Efficient Power Conversion Tag Archive

  • CNIPA Validates GaN Patent from EPC

    CNIPA Validates GaN Patent from EPC

    2 Min Read

    Efficient Power Conversion Corp (“EPC”) announced that the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”) has validated the claims of EPC patent titled “Compensated gate MISFET and method for fabricating the same” (Chinese Patent No. ZL201080015425.X) for enhancement-mode GaN semiconductor devices.

    The decision on April 30, 2024 follows an April 2, 2024 announcement from the CNIPA that confirmed the validity of key claims of EPC’s Chinese patent titled “Enhancement mode GaN HEMT device and method for fabricating the same” (Chinese Patent No. ZL201080015388.2). Both EPC patents were challenged by Innoscience (Suzhou) Technology Co., Ltd. (“Innoscience”). 

    Compared with traditional silicon-based power devices, GaN technology represents a transformational leap with higher efficiency, faster switching speeds and smaller size. GaN devices are used in artificial intelligence servers, self-driving vehicles, next-generation rapid chargers, drones, e-bikes, and humanoid robots, among other applications. Chinese Patent No. ZL201080015425.X covers the fundamental design and configuration of EPC’s proprietary enhancement mode GaN field effect transistors (FETs) with reduced gate leakage. Most industry participants employ the GaN gate technology covered by this patent.

    “These are two of the foundational patents supporting our broad portfolio of innovations, and we are pleased that the CNIPA has again confirmed the validity of our valuable intellectual property,” said Alex Lidow, CEO and Co-founder of EPC. “Quick, fair and efficient decisions such as these reinforce the confidence in legal systems that companies need to operate globally.”

    In May 2023, EPC filed complaints in the U.S. federal court in Los Angeles and in the U.S. International Trade Commission, asserting that Innoscience (Zhuhai) Technology Co., Ltd. and its affiliates infringe patents of its foundational patent portfolio, which include the U.S. counterparts of EPC’s Chinese Patent Nos. ZL201080015425.X and ZL201080015388.2. In response, Innoscience had petitioned the CNIPA to invalidate the two Chinese patents.

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • Innoscience Confident in Patent Dispute with EPC

    Innoscience Confident about Patent Dispute with EPC

    3 Min Read

    Innoscience Technology welcomes, with thanks, two additional decisions, from March 26, 2024, by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to institute review of the validity of yet another two (and still additional) U.S. patents of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (“EPC”).

    The two additional U.S. patents, which are now under review at the USPTO, were previously asserted by EPC at the beginning of the legal dispute initiated by EPC in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).  During the course of that proceeding, however, EPC withdrew these patents, but Innoscience maintained its challenges of these patents at the USPTO.

    In the March 26, 2024 decisions, the USPTO decided to institute the review of the validity of these two further U.S. patents, as previously asserted by EPC in the ITC proceeding. These new decisions to institute now supplement two other and prior decisions to institute by the USPTO, relating to the other two patents that are still asserted by EPC at the ITC. 

    Now, in all four decisions, the USPTO has concluded that “there is a reasonable likelihood that Petitioner [Innoscience] would prevail with respect to at least one of the claims challenged in the Petition.”  Innoscience has achieved, via the preliminary decisions, a perfect 4-for-4 record at the USPTO.

    Also, now all patents that were asserted by EPC now are under review by the USPTO.  These new March 26, 2024 rulings by the USPTO are only the latest developments related to EPC’s misguided lawsuits against Innoscience, wherein EPC continues to struggle in its meritless attacks on Innoscience. In all four rulings now, including from March 20 and March 26, 2024, three judges from the USPTO have initially agreed with Innoscience, that the EPC patents that Innoscience challenged at the USPTO are invalid.

    And, once again, in this new set, Innoscience again argued to the USPTO that the challenged EPC patent was invalid, based on a prior patent of an EPC cofounder/inventor when he was at International Rectifier, and on a preliminary basis, according to the institution decision, the USPTO agreed with Innoscience. In all four proceedings, Innoscience has described multiple reasons why the four EPC patents are invalid, and for virtually every argument on invalidity, the USPTO initially agreed. Next, the USPTO will receive additional briefing and make final determinations by March 26, 2025.

    Innoscience is confident that it will achieve an eventual complete victory in the dispute with EPC. With these recent USPTO decisions of March 26, 2024, Innoscience continues to achieve successes in its legal dispute with EPC, and the additional USPTO decisions repeatedly demonstrate that EPC’s accusations against Innoscience lack merit, given that the USPTO has now determined, at least initially, that all four EPC patents asserted by EPC are likely invalid.

    Original – Innoscience Technology

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  • CNIPA Validates Key Claims of EPC’s GaN Power Technology Patent

    CNIPA Validates Key Claims of EPC’s GaN Power Technology Patent

    2 Min Read

    According to the information on the official website of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) on April 2, 2024, the key claims 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18 and 22-26 of the Chinese patent titled “Enhancement mode GaN HEMT device and method for fabricating the same” (Patent No. ZL201080015388.2) owned by Efficient Power Conversion Corp (“EPC”) have been maintained valid during an invalidation procedure (case number: 4W116775), which was requested by the petitioner Innoscience (Suzhou) Technology Co., Ltd. (“Innoscience”).

    As compared with products using silicon-based devices, transistors and integrated circuits using GaN-based technology are superior in terms of higher efficiency, reduced weight and lower cost.  The key claims which are held valid as mentioned above cover core technologies of the design and the manufacturing process of EPC’s proprietary enhancement-mode GaN-based power semiconductor devices.  By virtue of multiple innovations including such technologies, EPC has successfully brought GaN-based power devices from laboratory to market.

    In May 2023, EPC filed complaints before the US Federal Court and the US International Trade Commission (ITC), asserting that Innoscience (Zhuhai) Technology Co., Ltd. and its affiliate Innoscience infringed four patents of its foundational patent portfolio, which include the US counterpart of this Chinese patent ZL201080015388.2. As part of the responses to those complaints, Innoscience filed, in September 2023, a request to invalidate the EPC’s Chinese counterpart patent ZL201080015388.2 before the CNIPA.

    Pursuant to the Chinese Patent Law, Innoscience may appeal this invalidation decision before the Beijing Intellectual Property Court within three months.

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • EPC Announced Availability of a 3-phase BLDC Motor Drive Inverter Using EPC2619 eGaN® FET

    EPC Announced Availability of a 3-phase BLDC Motor Drive Inverter Using EPC2619 eGaN® FET

    2 Min Read

    EPC announces the availability of the EPC9193, a 3-phase BLDC motor drive inverter using the EPC2619 eGaN® FET. The EPC9193 operates with a wide input DC voltage ranging from 14 V and 65 V and has two configurations – a standard unit and a high current version:

    • The EPC9193 standard reference design uses a single FET for each switch position and can deliver up to 30 ARMS maximum output current.
    • A high current configuration version of the reference design, the EPC9193HC, uses two paralleled FETs per switch position with the ability to deliver up to 60 Apk (42 ARMS) maximum output current.

    Both versions of the EPC9193 contain all the necessary critical function circuits to support a complete motor drive inverter including gate drivers, regulated auxiliary power rails for housekeeping supplies, voltage, and temperature sense, accurate current sense, and protection functions.  The EPC9193 boards measure just 130 mm x 100 mm (including connector).   

    Major benefits of a GaN-based motor drive are exhibited with these reference design boards, including lower distortion for lower acoustic noise, lower current ripple for reduced magnetic loss, and lower torque ripple for improved precision.  The extremely small size of this inverter allows integration into the motor housing resulting in the lowest EMI, highest density, and lowest weight.

    EPC provides full demonstration kits, which include interface boards that connect the inverter board to the controller board development tool for fast prototyping that reduce design cycle times.

    “GaN-based inverters enhance motor efficiency and lower costs, expensive silicon MOSFET inverters”, said Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC. “This results in smaller, lighter, quieter motors with increased torque, range, and precision.”

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • EPC Announced Publication of Phase-16 Reliability Report

    EPC Announced Publication of Phase-16 Reliability Report

    2 Min Read

    EPC announced the publication of its Phase-16 Reliability Report, documenting continued work using test-to-fail methodology and adding specific guidelines for overvoltage specifications and improving thermo-mechanical reliability.

    Compared to the Phase 15 Reliability Report, this version presents expanded data and analysis. It now includes a general overview of the wear-out mechanisms of primary concerns for a given application. New to this version of the report, is a description of how to forecast the reliability of a system in a realistic mission profile that combines periods of substantial and minor stress.

    Adding to the existing knowledge base, this report includes significant new material on the thermo-mechanical wear-out mechanisms and overvoltage guidelines. Thermo-mechanical wear-out mechanisms include a study of the impact of die size and bump shape on temperature cycling (TC) reliability. This report also includes a study of overvoltage robustness for both the gate and the drain of GaN transistors.

    This report is divided into the following sections:

    • Section 1: Determining wear-out mechanisms using test-to-fail methodology.
    • Section 2: Using test-to-fail results to predict device lifetime in a system.
    • Section 3: Wear-out mechanisms
    • Section 4: Mission-specific reliability predictions including solar, DC-DC, and lidar applications.
    • Section 5: Summary and conclusions
    • Appendix: Solder stencil design rules for reliable assembly of PQFN packaged devices

    According to Dr. Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of EPC, “The release of our Phase-16 report satisfies a critical need for ongoing research into GaN device reliability. This report provides valuable insights on mission robustness, ensuring devices meet the demands of diverse applications.”

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • EPC Introduced 1 mOhm GaN FET

    EPC Introduced 1 mOhm GaN FET

    1 Min Read

    EPC introduced the 100 V, 1 mOhm EPC2361. This is the lowest on-resistance GaN FET on the market offering double the power density compared to EPC’s prior-generation products.

    The EPC2361 has a typical RDS(on) of just 1 mOhm in a thermally enhanced QFN package with exposed top and tiny, 3 mm x 5 mm, footprint. The maximum RDS(on) x Area of the EPC2361 is 15 mΩ*mm2 – over five times smaller than comparable 100 V silicon MOSFETs.

    With its ultra-low on-resistance, the EPC2361 enables higher power density and efficiency in power conversion systems, leading to reduced energy consumption and heat dissipation. This breakthrough is particularly significant for applications such as high-power PSU AC-DC synchronous rectification, high frequency DC-DC conversion for data centers, motor drives for eMobility, robotics, drones, and solar MPPTs. 

    “Our new 1 mΩ GaN FET continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with GaN technology, empowering our customers to create more efficient, compact, and reliable power electronics systems,” comments Alex Lidow, EPC CEO and co-founder.

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • EPC to Showcase Latest GaN Solutions at APEC 2024

    EPC to Showcase Latest GaN Solutions at APEC 2024

    2 Min Read

    EPC announced its participation in the premier power electronics conference, APEC 2024. The event, held from February 25 to February 29 in Long Beach, CA, brings together industry experts and thought leaders to explore the latest advancements in power electronics.

    At APEC 2024, EPC highlights the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of GaN-based power conversion solutions. With a focus on efficiency, reliability, and performance, EPC’s gallium nitride-based products offer unparalleled advantages for applications such as DC-DC converters, motor drives, and renewable energy.

    Visit EPC at APEC 2024:

    • Schedule a Meeting: Learn from GaN Experts and discover strategies to optimize your power systems. To schedule a meeting during APEC 2024 contact info@epc-co.com
    • Exhibition Booth # 1045: Visit EPC’s booth to explore comprehensive portfolio of GaN-based solutions.
      • Connect with EPC’s team of experts to gain insight into the ‘GaN First Time Right™ Design Process.
      • Take the Change My Mind Challenge to see how EPC GaN FETs can be priced lower than equivalent silicon MOSFETs.
      • Experience firsthand the superior performance and efficiency of EPC’s GaN products through live demonstrations including robotics, drones, and AI servers.
    • Technical Presentations: Attend technical sessions to gain insights into the latest trends and advancements in GaN power conversion technology.
      • Ultra-fast switching – the Fastest Power FETs in the Solar System
        Industry Session (IS11.5): February 28 at 10:40 a.m.
        Speaker: John Glaser, Ph.D.
      • Experimental Investigation on Transient Operation in Low-Voltage GaN FET Parallel Connection
        Industry Session (IS16.4): February 28 at 2:45 p.m.
        Speaker: Marco Palma
      • eGaN Integrated Circuits as a Building Block for Motor Drive Inverters
        Industry Session (IS21.1): February 29 at 8:30 a.m.
        Speaker: Marco Palma
      • Using Test-to-Fail Methodology to Accurately Project Lifetime of GaN HEMTs in Common DC-DC Converter Topologies
        Industry Session (IS22.5): February 29 at 10:30 a.m.
        Speaker: Shengke Zhang, Ph.D.
      • Emergence of Artificial Intelligence Requires GaN DC-DCs Highest Performance, Efficiency, and Density
        Industry Session (IS27.1): February 29 at 1:30 p.m.
        Speaker: Andrea Gorgerino

    “At APEC 2024, we are excited to showcase our latest advancements in GaN technology, which empower our customers to achieve greater efficiency and performance in their applications,” said Nick Cataldo, VP of Sales and Marketing at EPC.

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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  • EPC Introduces Three Evaluation Boards

    EPC Introduces Three Evaluation Boards

    2 Min Read

    EPC introduces three evaluation boards – EPC9179, EPC9181, and EPC9180 – featuring pulse current laser drivers of  75 A, 125 A, and 231 A , showcasing EPC’s AEC-Q101 GaN FETs. These FETs; EPC2252, EPC2204A, and EPC2218A are 30% smaller and more cost-effective than their predecessors. Designed for both long and short-range automotive lidar systems, these boards expedite solution evaluation with varied input and output options.

    All boards share identical functionality, differing only in peak current and pulse width. Utilizing a resonant discharge power stage, they employ a ground-referenced GaN FET driven by LMG1020 gate driver. The GaN FET’s ultrafast switching enables rapid discharge of a charged capacitor through the load’s stray inductance, enabling peak discharge currents of tens to hundreds of amps within nanoseconds.

    The printed circuit board is designed to minimize power loops and common source inductance while offering mounting flexibility for laser diodes or alternative loads. To enhance user-friendliness, all boards ship with EPC9989 interposer PCBs, featuring various footprints to accommodate a variety of laser diodes or other loads. Customers can choose one that meets their needs to evaluate the GaN solutions.

    The EPC9179/81/80 boards are designed to be triggered from 3.3V logic or differential logic signals such as LVDS. For single-ended inputs, the boards can operate with input voltages down to 2.5 V or 1.8 V with a simple modification. Designing an automotive lidar system is complex, and finding a reliable solution is challenging. The purpose of these evaluation boards is to simplify the evaluation of powerful GaN-based lidar drivers that switch faster and deliver higher pulse current than other semiconductor solutions. For technical details, EPC offers full schematics, bill of materials (BOM), PCB layout files, and a quick start guide on EPC’s website.

    “To meet the growing demand for automotive lidar, these cost-effective boards, featuring our latest AEC products, streamline evaluation, reducing time-to-market with exceptional switching performance,” said Alex Lidow, CEO, and co-founder of EPC.

    Original – EPC

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  • Efficient Energy Technology Selects EPC's EPC2204 eGaN for SolMate

    Efficient Energy Technology Selects EPC’s EPC2204 eGaN for SolMate

    3 Min Read

    Efficient Energy Technology GmbH (EET), the Austrian-based pioneer in designing and producing innovative balcony power plants, has selected Efficient Power Conversion Corporation’s (EPC) EPC2204 enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) power transistor for its latest SolMate® green solar balcony product.

    The EPC2204 strikes an optimal compromise between low RDS(on) and low COSS, critical for demanding hard switching application, while featuring a drain-source breakdown voltage of 100 V in a compact package. This compact design significantly reduces PCB size, keeps current loops small, and minimizes electromagnetic interference (EMI) emissions.

    EET has realized multiple benefits following the integration of GaN in its SolMate MPPT charging converter.  Efficiency loss has been halved, increasing overall efficiency from 96% to 98%.  The converter’s volume has decreased by 70%, the BOM and manufacturing costs have been reduced by 20%, all while lowering cooling requirements. Additionally, the increased switching frequency by a factor of 10 eliminates the need for error-prone electrolytic capacitors, thus increasing the converter’s lifespan.

    By reducing power loss, EET’s system can more efficiently convert solar energy, allowing the company to generate several megawatts of additional green solar power that would otherwise dissipate as heat on a large scale.  The reduced cooling requirements are particularly significant in scenarios without access to fresh air, where a water-resistant case is employed.

    EET’s SolMate has won many awards for its technical innovation, for the high technical standards and the innovative design, including the James Dyson Award, Living Standards Austria, the German Sustainability Award (Design), the SolarPower Summit Award, and a finalist in the Intersolar EES Award.

    Commenting on the development, Jan Senn, CMO & Sales at EET stated, “Our vision is to make renewable energy simple, safe and reliable for everyone. We accomplish this by enabling individuals to use green energy where it is most crucial – in their own homes.

    SolMate combines the highest quality, excellent user experience, and design into one user-friendly lifestyle product for every home. Transitioning to GaN helps us realize this vision, and we are currently exploring the integration of GaN transistors from EPC in other power converters as well.”

    Stefan Werkstetter, VP of EMEA Sales at EPC, stated, “We are delighted that EET has chosen our EPC2204 eGaN FET for their SolMate green solar balcony product. Our commitment to delivering high-performance and efficient power conversion solutions aligns perfectly with EET’s mission to make renewable energy accessible and reliable for all. We look forward to continuing our partnership with EET and contributing to the advancement of sustainable energy solutions.”

    Original – Efficient Power Conversion

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