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20 May 2015

Northrop Grumman reports highest-power single-chip Ka-band power amplifier

At the 2015 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS) in Phoenix, Arizona, on 20 May, Northrop Grumman Corp of Redondo Beach, CA, USA has presented what it claims is the highest-power gallium nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier ever produced operating at Ka-band frequencies ('High Power and High Efficiency Ka-band Power Amplifier' by Salah Din).

With a peak power of 40W at 27 GHz, the 27-30GHz amplifier has an average output power of 36W and a power-added efficiency (PAE) of more than 30% across the band. The MMIC area is a compact 13.5mm2, establishing what is reckoned to be a new standard of performance achieved by a single MMIC.

The new 40W circuit was manufactured using the same process that is being matured through the firm's participation in the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide (GaN on SiC) Advanced EW (Electronic Warfare) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) Production Capacity program (GaN Producibility Program), an initiative funded under Title III of the Defense Procurement Act. The program seeks to establish a domestic, economically viable, open-foundry merchant supplier production capability for Ka-band GaN MMICs.

"This is a big breakthrough for the industry because it will help lead the way to the widespread commercial availability of cost-effective Ka-band GaN components with output powers exceeding 25W," reckons Frank Kropschot, general manager, Microelectronics Products and Services, Northrop Grumman. "The commercial availability of high-frequency, high-power components will greatly reduce the cost and number of parts needed for communications equipment, making higher data rates and longer distance communication links more easily obtainable," he adds.   

"Designing this circuit was challenging because we aimed for a very small footprint for the amplifier and still had to give consideration to thermal concerns," says Mansoor Siddiqui, a co-author of the paper (along with Mike Wojtowicz). "We managed to minimize output loss while achieving a good 18dB load match in a small area," he adds. "The PAE we have attained establishes a high mark while delivering 35-40W at Ka-band."

See related items:

Northrop Grumman launches high-power GaN amplifiers for Ka-band SatCom terminals

Northrop Grumman goes commercial with three GaN HEMT MMIC PAs

Northrop Grumman samples GaN packaged power amplifier for Ka-band communications

Tags: Northrop Grumman GaN-on-SiC

Visit: www.northropgrumman.com

Visit: www.ims2015.org

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