Technical Features

October 2019
Integration is What You Need

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Figure 1. WBG and silicon power switch Infineon brands positioning

Introduction Today’s switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) are smaller, more efficient, and lower-cost than ever. The key to their performance is the power switch technologies at their heart – but how should designers choose the right material for this and find the best component to meet their needs? While silicon is the most widely-known constituent of semiconductors, a new group of wide bandgap (WBG) materials is increasingly finding its way into applications. One example is gallium nitride (
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Date:
09/01/2021
Moving from Electromechanical to Solid-State in Relays and Circuit Breakers

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Figure 1: Contact wear in an electromechanical relay

As a mature technology, electromechanical relays and circuit breakers are well established, however they continue to suffer from some inherent weaknesses. Moving to solid-state technology can address these but introduces its own challenges. So, what is the right solution? In the movies, whenever the lights go
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Date:
10/31/2019

Bipolar Power Supplies Based on the Common Buck Converter

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Figure 1. Electrical schematic of the two terminal, bipolar, adjustable power supply.

A bench-top power supply (PS) tends to have an even number of terminals (ignoring the chassis port)—with one positive terminal and one negative terminal. Using a bench-top supply to produce a positive polarity output is easy: set the minus output to GND and the positive output voltage at the plus output. It is
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Date:
10/29/2019
GaN in Space

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Figure 1. Solar panels deployed on a satellite (Image courtesy of NASA)

The commercial space sector led by Space X and Blue Origin, plus companies like Northrop Grumman and Boeing, have given new life and accelerated NASA’s plans for the journey to Mars. The addition of the Artemis program, to establish a Moon base for the first leg of exploration and mining in the mid-2020s, will
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Date:
10/29/2019