This Week in PowerBites: PSpice Prescience, GaN/Si Audio Smackdown!

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A GaN vs. Silicon Audio Smackdown? Paper Offers Head-to-Head Comparison for Class-D Audio Apps

Gallium-nitride (GaN) power devices are already causing a minor revolution in industrial power applications such as motor drives and power supplies, but are they also poised to change our expectations about what’s possible for audio products? GaN Systems thinks so. The recently released reference design for an all-GaN, no-heatsink stereo amplifier that delivers 200 W of ear-blisteringly clean audio per channel thinks so.

To back up its claims, the company released a whitepaper titled “GaN in Class-D Audio: Advantages with GaN Systems – a Comparative Look.” It reviews the various GaN and Silicon transistor approaches in Class-D audio amplifier design techniques.

The new document identifies and compares the most popular GaN-based transistor and silicon MOSFET solutions for high-performance Class-D amplifier applications, including GaN Systems’ Class-D Amplifier and Companion SMPS Evaluation Kit. It provides a side-by-side comparison of device parameters and characteristics performance, application circuit complexity, and ease of manufacturing. Audio aficionados should appreciate the GaN device’s impressive THD+N vs. frequency plot and the amplifier’s near-perfect switching waveforms that, according to the company, “demonstrate a virtually transparent replication of the audio output.”

But don’t take our word for it. You can download the whitepaper here and reach your own conclusions.

Additional resources for GaN Systems’ audio offerings:

IEEE’s International Electron Devices Meeting to Highlight Devices for a Better Future

200909 News Bite Ieee Iedm Conference 1

The theme for the IEEE’s 66th annual International Electron Devices Meeting  (IEDM), slated for December 12-16, 2020, is “Innovative Devices for a Better Future.” The tagline was chosen to reflect the fact that, at a time of great global uncertainty, electronics technology is playing critical roles in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. Although it must be held virtually this year, the conference’s organizers are committed to uphold the conference’s tradition as the world’s premier forum for the presentation of applied research in transistors and related devices. 

200909 News Bite Ieee Iedm Conference 2

From the paper: “3D Heterogeneous Integration of High-Performance High-k Metal Gate GaN NMOS and Si PMOS Transistors on 300mm High-Resistivity Si Substrate for Energy-Efficient and Compact Power Delivery, RF (5G and Beyond) and SoC Applications,” H. W. Then et al, Intel.” (Credit: Intel)

Program Highlights

While the complete technical program for IEDM 2020 will be finalized in the fall, many of the scheduled events and topics have already been set, including the plenary speakers, tutorials, short courses, and special focus sessions. Here are a few details:

Evening Panel Session – Tuesday evening, Dec. 15

Each year the IEDM offers attendees an evening session where experts give their views on important industry topics. For 2020, the IEDM has invited Ed Gerstner, Director of Journal Policy & Strategy for Springer Nature, to moderate a discussion on the following timely topic:

  • “What Can Electronics Do to Solve the Grand Societal Challenges Going Forward?” Following a year of global upheaval and acute challenges, this panel discussion will  bring together experts from across science, technology, media, and policy to discuss future directions of microelectronics, and will explore the role future technologies can play in addressing grand societal challenges and in creating a more sustainable, equitable future. It will also consider challenges in attracting the best students and the evolution of electronics education to suit future needs.

Special Focus Sessions

Six special focus sessions on key emerging technologies will be held as part of IEDM 2020. The presentations in these sessions will encompass a range of topics addressing the gaps, challenges, and opportunities for these new approaches and technologies:

  • Advanced IC Design and Integration in Wide-Bandgap Technologies 
  • Energy Harvesting and Wireless Power Transmission 
  • Technologies Enabling 5G and Beyond 
  • Future Interconnect Technology 
  • Device Technologies for Cryogenic Electronics 
  • Next-Generation Design/Technology Co-Optimization (DTCO) 

Modular SiC MOSFET Eval Board Accelerates Development of Servo-Motor-Drive Apps

200910 Infineon Sic Motor Drive

Infineon’s EVAL-M5-IMZ120R-SIC evaluation kit is a three-phase inverter circuit, intended to simplify the development of servo-drive applications based on the company’s CoolSiC MOSFETs. This latest addition to its family of Modular Application Design Kits (MADK) embodies a reference design for a three-phase inverter that can be scaled to drive motors of up to 7.5 kW. The reference design also includes complete schematics (PDF), a parts list (Excel), layout (Gerber), and a design package (Altium) that can be downloaded on the company’s website. 

The evaluation board implements a reference design for a high-power three-phase inverter circuit, based on the CoolSiC 1200-V MOSFET (IMW120R045M1) and EiceDRIVER 1200-V isolated gate driver (1EDI20H12AH). The board integrates a three-phase rectifier EMI filter, current sensors, and protection features as well as thermal management and a heatsink on a four-layer PCB measuring 259 × 204 mm. All relevant analog and control signals are easily accessible with test pads.

To ensure precise measurements, the signals are isolated from the power part. The board comes equipped with a 32-pin interface connector for all control signals; the M5 connector fits the controller board XMC DriveCard 4400 (KIT_XMC4400_DC_V1). 


The evaluation board EVAL-M5-IMZ120R-SIC can be ordered now. More information and the full design package are available at Datasheets with additional details on the CoolSiC 1200-V MOSFET and EiceDRIVER 1200-V isolated gate driver can be accessed here.  

Power and Analog Design on the Go? They Have an App for That

200915 Prod Mod Maxim Analog Calculator

Ever find that you need to review a technical detail or look up IC specs, but you’re not in front of your computer? Whether you’re sheltering in place at home, working in the lab, or walking outside to get fresh air, Maxim Integrated has developed a way to bring analog expertise directly into your hands. The company’s new Essential Analog mobile app, free and available for iOS and Android, provides quick and easy access to the company’s smart Essential Analog ICs.

Essential Analog keeps you in the know about the latest technologies, ICs, and design tools and provides alerts on upcoming events and deals. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Learn from experts: Read application notes and blogs, watch training videos, explore evaluation kits, get events details, and more.
  • Explore: Check out Maxim’s  Essential Analog Toolkit, a free box of ICs from 20 different categories.
  • Search and select: Use the Smart Selector’s sliders and dropdowns to find the right parts for your system—even when you are offline.
  • Tag: Favorite parts and bookmark technical content, or save filtered sets of parts for later review.
  • Order: Get the Essential Analog Toolkit, samples, ICs, and evaluation kits.
  • Scratch your competitive itch: Become active in Maxim’s online community, contribute to forums, and find other ways to score points to earn Top Geek status on the leaderboard
  • Check out datasheets, cross-reference searches, and more

About Essential Analog ICs

Maxim’s portfolio of Essential Analog ICs helps you solve some of the toughest design challenges in power efficiency, precision measurement, reliable connectivity, and robust protection to make your systems cooler, smaller, smarter, and longer running:

  • Efficient Power ICs help reduce power loss for enterprise and industrial applications as well as extend battery runtimes for compact, portable devices.
  • Precision Measurement ICs provide high speed and accuracy across the signal chain.
  • Reliable Connectivity ICs enable wired and wireless communications over standards using RS-232, RS-485, CAN, and ISM radio with rugged and reliable data transfer.
  • Robust Protection ICs ensure glitch-free system management of mission-critical applications

Download the Essential Analog mobile app on your phone today from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. English, Chinese, and Japanese are supported.

Enhanced PSpiceTool Offers System-Level Simulation + Verification (Sandworm not Included)

200914 Prod Mod Ti Pspice4aArtist: Pascal Blanche

Can Texas Instruments’ enhanced version of PSpice give engineers a bit of the prescience and enhanced perceptions enjoyed by those who consumed the fictional drug known as “Spice” in Dune, Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi novel?  While it won’t help you perceive safe paths through space-time to navigate starships between planets, this enhanced version of Cadence Systems’ already-formidable PSpice simulator does enable engineers to simulate complex analog circuits with unlimited analysis of TI power and signal-chain products.

The new simulator, called PSpice for TI, offers full-featured circuit simulation with a growing library of more than 5,700 TI analog IC models, making it easier than ever for engineers to evaluate components for new designs. One TI product manager who asked to remain anonymous said He who controls the PSpice controls the universe.

According to TI, the new tool was created to help hardware engineers deliver accurate, thoroughly evaluated designs while still meeting today’s accelerated development cycles. The PSpice for TI platform integrates Cadence’s advanced simulation technology with TI’s detailed parametric models of its devices, enabling designers to reduce the risk of circuit errors with full validation of system-level designs before prototype. 

Now, engineers can build a complete schematic without size limitations using a built-in library of TI power and signal-chain models, as well as PSpice analog behavioral models, enhanced primitives, and new capability for power designers with configurable power field-effect transistors and power diodes.

200915 Prod Mod P Spice For Ti Circuit3

The platform’s advanced capabilities include automatic measurements and post-processing, as well as Monte Carlo and worst-case analysis. As a result, engineers can fully validate their designs over a wide range of operating conditions and device tolerances with just a few clicks. To learn more about these key features, see the technical article, “How to simulate complex analog power and signal-chain circuits with PSpice for TI.”

Availability and pricing

PSpice for TI is now available for download at no cost. Customers can use their myTI account to register for the tool. Upon registration and download, users have immediate access to its built-in model library of 5,700 products and counting.

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