Ultra-fast charging technology coming to smartphones in 2020

Several major smartphone manufacturers are reportedly planning to launch new fast chargers with support for up to 65W charging.

This is according to a report from Chinese tech site IT Home, which stated that Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are planning to unveil chargers based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology in 2020.

Xiaomi released its GaN-based charger last week. The charger employs a USB-C interface and is capable of delivering a 50W wired fast charge to the Xiaomi M10 Pro’s 4,780mAh battery, filling it to 100% in 45 minutes.

Currently, the fastest smartphone charger available from Apple can provide 18W wired charging, while Samsung offers 45W Adaptive Fast Charging and Huawei’s SuperCharge supports 40W charging.

The benefits of Gallium Nitride

According to GaN Systems, Gallium Nitride is a semiconductor that is commonly used in LEDs and Blu-ray disc readers.

Other components which employ the material include power devices, RF parts, lasers, and photonics.

What makes GaN ideal for battery chargers is its wider bandgap of 3.4 eV, compared to the 1.12 eV bandgap of silicon.

The bandgap is the energy range in a solid in which no electrons can exist. The wider the energy range, the better a solid material is capable of conducting electricity.

Since GaN can conduct higher voltages over time than silicon, it can deliver a faster charge.

The chargers are also lighter and around half the size of conventional silicone chargers, as they require fewer components for cooling and operation.

This is because’s GaN’s higher switching frequencies and operational temperatures means it can make use of smaller heat sinks and fewer fans for cooling.

Additionally, the higher switching frequencies allows for smaller inductors and capacitors to be used in power circuits.

Increased adoption

Although GaN semiconductors are generally more expensive than silicon, these costs can be offset by the fact that smaller and fewer additional components are needed.

These savings could be further supplemented by GaN’s inherent higher efficiency. With the use of GaN’ semiconductors, less energy is expended as heat.

IT Home did not indicate when we can expect manufacturers to release their GaN chargers.

Although devices would have to support 65W charging in order to fully benefit from the technology, consumers can still charge devices without this support much faster than normal.

For example, Xiaomi claims that iPhone 11 users will see up to 50% faster charging with its GaN charger.

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Ultra-fast charging technology coming to smartphones in 2020