GaN power conversion for more compact and efficient power supplies

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Integrated device manufacturer STMicroelectronics has launched the MasterGaN4 power packages, which integrate two symmetrical 650V gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors with 225mΩ RDS(on), alongside optimized gate drivers and circuit protection to simplify the design of high-efficiency power-conversion applications up to 200W output.

According to ST, the MasterGaN4 simplifies design using wide-bandgap GaN power semiconductors by taking away the complex gate-control and circuit-layout challenges. With inputs tolerant of voltages from 3.3V to 15V, they can be controlled by connecting the packages directly to Hall-effect sensors or a CMOS device such as a microcontroller, DSP or FPGA.

By leveraging the higher operating frequencies enabled by the superior switching performance of GaN transistors, as well as their increased efficiency that reduces thermal dissipation, ST states that designers can choose small magnetic components and heatsinks to build more compact and lightweight power supplies, chargers and adapters. It notes the MasterGaN4 is ideally suited to use in symmetrical half-bridge topologies as well as soft-switching topologies such as active clamp flyback and active clamp forward.

The wide supply-voltage range, from 4.75V to 9.5V, also allows for connection to an existing power rail. Built-in protection further simplifies design, including gate-driver interlocks, low-side and high-side under-voltage lockout (UVLO), and over-temperature protection. There is also a dedicated shutdown pin.

As part of the launch, ST is also introducing a dedicated prototype board, the EVALMasterGaN4, which provides a complete set of features to drive the MasterGaN4 with a single or complementary driving signal. An adjustable deadtime generator is also provided. The board gives users the flexibility to apply a separate input signal or PWM signal, insert an external bootstrap diode, separate the logic and gate-driver supply rails, and to use a low-side shunt resistor for peak-current-mode topologies.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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