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What is GaN Technology and What is it For?

What is GaN Technology and What is it For?

Over silicon-based electronics, GaN (gallium nitride) technology has higher temperature limits, allowing superior power handling capabilities. Where it proves to be particularly promising in the gadget trade is in 5G equipment and ultra-fast charging magnetic cables. 

Where Does GaN Technology Fit In?

Smartphone users are always on the hunt for faster-charging technologies. Over 30W and 40W battery packs, 60W charging is becoming increasingly sought-after. As compared to typical DC/DC converters, GaN boosts the efficiency from 85% to 95% while boosting DC/AC inverter efficiencies from 96% to 99%. 

As compared to silicon-based technologies, GaN has lower input and output capacitances (Ciss and Coss), reducing switching losses. Because users can turn them on and off quicker, they can plug GaN devices into smaller transformers and passive components. 

With this information in mind, GaN allows manufacturers to produce smaller-size chargers while keeping them cool and safe. They are also safe for use with higher-power devices such as laptops. Where designers were once limited, GaN gives them the freedom to manage energy losses, device sizes, and thermals more efficiently. 

GaN and the Technology Market

As compared to its silicon-based counterparts, GaN is markedly more expensive, making the development of super-junction transistors and unlocking further improvements all the more challenging. As such, the widespread adoption of GaN services is still somewhat limited. 

However, as economies of scale make GaN more economically viable, manufacturers can more methodically meet increasing demands for improved power-conversion technologies. Continued research allows the technology to become more affordable and accommodate future benefits testing. 

Types of GaN Power Devices

GaN power transistors exist as two devices: depletion-mode and enhancement-mode. Depletion-mode devices require a negative gate voltage to deliver higher performance and robustness. They are, however, prone to short circuits upon system-startup. To prevent this, depletion-mode GaN FETs must supply negative bias and keep the transistors off in gate control circuits. 

Alternatively, manufacturers can use depletion-mode GANs with a cascode configuration and low-voltage silicon MOSFET. Without applying any bias to the MOSFET gate, the drain-source voltage (Vds) negatively bias the GaN transistor gate. This process keeps the device turned off. 

How GaN is Changing the Technology Landscape

To keep up with the growing demands of modern power-electronics applications, manufacturers need to configure gadgets that are energy-efficient, reliable, and smaller than they used to be. These applications include electric-vehicle traction inverters, data centre converters, solar and wind-energy harvesting systems, and, most important to the smartphone user, USB cable power banks. 

Conclusion

Unlike silicon’s economies of scale, GaN is still relatively unfamiliar amid the technological market. However, as researchers work to make the technology more affordable, GaN will likely play a significant role in improving the efficiency of existing 5G systems. 

At Chargeasap, our GaN laptop power banks are among the first to penetrate this most competitive market. With GaN, chargers no longer need to resemble large bricks. Our chargers should slide easily into your backpack without weighing it down. Fitted with auto-resetting fuses and compatible with all laptops—from Androids to Macs—our 61W travel adapters are bound to be with you wherever you go.