Trade Resources Industry Views APEI Announced Test Results for a Gallium Nitride Power Switch Based DC-DC Boost Converter

APEI Announced Test Results for a Gallium Nitride Power Switch Based DC-DC Boost Converter

Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc (APEI) of Fayetteville, AR, USA, a developer of technology for power electronics systems, electronic motor drives and power electronics packaging, and GaN Systems Inc of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which is a fabless provider of gallium nitride (GaN)-based power switching semiconductors for power conversion and control applications, have announced test results for a gallium nitride power switch based DC-DC boost converter.

The converter demonstrated at APEI exploited the ultra-high switching capability of GaN Systems’ high-power switch to achieve a 1MHz switching capability. In addition, the boost converter was able to demonstrate efficiency of more than 98.5% at 5kW output power. Testing demonstrated turn-on and turn-off transitions of only 8.25ns and 3.72ns, respectively.

The converter is on display at the Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC 2013) in Long Beach, CA (17-21 March), where both APEI and GaN Systems have booths showcasing the power package and converter technologies. Co-development of the GaN power switch and boost converter was funded partly by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (a foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates a $550m fund to support development of clean technologies addressing issues of clean air, climate change, clean water, and clean soil), with the goal of demonstrating the efficiency, performance and reliability of GaN power devices for hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs and EVs). Other key applications include high-efficiency power supplies, solar inverters and industrial motor drives.

GaN power switches offer increased system performance advantages over traditional power semiconductor devices when used in power conversion systems, note the firms. “Wide-bandgap semiconductor technology, such as gallium nitride, enables increased power density for modern power electronic systems,” says APEI’s director of business development Dr Ty McNutt. “We are developing novel power packages and high-performance systems around these ultra-high-speed devices.”

As new GaN devices become available at increasing power levels, demonstration in high-power systems is paramount to customer acceptance, reckons GaN Systems. “The ultra-high switching frequency that gallium nitride enables is one key to reducing the size and weight of power electronic systems,” says the firm’s CEO Girvan Patterson. “These test results demonstrate first-hand the system-level benefits enabled by this.”

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APEI and GaN Systems Demo High-Efficiency Dc-Dc Boost Converter with Ultra-High-Speed Gan Switch