High-power fast charging is becoming the norm for digital devices. Hence, GaN-based chargers are now considered a cutting-edge discovery.
Contrary to widespread notion, this technology isn’t new. It has been used in the production of LEDs over the last three decades. But, it has been deployed in the power electronics realm only recently.
As far as the future of GaN is concerned, it is estimated that the use of USB-C and USB-PD chargers and cables, which can be used to charge any compatible device, is all set to grow. In fact, the days of using one charger for one device may soon be history, giving way to the era of one charger for all devices.
Users can look forward to using a single adapter/charger that is compatible with every device, irrespective of varying voltages for a phone (5V), tablet (12V), or laptop (19V).
It is also forecasted that one GaN-powered adapter with two Type C ports will be able to fulfil the high-power needs of several devices charging in a small form factor.
We bet you want to know more about the role of GaN in fast charging. In this post, we will discuss everything that you should know about GaN chargers.
1. Understanding the Need for Fast Charging
Digital devices are evolving to become versatile, offering more functions and features for improved user experience.
But, how do you minimize the charging time for such devices? This is where the development of fast charging protocols comes into the picture. In fact, fast charging has now become standard for digital devices. It enables users to charge their devices in a fraction of the time taken by traditional chargers.
In fast charging, the device charges faster as manufacturers either:
- Enhance the amperage or
- Change the voltage to increase the amount of potential energy
The latter is done more commonly than the former.
GaN technology is becoming popular to this end. Yet, there has been some speculation (and skepticism) around its practicality. Let’s find out more by understanding what GaN actually is.
2. What Is Gallium Nitride?
Gallium nitride or GaN is a semiconductor that can be used to produce chips for electronics. It is a transparent crystalline material.
GaN Technology promises high efficiency and voltages. It has low on-state resistance and fast-switching properties. This means that its fast charging capabilities can be easily enabled. This, in turn, means that you get what you want, i.e. increased convenience.
Usually, the main material used in chip production is silicon. But, silicon allows limited thermal and electrical transfer. Hence, it is becoming difficult for chip manufacturers to use it in modern devices.
This is where gallium nitride can take over from silicon, which brings us to our next point.
3. Gallium Nitride versus Silicon
We will now consider the million-dollar question: can gallium nitride replace silicon?
When it comes to replacing silicon, GaN is a promising candidate. It enables better performance and efficiency with a smaller footprint. As far as chargers are concerned, the scope for GaN is immense due to the following reasons:
It also offers better band gap This basically refers to how a material can conduct electricity. Gallium nitride has a bandgap of 3.4 electronvolts (eV), while silicon’s bandgap is only 1.1 eV. A wider bandgap allows for higher voltages to be used without causing any problems.
GaN offers higher voltages compared to silicon. GaN’s breakdown field is 3 MV/cm(millivolt per centimeter), while silicon has a breakdown field of 0.3 MV/cm.
GaN charging has been shown to be able to conduct electrons with 1000 times higher efficiency relative to silicon.
GaN chargers need fewer components compared to silicon ones. Hence, they are smaller in size. GaN is a very hard material and has a Wurtzite crystal structure. The shrinking size can be attributed to the higher bonding energy of the atoms in the crystal. GaN crystals boast of a higher mobility of electrons.
They are less susceptible to heating. They not only transmit energy efficiently, but also conserve it better. This facilitates better flow to the charging device, resulting in fast charging.
More power can be transmitted through every GaN component. So, manufacturers can do more with it rather than use multiple silicon components. The use of fewer components allows manufacturers to shrink the size of the charger. This makes it more compact.
4. Benefits of GaN-based Chargers
The rate at which your phone’s battery can go from zero to a full charge depends on your phone and your charger.
Using a powerful charger will not help unless your phone can support that amount of power. You may have a phone with the latest fast charging technology. But, it will not charge without an appropriate charger.
A phone and a suitable charger need to work together in a fast charging setup for maximized current and voltage. This also helps in keeping your battery cool and preventing it from exploding.
Fortunately, GaN chargers are compatible with most existing laptops and phone models. Gallium nitride can conduct higher voltages.
GaN-based chargers offer many benefits. Let’s see what they are.
More Compact Chargers
Gallium nitride chargers don’t need as many components as silicon charges. They can also conduct higher voltages over time. These factors have enabled manufacturers to produce smaller-sized, compact chargers. Hence, users can look forward to improved convenience and experiences. As this technology gains more popularity, chargers will keep getting smaller in size.
Better Energy Transfer
GaN chargers transfer the current more efficiently. Hence, less energy is lost to heat with more of it being directed towards the device being charged. The battery does not overheat either. When components pass energy to the devices efficiently, power is optimally utilized. Further, high-efficiency chargers mean less wasted energy. Hence, users save money on their energy bills.
Improved Switching Frequency
A GaN technology charger comes with a higher switching frequency. This supports faster wireless power transmission. It also enables bigger air gaps between the device and the charger.
It is true that GaN semiconductors currently cost more than the silicon ones. But, they are highly efficient. So, there is less dependency on extra materials like filters and circuit components. This will eventually result in cost savings. The savings can improve further over the long term as large-scale production begins.
5. GaN-based UGREEN Chargers
You can now access GaN technology chargers easily. UGREEN offers GaN-based chargers in two models:
This GAN charger is capable of charging almost all kinds of digital devices. It supports nearly all fast charging protocols. It also charges your device with higher efficiency.
The light-weight, 65W GaN PD fast charger comes with an ergonomic design and is compact in size.
A 50% charge takes only 30 minutes for an iPhone X.
It features fast charging for iPhone, iPad Pro 2020, Nintendo Switch, and AirPods at the same time.
Its intelligent power management system delivers optimal charging power. You can fast charge your devices with ease.
This 65W charger can power up your iOS devices such as MacBook Air 2020, iPad Pro, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch, and more.
This 65W GaN PD fast charger supports almost all digital devices. It also support most fast charging protocols.
It comes equipped with four ports, is light-weight, and has an ergonomic design. It is also compact and helps you save space.
As an increasing number of devices now need Type-C charging, this charger is ideal. It adheres to the all-in-one design concept.
The cube-shaped charger comes with three USB-C (Type-C) ports and one USB-A port.
iPhone X users can expect to get a 50% charge within 30 minutes.
The charger allows fast charging for iPad Pro 2020, Nintendo Switch, and AirPods at the same time.
It has an intelligent power management system, which charges your devices most efficiently.
This charger can juice up most iOS devices such as MacBook Air 2020, iPad Pro, AirPods Pro, among others.
As devices evolve, manufacturers continue to churn out high-functioning gadgets. Device users perpetually await the next big breakthrough in battery life technology. The promise of fast charging technologies powering up these devices quickly is irresistible. Fortunately, there has been plenty of innovation in the battery-charging sphere. Manufacturers are building devices that can be charged quicker than ever before. New technologies such as gallium nitride are redefining the speed of fast charging. Relative to its silicon counterpart, a GaN charger passes energy more efficiently. This leads to faster and safer charging. Hopefully, the above information will help you understand GaN technology. It should also clarify its role in the world of fast charging.