alex lidow

alex lidow.png

intro to Alex here (intrigue because of app/chip ness):

looking at short term results and sacrificing long term benefits

like what happened to pharma companies… start to see in semi conductors as well

moore’s law – in classical construct.. more transistors on single chip has reached it’s limits… said will deliver higher performance at lower cost and that ended a couple years ago..

what world will look like… that invention.. power mosfet – saved 15% of world’s energy..enabling elcectric/hybrid cars.. lighting (37 yrs ago) but galium nitride – (7 yrs ago) – not only another 15% but be both higher performance and lower cost than silicon..

it would significantly increase range of electric car so decrease cost.. decrease cost of server farms… allows wirelessly transmitting power..

elon and i know each other for quite a few years.. he’s very well aware of this…

tiny x ray machines that fit into pills, wire less power… et al


find/follow Alex:

link twitter

Alex is ceo and co-founder of efficient power conversion site:

The Value of Gallium Nitride Technology

The cost of electrical power is a key driver of socioeconomic vitality, as it enables us to improve our quality of life and advance new applications and industries. Silicon has hit its physical limits and, therefore, is no longer able to stay ahead of our demand for more and more efficient power. In order to re-establish momentum a new material is needed.

EPC is the leading provider of gallium nitride (GaN)-based power management technology and is doing more than just improving efficiency of electrical power. It is also enabling new, life-changing applications that didn’t exist five years ago. From wireless power and autonomous vehicles to high-speed mobile communications, low cost satellites, and transformations in medical care, among many others, GaN is becoming the preferred technology for progressive companies that are eager to remain at the forefront of their industries.

EPC was founded in November 2007 by three engineers, with a combined 60 years of experience in advanced power management technology. EPC’s CEO Alex Lidow was the co-inventor of the silicon power MOSFET in the 1970s; and, in addition to holding positions in R&D and manufacturing, was the CEO of International Rectifier for 12 years. Over time it became clear to the founders of EPC that silicon had reached its performance limits, failing to propel innovation forward at the rate to which we had become accustomed.

video of Alex (eb 2017) –

gan – lower cost than silicon.. chips are much smaller so can get more on a chip.. layer of silicon wafer as starting point

just figured out how to grow on top of silicon

secret in making a device that could stay turned off till you want it on..

on smaller/thinner – so multi layers…  w/gan about 1000 times advantage over silicon..

i think of moore’s law is more as a social pact.. more than anything else.. promise to keep delivering more and more..

so – we break it down even more … and it’s 7 billion people as the layers.. smaller/thinner.. no?

..and silicon is running out of gas and gan is just getting going… about 1000 times away from fundamental limits..

i think eventually gan will take the whole piece…  all the way to digital

Alex on efficient power conversion site:


what is gan

better semi conductor than silicon..


just learned how to grow on wafer of silicon

2 min – applications we never knew existed.. ie: pill – coloscopy pill.. xray inside tablet..

working with Jack?

iot – going to require enormous increase in bandwidth… going to require gan instead of silicon


another – wireless power..


where is gan going

li dar – because of the speed of gan

wireless power –

4 min – x ray machine in pill

8 min – gan’s energy efficiency..


Like Drug Companies, Big Chipmakers Are Planning To Spend On M&A Instead of R&D

Were semiconductor consolidation to accelerate, it would confirm the industry’s retrenchment. Innovation, as with the pharma industry, might come from outside the sector’s largest players, instead of some well-funded research lab.

“The semiconductor industry will become one where there are a lot of large corporations and smaller companies will, in effect, be outsourced R&D, much like the pharmaceutical sector,” says Alex Lidow, CEO of private chipmaker Efficient Power Conversion. He says in this scenario Qorvo Corporation and Intersil Corp. could become attractive targets.

Lidow, however, believes consolidation may bring a dark ages to innovation in the semiconductor industry.


silicon valley into gallium valley

In 1977, when he was 22 years old, inventor Alex Lidow had the sort of eureka moment most techies would kill for. While in graduate school at Stanford, Lidow co-invented, along with Thomas Herman, a type of device called the HEXFET power MOSFET that would make his family’s old company, International Rectifier, more than $930 million in royalties. And it turned Lidow’s grandfather, a Lithuanian Holocaust survivor, and his father, who fled Berlin in 1937, into important players in the hardware industry.

Now, with the winds of history at his back, Lidow is embarking on a new mission: He’s trying to do nothing less than upend the tech industry’s reliance on silicon.


Gallium nitride (GaN), which has been used by hardware companies since the 1990s, conducts electricity better than silicon but has historically been expensive to produce and use. But thanks to sharply declining production prices, EPC is betting gallium nitride can fuel a tech revolution for everything from wireless electrical chargers to drone aircraft to industrial electronics.


dang.. it’s about bulking/swallowing up.. rather than the potential a chip has for humanity.

EPC CEO and Co-Founder @AlexLidow comments on Tsinghua’s $47B “Warchest” and quest to be #3

Original Tweet:

why not yet… our perpetuate\ing not us ness… our roadblock ness..



the mobile imperitive:

Silicon power transistors (MOSFETs) have reached their performance limits.  Fortunately, GaN transistors with their high-speed capability coupled with lower production costs and smaller size, have come of age.


Blows Against the Empire: Lidow’s Radical GaN Logic | Light Reading… via @Light_Reading

“Digital chips are CMOS — complementary MOS, which means they have an electron-dominated transistor, and above it a hole-dominated transistor. They work as a pair; that’s where ‘complementary’ comes from. You have a p-channel device and an n-channel device.”

“In gallium nitride, electrons go like greased lightning, and holes don’t go anywhere at all. Today, you can’t make CMOS logic. You can make NMOS logic.”

“But there are several approaches for gallium nitride that look very promising for making these positive charges — holes — transport very efficiently on the same chip. If we can overcome that challenge economically — and I know pretty precisely what it will take — if we can do it, then CMOS will also be superior in gallium nitride than in silicon, and the entire digital world will start transitioning to gallium nitride.”

The ramifications for any application that requires pure speed (e.g., communications networks, data centers, supercomputing) would be profound. GaN is way, way faster than silicon — theoretically as much as 1,000 times faster.


from aug 2015 – four things new semi conductor tech must have

  1. Does it enable significant new applications?
    1. highspeed/highdata tracking,
    2. wireless,
    3. lidar (light distancing/ranging)
  2. Is it easy to use?
    1. ed in papers
    2. ed in books
    3. ed in unis..

is that easy to use..?

  1. Is it VERY cost effective to the user?
  2. Is it reliable?



breakthrough energy coalition


let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way

we can.

we can’t not.


exotic power devices head toward mainstream