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18 June 2008


TriQuint launches its first high-frequency GaN products

At this week’s IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2008) in Atlanta, TriQuint Semiconductor Inc of Hillsboro, OR, USA is launching its first gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors, for a wide range of high-frequency applications including mobile base-station, defense and space communications systems. The firm has also announced the opening of what it claims is the industry’s first GaN foundry service (for customers with circuit designs intended for production starts in September).

TriQuint says that its new TGF2023-xx family of GaN discrete, die-level devices boast up to 2.5-times the power density of high-voltage gallium arsenide devices, operate at up to 18GHz, have 55% power added efficiency (PAE), and can produce up to 90W of output power.

The firm says that GaN power technology has garnered significant defense and commercial interest because of its ability to operate with substantially greater power density and efficiency compared to other commonly used solid-state amplifier technologies, enabling the development of more efficient, smaller amplifiers capable of operating at higher system voltages (lowering overall system current demand and reducing the cost of power conversion).

“TriQuint’s work on the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) contract for high-power, high-frequency amplifiers has progressed well,” says Dr Gailon Brehm, director, TriQuint defense product marketing. The new products represent the firm’s first commercial release of the technology. “GaN is one of several high-power processes we offer customers, and its unique advantages – greater power density, high efficiency and rugged dependability, will appeal to designers working with high-frequency, high-power applications,” he reckons.

In March, TriQuint announced the largest GaN epitaxial wafer order in the history of epiwafer foundry IQE plc, which (with deliveries scheduled throughout 2008) will support TriQuint’s ongoing development efforts and its roll-out of new commercial and defense products.

“Strategy Analytics sees future radar, communications, EW [electronic warfare] and smart munitions platforms in the defense sector driving early demand for GaN,” says Asif Anwar, director of GaAs and Semiconductor Technologies at market research firm Strategy Analytics. “There are also a myriad of commercial opportunities within wireless infrastructure and satellite communications as well as those in broadcasting and medical markets. Inherent GaN properties including high power at high frequency, coupled with high-voltage and wide-bandwidth performance, make gallium nitride a technology that will see broad applications as it evolves in the marketplace,” he adds. “GaN’s further advantages, including reduced form factors and weight savings, translate into system efficiencies that positively impact both capital and operating expenditures.”

“Strategy Analytics recognizes there are alternative amplifier process technologies in the market competing with GaN,” Anwar continues. “While this has limited early opportunities for large-scale gallium nitride standard product portfolio development, a foundry service is well positioned to serve these early prospects.”

TriQuint says that it is opening GaN foundry services, beginning in September, initially targeting power amplifier applications through the Ku frequency band. “Now that we’ve released the first member of our GaN discrete amplifier family for defense, commercial and space applications, we’re welcoming foundry customers who have their own circuit designs ready for September 2008 starts,” Brehm said. “We want to meet with customers, identify their needs and develop a successful implementation production schedule.”

See related item:

TriQuint’s profits hit by military/network R&D costs

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