STMicroelectronics Unveils Half-Bridge Driver Packaged With Two Power GaN HEMTsOctober 12, 2020 by Gary Elinoff
The MasterGaN combination will simplify designing chargers and power adapters for applications of up to 400W
ST's MasterGaN simplifies the process of exploiting the new gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors that are now rapidly replacing last-generation silicon-based power devices.
Up until now, designers were required to undergo the laborious, time consuming process of learning how to make discrete GaN devices work in conjunction with appropriate driver ICs. With MasterGaN, the need for specialized knowledge is eliminated. Not only is time to market decreased, but according to ST, the end result is a final product that is 80% of the size and 70% of the weight that was previously possible.
Image courtesy of ST
The first member of the series, MasterGaN1, is currently in production. It features high-side and low side drivers serving two power GaN transistors connected as a half bridge.
As per ST, it is the only 600 V single package to include a gate driver and two GaN transistors, as opposed to the single GaN offered by other manufacturers. This enables half-bridge configurations, allowing customers to build in a greater range of topologies, such as LLC resonant converters or active clamp flyback.
According to Matteo Lo Presti, Executive VP and General Manager Analog Sub-Group, STMicroelectronics, “ST’s market-unique MasterGaN platform builds on our proven expertise and power-design skills to combine high-voltage smart-power BCD process with GaN technology, to accelerate the creation of space-saving and power-efficient products that are kinder to the environment.”
The GaNs employed by the MasterGaN1 feature:
- RDS(ON) of 150Ω
- 650 V drain-source breakdown voltage
- A maximum IDS of 10 amps
The MasterGaN1 offers
- Undervoltage lockout (UVLO) protection on both lowside and highside
- Over-temperature protection
- Dedicated shutdown pin
- 3.3 V to 15 V compatible inputs with hysteresis and pull-down
Block diagram of the MasterGaN1. Image courtesy of MasterGan1 Datasheet
Opening Up New Vistas for Designers
The new device might be thought of as “democratizing” the use of GaN transistors, making them more easy to incorporate into more common products. Up until now, GaN transistors have been largely employed as expensive, high value-added devices such as telecommunication equipment or data-center power supplies. By reducing the need for specialized power engineering expertise, GaNMaster1 will bring all the advantages of GaN transistors to a wider range of devices, such as USB-PD adapters and ultra-fast smartphone chargers.
The EVALMasterGaN-1 serves as an evaluation board for the purpose of familiarization with the MasterGaN. It can also be employed to quickly demonstrate new topologies without the need to fabricate a new PCB in the early stages of the design process.
EVALMasterGAN-1. Image courtesy of The ST Blog
The ST Blog points out that deploying GaNs into high volume products is still “a novelty”. The EVALMaster1 represents a method that GaN-boosting engineers can exploit to showcase the devices to upper management without the need for a costly upfront investment and commitment.
GaN technology enables engineers to design devices that are lighter, smaller and more energy efficient even as they handle more power
Applications will include:
- Power for cloud servers
- Uninterruptible power supplies
- Solar energy storage systems
- USB-PD compact adapters
- Ultra-fast smartphone chargers
- Wireless chargers
MasterGaN is available in a 9mm x 9mm low-profile QFN package
The device operates over the -40 to +125℃ industrial temperature range