Modular platform for evaluating GaN transistors

November 22, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Gallium nitride power switch specialists GaN Systems recently introduced an evaluation platform that allows designers to explore the characteristics of a range of power devices, using a single base board. Rather than having to source an evaluation kit for each device and power level, the kit uses a common motherboard and plug-in daughter cards. appropriate to individual devices.

The universal motherboard and four daughterboards will, the company says, help power design engineers to easily evaluate GaN E-HEMT performance in any system design. GaN Systems (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) builds lateral-transistor device in gallium nitride-on-silicon, using its “island” technology, and makes a range of switches in a proprietary top-and-bottom contact, thin package outline.

GaN Systems is also launching the GS61008P-EVBBK, a highly efficient 48V to 12V synchronous buck converter based on the GS61008P 100V, 90A GaN E-HEMT. This system demonstrates very high efficiency at frequencies up to 2 MHz.

Using the universal motherboard (GS665MB-EVB), a family of four daughterboards (pictured) ranging from 750W to 2,500W consists of two GaN Systems 650V GaN Enhancement-mode HEMTs (E-HEMTs) and all necessary circuits, including half-bridge gate drivers, isolated power supplies and an optional heatsink to form a high performance half bridge power stage.

The platform serves as a reference design and evaluation tool as well as a deployment-ready solution for easy in-system evaluation. It is already established that as GaN switches are extremely fast, correct drive conditions are essential. The circuit on ech daughter card, and the exact layout – which can be critical in achieving peformance – can be duplicated in a target design.