A major challenge for discrete GaN solutions is the difficulty in driving the transistors and protecting them. GaN is so much faster than silicon, that even small amounts of inductance and capacitance introduced by the discrete GaN packages and PCB trace connections make it very difficult to drive.

Designers commonly faces challenges such as a high dv/dt and high frequency oscillation during switching which creates EMI, lowers efficiency and in some cases, can cause destruction of the device. The high switching speed also makes it very difficult to protect the transistor during fault conditions, as the high speed of the GaN switches can cause the switch current to ramp to destructive levels – before the protection circuitry has a chance to safely turn off the device. These issues are resolved by embedding the PowiGaN in Power Integration’s highly integrated switcher ICs.