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25 March 2014

RFMD awarded $9.7m Air Force contract to produce first 6" mm-wave GaN-on-SiC ICs

RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has signed a $9.7m agreement with the Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Directorate within the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to transfer and produce a 0.14μm gallium nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology. The technology will be scaled to 6”-diameter wafers using RFMD’s 6” GaN-on-silicon carbide (SiC) manufacturing line.

“Through this Air Force contract we have the opportunity to establish the industry’s first 6-inch millimeter wave GaN-on-SiC process technology, allowing RFMD to expand our technology capabilities beyond 100GHz,” says Gorden Cook, general manager of RFMD Power Broadband. “We expect this new technology will not only enable a new class of affordable power MMICs for defense applications such as radar and military communications, but also commercial applications including cable TV networking, microwave backhaul and cellular infrastructure.”

According to industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics, the GaN microelectronics market is expected to more than triple to $334m by 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%, driven by both military (radar, electronic warfare, communications) and commercial (power management, cellular, CATV, land mobile radios) applications.

“AFRL has a distinguished history of developing high-performance technologies with an understanding of underlying physics that drive reliability,” says Cook. “RFMD plans to leverage AFRL’s experience to offer reliable, 0.14μm-gate GaN power technology for mass production in our US-based, open foundry.”

GaN technology supports broad frequency bandwidths and high breakdown voltages in a small area. RFMD’s 6” GaN wafer offers 2.5-times more usable area over competing 4” GaN wafer platforms currently available, resulting in 2.5 times more RF power devices per wafer. Millimeter-wave GaN enables the best trade-off between key performance parameters such as power gain, bandwidth and efficiency for applications in the range of DC to over 100GHz, says RFMD.

See related items:

RFMD introduces first 6” GaN-on-SiC wafers for RF power transistors

Tags: RFMD AFRL GaN power transistor

Visit: www.rfmd.com

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