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21 September 2012

DARPA awards TriQuint contract to triple performance of GaN-based RF PAs

RF front-end component maker and foundry services provider TriQuint Semiconductor Inc of Hillsboro, OR, USA has received a $2.7m contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to triple the power handling performance of gallium nitride (GaN) circuits. The Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) effort will build on TriQuint's advanced GaN on silicon carbide (SiC) technology and the firm’s RF integrated circuits.

"We are very pleased that DARPA selected TriQuint to develop this critical technology. Like other programs we have supported, NJTT will set the stage for substantial MMIC performance enhancements including reduced size, weight and power consumption while increasing reliability and output power," said James L. Klein, TriQuint’s vice president and general manager for Infrastructure and Defense Products.

The NJTT initiative is the latest in DARPA's Thermal Management Technologies program. NJTT focuses on thermal resistance at the 'near junction' of the transistor die, as well as the device substrate. These areas can be responsible for more than 50% of operational temperature increases, says TriQuint. By combining its GaN-on-SiC process technology with diamond substrates and new thermal handling processes, the firm aims to significantly reduce heat build-up to enable GaN devices that can generate much more power.

TriQuint's partners in the program include the University of Bristol (for its expertise in thermal testing, modeling and micro Raman thermography), Group4 Labs (a pioneer in the use of diamond substrates), and Lockheed Martin (which will evaluate the results of the program for its projected impact on future defense systems).

Tags: TriQuint RF power amplifiers GaN GaN RF


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