Today let’s dive into one of the most trendy things we hear regarding the power industry in general and chargers in particular: GaN Technology.
Almost every new charger in the last year or so vows to be the most efficient, the fastest, the best. And all this is thanks to GaN technology.
What is GaN
Let’s start by figuring what GaN is. GaN is the standard notation for Gallium nitride, which is a bandgap semiconductor with a crystal structure that is very hard and mechanically stable. It is a third-generation semiconductor, which makes it particularly useful in optoelectronics, high-power and high-frequency devices. The stability towards caustic chemicals, high temperature, and ionizing radiation is another big con for using GaN in more than simple chargers. We’re talking about devices designed for use in harsh conditions here.
The GaN and its properties have been known and around since the 1980s. Still, the level of complication and the high cost of growing the crystals back in the day, and the issues with detecting impurities in the crystals’ structure have deterred GaN from being widely used until recently.
Uses of GaN
The use of the GaN started with LEDs, something we’re quite familiar with today. With developments in the overall industry and successful researches on the material itself, it is now used for transistors and amplifiers. As this technology evolves, we may see many more places where GaN saves space and increases efficiency. The main factors in favor of the GaN are that it can handle higher voltage in smaller space, powers a much wider range of mmWave frequencies, and heats a lot less than today’s standard - silicone.
One of the most exciting applications of the GaN today is fast charging. Our chargers have been growing in size for the last several years. GaN allows shrinking the chargers in size while keeping the high wattage that provides the fast charging. The same goes for the traditionally bulky pieces, like the MacBook power adapter that is over twice the height of today’s MacBooks themselves.
Another exciting thing about the GaN is that it is a better fit for use with 5G RF compared to today’s standard silicone. GaN is more power-efficient, more heat-efficient, and takes less space.
So we can conclude that the GaN is the tech for today and onwards, and something we’re going to have a lot more of in the coming years for sure. We can also rest assured that as the technology itself evolves, we’re going to see many more uses for it in our daily lives, especially given the ever-anticipated coming of the 5G.
For now, we will enjoy our bulk-less new chargers and power adapters and make guesses on what will be the next GaN device.