Fujitsu readying GaN power devices by late 2013

November 8, 2012 – Fujitsu Semiconductor says it has built a server power-supply unit with 2.5kW of output power using gallium nitride (GaN) power devices built on a silicon substrate, suitable for high-efficiency power supply units, and will ramp volume production of the GaN-based power devices in late 2013.

Compared with conventional silicon-based power devices, GaN-based power devices have lower on-resistance and can perform high-frequency operations, enabling more compact power supply units with improved conversion efficiency. Efforts to develop GaN-based devices for power applications have gathered momentum in recent months:

Fujitsu says it has been working on GaN since 2009 and started sampling the technology with select partners in 2011; since then it has been optimizing them for use in power supply units. Key to that work has been collaboration with Fujitsu Laboratories in several key initiatives: process technology for growing high-quality GaN crystals on a silicon substrate, optimizing the design of electrodes to control the rise of on-resistance during switching, and devising a circuit layout for power supply units that can support high-speed switching of GaN-based devices.

The fruits of those efforts are a prototype server power-supply unit with a GaN-based power-factor-correction circuit that achieves power output of 2.5kW — enough to be suitable for use in high-voltage, large-current applications. The company says it has established a 150mm-wafer volume production line at its Aizu-Wakamatsu plant, and will begin full-scale production of GaN power devices in the second half of 2013.

Efficiency comparison between Fujitsu’s GaN power device and
conventional Si-based power device. (Source: Fujitsu Semiconductor)

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