New Industry Products

Efficient Power Conversion Debuts Laser Driver IC Family

February 23, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

The new eGaN FET units are aimed at time-of-flight (ToF) lidar applications.

Efficient Power Conversion’s (EPC) EPC21601 is a single-chip device composed of a gate driver with a 40-volt, 10-amp FET.


The  EPC21601. Modified image courtesy of EPC.

The EPC21601 operates at frequencies in excess of 100 MHz and produces modulated laser driving currents of up to 10 Amps. The single-chip driver features turn-on and turn-off times of 410 and 320 ps, respectively. The device is readily interfaced with digital controllers.

The single-chip unit is composed of an EPC eGaN FET driven by an integrated chip driver. It’s available in a low-inductance BGA package measuring 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.68 mm. EPC contends that the EPC21601 takes up a full 36% less PCB space than comparable multi-chip solutions. 


The EPC21601 is the First in a New Series

This laser driver is the first in a family of diverse devices to be available in what EPC describes as chip-scale packages (CSP). The company contends that highly integrated devices packed in a single chip will lead to the faster adoption of time of flight (TOF) across a wider range of use cases. 

As per Alex Lidow, CEO, and co-founder of EPC, “Recent advances in our GaN IC technology are poised to change the way time-of-flight lidar systems are designed.” He goes on to state that “Integrating an eGaN FET plus driver on one chip generates an extremely powerful, blazingly-fast IC and reduces size and cost wider adoption in consumer applications.  This new family of GaN integrated circuits will dramatically improve the performance while reducing size and cost for time-of-flight lidar systems.”


Device Specifics

The unit is controlled via 3.3-volt logic and employs a 5-volt logic power supply. VLASAR can be as high as 30 volts. Voltage switching time is less than 500 ps. There is a  minimum input pulse width of 2 ns and a delay time from input to the output of  2.9 ns.

Functional block diagram of the EPC21601. Image courtesy of EPC.

Power Stage

With the laser driver off, the device draws a typical IDD of 13 mA. The typical RDS(ON) of the power stage is 40.5 mA.

At VDS 20 volts:

  • COSS is 45 pf (typ)
  • QOSS is 1.4 nC (typ)
  • EOSS  is 15 nJ (typ)



  • Autonomous cars
  • Robotics
  • Drones
  • Industrial safety
  • 3D Sensing
  • Gaming
  • Surveillance systems
  • Vacuum cleaners


Physical Considerations

The unit operates over a junction temperature range of -40 to +150℃.


Regulatory and Safety Concerns

ESD ratings are:

  • Human body model (HBM): minimum of ±1,000 volts
  • Charged-device model (CDM): minimum of ±500 volts


Getting to Market Faster

The EPC9154 is a development board for use with the EPC21601. The unit will serve as a pathway for designers seeking to familiarize themselves with the new laser driver.

The EPC21601. Image courtesy of EPC.

The evaluation board includes an EPC21601 eGaN IC mounted on a PCB with the appropriate inputs, outputs, and test points needed to evaluate radar driver IC as it drives its connected load.