Power Trends: The revolution arrives

November 02, 2017 //By Nick Flaherty
A revolution in power is here that has been almost 20 years in the making, says Steve Lambouses, Vice President of high voltage power at Texas Instruments.

The seeds of the revolution for TI were sown back in 1999 with its first big acquisition of the combined Unitrode and Benchmarq for $1.2bn. With the $7.6bn Burr Brown acquisition in 2000 and National Instruments in 2011, high voltage power, power management, offline AC-DC and isolated DC-DC converters and gate drivers were scattered across different divisions of the company.  

“We’ve put all of that into HV Power and we have been significantly investing in that,” he said.

The aim is to provide the full power chain with the design tools such as National’s Web Bench simulator to take advantage of the latest wide bandgap semiconductor devices such as silicon carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN).

“We do believe that wide bandgap technology is that revolutionary change that changes the game with new magnetics,” he said. This isn’t just about high power systems where SiC and GaN have already been deployed. Applying these new technologies to areas such as USB Power Delivery (PD) in home automation, distributed data centre power, inverters for renewable power and electric vehicles can save megawatts of energy consumption around the globe.


Twenty years of development for wide bandgap semiconductors 

“At full load we want to be best in class efficiency and light load as well as transient response,” he said. “With the onset of GaN that allows us to get into topologies that are revolutionary in terms of the control topologies – we are also going to be releasing some lower power control topologies that also use GaN so it’s across the power spectrum from 30 W USB PD all the way up to kilowatts.”

“Putting it under one business means we have all the infrastructure and expertise available in one place,” said Lambouses.