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400V GaN switching for space power designs

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Ferdinand-Braun-Institut in Germany is launching a high power gallium nitride (GaN) design for power conversions in satellites.

The Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchst-frequenztechnik (FBH) is showing devices that cover the entire value chain from chip design and processing to modules and systems at the International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin later this month.

The high radiation hardness and their capability of switching at high frequencies make gallium nitride (GaN) switching transistors particularly suitable for power conditioning in satellites.

FBH’s 10 A/400 V aluminium nitride power core with GaN power transistors in half-bridge configuration minimizes parasitic inductances and capacitances of the switching cell. Power switch, gate driver and DC link capacitors are hetero-integrated in an extremely compact manner, and heat is efficiently dissipated through the aluminium nitride substrate.

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This can halve the switching time of the power cell compared to a conventional design with discrete devices. High switching frequencies combined with high converter efficiency are the prerequisite for power converters with particularly high power-density. This is key as weight is key in space. Only recently, it was possible to further reduce the size of a converter – while maintaining the same performance.

Energy efficiency and dissipated power are critical issues also for the RF transmitters in satellites. Thus, FBH develops concepts for envelope tracking – a well-proven technique for increasing the efficiency of RF solid-state power amplifiers

www.fbh-berlin.de/en

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