TI expands power portfolio with GaN FET drivers

March 13, 2018 Rich Nass

Time spent at the APEC (Applied Power Electronics Conference) show last week revealed one thing for sure—the debate between Gallium nitride (GaN) and Silicon carbide (SiC) is alive and well. Those in the know say there’s actually no debate, that there’s a proper place for each. But that still didn’t stop the two sides from taking swipes at each other.

Texas Instruments is a key player in that debate, and announced a pair of GaN FET drivers that the company is touting as the “smallest and fastest” available. Such drivers (and the associated high speed) are required for applications like light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and 5G RF envelope tracking.

The LMG1020 and LMG1210 devices can deliver 50-MHz switching frequencies while improving efficiency and enabling five times smaller solution sizes. Such small size wasn’t possible with silicon MOSFETs.

With a minimum pulse width of 1 ns, the LMG1020 60-MHz low-side GaN driver enables high-accuracy lasers. The 0.8- by 1.2-mm wafer-level chip-scale (WCSP) package helps minimize gate-loop parasitics and losses, further boosting efficiency.

The LMG1210 is a 50-MHz half-bridge driver designed for GaN FETs up to 200 V. The device's adjustable dead time control feature is designed to improve efficiency by as much as 5% in high-speed DC/DC converters, motor drives, Class-D audio amplifiers, and other power-conversion applications. Designers can achieve high system-noise immunity with a common-mode transient immunity (CMTI) of more than 300 V/ns.

Designers can quickly and easily evaluate these new devices with TI’s LMG1020EVM-006 and LMG1210EVM-012 evaluation modules and SPICE models. Prototype samples of the LMG1020 and LMG1210 are now available in the TI store. The LMG1020 is priced at $1.79, while the LMG1210 costs $2.19, both in 1000-unit quantities.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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