GaN demo board challenges silicon in high power density apps

A 300W DC-DC demo board measuring 33 mm x 22.9 mm x 9mm (1.3 x 0.9 x 0.35 in) and achieving greater than 95 per cent efficiency for 48V input to 12V regulated output conversation at 25A is now available from EPC.

The 1/16th brick size EPC9157 integrates the Renesas ISL81806 80V dual synchronous buck controller with EPC’s latest-generation EPC2218 eGaN FETs.

Renesas’ ISL81806 is an 80V dual-output or two-phase synchronous buck controller with integrated GaN drivers, supporting switching frequencies up to 2 MHz. It uses peak current mode control and generates two independent outputs, or one output with two interleaved phases. It supports current sharing, synchronisation for paralleling more controllers and/or more phases, enhanced light load efficiency, and low shutdown current.

Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC, said: “Renesas’ synchronous buck controller IC makes using GaN even easier. We are delighted to work with Renesas to combine the benefits of its advanced controllers with the performance of GaN to provide customers with a low component-count solution that increases efficiency and power density and reduces system cost for 48 V power conversion.”

Protection features include input under voltage lock out, over current, over voltage and over temperature. The integrated ISL81806 can directly drive EPC GaN FETs and EPC says that it reduces BOM cost for GaN solutions because it does not require any microcontroller, current sense amplifiers, or housekeeping power.

“The ISL81806 takes full advantage of the high performance of GaN FETs for high-power-density solutions while reducing BOM costs. It makes designing with GaN FETs as simple as using silicon-based FETs,” said Philip Chesley, vice-president, industrial and communications business division at Renesas..

Brick DC-DC converters are widely used in data centre, computing, telecommunication and automotive applications, converting a nominal 48V to a nominal 12V distribution bus, among other output voltages. The main trend has been toward higher power density with eGaNFETs helping to provide the fast switching, high efficiency and small size to meet demanding power density requirements.

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