Gallium Nitride vs. Silicon Carbide: Battle of the Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors
Gallium nitride and silicon carbide have begun replacing silicon in vital power-electronics applications in wireless communications, military systems, power conversion, motor controllers, and others. This is a technology-driven shift in semiconductor markets estimated to be worth more than US $46 billion by 2026, the likes of which has not been seen in many years. GaN pioneer Umesh Mishra, founder of the power electronics company Transphorm Inc., will describe and handicap the key areas of competition between the two technologies. One of the most important of these areas is the on-board charger circuits for electric vehicles, a market that itself could be worth $11 billion by 2028, according to one estimate. Here, silicon carbide has jumped out to an early lead, driven by Tesla's decision in 2017 to use SiC inverters in its Tesla Model 3. However, GaN can bring important features to the on-board EV inverters and chargers. Professor Robert Pilawa-Podgurski recently completed a project to develop a high-performance GaN EV charger with funding from ARPA-E. He will describe his results and the prospects for GaN in this vital segment.
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