Design higher density and lower cost Lidar systems with new laser driver IC

24-01-2023 | EPC | Semiconductors

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) has introduced the EPC21701, a laser driver that monolithically integrates an 80V, 40A FET with gate driver and 3.3 logic level input into a single chip for ToF lidar systems employed in robotics, surveillance systems, and vacuum cleaners. It targets lidar systems for gesture recognition, ToF measurement, robotic vision, or industrial safety.

The laser driver utilises a 5V supply voltage and is controlled using 3.3V logic. It is capable of extremely high frequencies greater than 50MHz and short pulses down to 2ns to modulate laser driving currents up to 15A. Voltage switching time is lower than 1ns and delay time from input to output is less than 3.6ns. The device is a single-chip driver plus GaN FET using the company's proprietary GaN IC technology in a chip-scale BGA form factor that measures just 1.7mm x 1mm x 0.68mm. The wafer-level packaging is small, has low inductance, and lays out well with the laser system. With this small form factor and the integration of many functions, the overall solution is 36% smaller on the PCB compared to an equivalent multi-chip discrete implementation.

The device complements the ToF driver IC family in CSP, including the 40V, 15 A EPC21601 and the 40V, 10A EPC21603 options. This product family facilitates faster adoption and better ubiquity of ToF solutions over a broader array of end-user applications.

"This new family of GaN integrated circuits dramatically improves the performance while reducing size and cost for time-of-flight lidar systems," said Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of EPC. "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. With EPC21701, we expand the family to 80 V and 15 A and will soon extend the family further to 100 V and 125 A."

The EPC9172 development board offers the EPC21701 eToF laser driver IC and is mainly intended to drive laser diodes with short, high-current pulses. Capabilities incorporate minimum pulse widths of <2ns, 15A peak currents, and a bus voltage rating of 40V.