Maria Montero

GaN Heads to Space! VPT presents DC-DC converters reinforced with …

VPT’s new series of DC-DC converters aims to bring radiation-hardened GaN devices to space applications.

VPT launched its SGRB series of radiation-qualified, gallium nitride-based, space-qualified DC-DC converters at the Satellite 2019 Show.

High bandwidth gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors are becoming the preferred choice in commercial applications. In general, GaN exhibits low gate and switching losses, as well as lower gate and output capacity. These GaN characteristics offer members of the SGRB series an efficiency of up to 95%.

VPT has now literally pushed this technology into orbit with the introduction of its new SGRB series.

The SGRB series of space-rated GaN-based DC-DC converters. VPT Image

These DC-DC converters feature a fixed-frequency, reduced-voltage switching topology. According to VPT, this allows the converters very low input and output noise, something that becomes crucial when used in telecommunications systems.

Strong enough to withstand the rigors of space

As described by Malcolm Campbell, said VPT’s Executive Director of International Sales and Marketing. “The SGRB product specifications are particularly well suited for space telecommunications applications where high efficiency, low noise, and radiation tolerance are critical to mission success. Furthermore, we view SGRB’s design topology as the beginning of an exciting family of the future. Models based on GaN technology “.

Characterizations at the spatial level include:

  • Guaranteed TID performance at 100 krad (Si), including Enhanced Low Dose Rate Sensitivity (ELDRS)
  • Single effect effect (SEE) effect at 85 MeV / mg / cm2. Transients are fully characterized by cross section and magnitude.

Important compliance and certification include:

  • Manufactured in an ISO9001, J-STD-001, and IPC-A-610 Certified Facility
  • Designed in line with MIL-HDBK-1547
  • Detection up to level T is available

Electrical characteristics

As pointed out by Jeremy Ferrell, VPT Engineering Director. “The SGRB product uses GaN technology that allows us to increase efficiency beyond the traditional radiation-hardened silicon offering.” Up to five of the units can be connected in parallel.

Block diagram for SGRB series DC-DC converters. VPT Image

Outstanding features

  • High efficiency (up to 95%) using GaN technology.
  • Integrated EMI filter
  • 100V input
  • 28 V, 400 W output
  • Temperature range: -35 ° C to 85 ° C
  • 120 V, 10 msec transient
  • 80 V, 10 msec transient
  • overvoltage protection
  • Output current limit protection
  • Short circuit protection output
  • Current telemetry input

The first member of the series, now available, is the SGRB10028S DC-DC converter.

Around the industry

VPT states that it is “currently the only vendor capable of offering products designed and manufactured in accordance with the TOR requirements of Aerospace Corporation.” These include VPT’s SVR and SV series, which do not mention the use of GaN semiconductors.

However, there are many companies that offer DC-DC converters that are otherwise considered suitable for space-based deployment.

Furthermore, broadband semiconductors, such as the GaN devices employed by VPT, as well as silicon carbide (SiC) devices, are now being hardened for use in the space environment.

It seems VPT may be the only manufacturer, at this point, that has put all the pieces of the puzzle together and can offer a space-hardened DC-DC converter that offers the significant advantages of GaN semiconductors.