EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) has expanded its new gallium nitride (GaN) integrated circuit (IC) product family to offer “higher performance and smaller solution size for time-of-flight (ToF) lidar applications,” the company said in a release.

The company has introduced a laser driver that integrates a 40 V, 10 A field effect transistor (FET) with a gate driver and low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) logic level input in a single chip for time-of-flight lidar systems. These systems are used in robotics, drones, augmented reality, and gaming applications.

The EPC21603 is a laser driver that is controlled using LVDS logic. It is said to be capable of “very high frequencies exceeding 100 MHz and super short pulses (< 2 ns) to modulate laser driving currents up to 10 A.” Described as a single-chip driver plus eGaN® FET, it uses EPC’s proprietary GaN IC technology in a chip-scale BGA form factor that measures only 1.5 mm x 1.0 mm.

According to EPC, the LVDS logic control allows the eToF laser driver IC to be controlled from a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) for applications where noise immunity is critical, such as augmented reality.

The integration of devices in a single chip makes it easier to design, easier to lay out, and easier to assemble, while also saving space on the PCB, increasing efficiency, and reducing cost. According to EPC, its expanded family of products will enable faster adoption and increased ubiquity of ToF solutions across a more comprehensive array of end-user applications.

“The EPC21603 joins the recently announced EPC21601 as the initial products in our new family of GaN ICs that dramatically improve the performance while reducing size and cost for time-of-flight lidar systems,” said Alex Lidow, CEO and co-founder of EPC, in the release. “This new family of GaN integrated circuits will continue to expand to higher currents, higher voltages, as well as furthering integration of additional control and logic features on a single chip.”

The EPC9156 development board features the EPC21603 eToF™ laser driver IC and is primarily intended to drive laser diodes with short, high current pulses. Capabilities include minimum pulse widths of < 2 ns, 10 A peak currents, and bus voltage rating of 30 V, the company said.

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