Snapshots from APEC 2024

Author : Mike Green - Editor EPDT

28 February 2024

The InnoMux-2 from Power Integrations
The InnoMux-2 from Power Integrations

This year’s Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) saw the great and the good of the power engineering sector congregate in Long Beach, California - in order to discuss the pivotal role that it will hopefully have in helping make our society more sustainable from an energy consumption standpoint. Here are just a few highlights from the event that caught my eye.

Unsurprisingly much of the new product introduction activity at the show concerned devices using wide bandgap (WBG) technology. Power Integrations, for instance, debuted its latest multi-output gallium-nitride (GaN) power supply ICs. Applicable in both a domestic appliance and an industrial equipment context, each member of the InnoMux-2 family delivers up to 90W of output power with high precision regulation. These devices feature both AC/DC and downstream DC/DC conversion stages, with up to 3 independently-regulated outputs being encompassed. By simplifying the number of constituent stages involved, major benefits can be derived in terms of board real estate utilisation and overall bill-of-materials (BoM) costs.  

Fronted by respected power industry luminary Alex Lidow (the former CEO of International Rectifier), EPC made a big splash at APEC by bringing out a 100V-rated GaN FET with an ultra-low 1mOhm on-resistance (RDSon) value. The EPC2361 boasts RDSon x area characteristics that are 5x better than equivalent silicon MOSFET devices. Via its use, there is the potential to substantially curb system power losses and dispense with the need for excessive thermal management mechanisms. Though compact, its high power density allows demanding applications like industrial motor drives, data centre power systems, renewable energy infrastructure and electric vehicle (EV) powertrains to be addressed.    

As well as the US-headquartered companies involved, there’s also been quite a few representatives from the UK too. Among these, Pulsiv has successfully demonstrated a series of USB-C reference designs plus complete EMC-certified modules. At the foundation of these is its patented OSMIUM front-end arrangement - which boosts conversion efficiencies while streamlining implementations (with fewer external components needed and scope for markedly smaller transformers to be specified). This technology is complemented by magnetics supplied by ecosystem partner Frenetic. The modules/reference designs are capable of supporting 95% average efficiency levels, and will assist OEMs in producing more compelling USB-based charger, adapter and in-wall socket solutions.  

EPC's EPC2361 GaN FET
EPC's EPC2361 GaN FET

Another example of the British contingent is Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD). Leveraging its proprietary ICeGaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) technology, the company has had its 350W output power factor correction (PFC)/LLC reference design on display this week. It achieves the appealing attributes of a 93% average conversion efficiency and a 23W/in3 power density. 

The 700V ISG610x SolidGaN GaN-based HEMT devices just announced by Innoscience have proved to be another talking point. These are targeted at use in USB charging equipment, AC/DC power supply units and solid-state lighting installations. As well as having HEMT functionality, they also integrate driver, current sensing and protection elements - thus presenting a way of rationalising power system designs. Everything fits neatly inside compact QFN packaging (with a 6mm x 8mm footprint). Their 115µA quiescent current is a further advantage, keeping down current draw to an absolute minimum when inactive. Under-voltage lock-out, over-current and over-temperature protection mechanisms have all been built into these devices.  
 
Intended for supporting Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) installations, Nexperia has just unveiled its 100V-rated application-specific MOSFETs (ASFETs). Supplied in DFN2020 packages (with 2mm x 2mm footprints), they allow greater PoE capabilities to fitted onto a given PCB size, thus enabling system miniaturisation to be derived without leading to performance compromises. So as to protect PoE ports from the threat of inrush currents, these devices offer a substantially extended safe operating area (SOA) while only exhibiting a slight increase in their RDSon. 

Fledgling firm AmberSemi revealed its AC Direct DC Enabler. By employing a ground-breaking power topology, this is able to extract DC power directly from an AC mains supply, without needing rectifier bridges, transformers or bulk capacitors. The upshot of this is that DC power delivery can be realised in items of hardware with much smaller form factors plus fully assured operational reliability. The multitude of places this will have an impact on include smart homes, building automation systems and industrial automation equipment. 

Nexperia's ASFET devices
Nexperia's ASFET devices

In relation to silicon-carbide (SiC), Belgium-located CISSOID has introduced the CXT-ICM3SA series of SiC inverter control modules (ICMs) this week. Enabling the delivery of peak efficiency figures above 99% and with high switching speeds supported, these modules are capable of powering/controlling high-voltage EV traction inverters with battery voltages up to 850V, at output power levels reaching above 350kW. The integrated approach taken means that the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) challenges often associated with SiC inverter development can be mitigated. Automotive functional safety expectations are also attended to. 

Vishay had SiC-oriented solutions being demonstrated on its stand too. One example was the just introduced 1200V MaxSiC series of MOSFET devices. Depending on the model specified (and the particular operating conditions, of course), these can exhibit RDSon figures of as little as 250mOhm. 

Delivering a 1.5W maximum output, Texas Instruments’ UCC33420-Q1 is an automotive-grade DC/DC power module with built transformer, that is contained within a VSON package (of 4mm × 5mm  x 1mm dimensions). It has a 4.5V to 5.5V input range and provides a regulated 5.0V voltage (with a selectable headroom going up to 0.5V higher). 3kVRMS isolation and 6.5kV peak surge resilience are supported. Numerous circuit protection and fault reporting functions have been added to make certain of prolonged operation.

CISSOID's CXT-ICM3SA SiC ICM
CISSOID's CXT-ICM3SA SiC ICM

Other APEC stories already covered by EPDT in the last few days include ones from Navitas, SemiQSilanna SemiconductorArrowInfineonDanisense and Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS) …so please check them out too. 


Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page