Intrinsic Reliability and Product Qualification Testing in GaN Power Semiconductors Do One the Other or Both?

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The development of new technologies, such as GaN, have created the opportunity for more efficient and higher voltage/power performance in switching and power management circuits. GaN has high cutoff frequencies, low on-state resistance, and high breakdown voltages, enabling increased power handling densities for applications from 100 to >600 volts.

Assessment of material and processes used in device fabrication is a key aspect for fielding reliable product to the market. Process changes for cost and performance improvements must be vetted for reliability performance variance.

Reliability testing of switching power devices requires the balance of several competing challenges. The first is to understand the intrinsic reliability of the fabricated device. In order to quickly assess this, a “soft-switching” methodology may be useful.

Product or sub-system qualification, including extrinsic effects, is needed under application conditions. Assessment of product quality for application specific use is typically done using “hard-switching” tests to close approximation of the application.

The challenge for the device manufacturer is defining and implementing the reliability and qualification test regime that is both cost effective but industry applicable to the standards required. Where are we at in the journey to find a reliable and qualified part?

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Roland Shaw

President of Accel-RF

STAr Technologies

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