£2.5m GaN project to boost DC-DC converter designs

£2.5m GaN project to boost DC-DC converter designs

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A £2.5m project is aiming to boost the performance and reliability of DC-DC converters and inverters using gallium nitride devices.

The P3EP (Pre-packaged Power Devices for PCB Embedded Power Electronics) project aims to provide a complete end-to-end supply chain for devices developed by Cambridge GaN Devices. The devices will be packaged by RAM Innovations for industrial, automotive and aerospace industries with systems built by PM Power, Thinking Pod Innovations and Camutronics and tested by the Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult.

Using embedded die packaging (EDP) technology developed by RAM Innovations, the companies will work together on enabling the development of compact and lightweight power conversion modules  that can be ten times smaller than converters based on silicon.

Starting with pre-packaged GaN dies, the project works through a phased program to develop the design and manufacturing processes and testing techniques needed to produce compact, modularised converter-in-package building blocks based on RAM’s multilayer embedded Power Plane methodology. Avoiding the use of conventional packages with wire bonds reduces parasitic losses and gives improvements in thermal dissipation, boosting reliability.

“Though the potential of GaN to boost conversion efficiencies and increase power densities is universally acknowledged, making it practical for OEMs to use in their designs is still proving to be challenging,” said Nigel Salter, general manager at RAM Innovations. “P3EP is all about establishing a robust and effective supply chain that will take the GaN devices being developed by innovative semiconductor vendors out of the lab and into the real world.”

“The automotive, aerospace and industrial sectors need access to module-based solutions that are simple for them to work with, and can be incorporated into existing production flows. These need to be readily available in high volumes,” adds Geoff Haynes, Business Development Manager at RAM. “Through our involvement in P3EP, we are helping to align the sourcing of wide bandgap power modules with the expectations of OEMs and systems integrators. This will mean there is a channel that they can constantly rely on, with the ability to quickly ramp up from initial samples to production level quantities.”

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