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Home / News / GaN Vs. Silicon: Why GaN-based Chargers Are Better Than Silicon-based Chargers

GaN Vs. Silicon: Why GaN-based Chargers Are Better Than Silicon-based Chargers

Views: 47     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-06-14      Origin: Site

Among other things, the performance of a charger is influenced by the type of transistor that it uses. The primary function of these transistors is to amplify electron flow from the power source to the device. The reliability of this transistor heavily influences the effectiveness of the charging process.

The majority of chargers are made from either silicon or GaN transistors. These are the most common materials, and they have weaknesses and strengths. In this article, we highlight the differences between them, with a primary focus on GaN.

Overview of GaN and Silicon Chargers   

Overview of GaN and Silicon Chargers

The terms silicon and GaN chargers imply that the chargers contain silicon and GaN transistors, respectively. While there are apparent differences between the two, they share some similarities, as seen in this article.

What is a GaN-based charger?

GaN chargers have transistors made from gallium nitride, the full name of GaN. This inorganic material exhibits some of the best transistor properties in the market. GaN is also known as a wide bandgap transistor because it allows the transfer of numerous electrons without affecting the device.

Features of Gallium nitride

GaN chargers perform exceptionally well because gallium nitride has superior properties such as;

 High power output. Since gallium nitride has a wide bandgap, it can allow the transfer of many electrons in the PN junction. High electron flow means high power output and high charging speeds.

● Minimal overheating. GaN transistors have the mechanism of regulating energy flow, which reduces the chances of overheating. Also, during the conversion of AC to DC, gallium nitride controls the process to avoid overheating.

Power output and energy flow regulation should be considered when choosing chargers. A high-power output charger can produce up to 100 Watts, which translates to high charging speeds. Similarly, this charger will be able to maintain this output without overheating and damaging the device.

What are silicon-based chargers?

Charger transistors can also be made from silicon material. Silicon is equally capable, but it is inferior to GaN. It is among the oldest semiconductor materials that has recently experienced competition from GaN. Silicon is still used in chargers where efficiency is not a primary concern.

Features of silicon

The superior functionality of silicon is tied to many of its features. The common ones are:

● Thermal and electrical conductivity. Silicon performs better than GaN when it comes to thermal and electrical conductivity. This means that the transistors in silicon-based chargers can insulate better against heat and voltage. This is essential to prevent overheating.

● They are unipolar field-effect transistors (FET). They facilitate a single type of charge carrier. Unipolar charge carriers have limitations in current gain and low transistor switching speeds. These aspects are ineffective at delivering high currents continuously, slowing silicon-based chargers.

● Unipolarity. Silicon is also known as a unipolar field effect transistor. These transistors facilitate the flow of current using one type of charge carrier. This can be a limiting feature since it means that the low current gain cannot support amplification for high energy flow.

Given that silicon transistors are unipolar and GaN are bipolar, the current flow of the two transistors cannot be matched. This is what makes GaN more superior to silicon in terms of charging speeds and efficiency.

How GaN Chargers Perform Compared to Silicon Chargers

Having established that GaN is superior to silicon in several aspects, we now understand why the markets are pushing GaN chargers. These reasons support the case better.

Switching speeds

Switching speeds

Transistors switch between an OFF and ON state when the charger is connected to the power source and the device. Switching happens at a predetermined rate, depending on the charger's charging protocol.

The transistors in GaN chargers have a high switching speed. This is because of the low gate charge, minimal PCB design, and efficient thermal management. These aspects make the charger reliable in applications where efficacy is demanded.

Power efficiency

The charging consistency, energy loss, and power output of a charger determine its efficiency. And as you guessed, these aspects are determined by the nature of the transistor. Therefore, if these aspects are fully optimized, the charger is said to be efficient, and vice versa.

Heat dissipation

The charging process produces heat as a byproduct. Since the charger cannot contain this heat, it needs to be removed in a process called heat dissipation. The method of dissipation used is critical since it determines whether it will be effective or not.

On the one hand, the efficiency of GaN chargers' charging process means that a complex heat dissipation mechanism is not mandatory. Conversely, silicon chargers are unable to handle high heat due to their unipolarity, meaning that they require a cooling mechanism.

Another reason GaN chargers do not have issues with heat dissipation is their good thermal conductivity. To elaborate, the transistors allow dissipation at the P-N junction.

Why You Should Choose a GaN Charger

GaN-based chargers have outperformed most existing charging technologies on the market. Here are the specific reasons why you should prefer them.

Charging speed

The high switching speeds of the GaN transistors allow the charger to deliver high voltage to the device without any adverse effects. A high charging speed significantly saves time and ensures that your batteries are filled relatively quickly. The best part is that this does not mean that the chargers will drain fast.

Supported charging protocols

Charging protocols are the standards that devices and chargers are assigned when designing how their batteries will be charged. GaN chargers support most of the advanced protocols used by high-end devices. These protocols require efficient chargers because they are designed to charge devices at high speed. These protocols include;

● USB power delivery (PD)

● Quick Charge (QC)

● Adaptive Fast Charging (AFC)

Most flagship smartphones from companies such as Samsung, Apple, and OPPO are using these charging protocols on their devices.

Compatibility & Versatility

In today's world, most devices share similar charging ports, which means that you only need one charger. GaN chargers are engineered with this in mind, improving compatibility and versatility in the market.

Portability

Portability

GaN chargers are considered portable because of their compact size. Unlike other chargers, GaN chargers can be made into compact sizes because engineers do not need to worry about issues such as overheating.

Durability

Gallium nitride is a durable material. The transistors' ability to handle power effectively is why they are considered durable. These chargers do not suffer load imbalances, an aspect that degrades transistors quickly.

Conclusion

Choosing a GaN-based charger instead of silicon-based alternatives will be a better decision over the long run. GaN chargers have demonstrated their ability to deliver power to devices at fast rates without any side effects. Therefore, make the right choice and order a GaN charger today.


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