Test & Measurement

GaN test board enhances power device analyser

A customised gallium nitride (GaN) test board for its dynamic PD1500A power device analyser / double-pulse tester has been released by Keysight Technologies.

It will enable Tier 1 and OEM power converter designers to reduce prototype cycles and speed introduction of new products. 

Power converters are a key component for enabling the electrification of the transportation, renewable energy and industrial markets.

For e-Mobility, the main application of the power converter (i.e. traction inverter) is to efficiently convert the power stored in an electronic vehicle's (EVs) high voltage battery pack to drive the AC motor.

There are many other applications for the power converter in EVs (see figure), including the on-board charger, which is the key link for vehicle to grid applications.

To facilitate advances in power converter design, new wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor technologies are being commercialised, providing improvements in speed, voltage and thermal operation.

This, in turn, improves efficiency, while decreasing size and reducing cost. However, the resulting high-performance power converters are proving difficult to design.

To deliver consistent, reliable characterisation of WBG semiconductors, Keysight developed the PD1500A dynamic power device analyser platform.

The PD1500A is modular, allowing discrete silicon (Si) and silicon carbide (SiC) based power devices to be characterised.

Now with a customised GaN test board, Keysight's PD1500A delivers repeatable and reliable characterisation for faster switching devices.

GaN is currently only targeting on-board chargers and DC:DC converters in EVs.

However, with the advent of vertical GaN, expectations are that operating voltages will catch up with SiC (1.2kV and higher), making GaN a potential choice for higher power applications in e-Mobility.

Keysight's measurement science enables a commercially available solution for repeatable and reliable characterisation of GaN power devices, accelerating the ability of OEM and Tier 1 providers to introduce competitive EV technology to the market.

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