17 March 2011

Microsemi announces E-mode GaN FETs for rad-hard applications

Microsemi Corp of Irvine, CA, USA (which designs and makes high-reliability analog and RF devices, mixed-signal integrated circuits, FPGAs and customizable SoCs, and complete subsystems, based on silicon, gallium arsenide and silicon carbide) has announced the development of enhancement-mode gallium nitride field-effect transistors (E-mode GaN FETs) for satellites and other military power conversion, point-of-load, and high-speed switching applications.

GaN’s wide energy bandgap increases performance over existing radiation-hardened silicon MOSFETs, says the firm. The FETs also provide the following features and benefits: extremely low parasitic capacitance, which reduces switching losses by at least 50%, resulting in higher-efficiency circuits; lower on-resistance to minimize conduction losses resulting in circuit efficiency gains; and what is claimed to be excellent radiation performance.

Microsemi is developing a complete line of high-performance FETs for high-reliability space and military applications by working with Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA, which makes enhancement-mode (eGaN) power FETs based on its proprietary gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology for power management applications. EPC claims to have been the first firm to introduce enhancement-mode GaN-on-Si transistors as power MOSFET replacements in applications such as servers, netbooks, notebooks, LED lighting, cell phones, base-stations, flat-panel displays, and class-D audio amplifiers, with device performance many times greater than the best silicon power MOSFETs.

The first new devices will be offered by Microsemi in voltages of 40V, 60V, 100V, 150V, and 200V and will have drain-to-source on-resistance values of 4–100 milli-Ohms. The devices are also expected to deliver excellent high-temperature performance with junction temperatures approaching 300°C. A family of standard through-hole and surface-mount packages in addition to flip-chip die will be available.

Preliminary radiation testing of the devices has shown high Single Event Effect (SEE) and Total Ionizing Dose (TID) capability. This allows the devices to operate in high-orbit and deep-space missions without degradation to performance. Microsemi will work closely with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to define the test specifications within standard military drawings (MIL-PRF-19500 slashsheets), assuring the performance capabilities of the products.

A jointly researched paper ‘Enhancement Mode Gallium Nitride Characteristics Under Long Term Stress’ will be presented at next week’s Government Microcircuit Applications and Critical Technology Conference (GOMAC 2011) in Orlando, FL (21–24 March). The study covers the reliability-testing results and demonstrates the stability of the devices at temperature and under radiation exposure.

Prototype customer samples are expected to be available by mid-2011, with production quantities available by November.

See related items:

EPC launches lead-free and RoHS-compliant eGaN FETs

EPC’s eGaN FETs named Product of the Year

Tags: Microsemi E-mode GaN FETs EPC

Visit: www.microsemi.com

Visit: www.epc-co.com

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