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ROHM Establishes Ultra-High-Speed Control IC Technology that Maximizes the Performance of GaN Devices

Greater energy savings and miniaturization in power supply applications by combining GaN devices and control ICs
Santa Clara, CA and Kyoto, Japan, March 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ROHM Semiconductor today introduced ultra-high-speed control IC technology that maximizes the performance of GaN and other high-speed switching devices.

While the adoption of GaN devices has expanded in recent years due to their superior high-speed switching characteristics, the speed of control ICs, which are responsible for directing the driving of these devices, has become challenging. In response, ROHM has further evolved its ultra-high-speed pulse control technology, Nano Pulse Control™. This technology is cultivated for power supply ICs, succeeding in significantly improving the control pulse width from the conventional 9ns to an industry-best[1] 2ns. Leveraging this technology has allowed ROHM to establish its ultra-high-speed control IC technology that maximizes the performance of GaN devices.

When pursuing miniaturization of the power supply circuit, it is necessary to reduce the size of the peripheral components through high-speed switching. Achieving this requires a control IC that can take advantage of the drive performance of high-speed switching devices such as GaN devices. To propose solutions that include peripheral components, ROHM established ultra-high-speed control IC technology optimized for GaN devices utilizing proprietary analog power supply technology Nano Pulse Control.

ROHM is currently working to commercialize control ICs utilizing this technology, with plans to start sample shipment of a 100V 1ch DC-DC control IC in the second half of 2023. Using this technology in conjunction with ROHM GaN devices (EcoGaN™ series) is expected to result in significant energy savings and miniaturization in a variety of applications, including base stations, data centers, FA (Factory Automation) equipment, and drones.

Going forward, ROHM will continue to develop products that solve social issues by pursuing greater ease-of-use in applications centered on its strengths in analog technology.

Professor Yusuke Mori, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
“GaN has been highly anticipated for many years as a power semiconductor material that can achieve energy savings, but there are obstacles such as quality and cost. Under these circumstances, ROHM has established a mass production system for GaN devices that delivers improved reliability while also developing control ICs that can maximize their performance. This represents a huge step towards the widespread adoption of GaN devices. To truly demonstrate the performance of power semiconductors, it is necessary to organically link each technology, such as wafers, devices, control ICs, and modules. In this regard, Japan is home to many leading companies, including ROHM. I hope to contribute to achieving a decarbonized society by collaborating our GaN-on-GaN wafer technology and ROHM’s devices, as well as control ICs and modules.”

Control IC Technology
ROHM’s new control IC technology incorporates Nano Pulse Control. It is cultivated by combining advanced analog expertise covering circuit design, processes, and layout utilizing ROHM’s vertically integrated production system. This significantly reduces the minimum control pulse width of the control IC from the conventional 9ns to 2ns using a unique circuit configuration, making it possible to step down from high voltages up to 60V to low voltages down to 0.6V with a single power supply IC in 24V and 48V applications. In addition, support for smaller drive peripheral components for high frequency switching of GaN devices decreases mounting area by approximately 86% over conventional solutions when paired with an EcoGaN power supply circuit.

Definitions

  • Nano Pulse Control: ROHM’s ultra-high-speed pulse control technology that achieves a switching ON time (control width of the power supply IC) on the order of nanoseconds (ns), making it possible to convert from high to low voltages using a single IC – unlike conventional solutions requiring two power supply ICs. For more information, visit: https://www.rohm.com/support/nano
  • EcoGaN: ROHM’s new lineup of GaN devices that contribute to energy conservation and miniaturization by maximizing the low ON resistance and high-speed switching characteristics of GaN to achieve lower application power consumption, smaller peripheral components, and simpler designs requiring fewer parts.

EcoGaN™ and Nano Pulse Control™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of ROHM Co., Ltd.

Professor Yusuke Mori
After working as an associate professor at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering, he became a professor (in the same department) in 2007. There, he was engaged in the research and development of GaN crystal growth for many years while also establishing crystal mass production technology. Currently, to promote the social implementation of GaN devices, he is working on improving the quality of GaN-on-GaN wafer technology, which is needed to form GaN transistors on GaN substrates. A leader in the applied research of GaN technology, he is also involved in industry-academia collaborations with numerous companies. In 2008 he was awarded the Commendation for Science and Technology by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and in recent years received the 2022 National Commendation for Invention ‘Encouragement Award for Future Creation Invention’ as well as the 13th ‘Compound Semiconductor Electronics Achievement Award’ (Isamu Akasaki Award).

 

[1] ROHM March 2023 study

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