Is it the End of the Road for Silicon in Power Conversion?

Conference: CIPS 2010 - 6th International Conference on Integrated Power Electronics Systems
03/16/2010 - 03/18/2010 at Nuremberg, Germany

Proceedings: CIPS 2010

Pages: 8Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Lidow, Alex (Efficient Power Conversion Corporation, El Segundo, USA)

For the past three decades, power management efficiency and cost have shown steady improvement as innovations in power MOSFET structures, technology, and circuit topologies have paced the growing need for electrical power in our daily lives. In the last few years, however, the rate of improvement has slowed as the silicon power MOSFET has asymptotically approached its theoretical bounds. We will address the new game-changing power management products, available today and planned for the near future, that are built on Gallium Nitride grown on top of a silicon substrate. Enhancement mode devices, first introduced in June 2009, will be demonstrated in DC-DC conversion and Class D audio applications. GaN roadmaps for improved device performance and for system-on-chip integration will also be discussed. Performance is only one dimension of the equation leading to the conclusion that GaN-on-silicon is a game-changer. The other dimensions are product reliability and cost. These topics will also be discussed showing that the capability to displace silicon across a significant portion of the power management market is now in hand.