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25 May 2016

MACOM's latest 320W and 160W plastic-packaged GaN power transistors achieve 79% efficiency for wireless base-stations

MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings Inc of Lowell, MA, USA (which makes semiconductors, components and subassemblies for analog RF, microwave, millimeter-wave and photonic applications) has launched the newest entries in its MAGb series of gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) power transistors for use in macro wireless base-stations. Based on MACOM's Gen4 GaN technology, the MAGb-101822-240B0P and MAGb-101822-120B0P power transistors harness the performance benefits of GaN in rugged, low-cost plastic packaging, enabling improved cost efficiencies over legacy LDMOS silicon for base-station applications, says MACOM.

The plastic TO-272-packaged MAGb-101822-240B0P and MAGb-101822-120B0P power transistors provide 320W and 160W output peak power, respectively, in the load-pull system with fundamental tuning only, and cover all cellular bands and power levels within the 1.8–2.2GHz frequency range. The transistors' ability to operate over 400MHz of bandwidth precludes the need to use multiple LDMOS-based products, further optimizing cost and design efficiencies. 

Plastic-packaged MAGb power transistors deliver power efficiency up to 79% – an improvement of up to 10% compared to LDMOS offerings, MACOM reckons – with only fundamental tuning across the 400MHz RF bandwidth, and with linear gain of up to 20dB. The transistors provide an alternative to ceramic-packaged devices without compromising RF performance or reliability – thermal behavior is improved by 10% compared with ceramic-packaged MAGb offerings.

The power transistors enable the implementation of a simple symmetric Doherty amplifier design while maintaining what is claimed to be excellent RF performance compared to lesser-performing and complex asymmetric Doherty topologies imposed by LDMOS-based transistors. With MAGb series transistors, Doherty amplifier implementations show the same level of DPD (digital pre-distortion) friendliness as LDMOS-based solutions. MACOM is hosting joint demonstrations with Xilinix's DPD solution at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2016) in San Francisco (24-27 May).

"DPD is critical to increase the efficiency of power amplifiers for 4G and 5G base-station applications and has a significant impact on network operators' operating expenses and capital expenditures," says Dr Chris Dick, chief DSP architect at Xilinx. "Our joint demonstration with MACOM at IMS 2016 will showcase the combined DPD capabilities of MACOM's Gen4 GaN-based MAGb power transistors and Xilinx's complementary DPD technologies on our 28nm Zynq SoC [system-on-chip] and 16nm UltraScale+ MPSoCs [multiprocessor systems-on-chip]. This joint solution highlights the time-to-market advantages that can be achieved with a proven, interoperable DPD solution," he adds. 

"Our collaboration with Xilinx demonstrates the linearity and ease of correction of our MAGb, especially with signals that are known to be challenging to correct using GaN-based solutions like multi-carrier GSM and TDD-LTE signals," said Preet Virk, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Carrier Networks, at MACOM. "We believe that with the introduction of our new plastic-packaged MAGb power transistors, we're further extending this price/performance advantage over competiting LDMOS and other GaN technologies, and accelerating the evolution to GaN-based PAs for wireless basestations."

MACOM's Gen4 GaN-based MAGb series of power transistors enables wireless carriers to deploy the latest LTE releases and, it is claimed, significantly reduce system operating expenses at highly competitive price points, with a scalable supply chain combined with MACOM's applications and design support team.

Select products in MACOM's MAGb series of GaN power transistors are sampling to qualified customers now.

See related items:

MACOM launches Gen4-based family of GaN power transistors for wireless basestations

MACOM debuting new GaN power transistors for macro base-stations among expanded wireless infrastructure at Mobile World Congress

Tags: M/A-COM

Visit: www.macom.com/wirelessinfra

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