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22 October 2009


Northrop Grumman wins $12.4m ‘NEXT’ DARPA contract for GaN IC research

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems of Redondo Beach, CA, USA a $12.4m contract for the two-year first phase of a $28.9m ‘Nitride Electronic NeXt Generation Technology’ (NEXT) project. Work will support defense communications, aircraft and space systems through the development of the next generation of gallium nitride (GaN) IC technology.

Partners on the Northrop Grumman NEXT project include the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Arizona State University, and Pennsylvania State University.

“New GaN transistors and integrated circuit technology developed under this program will enable high-performance analog-to-digital converters for future advanced electronic systems,” says Dwight Streit, VP of Electronics and Sensors at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

“The goal of the NEXT program is to increase the operating frequency of GaN devices to 500GHz while maintaining its high breakdown voltage in a large-scale integration process [in circuits of at least 1000 transistors],” says Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ NEXT program manager Mike Wojtowicz. “This will enable the next-generation, high-dynamic-range mixed-signal technology and high-frequency RF power sources,” he adds. “NEXT technology will provide significant improvements in performance and functionality for US military and space systems.”

Northrop Grumman’s NEXT program builds on another DARPA initiative involving GaN technology - the Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for RF Application (WBGS-RF) program.

See related item:

TriQuint wins $16.2m DARPA ‘NEXT’ contract for GaN IC research

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