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13 June 2018

pSemi launches GaN FET driver for solid-state LiDAR

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Murata company pSemi Corp of San Diego, CA, USA (formerly Peregrine Semiconductor) – a fabless provider of radio-frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) – has announced availability of the PE29101 gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistor (FET) driver for solid-state light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems.

The PE29101 high-speed driver has what is claimed to be the industry’s fastest rise times and a low minimum pulse width, enabling design engineers to extract the full performance and switching speed advantages of GaN transistors. In solid-state LiDAR systems, faster switching translates into improved resolution and accuracy in the LiDAR image.

“As GaN is proving its relevance in applications like solid-state LiDAR, design engineers are using pSemi high-speed drivers to maximize the fast-switching benefits of GaN,” says chief technology officer Jim Cable. “Because of its rise and fall speed, the PE29101 enables the highest possible resolution imagery — something the industry needs for LiDAR to reach its fullest potential.”

LiDAR operates on the same principles as radar but instead uses pulsed lasers to precisely map surrounding areas. Traditionally used in high-resolution mapping, LiDAR is now used in advanced-driver assistance programs (ADAS) and is widely seen as an enabling technology to fully autonomous vehicles. Further, solid-state LiDAR has emerged as the future leader in the commercialization of LiDAR systems, largely due to its affordability, reliability and compact size compared with mechanical sensors.

In LiDAR systems, the pulse laser’s switching speed and rise time directly impacts the measurement’s accuracy. To improve resolution, the current must switch as quickly as possible through the laser diode. pSemi says that GaN technology offers LiDAR systems superior resolution and a faster response time because of its very low input capacitance and its ability to switch significantly faster than silicon metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs).

GaN FETs must be controlled by a very fast driver to maximize their fast-switching potential. Increasing the switching speed requires a driver with fast rise times and a low minimum output pulse width. The PE29101 offers these key performance specifications, enabling GaN technology to improve LiDAR resolution, says pSemi.

The PE29101 is a half-bridge FET driver that controls the gates of GaN transistors. The driver outputs are capable of providing switching transition speeds in the sub-nanosecond range for switching applications up to 40MHz. The PE29101 has a rise/fall time of 1ns with 100pF load and a minimum output pulse width of 2ns. It operates from 4V to 6.5V and can support a high-side floating supply voltage of 80V. The PE29101 has an output source current of 2A and an output sink current of 4A.

Offered as a flip-chip die, PE29101 volume-production parts, samples and evaluation kits are available now. Each PE29101 costs $2.79 (for 1000-unit quantities).

Tags: GaN Systems E-mode GaN FETs Power electronics Peregrine SOI

Visit: www.gansystems.com

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