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7 November, 2023 - 21:57 By Tony Quested

Cambridge GaN in power play with Taiwan ace and University subsidiary

A tripartite deal fashioned in Cambridge and Taiwan is set to transform the global ecosystem for nextgen power products.

Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD), the fabless, clean-tech semiconductor company, is working with Chicony Power Technology of Taiwan and Cambridge University Technical Services (CUTS), to conceive and develop advanced, efficient, high power-density adapters and data centre power products using GaN. 

Chicony Power is a well-established total solution provider of power electronics systems focusing on supplies and adapters for various applications, including notebooks, desktop computers, gaming devices and server/cloud solutions.

CUTS is a subsidiary of Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s tech transfer arm whose High Voltage Microelectronics and Sensors (HVMS) group is dedicated to power devices and sensors. It comprises 10-20 members including PhD students, postdocs and fellows and has actively been involved in many collaborations with the power electronics industry.

Professor Florin Udrea, head of the HVMS group and CGD’s chief technology officer, will act as the lead consultant on behalf of CUTS. The HVMS group  has a 25-year history in power device design, TCAD simulations and characterisation of power devices.

The three parties will collaborate around a technical project entitled ‘Innovative low power and high power SMPS (switch mode power supplies) with advanced GaN solutions’.

CGD has historic and ongoing links with Cambridge University via Florin Udrea and Cambridge GaN Devices chief executive Giorgia Longobardi.

The new project is expected to deliver SMPS prototypes for highly efficient, high-density adapters for notebooks – where Chicony Power is the market leader – and Titanium+ efficiency/High Power Density (> 100W/inch3) CRPS and OCP power shelf (3kW ~ 6kW) power supply unit for data centres and AI server applications.

Longobardi said: “Chicony Power is one of the leading SMPS manufacturers in the world so this agreement represents an incredible milestone in CGD’s journey to deliver an efficient power device technology both to our customers and to society in general.

“The combined strengths of our businesses – together with the world-renowned HVMS group at Cambridge University – will accelerate the development and adoption of high energy-density power solutions in wide ranging applications.”

Peter tseng, President of Chicony, added: “Chicony Power intends to collaborate with CGD and HVMS because of their significant expertise in GaN. CGD has already delivered its second series of ICeGaN™ HEMT devices which offer top-notch performance in terms of ruggedness and ease-of-use. 

“And because of its roots and still strong links with Cambridge University, CGD can call upon 25 years of academic experience – more than many other established GaN companies.”

CGD recently launched the second series of its ICeGaN™ 650 V gallium nitride HEMT family. H2 Series ICeGaN HEMTs employ CGD’s smart gate interface that virtually eliminates typical e-mode GaN weaknesses, delivering significantly improved overvoltage robustness, higher noise-immune threshold, dV/dt suppression and ESD protection.

Like previous-generation devices, the new 650 V H2 ICeGaN transistors are simple to drive using commercially available industry gate drivers. H2 ICeGaN HEMTs feature a QG that is 10x lower than silicon parts and a QOSS that is 5x less, greatly reduces switching losses with corresponding reductions in size and weight.

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