A 6.7-GHz Active Gate Driver for GaN FETs to Combat Overshoot, Ringing, and EMI

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Active gate driving has been demonstrated to beneficially shape switching waveforms in Si-and SiC-based power converters. For faster GaN power devices with sub-10-ns switching transients, however, reported variable gate driving has so far been limited to altering a single drive parameter once per switching event, either during or outside of the transient. This paper demonstrates a gate driver with a timing resolution and range of output resistance levels that surpass those of existing gate drivers or arbitrary waveform generators. It is shown to permit active gate driving with a bandwidth that is high enough to shape a GaN switching during the transient. The programmable gate driver has integrated high-speed memory, control logic, and multiple parallel output stages. During switching transients, the gate driver can activate a near-arbitrary sequence of pull-up or pull-down output resistances between 0.12 and 64 A hybrid of clocked and asynchronous control logic with 150-ps delay elements achieves an effective resistance update rate of 6.7 GHz during switching events. This active gate driver is evaluated in a 1-MHz bridge-leg converter using EPC2015 GaN FETs. The results show that aggressive manipulation of the gate-drive resistance at sub-nanosecond resolutions can profile gate waveforms of the GaN FET, thereby beneficially shaping the switch-node voltage waveform in the power circuit. Examples of open-loop active gate driving are demonstrated that maintain the low switching loss of constant-strength gate driving, while reducing overshoot, oscillation, and EMI-generating high-frequency spectral content.