Patents Assigned to GAN SYSTEMS INC.
  • Patent number: 10796998
    Abstract: Embedded packaging for high voltage, high temperature operation of power semiconductor devices is disclosed, wherein a semiconductor die is embedded in a dielectric body comprising a dielectric polymer composition characterized by a conductivity transition temperature Tc, a first activation energy EaLow for conduction in a temperature range below Tc, and a second activation energy EaHigh for conduction in a temperature range above Tc. A test methodology is disclosed for selecting a dielectric epoxy composition having values of Tc, EaLow and EaHigh that provide a conduction value below a required reliability threshold, e.g. ?5×10?13 S/cm, for a specified operating voltage and temperature. For example, the power semiconductor device comprises a GaN HEMT for operation at >100V wherein the package body is formed from a laminated dielectric epoxy composition for operation at >150 C, wherein Tc is ?75 C, EaLow is ?0.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2020
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas Macelwee
  • Patent number: 10778114
    Abstract: A 3-level T-type neutral point clamped (NPC) inverter/rectifier is disclosed in which neutral point clamping is dynamically enabled/disabled responsive to load, e.g. enabled at low load for operation in a first mode as a 3-level inverter/rectifier and disabled at high/peak load for operation in a second mode as a 2-level inverter/rectifier. When the neutral clamping leg is enabled only under low load and low current, middle switches S2 and S3 can be smaller, lower cost devices with a lower current rating. Si, SiC, GaN and hybrid implementations provide options to optimize efficiency for specific load ratios and applications. For reduced switching losses and enhanced performance of inverters based on Si-IGBT power switches, a hybrid implementation of the dual-mode T-type NPC inverter is proposed, wherein switches S1 and S4 comprise Si-IGBTs and switches S2 and S3 of the neutral clamping leg comprise GaN HEMTs. Applications include electric vehicle traction inverters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2020
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Juncheng Lu, Di Chen, Larry Spaziani
  • Patent number: 10529802
    Abstract: Circuit-Under-Pad (CUP) device topologies for high current lateral GaN power transistors comprise first and second levels of on-chip metallization M1 and M2; M1 defines source, drain and gate finger electrodes of a plurality of sections of a multi-section transistor and a gate bus; M2 defines an overlying contact structure comprising a drain pad and source pads extending over active regions of each section. The drain and source pads of M2 are interconnected by conductive micro-vias to respective underlying drain and source finger electrodes of M1. The pad structure and the micro-via interconnections are configured to reduce current density in self-supported widths of source and drain finger electrodes, i.e. to optimize a maximum current density for each section. For reduced gate loop inductance, part of each source pad is routed over the gate bus. Proposed CUP device structures provide for higher current carrying capability and reduced drain-source resistance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2020
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ahmad Mizan, Hossein Mousavian, Xiaodong Cui
  • Patent number: 10290623
    Abstract: An integrated gate protection device P for a GaN power transistor D1 provides negative ESD spike protection. Protection device P comprises a smaller gate width wg enhancement mode GaN transistor Pm. The source of Pm is connected to its gate, the drain of Pm is connected to the gate input of D1, and the source of Pm is connected to the intrinsic source of D1. When the gate input voltage is taken negative below the threshold voltage for reverse conduction, Pm conducts and quenches negative voltage spikes. When device P comprises a plurality of GaN protection transistors P1 to Pn, connected in series, it turns on when the gate input voltage applied to the drain of P1 goes negative by more than the sum of the threshold voltages of P1 to Pn. The combined gate width of P1 to Pn is selected to limit the gate voltage excursion of D1.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2019
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Hugues Lafontaine
  • Patent number: 10283501
    Abstract: A GaN-on-Si device structure and a method of fabrication are disclosed for improved die yield and device reliability of high current/high voltage lateral GaN transistors. A plurality of conventional GaN device structures comprising GaN epi-layers are fabricated on a silicon substrate (GaN-on-Si die). After processing of on-chip interconnect layers, a trench structure is defined around each die, through the GaN epi-layers and into the silicon substrate. A trench cladding is provided on proximal sidewalls, comprising at least one of a passivation layer and a conductive metal layer. The trench cladding extends over exposed surfaces of the GaN epi-layers, over the interface region with the substrate, and also over the exposed surfaces of the interconnect layers. This structure reduces risk of propagation of dicing damage and defects or cracks in the GaN epi-layers into active device regions. A metal trench cladding acts as a barrier for electro-migration of mobile ions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas Macelwee, Greg P. Klowak, Howard Tweddle
  • Patent number: 10218346
    Abstract: Large area, high current, lateral GaN power transistors are implemented using an on-chip interconnect topology wherein the transistor is arranged as an array of sections, each section comprising a set of transistor islands; gate and source buses that form each gate drive loop have substantially the same track widths; the source bus runs over or under the gate bus, and the tracks are inductively coupled to provide flux cancellation in the gate drive loop, thereby reducing parasitic inductances. The gate delay in each gate drive loop is reduced, minimizing the gate drive phase difference across the transistor. An overlying current redistribution layer preferably has a track width no greater than that of the underlying source and drain buses, for efficient coupling. This topology provides improved scalability, enabling fabrication of multi-section, large scale, high current lateral GaN transistors with reduced gate drive loop inductance, for improved operational stability.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Ahmad Mizan, Greg P. Klowak, Xiaodong Cui
  • Patent number: 9824949
    Abstract: Packaging solutions for devices and systems comprising lateral GaN power transistors are disclosed, including components of a packaging assembly, a semiconductor device structure, and a method of fabrication thereof. In the packaging assembly, a GaN die, comprising one or more lateral GaN power transistors, is sandwiched between first and second leadframe layers, and interconnected using low inductance interconnections, without wirebonding. For thermal dissipation, the dual leadframe package assembly can be configured for either front-side or back-side cooling. Preferred embodiments facilitate alignment and registration of high current/low inductance interconnects for lateral GaN devices, in which contact areas or pads for source, drain and gate contacts are provided on the front-side of the GaN die.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Cameron McKnight-MacNeil, Greg P. Klowak, Ahmad Mizan, Stephen Coates
  • Patent number: 9818857
    Abstract: A fault tolerant design for large area nitride semiconductor devices is provided, which facilitates testing and isolation of defective areas. A transistor comprises an array of a plurality of islands, each island comprising an active region, source and drain electrodes, and a gate electrode. Electrodes of each island are electrically isolated from electrodes of neighboring islands in at least one direction of the array. Source, drain and gate contact pads are provided to enable electrical testing of each island. After electrical testing of islands to identify defective islands, overlying electrical connections are formed to interconnect source electrodes in parallel, drain electrodes in parallel, and to interconnect gate electrodes to form a common gate electrode of large gate width Wg. Interconnections are provided selectively to good islands, while electrically isolating defective islands. This approach makes it economically feasible to fabricate large area GaN devices, including hybrid devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Greg P. Klowak, Cameron McKnight-Macneil, Howard Tweddle, Ahmad Mizan, Nigel Springett
  • Patent number: 9818692
    Abstract: Devices and systems comprising high current/high voltage GaN semiconductor devices are disclosed. A GaN die, comprising a lateral GaN transistor, is sandwiched between an overlying header and an underlying composite thermal dielectric layer. Fabrication comprises providing a conventional GaN device structure fabricated on a low cost silicon substrate (GaN-on-Si die), mechanically and electrically attaching source, drain and gate contact pads of the GaN-on-Si die to corresponding contact areas of conductive tracks of the header, then entirely removing the silicon substrate. The exposed substrate-surface of the epi-layer stack is coated with the composite dielectric thermal layer. Preferably, the header comprises a ceramic dielectric support layer having a CTE matched to the GaN epi-layer stack. The thermal dielectric layer comprises a high dielectric strength thermoplastic polymer and a dielectric filler having a high thermal conductivity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Greg P. Klowak, Cameron McKnight-MacNeil
  • Patent number: 9692408
    Abstract: An electronic switching system and device comprising driver circuits for power transistors are disclosed, with particular application for MOSFET driven, normally-on gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors. Preferably, a low power, high speed CMOS driver circuit with an integrated low voltage, lateral MOSFET driver is series coupled, in a hybrid cascode arrangement, to a high voltage GaN HEMT and provides for improved control of noise and voltage transients. Monitoring and control functions, including latching and clamping, are based on monitoring of Vcc conditions for shut-down and start-up conditioning to enable safer operation, particularly for high voltage and high current switching. Preferred embodiments also provide isolated, self-powered, high speed driver devices, with reduced input losses.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Greg P. Klowak
  • Patent number: 9659854
    Abstract: Embedded packaging for devices and systems comprising lateral GaN power transistors is disclosed. The packaging assembly is suitable for large area, high power GaN transistors and comprises an assembly of a GaN power transistor and package components comprising a three level interconnect structure. In preferred embodiments, the three level interconnect structure comprises an on-chip metal layer, a copper redistribution layer and package metal layers, in which there is a graduated or tapered contact area sizing through the three levels for dividing/applying current on-chip and combining/collecting current off-chip, with distributed contacts over the active area of the GaN power device. This embedded packaging assembly provides a low inductance, low resistance interconnect structure suitable for devices and systems comprising large area, high power GaN transistors for high voltage/high current applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Greg P. Klowak, Ahmad Mizan, John Roberts
  • Patent number: 9660639
    Abstract: Power switching systems are disclosed comprising driver circuitry for enhancement-mode (E-Mode) GaN power transistors with low threshold voltage. Preferably, a GaN power switch (D3) comprises an E-Mode high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with a monolithically integrated GaN driver. D3 is partitioned into sections. At least the pull-down and, optionally, the pull-up driver circuitry is similarly partitioned as a plurality of driver elements, each driving a respective section of D3. Each driver element is placed in proximity to a respective section of D3, reducing interconnect track length and loop inductance. In preferred embodiments, the layout of GaN transistor switch and the driver elements, dimensions and routing of the interconnect tracks are selected to further reduce loop inductance and optimize performance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Ahmad Mizan
  • Patent number: 9589868
    Abstract: Packaging solutions for large area, GaN die comprising one or more lateral GaN power transistor devices and systems are disclosed. Packaging assemblies comprise an interposer sub-assembly comprising the lateral GaN die and a leadframe. The GaN die is electrically connected to the leadframe using bump or post interconnections, silver sintering, or other low inductance interconnections. Then, attachment of the GaN die to the substrate and the electrical connections of the leadframe to contacts on the substrate are made in a single process step. The sub-assembly may be mounted in a standard power module, or alternatively on a substrate, such as a printed circuit board. For high current applications, the sub-assembly also comprises a ceramic substrate for heat dissipation. This packaging scheme provides interconnections with lower inductance and higher current capacity, simplifies fabrication, and enables improved thermal matching of components, compared with conventional wirebonded power modules.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Cameron McKnight-MacNeil, Greg P. Klowak, Ahmad Mizan
  • Patent number: 9589869
    Abstract: Packaging solutions for devices and systems comprising lateral GaN power transistors are disclosed, including components of a packaging assembly, a semiconductor device structure, and a method of fabrication thereof. In the packaging assembly, a GaN die, comprising one or more lateral GaN power transistors, is sandwiched between first and second leadframe layers, and interconnected using low inductance interconnections, without wirebonding. For thermal dissipation, the dual leadframe package assembly can be configured for either front-side or back-side cooling. Preferred embodiments facilitate alignment and registration of high current/low inductance interconnects for lateral GaN devices, in which contact areas or pads for source, drain and gate contacts are provided on the front-side of the GaN die.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2017
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Cameron McKnight-MacNeil, Greg P. Klowak, Ahmad Mizan
  • Patent number: 9525413
    Abstract: Driver circuitry for switching systems comprising enhancement mode (E-Mode) GaN power transistors with low threshold voltage is disclosed. An E-Mode high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) D3 has a monolithically integrated GaN driver, comprising smaller E-Mode GaN HEMTs D1 and D2, and a discrete dual-voltage pre-driver. In operation, D1 provides the gate drive voltage to the gate of the GaN switch D3, and D2 clamps the gate of the GaN switch D3 to the source, via an internal source-sense connection closely coupling the source of D3 and the source of D2. An additional source-sense connection is provided for the pre-driver. Boosting the drive voltage to the gate of D1 produces firm and rapid pull-up of D1 and D3 for improved switching performance at higher switching speeds. High current handling components of the driver circuitry are integrated with the GaN switch and closely coupled to reduce inductance, while the discrete pre-driver can be thermally separated from the GaN chip.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2016
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Iain H. Scott
  • Patent number: 9508797
    Abstract: A semiconductor device in provided having a substrate and a semiconductor layer formed on a main surface of the substrate. A plurality of first island electrodes and a plurality of second island electrodes are placed over the semiconductor layer. The plurality of first island electrodes and second island electrodes are spaced apart from each other so as to be alternatively arranged to produce two-dimensional active regions in all feasible areas of the semiconductor layer. Each side of the first island electrodes is opposite a side of the second island electrodes. The semiconductor device can also include a plurality of strip electrodes that are formed in the regions between the first island electrodes and the second island electrodes. The strip electrodes serve as the gate electrodes of a multi-island transistor. The first island electrodes serve as the source electrodes of the multi-island transistor. The second island electrodes serve as the drain electrodes of the multi-island transistor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Assignee: GAN SYSTEMS INC.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Ahmad Mizan, Girvan Patterson, Greg Klowak
  • Publication number: 20150318353
    Abstract: A semiconductor device in provided having a substrate and a semiconductor layer formed on a main surface of the substrate. A plurality of first island electrodes and a plurality of second island electrodes are placed over the semiconductor layer. The plurality of first island electrodes and second island electrodes are spaced apart from each other so as to be alternatively arranged to produce two-dimensional active regions in all feasible areas of the semiconductor layer. Each side of the first island electrodes is opposite a side of the second island electrodes. The semiconductor device can also include a plurality of strip electrodes that are formed in the regions between the first island electrodes and the second island electrodes. The strip electrodes serve as the gate electrodes of a multi-island transistor. The first island electrodes serve as the source electrodes of the multi-island transistor. The second island electrodes serve as the drain electrodes of the multi-island transistor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 8, 2015
    Publication date: November 5, 2015
    Applicant: GAN SYSTEMS, INC.
    Inventors: John ROBERTS, Ahmad MIZAN, Girvan PATTERSON, Greg KLOWAK
  • Patent number: 9153509
    Abstract: A fault tolerant design for large area nitride semiconductor devices is provided, which facilitates testing and isolation of defective areas. A transistor comprises an array of a plurality of islands, each island comprising an active region, source and drain electrodes, and a gate electrode. Electrodes of each island are electrically isolated from electrodes of neighboring islands in at least one direction of the array. Source, drain and gate contact pads are provided to enable electrical testing of each island. After electrical testing of islands to identify defective islands, overlying electrical connections are formed to interconnect source electrodes in parallel, drain electrodes in parallel, and to interconnect gate electrodes to form a common gate electrode of large gate width Wg. Interconnections are provided selectively to good islands, while electrically isolating defective islands. This approach makes it economically feasible to fabricate large area GaN devices, including hybrid devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2015
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Gregory P. Klowak, Cameron McKnight-MacNeil, Howard Tweddle, Ahmad Mizan, Nigel Springett
  • Patent number: 9105560
    Abstract: Devices and systems comprising driver circuits are disclosed for MOSFET driven, normally-on gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors. Preferably, a low power, high speed CMOS driver circuit with an integrated low voltage, lateral MOSFET driver is series coupled, in a hybrid cascode arrangement to a high voltage GaN HEMT, for improved control of noise and voltage transients. Co-packaging of a GaN transistor die and a CMOS driver die using island topology contacts, through substrate vias, and a flip-chip, stacked configuration provides interconnections with low inductance and resistance, and provides effective thermal management. Co-packaging of a CMOS input interface circuit with the CMOS driver and GaN transistor allows for a compact, integrated CMOS driver with enhanced functionality including shut-down and start-up conditioning for safer operation, particularly for high voltage and high current switching.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Assignee: GaN Systems Inc.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Greg Klowak
  • Patent number: 9064947
    Abstract: A gallium nitride (GaN) device that has greatly superior current handling ability per unit area than previously described GaN devices. The improvement is due to improved layout topology. The layout scheme, which uses island electrodes rather than finger electrodes, is shown to increase the active area density over that of conventional interdigitated structures. Ultra low on resistance transistors can be built using the island topology. Specifically, the present invention, which uses conventional GaN lateral technology and electrode spacing, provides a means to enhance cost/effective performance of all lateral GaN structures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2015
    Assignee: GAN SYSTEMS INC.
    Inventors: John Roberts, Ahmad Mizan, Girvan Patterson, Greg Klowak