24 January 2018
Diamond Electric uses GaN to develop thin 1kW isolated bidirectional DC-DC converter
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Diamond Electric Mfg Co Ltd of Osaka, Japan (which makes ignition coils for automobiles, and designs and makes DC-DC convertors such as power conditioners, onboard chargers and onboard DC/DC converters) has developed a business-card-sized, thin isolated bidirectional DC-DC converter (IBDC).
By adopting gallium nitride (GaN)-based power semiconductors, the technology can substantially downsize and reduce the weight of DC-DC converters (which are essential for rechargeable batteries) and is expected to contribute to the proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grids.
In recent years, the requirements of large-capacity batteries for EVs and smart grids have caused the voltages of rechargeable batteries to rise. Demands are therefore growing for higher-level isolation of DC-DC converters to ensure safety and to meet safety standards.
In response, Diamond Electric has developed the new IBDC by fully utilizing its controlling technology (for which a patent is pending). The IBDC combines both charger and discharger circuits.
By adopting high-frequency switching technology (up to 2MHz), Diamond Electric has developed the ultra-compact IBDC (93.5mm x 60mm x 10.5mm excluding the control circuit and heatsink).
Further, the use of GaN-based power semiconductors has enabled high conversion efficiency (up to 95%) despite the high-frequency switching. By utilizing these technologies, Diamond Electric expects to downsize the final product to 25% of the size of existing models.