GaN devices, also known as Gallium Nitride devices have made its name as being a high performance alternative to silicon-based devices. So why are more manufacturers moving into GaN technology?
Current Silicon-based devices has been for years the go-to standard for power switches in power applications such as:
- AC/DC supplies
- Motor Controls
- DC/DC Supplies
And over the years as expected they have improved in terms of switching speed, packaging, on-resistance voltage ratings and other characteristics. However due to theoretical limit based on fundamental physics of these materials and processes, the rate of improvements of these silicon based devices are starting to taper off, showing a limit to their potential.
It is this limit in potential that makes GaN based power devices desirable. GaN is a high electron mobility transistor with a higher critical electric field strength than silicon. It is this characteristic that allows GaN devices to have a higher electric–field strength than silicon all while having a smaller size for a given on-resistance and breakdown voltage. If that was not impressive enough, GaN also performs much faster switching speed and have tremendous reverse-recovery performance, which is highly important for low-loss high-efficiency performance.
Figure 1: Comparing specific on-resistance of IR’s GaN-on-Si device with silicon and SiC power FETs
GaN FET vs MOSFET
GaN and MOSFET devices, though similar in its character such as having a source, drain and gate, having on-resistance and breakdown voltage, having major difference in its benefits. GaN’s maximum specification of on-resistance is very low, thus capable of having significant lower source of static losses and lower inefficiency when it is in the on state. Also looking into the composition of GaN devices, it gives a device with very low input capacitance, which produces a faster on/off switching.
A GaN device is capable of switching hundreds of volts in nanoseconds supporting the design of supplies that can switch large currents at rates of several megahertz. What this gives is a device with higher efficiency, all in a smaller magnetic and passive component. Talk about speed!
The benefits of GaN devices stretches much further than this and we are barely scratching the surface. If you would like to know more about the benefits of Gan-on-Si devices and how it can help you create better solutions, do feel free to contact us at and we will be happy to fill you in!