Wise-integration, a French pioneer in digital control of gallium nitride (GaN) power supplies and GaN ICs, and Powernet, a leading Korean power supply manufacturer, announced an agreement to build compact and energy-efficient technology for power-supply applications that are currently limited to analog control.
The memorandum of understanding addresses the needs of OEMs that require compact, digitally controlled power-supply systems for faster, smaller and more energy-efficient electronic equipment in products ranging from USB PD fast chargers to monitors, TV sets and electric vehicles.
The breakthrough system will combine Wise-integration’s WiseWare digital controller and Wisegan, a 650V enhancement-mode GaN-on-silicon IC for power applications from 30W to 3kW, with Powernet’s switched mode power supply (SMPS) technology that efficiently converts electrical power.
“We expect our collaboration to be the start of a new era in the power-supply industry by combining Powernet’s well-established experience in productizing power supplies and Wise-integration’s GaN IC and digital-control technologies,” said Lee Don Ju, CEO of Powernet, which is a supplier to Korea’s semiconductor industry. “This combination will deliver a much higher level of energy efficiency to mass-market products, while reducing their environmental impact.”
“This partnership, guided by our long-term business and development roadmap, will bring Wise-integration’s unique GaN IC and digital-control technologies to global markets and enable Powernet to increase the power density and reduce the size of its SMPS products,” said Thierry Bouchet, CEO of Wise-integration. “We will jointly deliver the high-level of compactness and superior performance required for the mass-market applications.”
Gallium nitride (GaN) is a wide-bandgap, next-generation semiconductor technology that has become key for development of advanced power electronics. It operates up to 20x faster than silicon and provides up to 3x the power or 3x the charge in half the size and weight of silicon devices.
Wise-integration is the first company to bring digital control to the power-supply market, where previously only analog controls were available. Original design manufacturers (ODM) such as Powernet are trying to meet growing demands from original equipment manufacturers (OEM), which require increasingly small and ultra-efficient power supplies for their future product lines. GaN is seen as a key material to delivering these features, but it is very difficult for power-suppy manufacturers to go above switching frequencies of 300kHz with analog devices.
Composed of a standard MCU 32-bit-based controller and running the company’s proprietary firmware, WiseWare manages the WiseGan devices and controls the power supply. Because fewer components are required than in analog controllers and thanks to high running frequency, the new power-electronic architecture reduces weight and volume of standard solutions by 30 percent and significantly reduces production costs.