The Ultimate Guide To PCB Layout For GaN Transistors

In the ever-evolving landscape of power electronics, the emergence of gallium nitride (GaN) transistors has ignited a revolution by offering unparalleled benefits, including remarkable efficiency and power density enhancements. The art of PCB layout has been a crucial component in power electronic design for over four decades now, ever since the advent of switching power supplier. From the early days of switching power supplies to the cutting-edge wide-bandgap power semiconductors of today, PCB layout has remained a critical aspect of power electronic design. These advantages stem from GaN transistors’ exceptional fast switching speeds, which can transform energy conversion processes.

By understanding and managing the parasitic inductance, including component placement, routing strategies, and ground plane design, we offer practical advice for optimizing board layouts based on specific design requirements, and avoid avoiding unnecessary electromagnetic interference (EMI). Consequently, unlocking the true potential of GaN transistors demands a strategic and meticulous approach to PCB layout.

However, as with any leap forward, new opportunities come hand-in-hand with fresh challenges. One such challenge is the intricate realm of PCB layout.

Here’s a swift rundown of the top 10 recommendations for optimizing your PCB layout to fully capitalize on GaN transistor advantages:

  • Mind the current path: Delve into the dynamics of switching transistors to anticipate the flow of current and optimize accordingly.
  • Balanced inductance: While layout inductance can be paramount in certain circuit segments, its significance varies.
  • Dielectric advantage: Leverage PCB layer pairs with thin dielectrics to minimize layout inductance and enhance overall performance.
  • Embrace consistency: Stick to the “over/under same path” principle to avoid lateral loops and maintain a streamlined current flow.
  • Package insights: Package inductance is not necessarily a fixed value for any SMT package.
  • Dual benefits of top-side cooling: Opt for top-side cooled SMT packages to optimize electrical and thermal pathways, achieving optimal performance.
  • Strategic return-path design: Employ a plane for gate-drive circuit return-paths, aligning functionality and boosting efficiency.
  • Tame capacitive currents: Mitigate capacitive currents proactively to ensure stability and reliability within your GaN transistor-based system.
  • Isolation matters: Keep ground reference circuits distanced from high-side gate-drive circuits to prevent undesirable interactions.
  • Compactness for agility: Maintain a compact switch-node layout to foster agility and responsiveness within your GaN-based setup.

For a comprehensive guide and detailed techniques on optimizing GaN transistor PCB layout, refer to our application note. It’s a valuable resource that will help you fully leverage the benefits of GaN transistors while navigating complex layout considerations. With these insights at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve optimal performance and efficiency in your designs.

Francesco Di Domenico

  (all posts)
Francesco Di Domenico is a senior principal for application engineering & system architectures at Infineon Technologies.



Accessibility Dashboard

Accessibility settings have been reset

Help = available voice commands

Hide help = available voice commands

Scroll down = available voice commands

Scroll up = available voice commands

Go to top = available voice commands

Go to bottom = available voice commands

Tab = available voice commands

Tab back = available voice commands

Show numbers = available voice commands

Hide numbers = available voice commands

Clear input = available voice commands

Enter = available voice commands

Reload = available voice commands

Stop = available voice commands

Exit = available voice commands