9 January 2020
EPC’s new ToF demo board drives lasers with currents up to 28A with 1.2ns pulses using automotive-qualified eGaN technology
Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA – which makes enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) for power management applications – has announced the availability of the EPC9144, a 15V, 28A high-current pulsed laser diode driver demonstration board.
In time-of-flight (ToF) systems, speed and accuracy of object detection is critical. As demonstrated on this board, the rapid transition capability of the AEC Q101-qualified EPC2216 provides power pulses to drive laser diodes, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) up to ten times faster than an equivalent MOSFET, in a small fraction of the area, energy and cost, it is claimed.
eGaN FETs and integrated circuits are said to provide the high current pulses, extremely narrow pulse widths and small size that make affordable, high-performance light detection and ranging (LiDAR) possible. The short pulse width leads to higher resolution, and the small size and low cost make eGaN FETs suitable for time-of-flight applications from automotive to industrial, healthcare to smart advertising, gaming, and security.
The EPC9144 ships with an interposer board, which is a collection of break-away 5mm x 5mm square interposer PCBs with footprints to accommodate different lasers, RF connectors and a collection of other footprints designed for experimentation with different loads. The use of the interposers allows many different lasers or other loads to be mounted, allowing users to test the performance with the load requirements that are appropriate to their application.
EPC says that GaN is a critical factor making affordable, high-performance LiDAR possible, so the use of GaN components further expands the number of applications where increased accuracy is vital. These include self-driving cars and other time-of-flight applications such as facial recognition, warehouse automation, drones and topological mapping. The EPC9144 can also be used for applications requiring a ground-referenced eGaN FET; for example in class E or similar circuits.
The EPC9144 demonstration board is priced at $378. The EPC2216 eGaN FET used on the EPC9144 demonstration board is priced at $0.532 each for 2.5Ku/reel.