What are the benefits of GaN materials, why are so many people optimistic about GaN
In the future, the improvement of semiconductor technology, in addition to further squeezing the last "surplus value" of Moore's Law in the manufacturing process, looking for a new generation of semiconductor materials other than silicon (Si) has also become an important direction. In this process, gallium nitride (GaN) has entered people's field of vision as a high-frequency vocabulary in recent years.
Since the GaN device is a planar device, it is highly compatible with the existing Si semiconductor process, which makes it easier to integrate with other semiconductor devices. For example, some manufacturers have realized the integration of driver ICs and GaN switch tubes, further reducing the threshold for users.
1. Application of GaN in 5G
Radiofrequency gallium nitride technology is a perfect match for 5G, and base station power amplifiers use gallium nitride. Gallium nitride (GaN), gallium arsenide (GaAs) and indium phosphide (InP) are commonly used semiconductor materials in radio frequency applications.
Compared with silicon or other devices, gallium nitride is faster. GaN can achieve higher power density. For a given power level, GaN has the advantage of being small. With smaller devices, the device capacitance can be reduced, making the design of higher bandwidth systems easier. A key component in the radio frequency circuit is the PA (Power Amplifier, power amplifier).
From the current application point of view, power amplifiers are mainly composed of gallium arsenide power amplifiers and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor power amplifiers (CMOS PA), of which GaAs PA is the mainstream, but with the advent of 5G, gallium arsenide devices Will not be able to maintain high integration at such a high frequency.
As a result, GaN has become the next hot spot. As a wide-bandgap semiconductor, GaN can withstand higher operating voltage, which means that its power density and operating temperature are higher, so it has the characteristics of high power density, low energy consumption, suitable for high frequencies, and wide bandwidth.
In addition to the large increase in the number of radiofrequency components required in the base station radio frequency transceiver unit display, the density of base stations and the number of base stations will also greatly increase. Therefore, compared with the 3G and 4G eras, the radio frequency components in the 5G era will be dozens of times or even higher. The number has increased by a hundredfold, so cost control is very important, and silicon-based GaN has a huge cost advantage. As silicon-based GaN technology matures, it can achieve market breakthroughs with the greatest cost-effective advantage.
2. Application of GaN in the fast charging market
As the screens of electronic products become larger and larger, the power of the charger also increases, especially for high-power fast-charge chargers, the use of traditional power switches cannot change the current status of the charger.
And GaN technology
can do it because it is currently the fastest power switching device in the world, and it can maintain a high level of efficiency even with high-speed switching. Gallium nitride chargers can be said to have attracted the attention of the world. The power USB PD charger is no longer a burly brick. The compact size can achieve high power output, which is smaller and lighter than the original APPLE 30W charger.
Take a look at the built-in gallium nitride charger and the traditional charger side by side. The output power of the built-in gallium nitride charger reaches 27W, and the output power of the APPLE USB-C charger is 30W. The power difference between the two is not much, but the size is small. It is a completely different level, the built-in gallium nitride charger is 40% smaller than the Apple charger.
Judging from the layout of major mobile phone manufacturers and chip manufacturers, USB PD fast charging will become the preferred charging solution for electronic devices such as mobile phones, game consoles, and notebook computers, and USB Type-C will also become electronic devices in the next decade. The only interface between power and data transmission, the unification of the USB PD fast charging protocol is about to come.