Palm Springs CA - From the confines of their well-sized booth at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), International Rectifier (IR) has decided to announce what they hope is a 'game-changer' in the power component world by introducing the industry's first family of commercial integrated power stage products utilizing Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based power device technology. The iP2010 and iP2011 family of devices have been introduced for designs of multiphase and point-of-load (POL) applications including servers, routers, switches and general purpose POL DC-DC converters. The iP2010 and iP2011 integrate a highly sophisticated, ultra fast PowIRtune driver IC matched to a multi-switch monolithic GaN-based power device. According to John Lambert, Product Manager for Point of Load Products for IR, the internally-designed PowIRtune gate driver IC optimizes dead time i.e. variations in temperature, load currents and input voltage that are undesirable in POL applications. "Without the PowIRtune gate driver", said Lambert, "you wouldn't see the advantages and benefits of GaN."
The iP2010 features an input voltage range of 7V to 13.2V and output voltage range of 0.6V to 5.5V with an output current up to 30A. The device operates up to 3MHz. Operating up to 5MHz, the pin-compatible iP2011 features the same input and output voltage range but is optimized for an output current up to 20A. By offering multiple current rating devices in a common footprint, IR provides flexibility for meeting different customer requirements in terms of current level, performance and cost.
The switch to GaN-based power devices by IR comes after years of work with silicon. With silicon, IR began to notice that in their research to optimize their power devices, improvements with silicon started to become incrementally smaller. Gallium nitride was chosen after five plus years of research and development, including looking into other materials like silicon carbide, and determining that GaN provided better performance characteristics. Today, GaN is a feasible material, as manufacturing costs of GaN wafers are no longer prohibitive.
"With a switching capability up to 5MHz, the iP201x family enables designers to dramatically reduce the value and size of output capacitors and inductors where space is at premium. The devices can also be configured to operate at a lower switching frequency for applications that require the highest possible efficiencies." Versus traditional designs (like discrete or DrMOS implementations), using the iP201x family can result in a reduction of board space by almost 35%.
For more information about GaN-based power devices, check out International Rectifier's site here.