Source Sense Pin

A quick look at any discrete eGaN® high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) in the FBG or CDA product families shows that each package contains a SS (Source Sense) pin. This post is an explanation as to why that vitally important pin is necessary and provided to help extract the maximum switching and efficiency performance from the EPC Space HEMTs. As an example, the position of the SS pin on the FSMD-B and CDA1 packages is shown in Figure 1.

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power electronics in space

These are indeed exciting times for power electronics and power electronics designers. EPC Space’s enhancement-mode gallium nitride (eGaN®) HEMT devices provide the end-user significant performance benefits and enhancements over conventional silicon MOSFET devices. In fact, the performance benefits harken back to those obtained at the time when silicon MOSFETs replaced bipolar-junction transistors (BJTs) as the predominant power switching element in terrestrial and space applications. The key difference between eGaN HEMTs and silicon MOSFETs is their figure of merit (FOM), which is defined as the product of their on-resistance (Rds(ON)) and their input gate charge (Qg). For similarly-rated Rad Hard devices – 100 V and 30 A, a typical Rad Hard MOSFET’s figure of merit is 2.9 while an equivalent eGaN HEMT in EPC Space’s product portfolio is 0.17 (both in the same units). The lower the FOM, the easier it is to drive a device for a given on-state resistance. Generally-speaking, eGaN devices will typically have FOMs that are five times or less than the equivalent MOSFET.

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Why GaN in Space

A few weeks ago, Efficient Power Conversion hosted a webinar titled GaN in Space. Following the presentations there were very lively Q&A sessions with EPC’s CEO and co-founder, Alex Lidow.  Below are the most frequently asked questions from the two sessions and the corresponding responses. 

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Why GaN in Space

Packaged SEE Immune and Radiation Hardened enhancement mode gallium nitride (eGaN) devices offer dramatically improved performance over the aging Rad Hard silicon MOSFET, enabling a new generation of power converters in space operating at higher frequencies, higher efficiencies, and greater power densities than ever achievable before.

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