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Advanced Gate Driver IC by ROHM Pioneers Efficient Power Conversion for IoT and LiDAR Applications

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Breakthrough in Gate Driver IC Technology

Semiconductor leader ROHM has unveiled the BD2311NVX-LB, a groundbreaking gate driver integrated circuit (IC) tailored for gallium nitride (GaN) devices. Characterized by its exceptional gate drive speeds measurable in nanoseconds, this device marks a significant leap forward in high-speed GaN switching technologies. The innovation stems from a profound comprehension of GaN properties, pushing the envelope in gate driver performance. The IC’s rapid switching capabilities are underscored by a minimal gate input pulse width of just 1.25 nanoseconds, paving the way for compact, high-efficiency, and superior performance in a breadth of applications.

Enhancing Power Conversion for Emerging Technologies

The technological landscape is increasingly demanding improvements in power conversion efficiency coupled with a reduction in hardware scale, especially within server systems integral to the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT). Concurrently, applications such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) — vital for autonomous vehicles, industrial monitoring, and infrastructure analysis — require high-speed pulsed laser light to enhance recognition capabilities. Addressing these needs, ROHM’s ultra-fast gate driver IC emerges as a critical component, optimizing GaN device functionality for these high-speed switching demands.

Technical Advancements and Miniaturization

In response to the challenges posed by the sensitivity of GaN devices to gate input overvoltage, ROHM has engineered an innovative technique to mitigate gate voltage overshoots. This advancement, integrated into the BD2311NVX-LB, allows for the selection of the optimal GaN device by adjusting the gate resistance, tailored to specific application requisites. The company’s EcoGaN™ suite of devices, when paired with these pioneering gate driver ICs, supports the construction of more compact designs and bolsters reliability, driving the progress towards a more sustainable society through efficient power solutions.

Expert Perspectives on GaN’s Potential

Academia recognizes the potential of GaN devices to outperform silicon in high-frequency applications. “In domains requiring power switching, such as DC-DC and AC-DC converters, and LiDAR systems, GaN devices offer a path to miniaturization and enhanced efficiency,” states Professor Yue-Ming Hsin from the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Central University, Taiwan. He stresses the necessity of gate driver ICs that can facilitate high-speed switching while managing the low drive voltage characteristic of GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMTs). Professors Yu-Chen Liu and Chin Hsia, collaborating on related research, report that ROHM’s BD2311NVX demonstrates superior performance, with reduced rise time and minimal ringing at a 1MHz switching frequency. These attributes herald a new era in power conversion, maximizing the intrinsic benefits of GaN to reduce switching losses.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.