Rohm develops GaN to improve IoT power supplies

  • March 30, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Japanese electronics company Rohm has developed gallium nitride (GaN) technology for power supplies used in industrial equipment such as base stations and data centres along with IoT communication devices.

In recent years – due to the rising demand for server systems in response to the growing number of IoT devices – improving power conversion efficiency and reducing size have become important social issues that require advancements in the power device sector.

As GaN devices generally provide higher switching characteristics and lower on-resistance than silicon devices, they are expected to contribute to lower power consumption of various power supplies and greater miniaturisation of peripheral components.

Along with mass-producing SiC (silicon carbide) and silicon devices, Rohm has developed GaN devices that can operate at higher frequencies in the medium voltage range.

These products use an original structure that raises the rated gate-source voltage from the conventional 6V to 8V. As a result, degradation is prevented, even if overshoot voltages exceeding 6V occur during switching, contributing to improved design margin and higher reliability in power supply circuits.

The GNE10xxTB series is offered in a versatile package with heat dissipation and large current capability, facilitating handling during the mounting process.

Rohm has trademarked its GaN devices that contribute to greater energy conservation and miniaturisation under the name EcoGaN, and is working to expand the line with devices that improve performance. Going forward, Rohm will continue to develop control ICs that leverage analogue power supply technology such as its Nano Pulse Control and modules that incorporate these ICs, along with power products that contribute to a sustainable society by increasing the performance of GaN devices.

This year, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (Meti) has set a target of 30% energy savings for new data centres by 2030. However, system performance must not only be energy efficient, but also robust and stable as the data centres have become a vital part of social infrastructure.

In response, Rohm has developed a GaN device that provides a gate withstand voltage of 8V, said to be the industry’s highest, providing robustness and stability while achieving energy savings. Beginning with these products, Rohm says it will continue to improve power supply efficiency in power sources by combining with proprietary Nano Pulse Control analogue power supply technology, creating a technological trend that should help the semiconductor and telecommunications industries become carbon neutral by 2040.

EcoGaN refers to GaN devices that contribute to energy conservation and miniaturisation by increasing the low on-resistance and high-speed switching characteristics of GaN, with the goals of reducing application power consumption, peripheral components and design load along with the number of parts required.

Rohm produces products in manufacturing plants in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and China. Lapis Technology (formerly Oki Semiconductor), SiCrystal and Kionix are Rohm companies.