GaN Power Devices

From: Panasonic

What is GaN?
With various environmental issues, the depletion of oil resources, limited source of energ etc., energy saving became a worldwide priority. The role of power supplies of electrical systems in energy conservation is rapidly becoming an important part of the solution.
Power devices used in electrical energy conversion and control systems that consume tremendous amount of power during operations are especially regarded as the key devices to “save energy” It is therefore important to optimize the efficiency of these devices to minimize energy loss during their operation.

Power devices have two contributors of energy loss

  1. “Conduction loss” that is due to the resistance in the device current loop.
  2. “Switching loss” that occurs during the transition between “On” and “Off” states.

In order to reduce these energy losses, it is necessary to “Reduce the resistance of the device current loop” and “Improve the switching speed”.
GaN has the potential to reduce energy loss of the power devices. “GaN (gallium nitride)”, a compound of Ga (Gallium) and N (Nitrogen), possesses high breakdown voltage and low conduction resistance characteristics that enable high-speed switching and miniaturization. Unlike conventional Si transistors that require bigger chip area to reduce on-resistance, GaN devices having small sizes (i.e. low parasitic capacitance) allow high speed switching and miniaturization with ease.

What is GaN

GaN is the next generation power device able to minimize power loss and achieve high-speed switching with the following characteristics:

  • Miniaturization
  • High breakdown voltage
  • High-speed switching