Gallium Nitride Solutions FAQ

First, try one of these papers:

What are GaN FETs?

Gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistors (FETs) are similar to silicon metal-oxide semiconductor FETs (MOSFETs) in that they are both insulated gate devices used for switching power supplies. Recent GaN process advances allow it to be grown on silicon substrates, ushering in the potential for lower manufacturing costs. GaN FETs come in both depletion mode (normally ON) and enhancement mode (normally OFF). The introduction of more enhancement-mode GaN FETs in the last couple of years has greatly increased interest in this technology for higher-performance switching power conversion. GaN FETs have several advantages over silicon FETs including lower losses at higher frequencies and a lower duty cycle, enabling wider conversion ratios. GaN FET technology is gaining a lot of traction with customers who value higher efficiencies and higher power-density solutions.

What is TI’s position on GaN FET technology?

TI is helping to accelerate customer adoption of GaN FET-based power designs by providing high-performance gate drivers and controllers that support any GaN FET power requirement. Customers are beginning to investigate GaN FETs for their power designs, and TI wants to be there with them. Following our existing LM5113 GaN half-bridge gate driver and the LM5114 7.6A peak low-side gate driver, we just announced the world’s first integrated GaN gate driver and dual 80V GaN FET half-bridge module.

What is TI’s strategy or roadmap around GaN?

TI is focusing on making GaN easier to use and maximize efficiency by attacking the problem at a system level and providing solutions that drive the entire ecosystem.  TI GaN power stage modules can leverage the broadest power management portfolio of performance ICs including digital power controllers and performance MCUs to optimize performance.

Does TI think GaN technology will eventually replace silicon technology?

The market will decide which technology wins and where. TI believes that both silicon-based and GaN technologies will play key roles in the future of power supplies. We are committed to enabling all of these technologies with controller and driver solutions.

Besides gate drivers, is TI working on other solutions for enabling GaN technology?

Yes. We are enhancing our digital controller software offerings and will be demonstrating a UCD3138-based 48V to 1.8V 40A point-of-load (POL) converter that also uses our LMG5200 GaN FET half-bridge module.

How are TI GaN products different than your competitor’s products?

TI is approaching GaN from the systems perspective. This means that we are not just looking at a high-performance GaN FET but ensuring that it is easy to use by designing packaging and drivers that are optimized for the FET. A straightforward design provides customers with a quick design procedure, high efficiency, and low ringing and electromagnetic interference (EMI). The LMG5200 is the world’s first integrated gate driver and dual 80V GaN FET power module. Ease of use and advanced packaging are key features of this GaN device.

What’s the benefit of a GaN module?

TI’s GaN FET module integrates many of the difficult design and implementation challenges of GaN. Gate-drive inductance and power-loop inductance have been minimized and optimized for dual GaN FET devices. TI’s module packaging is easier for customers to use than discrete die-level GaN. Using a module also simplifies the bill of materials (BOM), saving cost and board space.

Do you plan to offer drivers and controllers that support higher voltages? How high? When?

Yes, we offer GaN drivers and GaN-ready controllers today and have just announced the world’s first integrated GaN driver and dual 80V GaN FET half-bridge module. We are committed to offering higher-performance drivers and controllers that support both GaN and silicon-based FETs in applications targeting higher operating voltages.

Does TI offer any tools to design with GaN FETs?

The announcement of TI’s integrated GaN driver and dual 80V GaN half-bridge module is well supported with application notes, simulation models, reference designs, evaluation modules (EVMs) and our industry-leading WEBENCH® power design tool. We also have application notes on our LM5114 low-side FET driver and LM5113  half-bridge GaN FET driver along with reference designs, application notes and EVMs that can help customers implement GaN FET technology into their designs.