17 January 2023
EPC expands GaN ToF laser driver IC family to 80V, 15A for higher-density, lower-cost 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 introduced the EPC21701, a laser driver that monolithically integrates an 80V, 40A FET with gate driver and 3.3V logic-level input into a single chip for time-of-flight light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems used in robotics, surveillance systems, and vacuum cleaners. It is tailored to LiDAR systems for gesture recognition, time-of-flight (ToF) measurement, robotic vision, or industrial safety.
The EPC21701 laser driver uses a 5V supply voltage and is controlled using 3.3V logic. It is capable of very high frequencies greater than 50MHz and super short pulses down to 2ns to modulate laser driving currents up to 15A. Voltage switching time is less than 1ns and delay time from input to output is less than 3.6ns. The EPC21701 is a single-chip driver plus GaN FET using EPC’s proprietary GaN IC technology in a chip-scale BGA form factor that measures only 1.7mm x 1.0mm x 0.68mm. The wafer-level packaging is small, low-inductance, and lays out very well with the laser system. With this small form factor and the integration of several functions, the overall solution is 36% smaller on the printed circuit board (PCB) compared with an equivalent multi-chip discrete implementation.
The 80V EPC21701 complements the ToF driver IC family in chip-scale package (CSP) that also includes the 40V, 15A EPC21601 and the 40V, 10A EPC21603 options.
Integrated devices in a single chip are easier to design, easier to layout, easier to assemble, save space on the PCB, increase efficiency, and reduce cost, notes EPC. The new family of products will enable faster adoption and increased ubiquity of ToF solutions across a wider array of end-user applications, it is expected.
“This new family of GaN integrated circuits dramatically improves the performance while reducing size and cost for time-of-flight LiDAR systems,” says CEO & co-founder Alex Lidow. “Integrating a GaN FET with driver on one chip generates an extremely powerful and fast IC and reduces size and cost for wider adoption in consumer and industrial applications,” he adds. “With EPC21701 we expand the family to 80V and 15A and will soon extend the family further to 100V and 125A.”
The EPC9172 development board features the EPC21701 eToF laser driver IC and is primarily intended to drive laser diodes with short, high current pulses. Capabilities include minimum pulse widths of <2ns, 15A peak currents, and bus voltage rating of 40V.
Available for immediate delivery from distributor Digi-Key Corp, the EPC21701 eToF laser drive IC is priced at $1.95 in 1000-unit volumes, and the EPC9172 development board is priced at $420 each.