The rise of GaN-based power systems

Power Electronics World invited the gallium nitride (GaN) transistor experts at GaN Systems to provide an introduction to the capabilities of high power density, wide bandgap semiconductors for designers who have worked primarily in silicon technologies. This article is the first in a three-part series. By: Paul Wiener, VP Strategic Marketing, GaN Systems.

Higher-efficiency power conversion is critically essential to meet the needs of systems in areas of increasing reliance such as data centers, electric vehicles, renewable energy, industrial motors, and consumer electronics that are consuming ever more power. For example, industrial motors use 30 percent of the world’s electrical energy. Data centers are forecasted to consume 5-10 percent of our energy resources. And with the growing number of IoT applications and devices and the arrival of 5G, the resources required to power them are adding more demand every day. The significant benefits that Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology was expected to bring to the power electronics market are now being realized, especially in the industries mentioned above.

This article, Part 1 of a multi-part series, describes the growth of the GaN power sector and the main application areas being affected. It gives a brief overview of the fundamentals of GaN technology and describes the similarities and advantages of GaN E-HEMTs compared to traditional silicon MOSFETs. It also provides examples of advanced E-HEMTs that are facilitating the rapid adoption of GaN designs in applications that require the highest possible efficiency.

GaN Market Overview

A report from Yole Développement projects the power GaN market to grow at a 79 percent CAGR over the next five years, and by 2020 to reach (USD) $460 million in revenue. According to the analyst firm, the most significant volume will come from the AC/DC and DC/DC power supply market (a predicted $250 million sub-market by 2020), with a significant portion addressing data center power.

Other key areas for GaN adoption are electric and hybrid electric vehicles and wireless power. Additional markets, including solar (PV), industrial motor drives, Class D Audio, UPS systems and consumer electronics, are also driving forces behind this growth…Full article



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