The Power of GaN technology and the future of USB charging
What is GaN technology and what does it offer?
GaN technology results in faster device charging due to limited loss to heat. It requires less power to drive the circuit and less components internally.
This results in pintsize chargers and a more environmentally friendly option. Less plastics, less resources, less heat, more power - what more can be said?
GaN or Gallium Nitride is a chemical compound with the properties of a semiconductor. Using GaN, one can manufacture electronic components like diodes, transistors and amplifiers. Although GaN behaves very similarly to silicon, it has a number of benefits over silicon-based devices, essentially because GaN has a larger 'band-gap' in comparison to silicon based products.
The properties of GaN includes higher temperature, high power handling capabilities and 1000x more electron mobility compared to Silicon.
So when it comes to high power situations, GaN proves more beneficial and promising over silicon, so you'll normally only find them in products over 60W power.
Smaller chargers such as 20W / 36W chargers won't benefit massively from GaN technology as they are classed as 'nano-chargers' where smaller parts are used already and disperse less heat than high powered devices.
What are its advantages?
The primary advantage of GaN chargers is that they require lesser components than silicon chargers which makes them physically much smaller in size.
Apart from being more efficient in transferring current, the losses to heat are minimal, the advantage being that maximum energy gets transferred to the connected device. Since the energy transfer is extremely efficient, lesser components are required in the process for transferring current.