40th PCIM shows breakthrough of GaN

June 08, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
40th PCIM shows breakthrough of GaN
The 40th anniversary of the PCIM power exhibition in Nuremburg this week finally sees the breakthrough of gallium nitride (GaN) into the industrial and automotive markets. While the technology has been adopted faster in the consumer market for wireless and wired chargers, it has been up against silicon carbide (SiC) and improving silicon devices and uncertainty over supply and reliability.

With Infineon starting volume production of GaN later this year and ROHM second sourcing die from GaN Systems in standard packaging, the wideband technologies are driving forward.

This year’s exhibition highlights the increasing interest in power technologies, with 11,602 visitors, up from 10,836 in 2017 visiting  506 exhibitors and 803 attending the conference.

Arne Hendrik Wienhausen of RWTH Aachen, Germany, won the conference award for the best paper, discussing a “Highly Integrated Two-Phase SiC Boost Converter with 3D Printed Fluid Coolers and 3D Printed Inductor Bobbins”, highlighting the increasing role of SiC. This technology is more well established in industrial and automotive designs, and ROHM announced plans to boost its SiC production in Japan to take advantage of this growth.

All of this is demonstrating the emergence of both GaN and SiC. While established manufacturers such as Panasonic were displaying the latest designs, startups such as Exagan were showing new levels of integration. Other major players such as Texas Instruments and Dialog Semiconductor have GaN plans in the wings.

After 40 years, the power industry hasn’t slowed down. This year shows that the technology is driving forward even faster.

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