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Driver design lowers cost of lidars

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EPC announces highly integrated 80V, 15 A GaN eToF laser driver

EPC announces the EPC21701, a laser driver that monolithically integrates an 80 V, 40 A FET with gate driver and 3.3 logic level input into a single chip for time-of-flight lidar systems used in robotics, surveillance systems, and vacuum cleaners.

It is tailored to lidar systems for gesture recognition, time of flight (ToF) measurement, robotic vision, or industrial safety.

The EPC21701 laser driver uses 5 V supply voltage and is controlled using 3.3 V logic. It is capable of very high frequencies greater than 50 MHz and super short pulses down to 2 ns to modulate laser driving currents up to 15 A. Voltage switching time is less than 1 ns and delay time from input to output is less than 3.6 ns.

The EPC21701 is a single-chip driver plus GaN FET using EPC’s proprietary GaN IC technology in a chip-scale BGA form factor that measures only 1.7 mm x 1.0 mm x 0.68 mm. The wafer level packaging is small, low inductance, and lays out very well with the laser system. With this small form factor and the integration of several functions, the overall solution is 36% smaller on the printed circuit board (PCB) compared to an equivalent multi-chip discrete implementation.

The 80 V EPC21701 complements the ToF driver IC family in chip-scale package (CSP) that also includes the 40 V, 15 A EPC21601 and the 40 V, 10 A EPC21603 options.

Integrated devices in a single chip are easier to design, easier to layout, easier to assemble, save space on the PCB, increase efficiency, and reduce cost. This family of products will enable faster adoption and increased ubiquity of ToF solutions across a wider array of end-user applications.

“This new family of GaN integrated circuits dramatically improves the performance while reducing size and cost for time-of-flight lidar systems,” said Alex Lidow, CEO, and co-founder of EPC. “Integrating a GaN FET with driver on one chip generates an extremely powerful and fast IC and reduces size and cost for wider adoption in consumer and industrial applications. With EPC21701 we expand the family to 80 V and 15 A and will soon extend the family further to 100 V and 125 A.”

Development board

The EPC9172 development board features the EPC21701 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, 15 A peak currents, and bus voltage rating of 40 V.

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