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20 February 2013

Cree and Eta to demo record-efficiency power amplifier for mobile base-stations

On 26 February at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (1–5pm at the Barcelona Mandarin Oriental), Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA, which makes gallium nitride (GaN) RF components, and fabless semiconductor firm Eta Devices Inc of Cambridge, MA (which was spun off from MIT, but has an R&D office in Stockholm, Sweden) will demonstrate what is claimed to be a record-efficiency power amplifier for mobile base-stations.

Current-generation mobile base-station amplifiers employing silicon LDMOS transistors can provide amplifier efficiencies up to 45%. By contrast, Eta’s power amplifiers can deliver efficiencies higher than 70% under a 4G LTE modulation format.

“Eta Devices’ next-generation power amplifiers leverage the performance and reliability advantages of Cree’s GaN HEMT [high-electron-mobility transistor] RF transistors to realize game-changing efficiency benefits for the mobile-base-station industry,” says Jim Milligan, business director, Cree RF. “Our transistors have been instrumental in demonstrating Eta Devices’ amplifiers, which perform 50% more efficiently than the best incumbent silicon power amplifiers currently available in the 4G LTE market.”

The world’s mobile networks consume about 120TWh of electricity per year, and 50–80% of this power is consumed by the networks’ power amplifiers and associated components. Implementing Eta’s new power amplifier on a global level could save mobile operators 60TWh per year, it is reckoned (equivalent to the amount of power produced by more than seven average-sized American nuclear power plants). This could also save up to 50% of the $36.5bn spent to power mobile base-stations each year.

“Mobile operators gain dramatic advantages by adopting our new technology,” claims Eta’s CEO Mattias Astrom. “In addition to cost savings, our power amplifiers provide operators with a significantly reduced carbon footprint,” he adds. “If implemented on a global basis, our solution would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 36 million tons per year, which is equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by 7 million cars.” 

Tags: Cree GaN HEMT



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