RF Micro Devices announces GaN process technology milestone and availability of the first GaN power amplifiers

March 3, 2003

2 Min Read

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: RFMD), a leading provider of proprietary radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for wireless communications applications, today announced achievement of a major milestone toward the commercialization of gallium nitride (GaN) RF power technology. The Company has successfully grown, fabricated and packaged GaN power transistors achieving 28-watt performance with continuous wave (CW) operation at 20 volts. These GaN power transistors are fabricated from the current 0.9-micron process and exhibit 10 dB of linear gain. The transistors were used to develop 20-watt CW power amplifiers (PAs) for UMTS applications.William Pratt, chief technical officer of RF Micro Devices, said, "We're very enthusiastic about achieving these milestones in GaN power technology, which we believe demonstrate our technology leadership and our ongoing commitment to commercializing the most promising future semiconductor technologies. We believe GaN can conceivably lower the overall cost of wireless base stations and thereby prove to become a disruptive and revolutionary technology in the wireless infrastructure space.""GaN is a wide bandgap material that can withstand high operating voltages and can operate at high frequencies with high power densities. These characteristics make GaN devices ideal for 2.5G and 3G base station power amplifiers and provide GaN with competitive advantages over silicon LDMOS, the primary technology in use today. RF Micro Devices commercialized the first gallium arsenide heterojunction bipolar transistor (GaAs HBT) PAs for cell phones. GaAs HBT technology displaced all other competitive technologies and is now the dominant technology for PAs used in cellular/PCS handsets. We believe that GaN has the same potential to be adopted as the process technology of choice for base station power amplifier applications. If this occurs, we expect to be well-positioned to substantially increase our sales into this large, high margin market with our proprietary GaN devices," added Mr. Pratt.RF Micro Devices has also demonstrated 7-watt wideband GaN PAs designed for DCS (1800-1880 MHz), PCS (1930-1990 MHz) and UMTS (2110-2170 MHz) wireless infrastructure applications. The GaN PAs exhibit 11 dB of gain at 20-volt operation, with gain slope of +/- 0.2 dB over the entire range and better than +/- 0.1 dB over the DCS and PCS bands. By exhibiting flat gain over a broad frequency range, the GaN PAs enable a single power amplifier solution over DCS, PCS and UMTS wireless infrastructure bands. The matched power amplifier exhibits an output return loss of -12 dB over the band with a typical input return loss of -11 dB at midband.RF Micro Devices Inc.

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