This gallium nitride semiconductor could dramatically improve solar microinverters

silicon wafer semiconductors
These silicon chips are no match for GaN says Navitas Semiconductors

The focus on silicon chips in the last year has been on supply shortages, but Navitas Semiconductor says the focus should be on dramatically improving upon their efficiency. Navitas hangs its hat on gallium nitride (GaN) power integrated circuits, a semiconductor technology the company says will run 20x faster than traditional silicon.

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GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense technology integrates power, drive, control, with additional autonomous-protection and loss-less current-sensing.

“Over 50,000,000 GaN power chips have been shipped to customers including Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and Xiaomi with zero reported GaN-related field failures, and GaNSense technology enables real-time, accurate sensing of voltage, current and temperature to further improve total system performance and robustness,” noted Dan Kinzer, Navitas’ COO/CTO and co-founder.

With the NV6169, Navitas extends its reach into higher-power applications such as data centers, solar and EV – with an unprecedented 20-year limited warranty to accelerate GaN adoption into these more-demanding systems.

The NV6169 is a new high-power 650/800 V-rated GaNFast power IC with GaNSense technology to address a variety of higher-power applications, such as 500 W solar microinverters. Gallium nitride chargers can achieve 3x the power or 3x faster charging with up to 40% energy savings in just half the size and weight of legacy silicon solutions, the company claims. GaN power ICs have the potential to lower inverter costs by as much as 25%. 

The NV6169 is rated at 650V for nominal operation plus an 800 V peak-rating for robust operation during transient events. As a truly-integrated power IC, the GaN gate is fully-protected and the whole device rated at an industry-leading electrostatic-discharge (ESD) specification of 2 kV.

The 45 mOhms NV6169 features a 36% reduction in on-resistance (RDS(ON)), delivering 50% more power than prior designs, in an industry-standard, low-profile, low-inductance, 8 x 8 mm PQFN package for high-efficiency, high-density power systems.

The NV6169 is the highest-power-rated IC from the most-advanced, third-generation integrated GaN platform. GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense technology have loss-less current sensing and the world’s fastest short-circuit protection, with a ‘detect-to-protect’ speed of only 30 ns, 6x faster than discrete solutions.

The NV6169 is available immediately to customers under NDA. Mass production lead times are currently 6 to 16 weeks. Simulation models (PSPICE/LTSPICE/SiMetrix), 3D package model (STP) and application note (AN-0016) are available to designers to optimize next generation systems.

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