[This article was originally published by Pi Innovo]
An introduction to GaN (gallium nitride) for power conversion and control applications
The benefits of gallium nitride semiconductors stem from its unique material and electronic properties. GaN devices offer five key characteristics compared to silicon-based devices:
– High dielectric strength
– High current density
– High switching speeds
– Low on-resistance
– Ability to withstand higher operating temperature
Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.
Taking advantage of these properties, our partner, GaN Systems has successfully developed transistors with an on-resistance lower than that attainable with silicon, and even better than a mechanical relay contact. This together with GaN’s inherent negligible charge storage permits the design of power switching circuits with formerly unheard of efficiencies, small size and very low heat losses.
In applications where efficiency, and therefore size and weight, is important, GaN is an important enabling technology.
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