16 April 2012

TriQuint signs CRADA agreement with US Army to co-develop GaN high-frequency and mixed-signal ICs

RF front-end component maker and foundry services provider TriQuint Semiconductor Inc of Hillsboro, OR, USA has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to explore and fabricate new high-frequency and mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) based on TriQuint’s gallium nitride (GaN) technology. The CRADA is designed to accelerate new programs supporting communications, radar, electronic warfare (EW) and similar applications.

The CRADA will give Army researchers dedicated access to TriQuint’s development, fabrication and packaging expertise. Researchers from both TriQuint and ARL should benefit from the new co-development environment. Circuits created as part of the initiative are expected to be based on TriQuint’s new E/D (enhancement-depletion mode) GaN technology.

The agreement leverages technology that TriQuint created through on-going R&D programs. This GaN process has been used in US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiatives, including the Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation (NEXT) program that TriQuint now leads. TriQuint says that, through NEXT, it continues to establish benchmark performance standards for mixed-signal (digital and RF) devices. The firm’s GaN achievements have also led to its selection as a prime contractor in the Microscale Power Conversion (MPC) program, which is developing ultra-fast, high-power DC-DC switch modulator technology for integrated RF amplifiers.

“Creative partnerships through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements encourage outside businesses and university organizations to share in the discovery of and investment in technologies,” says ARL director John Miller. “In this case, ARL is leveraging industrial fabrication capabilities, allowing ARL to maximize its return on investment. These advanced IC processes, coupled with ARL’s design expertise, could lead to innovations and advancements in both military and consumer applications in communications, radar and electronic warfare,” he adds.

“This new CRADA is another example of ways that our work in one program benefits other DoD [Department of Defense] agencies and service branches,” says James L. Klein, TriQuint’s VP & general manager for Defense Products and Foundry Services. “We will provide access to our extensive development capabilities, and the ARL will provide designs and test circuits in support of their advanced programs,” he adds.

TriQuint’s new agreement with the ARL is designed to stimulate high-performance monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) development. The ARL’s design and testing capabilities will be leveraged with TriQuint’s MMIC fabrication, testing and packaging expertise. Both TriQuint and ARL researchers will work towards identifying circuits of mutual interest that have the potential to advance design programs.

TriQuint has been conducting defense and commercial GaN development and research since 1999. The firm currently leads multiple GaN process and manufacturing technology programs for DARPA, the US Air Force, Army and Naval laboratories including the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III manufacturing enhancement program (for radar and EW MMICs based on GaN-on-SiC). It has also led two other DARPA programs that were part of the Wide Bandgap Semiconductor (WBGS) RF research initiative.

Tags: TriQuint GaN RFIC

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