25 February 2022
Transphorm demonstrating 99% efficiency power switching with 1200V GaN power transistor
At the International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs (ISPSD 2022) in Vancouver, Canada (22-26 May), Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA — which designs and manufactures JEDEC- and AEC-Q101-qualified gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistors (FETs) for high-voltage power conversion — is to demonstrate R&D results from its 1200V GaN device.
The 1200V GaN device delivers greater than 99% efficiency and is said to perform well against a leading silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET of similar on-resistance. Partially funded by the ARPA-E CIRCUITS program, Transphorm is developing the technology for electric vehicle (EV) mobility and infrastructure power systems as well as industrial and renewable energy systems. Transphorm says that the milestone further strengthens its ability to support the broadest range of power—from 45W to 10K+ kW—across the widest range of cross-industry applications compared with any other GaN supplier today, it is claimed.
The ISPSD presentation will provide detailed information of device configuration and performance analysis conducted using a hard-switched, synchronous boost half-bridge topology. The initial 1200V GaN device in a TO-247 package has an RDS(on) of 70mΩ and easily scales to lower resistance and higher power levels. Early results show notably low leakage with a breakdown voltage of greater than 1400V.
“Building on Transphorm’s unique vertically integrated capability, our engineers have yet again pushed the limits of what’s possible with GaN,” says chief technology officer & co-founder Umesh Mishra. “We aim to bring to market an ultra-high-voltage, reliable GaN product that will give customers more choice when developing power systems. Our 1200V GaN FET will enable excellent performance with greater designability and cost effectiveness than SiC solutions,” he reckons. “We see this as an important milestone for the GaN power electronics industry.”
To date, commercially available high-power GaN transistors generally range from 600V to 650V, with the only 900V GaN device being available from Transphorm. The firm’s core product portfolio consists of normally-off 650V devices in TO-XXX and PQFN packages, addressing one of the broadest range of power applications of any GaN provider in the market, it is claimed. This enables customers to leverage GaN’s inherent advantages — high power density, high power efficiency, low switching loss, and lower overall system cost — while working with reliable devices that are easier to design in and drive versus alternative e-mode GaN or SiC options, the firm adds. Demonstrating the 1200V FET’s performance promises to expand Transphorm’s portfolio and ultimate market opportunity by supporting demanding, high-performance power system applications traditionally relying on SiC solutions.
“1200V GaN has been discussed within the industry for some time, but often perceived as rather difficult to achieve,” comments Dr Isik Kizilyalli, associate director for Technology at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). “As part of the ARPA-E CIRCUITS program led by the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Transphorm team has demonstrated an important breakthrough, showcasing GaN performance at the 1200V device node with high-efficiency 800V switching.”
Transphorm’s 1200V FETs are expected to be available for sampling in 2023.