End of the Winter Blues

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



Welcome to the February issue of PSD. It has felt a longer than normal winter here in Scotland under lockdown, but both the winter and the lockdown seem to be coming to an end, albeit it little bit more slowly for the latter. With vaccines starting to become widely available, hopefully we can get back into our offices and reacquaint ourselves with our colleagues in the flesh, instead of over video apps. Face to face interaction is important for our own health as much as it is for business. Email is an important business tool, but all too often it is hard to judge the context of a mail, which can lead to an escalation of misunderstandings. More importantly, our manufacturing plants can get back to full operation. Currently there is a shortage of semiconductors suitable for automotive use as manufacturers try to fulfil a flurry of new car orders that happened late last year.

This month we look at one of the bread and butter topics of the power industries – power supplies. The first article in the Special Report is from Analog Devices. Robbins Ren looks at GaN based power supplies and how they need to be driven differently from normal silicon supplies, which requires a new method of isolation. Ren details the current isolation methods in use today and then takes a look at a new solution from ADI that can drive both the high side and the low side of a half-bridge transistor in medium and high voltage power supplies to get the best efficiency out of the higher switching speeds of GaN transistors.

The second article in the Special Report is written by Sergej Bub and Lukas Droemer from Nexperia. The duo take a look at the other subject of this month’s Special Report, ESD. ESD is a real danger in many areas of electronics, for example in communications systems. Bub and Droemer take an in-depth look at ESD protection in automotive Ethernet systems and a new approach called System-Efficient ESD Design (SEED) which can help in the design of new protection components.

The final article in this month’s featured section is from Rohm and looks at powering complex ICs, such as microprocessors and memory. As transistor sizes shrink and designs get denser, power requirements increase and DC/DC conversion needs to be more efficient. In this article, Michael Maurer looks at how changing to a single conversion stage can provide an increase in efficiency. He then goes on to look at new packaging techniques that can reduce conduction losses. The combination of a single conversion stage and the new packaging provides the perfect basis for power supply designs.

As well as the Special Report, we have a wide variety of articles focussed on different aspects of power design in our Technical Focus section and throughout the magazine. I’m sure there is something in the magazine for everyone involved in the industry. I hope you enjoy.

Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD