Gate driver IC maximises performance of GaN devices

16-11-2023 | ROHM Semiconductor | Semiconductors

ROHM has developed a gate driver IC – the BD2311NVX-LB. It is optimised for GaN devices and attains gate drive speeds on the order of nanoseconds – exceptional for high-speed GaN switching. This was facilitated through a deep understanding of GaN technology and the continuing pursuit of gate driver performance. The result is fast switching with a minimum gate input pulse width of 1.25ns that contributes to smaller, more energy efficient, higher performance applications.

As GaN devices are sensitive towards gate input overvoltage, the company has developed a unique method to suppress the gate voltage overshoots and has implemented it into this driver. On top of this, the optimum GaN device can be chosen by adjusting the gate resistance based on application needs. The company also provides a lineup of GaN devices under the EcoGaN name – adding to a sustainable society through power solutions when combined with gate driver ICs that maximise their performance. This gate driver with the unique gate overvoltage suppression feature – when used with EcoGaN products – further simplifies the design and improves application reliability.

Professor Yue-Ming Hsin, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Central University, Taiwan

"GaN devices are expected to be materials that can demonstrate performance in the high-frequency range more than silicon. In power switching applications such as DC-DC and AC/DC converters, and in LiDAR applications, the performance of GaN devices can contribute to smaller, more energy-efficient, and higher-performance applications.

"On the other hand, to demonstrate the performance of GaN devices, gate driver ICs that enable high-speed switching while taking into account the low drive voltage of GaN HEMTs are essential. Therefore, we turned our attention to ROHM, which aims to maximise the performance of GaN devices by developing optimised gate drive technology. Professor Yu-Chen Liu (National Taipei University of Technology) and Professor Chin Hsia (Chang Gung University), who are working together on the same project, tested ROHM's driver IC, the BD2311NVX.

"The results showed that BD2311NVX had shorter rise time and lower ringing at 1MHz switching frequency for boost converters compared to other driver ICs.

"The reduced rise time of this driver IC will help maximise the reduction in switching losses, which is an advantage of GaN. We are also looking forward to ROHM's GaN solutions, which have strengths in analog technologies in power supplies and drivers."

Typical application examples include LiDAR drive circuits (i.e. industrial equipment, infrastructure monitoring); DC-DC converter circuits in data centres, base stations, etc.; wireless charging for portable devices; and class D audio amps and more.

By Seb Springall