New Industry Products

Navitas Introduces GaN ICs for Fast-Charging Power Systems

March 22, 2023 by Shannon Cuthrell

At APEC this week, Navitas released a new family of high-performance control ICs for fast chargers and other applications. 

At the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) this week in Orlando, California-based Navitas Semiconductor launched a line of gallium nitride (GaN) control integrated circuits offering superior performance for fast chargers, consumer appliances, and supplies for servers and data centers. 

 

Navitas announced its new family of GaNSense Control ICs. Image used courtesy of Navitas Semiconductor

Navitas announced its new family of GaNSense Control ICs. Image used courtesy of Navitas Semiconductor

 

The new controller chip family, branded as “GaNSense Control ICs,” brings notable advantages over standard high-voltage silicon (Si) chips, packing higher performance into a smaller size. Navitas says GaN runs up to 20 times faster and adds three times the charging capacity in half the size and weight. Considering these benefits, the company integrated a low-voltage Si system controller into its existing GaN IC technology. 

The same day it launched the new control ICs, Navitas announced its milestone of over 75 million shipments for its high-voltage GaNFast units. Tackling the fast-charging market, the company said it has over 240 end-customer chargers reaching production, including prominent names such as Dell, Samsung, Lenovo, and LG. The milestone comes as its GaNFast products spread into new segments, including EVs, motor drives, data centers, and solar inverters. 

 

More About the New GaNSense Control ICs

There are several technical selling points of the new GaNSense Control IC family. Sold in a surface-mount quad flat no-lead package or as a chip-set, the initial range includes high-frequency quasi-resonant (HFQR) flybacks supporting QR, continuous- and discontinuous-conduction modes, and hybrid-mode operations, with frequencies reaching 225 kHz. Navitas’s integrated synchronous rectifier power ICs can achieve maximum efficiency in any load condition compared to standard rectifiers.

 

GaN IC. Image used courtesy of Navitas 

GaN IC. Image used courtesy of Navitas 

 

More than 1 million units have already shipped, according to Navitas’s announcement. The product initially targets applications spanning 20 to 150 watts, such as smartphone/tablet and laptop chargers, home appliances, auxiliary supplies in data centers, and 400-volt electric vehicle systems. 

However, Dan Kinzer, chief technology officer and co-founder of Navitas, mentioned plans to expand the portfolio to higher-power applications such as renewable energy, energy storage systems, and EVs. Kinzer added that infusing its existing GaN, silicon carbide (SiC), and digital-isolator products with high-speed, analog, and mixed-signal Si controllers would unlock a market opportunity topping $1 billion per year. 

 

Expanding High-Voltage GaNSense to Low-Voltage System Controllers

Navitas’s “GaNSense” concept hit the market in 2021 with the launch of its GaNFast power ICs that integrate autonomous sensing and protection circuits. In its announcement at the time, the company said its smartphone and laptop fast-charging product was part of a $2 billion market for GaN technologies, alongside another $2 billion consumer market tied to PCs, TVs, and home networking. 

 

Video used courtesy of Navitas Semiconductor

 

Then, in September 2022, Navitas launched its first GaNSense half-bridge power ICs for applications such as mobile fast-chargers, power adapters, data centers, solar inverters, EVs, and energy storage systems. Its announcement noted that the half-bridges mark a step up into the megahertz range from its existing GaNFast ICs, which enabled up to 200-500 kilohertz (kHz). 

The latest product release is part of Navitas’s ongoing expansion beyond the mobile industry and into electrified applications such as EVs, solar and storage systems, and industrial appliances. The company is also growing its power management portfolio of SiC, digital isolators, and Si analog controller products. 

 

Navitas, which is publicly traded, has landed deals with several major customers in those markets, according to its 2022 annual report. On the EV side, that includes Michigan automaker General Motors, Chinese manufacturing giant BYD, and Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance subsidiary, alongside roadside charging customers connected to Electrify America and EVgo networks. In the solar and storage end-markets, it has over 20 major SiC customers, including BYD, microinverter provider AP Systems, and China-headquartered inverter companies Sungrow and Growatt.