Germany gets serious about GaN power
The German government is putting €1.2m into GaN dc-dc converters – including tackling the inductor road block.
It will be used in a three year project called ‘GaN-resonant’ whose goal is to develop a resonant 3kW GaN dc-dc converter operating “well above” 1MHz, said project partner German lab Fraunhofer ISE.
“The simultaneous occurrence of extremely high switching frequencies and high transmitted power requires the use of special, innovative inductive components. The development of such devices makes up a significant part of the collaborative project,” said Fraunhofer.
Existing inductors are struggling to cope with MHz switching frequencies without high losses, and are “not suitable for future applications, which demand both a substantially higher power density and a higher efficiency at the same time”, said Fraunhofer.
Inductor core materials, core geometries, winding structures, and cooling, will all be under the microcsope, as will be broadband data acquisition and DSP for control.
“In order to exploit the advantages of a high switching frequency, the computing power used to control the converter must be increased by a similar amount as the switching frequency, or parts of the control must be carried out with analogue devices,” said the lab.
Developments will be steered towards supplies for aeronautics, server farms and communication electronics.
Alongside Fraunhofer ISE are Sumida Components & Modules and Liebherr Elektronik. Funding came through the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).