, Devices, Applications and Technology Trends’ report last November (based on products rated for blocking voltages 650V and below). VisIC says that its new module opens up a wider market of devices with 1200V blocking voltage, currently serviced by silicon insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) and silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET devices.
“TSMC has made significant capital and engineering investment in our GaN manufacturing capability, which makes this platform well suited to support VisIC and its customers’ demands,” says Maria Marced, president of TSMC EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
In addition to UPS and xEV chargers, 1200V GaN technology enables a wide range of inverter applications, which require high current (hundreds of Amperes). Such high-current applications require a high-volume GaN manufacturing capability, which TSMC provides.
“GaN has better fundamental physical properties, such as maximal breakdown field and current density, than those of silicon or SiC,” notes VisIC’s chief technology officer Gregory Bunin. “There are no fundamental limitations for GaN products to address the high-voltage, high-current space,” he adds. “This manufacturing partnership allows VisIC to ramp capacity very quickly.”