EPC’s New Half-bridge Power Stage IC Handles Up to 35 A
Efficient Power Conversion’s new EPC2302 eGaN IC switches at 1 MHz and boasts a withstand voltage of up to 100 V.
EPC’s latest addition to its ePower Stage IC family, the EPC23102, provides superior performance in a smaller package than is otherwise possible with competing solutions, the company said in its announcement release earlier this month.
The EPC23102. Image used courtesy of EPC
Some of the key features of this new monolithic GaN IC include integrated input logic interface, level shifting, bootstrap charging, and gate drive buffer circuits.
The power stage consists of two GaN FETs, configured as a half-bridge power stage. This is typical of the ePower Stage IC family, described in further detail in a subsection below.
Both the high and low–side GaN FETs sport low 6.6 mOhm RDS(ON)s, saving power and reducing parasitic heat generation. The EPC23102 is available in a thermally-enhanced QFN package with a footprint of just 3.5 x 5 mm, making the device a solid choice for applications requiring high power density in particularly small solution sizes.
A typical application would be in a 48 V to 12 V buck converter, and here EPC touts the EPC23102 as delivering 96% peak efficiency or better at a 1 MHz switching frequency with a continuous load of 8 – 17 A.
What are EPC’s ePower Stage ICs?
EPC introduced the first member of this family, the EPC2152, back in 2020.
Among GaN’s myriad benefits is its ability to incorporate multiple devices onto the same silicon substrate, and EPC has exploited that capability to integrate a complete power system on one monolithic chip.
The company’s ePower devices include the power output stage, in the form of an integrated half-bridge composed of separate high-side and low-side GaN FETs. Those FETs’ drivers were the first addition, and later came the logic needed to interface the power stage IC to the rest of the system.
Getting over the GaN FET Design Impasse
For all their numerous advantages, GaN FET drivers are difficult to craft, and integrating them with the power components themselves is a task that requires both very specialized engineering know-how and significant design time. This has slowed the adoption of GaN FETs and thus their incorporation into OEM products.
But using ePower Stage ICs eliminates these burdens; in essence, EPC does the work for you. With the entire system on one chip, engineers can reduce their BOM, save precious board space, and reduce manufacturing complexity. Having the interface logic, too, in the same compact, monolithic package saves even more space and design time.
Level shifters from low-side to high-side channels allow the IC to operate correctly with soft and hard switching conditions, and to do so even at large negative clamped voltages. False triggers from fast dv/dt transients, even those driven by external sources, are avoided.
A block diagram of the EPC23102. Screenshot used courtesy of EPC
There are internal circuits integrating the charging and disabling of the logic and bootstrap power supplies. There are also protection features incorporated to prevent the output GaN FETs from mistakenly turning on at low supply voltage, or even in the event of a complete loss of power.
- Buck, boost and buck-boost converters
- Half-bridge, full-bridge and LLC converters
- Motor drive inverters
- Class D audio amplifiers
Getting to Market Faster
EPC offers the EPC90147 development board, whose purpose is to simplify the evaluation process of the EPC23102.
The EPC90147 Development board. Image used courtesy of EPC
The 2 x 2 inch board allows engineers to assess the new ePower Stage IC, configured in a half bridge, up to its 100 V, 35 A design limits.
As engineers might expect, the board offers many probe points allowing users to conveniently effect efficiency calculations and to measure and study waveforms.