Dr. Giorgia Longobardi, co-founder and CEO, Prof. Florin Udrea, co-founder and CTO
In today’s environment, sustainability combined with efficiency in power electronic devices is a major driving force for businesses in the electronics industry. In this regard, Silicon has remained the backbone of the electronics world for decades delivering the required performance at the right cost. However, with increasing power density and efficiency requirements, Silicon falls short in meeting increasingly demanding targets. This has resulted in the rise in popularity of Gallium Nitride (GaN) power electronics as a wide bandgap semiconductor to be used in place of Silicon. At this juncture, Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD), a company based in the UK, is laying the foundations to achieve a major shift in the power electronics field through GaN-based technology. CGD is constantly guided by the green energy mission to deliver a more sustainable future in some of the most power-intensive industries through world-class engineering. “Cambridge GaN Devices’ delivers easy-to-use and energy-efficient transistor technology in the novel field of GaN (Gallium Nitride) electronics, which enables smaller and greener power converters,” begins Dr. Giorgia Longobardi, co-founder and CEO of the company and recognized by the Royal Academy of Engineering as Young Engineer of the Year in 2019.
The genesis of CGD can be traced back to years of research conducted on the reliability of Gallium Nitride, and the knowledge derived from this intensive research serves as the cornerstone to advancements in the power electronics industry and power electronic applications.
With such profound comprehension of the GaN technology, CGD has been able to explore and develop a number of unique opportunities in power electronics through the application of Gallium Nitride within the Silicon-based transistor manufacturing process. In a world where Silicon transistors are widely viewed as devices of maximum efficiency, CGD’s power design engineers have developed a range of Gallium Nitride transistors that switch over ten times faster, consume 50% less power, and enable three times smaller converters than existing Silicon equivalents.
CGD has already built a strong IP portfolio and identified what is called the ‘third way’ in GaN power devices by doubling down on its proprietary technology. ICeGaN™ technology is an integrated solution based on GaN with an intelligent and self-protecting mechanism that enhances the functionality of logic gates within a transistor. This merit is noteworthy on its own, for the reliability and scalability proffered by the technology, effectively enhancing the power efficiency of the devices. “We describe GaN transistors as easy-to-use like their Silicon counterparts, while at the same time delivering the high efficiency of Gallium Nitride and the smartness of the ICeGaN™ technology,” adds Prof. Florin Udrea, co-founder and CTO of CGD and a world-renowned expert in power devices, high voltage and smart technologies at Cambridge University.
The company, driven by courage and a collaborative mindset, motivates industry leaders to take up newer, more challenging initiatives. This proposition is demonstrated by one of the current major projects under CGD’s belt - GaN Next, a €10.3m Europe-wide initiative developed through a consortium of 13 partners led by CGD. Guided by the core principle of sustainability, CGD with its GaN-based transistors is committed to lowering power losses in the electronic power industry. When used in something as power-hungry as data centers, such transistors could have an enormous impact on reducing emissions on a global level. In the consumer electronics arena, CGD opens the possibility for smaller yet more energy-efficient components. Collectively, CGD is fueling many such developmental strides with its GaN-based technology, each standing tall as ground-breaking milestones in the electronic power industry.
2022 is set to be a highly significant year for the CGD. The company has a number of client engagements in the pipeline, including a soon-to-be finalized partnership with a major company. “We are also in continued discussions with a number of customers, with many expressions of interest in our technology and some initial design-in work already taking place,” says Longobardi. “We are investing heavily in R&D, including in the automotive market, and have recently commenced an Innovate UK project with the goal of developing a product for this sector. We’re incredibly excited about the year ahead and driving towards our mission to shape a sustainable future for power electronics by delivering the most efficient and easy-to-use transistor.” For now, watch this space.