Silicon power controller firms team for GaN designs

Silicon power controller firms team for GaN designs

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Two silicon power controller chip designers have teamed up with separate suppliers of gallium nitride (GaN) transistors to increase the power density and efficiency of AC-DC converters.

Eggtronic in Italy is teaming up with Navitas Semiconductor while Silanna Semiconductor in the US is teaming up with Chinese supplier Innoscience.

Using GaN boosts the power efficiency of a design, especially for the ‘vampire’ drain at no load. Eggtronic is citing 94% efficiency for its 35W design, with a flat response for load, falling to 91% efficiency when in light load conditions (10% of maximum load), which is fundamental for devices that are always plugged in and draining power from the mains.  

Similarly Silanna is seeing an efficiency level of 95% and no-load power consumption of less than 20 mW. Both designs are being shown at the PCIM exhibition in Germany this week.

The 35W Eggtronic AC-DC evaluation board measures 38.3 x 38.3 x 18.55 mm with the QuarEgg ZVS architecture integrated in an Eggtronic EPIC101AFQE01 secondary side mixed-signal controller embedding USB Power Delivery (PD) 3.1, Synchronous Rectification, no-opto control of primary side FET and the Navitas GaN FET.

Compared to conventional silicon-based designs built using active clamp flyback (ACF) or quasi-resonant (QR) topologies, this combination offers significantly improved AC-DC conversion performance and efficiency and much smaller product form factors, says Eggtronic. In addition, when compared to the silicon counterpart based on the same QuarEgg controller, GaN offers a further 8% energy saving.

By using the development board designers can minimize standby power with a no-load power consumption that is below 18 mW.  Additionally, the board accommodates a wide input voltage range of 90 VAC to 264 VAC, with outputs ranging from 5 V/3 A to 23 V/1.52 A.

“Performance, power density and sustainability are at the top of the design agenda when it comes to developing new generations of controllers for ZVS AC/DC converters, adapters and fast chargers,” said Igor Spinella, Eggtronic’s founder and CEO. “By incorporating Navitas’ GaN technology into a QuarEgg-based design, we created a platform that enables one of the industry’s best power density systems with the lowest light-load and standby consumption.” 

“Eggtronic has pioneered high-density power conversion, partnering with Navitas since 2019,” said Navitas CEO and co-founder Gene Sheridan. “The new QuarEgg platform represents another significant milestone in superior charging-design for lower-power devices.”

Silanna has developed a 65W reference design with its Active Clamp Flyback (ACF) controller with a power density of 30 W/in3. The design combines the Innoscience INN650D240A 650V GaN-on-silicon enhancement-mode power transistor with Silanna’s SZ1131 Fully Integrated ACF controller.

The 65 W reference design on a PCBA measuring just 34 x 34.5 x30.5mm. It has an input voltage range of 90-265 VAC and offers USB-PD output voltages and current configurations of 5 V/3 A, 9 V/3 A, 15 V/3 A and 20 V/3.25 A.

Innoscience and Silanna Semiconductor are also collaborating on higher power multi-port reference designs and will introduce them to the market soon.

“By enabling faster switching speeds, improved efficiencies and smaller components, the ACF topology addresses demands for improved performance and lower power consumption while minimizing power supply size and weight,” said Yi Sun, General Manager, Innoscience America. “Silanna’s integrated controller ICs and Innoscience’s designer-friendly, robust and reliable GaN FETs are a perfect match, enabling this application.”

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Both Silanna and Eggtronic are developing AC-DC converters small enough to fit into existing power sockets, eliminating the need for a separate charger for equipment.

More information about the reference design and full test report will be available at in June 2022.

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