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1 November 2012

Northrop Grumman goes commercial with three GaN HEMT MMIC PAs

Northrop Grumman Corp has developed a line of gallium nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) for military and commercial uses, representing the first commercial availability of GaN-based components from the firm.

Initial engineering evaluation sampling has begun with quantities of three GaN MMIC products, developed for defense and commercial ground satellite communication terminal markets and the commercial wireless infrastructure market.

"We have been producing gallium nitride-based devices since 2002 at Northrop Grumman's dedicated wafer fabrication facility in Redondo Beach, which the Department of Defense has designated as a Trusted Foundry," said Frank Kropschot, general manager of the Microelectronics Products and Services (MPS) business unit of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We have achieved outstanding performance and reliability from our high-frequency gallium nitride process and are extremely confident that these GaN MMICs will improve performance, efficiency and bandwidth for military and commercial users."

Performance characteristics for the initial set of three MMICs:

  • APN149 is a GaN high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) MMIC power amplifier chip that operates between 18 and 23GHz. It provides 20dB of linear gain, +36dBm (4W) of output power at 1dB gain compression and +38dBm (6.3W) in saturation with physical address extension (PAE) of greater than 30%.
  • APN180 is a GaN HEMT MMIC power amplifier chip that operates between 27 and 31GHz. It provides 21dB of linear gain, +38dBm (6.3W) of output power at 1dB gain compression and +39dBm (8W) in saturation with PAE of 30% at midband. For less demanding applications, the APN180 can be operated from a drain voltage as low as +20V while still producing +37dBm (5W) of saturated output power.
  • APN167 is a GaN HEMT MMIC power amplifier chip that operates between 43 and 46GHz. It provides 20dB of gain, +35.5dBm (3.5W) of output power at 1dB gain compression and +38.5dBm (7W) in saturation with PAE of 19% at midband.

"These new products are the first of several we plan to introduce into the marketplace during the next few months as we roll out a new family of products using Northrop Grumman's 0.2┬Ám GaN HEMT process developed partially under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Wide Band Gap Semiconductors for Radio Frequency program (WBGS-RF)," Kropschot said.

Limited engineering prototype samples are available from stock to qualified customers.

Tags: Northrop Grumman GaN HEMTs

Visit: www.northropgrumman.com

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