AES Semigas


8 November 2021

Navitas launches third-generation GaN power IC with GaNSense technology

Gallium nitride (GaN) power integrated circuit firm Navitas Semiconductor of El Segundo, CA, USA and Dublin, Ireland has launched its third-generation GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense technology. GaNSense integrates critical, real-time autonomous sensing and protection circuits, further improving reliability and robustness while increasing the energy savings and fast-charging benefits of Navitas’ GaN IC technology.

Founded in 2014, Navitas introduced what it claimed to be the first commercial GaN power integrated circuits. Its proprietary GaNFast power ICs monolithically integrate GaN power field-effect transistors (FETs) and GaN drive plus control and protection circuits in a single SMT package. Since GaN is reckoned to run up to 20x faster than silicon, GaNFast power ICs are said to deliver up to 3x faster charging or 3x more power in half the size and weight, and with up to 40% energy savings compared with silicon chips.

GaNSense technology integrates real-time, accurate and fast sensing of system parameters including current and temperature. This enables a patent-pending loss-less current-sensing capability, which improves energy savings by up to an additional 10% compared with prior generations, as well as further reducing external component count and shrinking system footprints. In addition, if the GaN IC identifies a potentially dangerous system condition, it is designed to transition rapidly to a cycle-by-cycle sleep-state, protecting both the device and the surrounding system. GaNSense also integrates an autonomous standby-power feature that automatically reduces standby power consumption when the GaN IC is in idle-mode, helping to further reduce power consumption, which is especially important to the growing list of customers aggressively pursuing their own environmental initiatives.

With what is claimed to be the industry’s tightest current-measurement accuracy and GaNFast response time, GaNSense technology means reducing dangerous over-current spikes by 50% and reducing time in the ‘danger zone’ by 50% compared with previous best-in-class solutions. GaNFast monolithic integration delivers dependable, glitch-free operation with no ‘ringing’, for improved system reliability, says Navitas.

“From detection to protection in only 30ns, GaNSense technology is 600% faster than discrete GaN implementations,” reckons chief operating officer/chief technology officer & co-founder Dan Kinzer. “This next generation from Navitas provides a highly accurate and effective defense against potential system failure modes. Couple that with immunity to transient voltages up to 800V and tight gate waveform control and voltage regulation, only possible with our proprietary process design kit, and you have a new standard in reliability, robustness and performance for power semiconductors,” he claims.

The new family of GaN power ICs with GaNSense technology spans 10 products, which all have the core, critical GaNFast integration of GaN power, GaN drive, control and protection. All are rated at 650V/800V with 2kV ESD protection, and RDS(ON) of 120-450mΩ in 5mm x 6mm and 6mm x 8mm PQFN packaging… with the GaNSense protection circuits and loss-less current-sensing. This family of third-generation GaN ICs is optimized for modern power conversion topologies including high-frequency quasi-resonant (HFQR) flyback, active-clamp flyback (ACF) and PFC (power factor correction) boost, which are popular for delivering the fastest, most efficient and smallest chargers and adapters in the mobile and consumer markets.

Target markets include fast-chargers for smartphones and laptops, with an estimated GaN potential of $2bn/year, and another $2bn/year consumer market including all-in-one PCs, TVs and home networking and automation. GaNSense technology is already used in Lenovo’s YOGA 65W laptop charger.

To date, over 30 million GaNFast power ICs have shipped, achieving over 116 billion device hours in the field – with zero reported GaN field failures. Each GaNFast power IC shipped has a 4-10x reduced carbon footprint and saves 4kg of CO2 compared with legacy silicon chips, it is reckoned.

GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense technology is being showcased at the following events:

  • 8 November: WiPDA 2021 (virtual) by COO/CTO & co-founder Dan Kinzer;
  • 11 November: CPSSC 2021 (Shanghai) by Dr Xiucheng Huang, senior director, Applications;
  • 18 November: PSMA Power Technology Roadmap (virtual) by Dan Kinzer.

GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense technology are in mass production with immediate availability. Full technical details of the new GaNSense technology, including datasheets, qualification data, application notes and samples are available to customer partners under non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Tags: GaN Power electronics