16 March 2021
EPC launches 200V, high-current pulsed laser diode driver demo board for LiDAR
Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA – which makes enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) and integrated circuits for power management applications – has announced the availability of the EPC9150, a 200V, high-current pulsed laser diode driver demonstration board priced $414 each.
In a light detection & ranging (LiDAR) system, used to create 3D maps for autonomous vehicle (AV) applications, speed and accuracy of object detection is critical. As demonstrated by the new board, the rapid transition capability of the EPC2034C eGaN FETs provides power pulses to drive the laser diodes, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) up to ten times faster than an equivalent MOSFET and in a small fraction of the area, energy and cost, enhancing the overall performance (including accuracy, precision and processing speed) as well as the price of a LiDAR system.
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 LiDAR possible. Using the 200V, 12mm x 12mm EPC2034C eGaN FET, the EPC9150 can generate a 220A laser pulse peak in a pulse width that is only 2.9ns wide. The high current increases the range of the LiDAR system, while the short pulse width leads to higher resolution, and the tiny size and low cost make eGaN FETs and ICs suitable for LiDAR applications from automotive to industrial robotics and security.
The EPC9150 ships with an interposer board. The interposer board is a collection of breakaway 5mm x 5mm 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.