> How GaN is changing the future of semiconductors in English - Archive Url -->

Encrypting your link and protect the link from viruses, malware, thief, etc! Made your link safe to visit.

How GaN is changing the future of semiconductors in English



How GaN is changing the future of semiconductors in English 

The worldwide scarcity of semiconductors is causing manufacturing delays across the board, from refrigerators and microwaves to video game consoles and cellphones (opens in new tab). Experts predict it will be months before business returns to normal, but the shortfall is already having a profound impact on consumer gadgets.

The industry has relied on silicon for decades, but the current chip scarcity leads to a greener, more efficient, and smaller electrical products. Gallium nitride (GaN) is replacing silicon chips in many applications due to its low cost, high performance, and ease of production.

To learn more about how the shortage affects consumer electronics and drives the industry away from silicon, TechRadar Pro talked with Stephen Oliver, VP of Corporate Marketing and Investor Relations at Navitas Semiconductor. Companies including Anker, Aukey, Belkin, Dell, Hyper, Lenovo, OPPO, RAVPower, Verizon, and hundreds more rely on GaN chips from Navitas.

GaN is changing the future of semiconductors

The article has been revised to include Navitas’s responses to additional queries about developments in the GaN power supply sector.

  • Please look at our recommended commercial desktops and laptops now(opens in a new tab)!
  • Here is a compilation of the top laptops for business use (opens new window).
  • See our recommended tablets for business use (opens new window):

What is GaN and why is it important?

Gallium nitride (GaN) is a semiconductor material with a large bandgap and a rigid, hexagonal crystal structure, created by combining gallium (atomic number 31) with nitrogen (atomic number 7). The bandgap of gallium nitride, at 3.4 eV, is more than three times that of silicon, earning it the title of ‘wide’ bandgap, or W.B.G.

Given that a material’s bandgap dictates the maximum allowable electric field, gallium nitride’s larger gap makes it possible to create semiconductors with very small depletion areas, which in turn allows for the design of devices with a high density of carriers. Smaller transistors and shorter current channels result in ultra-low resistance and capacitance, allowing for speeds up to 100 times quicker.

Compared to traditional silicon, GaN technology can produce substantially quicker switching while also handling greater electric fields in a much smaller form factor. Another advantage of GaN technology is that it can function at greater temperatures than silicon-based technologies.

Learn More: GaN Systems

GaN’s rising profile may be attributed to the material’s potential to outperform current silicon technologies in various contexts while using less power and taking up less space. Gallium nitride technologies are becoming essential in some applications because silicon has reached its physical limits as a power conversion platform. In others, they are becoming increasingly attractive because of their efficiency, switching speed, size, and ability to operate at high temperatures.

How is gallium made?

Pure gallium is not found in nature. It has a negligible carbon footprint because it is often a waste product from producing aluminum from bauxite ore and zinc from sphalerite ore.

The price of gallium.

It is believed that there are over a million tonnes of gallium in deposits across the globe and that annual production is above 300 tonnes. As a by-product of processing, its $300/kg price tag is far less than that of gold, which fetches over $60,000/kg.

Where can you find GaN in electrical devices?

While gallium nitride has been utilized in L.E.D. and R.F. component fabrication, it has only recently gained widespread recognition for power switching and conversion. In this context, GaN-based ICs may meet requirements for greater system performance and efficiency, reduced footprint, and stable operation at higher temperatures.

GaN RF. devices are used to transmit and receive GSM and Wi-Fi signals inside phones and laptops, and GaN is also increasingly being used in the chargers and adapters that power these devices. The fastest growing sector for power GaN is mobile fast charging, where GaN power I.C.s may allow three times quicker charging in adapters that are half the size and weight of sluggish, silicon-based solutions. And in comparison to the previous best-in-class silicon chargers, GaN retail launch cost is around 50% cheaper for single-output chargers and as much as three times lower for multi-output chargers.

Data center servers also use power semiconductors made of gallium nitride. As the need for data centers grows, the limitations of silicon as a ‘physical material’ in terms of its capacity to handle electricity efficiently and effectively are becoming more apparent. Therefore, high-speed gallium nitride I.C.s have surpassed the traditional, sluggish silicon chip.

GaN not impacted by the current chip shortage?

Because silicon is a commodity, production facilities that use it must operate at high percentages of load, three shifts a day, seven days a week, even though this schedule necessitates extensive lead periods and substantial capital expenditures to boost production capacity. Production of silicon chips is very difficult to begin and end (because of Covid uncertainty), and there is little room for error.

While some silicon devices have a lead time of 52 weeks or more, GaN has a lead time of only twelve weeks, plus there is the extra capacity for the rapid ramp. GaN is less susceptible to environmental effects than silicon because it can be manufactured more efficiently and flexibly.

GaN ever be a replacement for silicon?

According to the energy needed to dislodge an electron from its orbit around the nucleus and allow it to move freely through a solid, Gallium Nitride (GaN) is considered to have a “wide bandgap” (W.B.G.). From there, we can calculate how strong a solid’s electric field can resist.

The bandgap of silicon (Si) is 1.1 eV, while that of gallium nitride (GaN) is 3.4 eV. Due to the high electric fields that are possible in W.B.G. materials, depletion regions can be made extremely narrow, allowing for denser packing of carriers in device structures.

For instance, an average 650 V lateral GaN transistor has a drain drift region of 10-20 m, or about 40-80 V/m. The theoretical limit for silicon is roughly 20 V/m, which is a significant improvement. However, this is still a long way from the bandgap limit of roughly 300 V/m, allowing much potential for future generational advancements in lateral GaN devices.

The product of the normalized resistance (R.D.S. (ON)) and the gate charge (Q.G.) maybe five to twenty times better than silicon in terms of the figure of merit at the device level. Because of the reduced size of the transistors and the resulting shorter current channels, the switching rates may increase by one hundred.

The rest of the circuit needs to function well at higher frequencies if we make the most of the power-generating capabilities of GaN power I.C.s. Switching frequencies have increased from 65-100 kHz to 1 MHz+ thanks to new control I.C.s introduced in recent years and new controllers in development. These days, many magnetic materials suitable for the 1-2 MHz range are accessible, and soft switching circuit topologies may be implemented using microcontrollers and digital signal processors (DSPs).

Can we predict GaN’s long-term success?

Gallium nitride power I.C.s, with their unprecedented efficiency, are driving a second power electronics revolution. There is continuing research to decrease and increase the device voltage range for GaNwhich is now 80-900V.

What does the future hold for GaN?

Consumer demand for bigger displays and more advanced capabilities has led to a tenfold rise in the mAhr size of batteries used in mobile devices in only three years. At the same time, customers have come to anticipate that their devices would fully charge in a fraction of that time. The rapid increase in power charging capacity is largely attributable to advances in gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology, which may give superior performance across various applications while using less energy and space. GaN I.C.s are up to 20 times quicker than traditional silicon (Si) chips, allowing three times as much power or charging speed in half the space and weight.

Furthermore, cleaner energy is required worldwide. GaN power I.C.s allows for high-efficiency, high-speed applications that are smaller, lighter, and more energy efficient than their silicon counterparts. Green and efficient GaN power I.C.s reduce emissions by 4 kg per unit supplied. GaN can potentially reduce annual CO2 emissions by up to 2.6 Graton, the same as eliminating the impact of 650 coal-fired power