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Gallium-Nitride Semiconductor Technology and Its Practical Design Challenges in Power Electronics Applications: An Overview

Departement Elektrotechniek, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
EnergyVille, Thor Park 8310, 3600 Genk, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2663;
Received: 7 June 2019 / Revised: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 11 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Applications)
PDF [3492 KB, uploaded 11 July 2019]


This paper will revise, experimentally investigate, and discuss the main application challenges related to gallium nitride power semiconductors in switch-mode power converters. Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices are inherently gaining space in the market. Due to its high switching speed and operational switching frequency, challenges related to the circuit design procedure, passive component selection, thermal management, and experimental testing are currently faced by power electronics engineers. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on low-voltage (<650 V) devices that are used to assemble DC-DC and/or DC-AC converters to, for instance, interconnect PV generation systems in the DC and/or AC grids. The current subjects will be discussed herein: GaN device structure, the advantages and disadvantages of each lateral gallium nitride technology available, design challenges related to electrical layout and thermal management, overvoltages and its implications in the driver signal, and finally, a comprehensive comparison between GaN and Si technology considering the main parameters to increase the converters efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: gallium nitride semiconductors; practical challenges; power electronics gallium nitride semiconductors; practical challenges; power electronics

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dalla Vecchia, M.; Ravyts, S.; Van den Broeck, G.; Driesen, J. Gallium-Nitride Semiconductor Technology and Its Practical Design Challenges in Power Electronics Applications: An Overview. Energies 2019, 12, 2663.

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