10 January 2012

TriQuint begins Phase II of DARPA’s ‘NEXT’ GaN R&D program ahead of schedule

RF front-end product and foundry services provider TriQuint Semiconductor Inc of Hillsboro, OR, USA has begun work on Phase II of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) multi-year Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation Technology (NEXT) program as a prime contractor. The firm has received $12.67m in support of the NEXT contract to date.

NEXT was created by DARPA to research and develop devices suitable for complex, high-dynamic-range mixed-signal circuits for future defense/aerospace applications. Phase II of the program is contracted to last 18 months.

TriQuint is already exploring and bringing to market derivative devices made possible by breakthroughs demonstrated in Phase I. “NEXT devices provide game-changing technology for substantially improving performance in applications like phased array radar and communications,” says James L. Klein, TriQuint VP & general manager for Defense Products and Foundry Services. “The devices developed under ‘NEXT’ open up applications for lower-voltage GaN-based products, which achieve power densities at least four times higher than GaAs devices,” he adds.

At the 2011 GOMACTech conference in Orlando, FL last March, the team of TriQuint senior fellow Dr Paul Saunier (who leads the NEXT program as principal investigator) reported a cut-off frequency (fT) of more than 240GHz in a GaN circuit (‘State-of-the-Art E/D GaN Technology Based on an InAlN/AlN/GaN Heterostructure’), which was twice that of the previous record of 120GHz.

DARPA’s NEXT Phase I concentrated on fabricating very high-frequency devices and meeting defined yield metrics. Phase II will concentrate on process development in the pursuit of increased yields while pushing the operating frequency to 400GHz. Phase III will seek to extend the operating frequency to 500GHz with still higher yields and reduced circuit size. NEXT research also focuses on highly scaled enhancement-depletion (E/D)-mode GaN mixed-signal devices, similar to those used in gallium arsenide E/D MMICs. TriQuint says it creates the latter with integrated digital control functionality and power handling for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Beyond the NEXT activity, TriQuint is working on enhancement-mode power switching devices that are needed for ultra-high-efficiency DC-DC converters integrated with RF amplifiers for radar, communications and electronic warfare (EW) systems. The technology is enabling greater sensitivity, while reducing prime power and cost, says the firm.

Tags: TriQuint DARPA NEXT GaN

Visit: www.triquint.com/defense

Visit: www.darpa.mil/MTO

See Latest IssueRSS Feed

This site uses some harmless cookies in order to function click here to view our Cookie and Privacy Policy