1. The GaN Inflexion
Gallium Nitride (GaN) wide bandgap technology has reached the point of mainstream adoption, prompting larger industry players to adopt it in earnest, either through internal developments or acquisitions. Startups such as eGaN, EPC and Transphorm have driven the early stages, along with specialist suppliers such as Microsemi, and are now able to show the essential reliability figures. This is driving companies such as Texas Instruments and Dialog Semiconductor into the market which will drive the widespread adoption of new power conversion topologies and higher efficiencies. This builds on the success of the other wide bandgap technology, silicon carbide (SiC), in specific high power markets such as electric vehicles.
2. Free space wireless charging
Wireless charging is starting to be adopted in mobile phone handsets but the takeup has been slow, limited by competing standards and the need for proximity. With the first free space wireless charging systems now receiving FCC approval in the US, devices can now be charged at a distance of up to a metre, opening up new use cases. The fact that Apple moved into this market in 2017 will further drive the interest in this area through 2018.
With USB-C adoption increasing, now the power delivery (PD) option is allowing faster, higher current, safer charging. Coupled with smaller chargers from the GaN inflexion, power chargers will shrink in size and grow in capacity.