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13 July 2016

Plextek RFI unveils phased-array GaN MMIC reference design

Plextek RFI Ltd of Cambridge, UK, which designs and develops RFICs, MMICs and microwave/millimeter-wave modules, has announced a new reference design for a gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier (PA) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) for use in X-band active phased-array radar applications.

"Active phased arrays require numerous PAs, which need to have high efficiency, and to have a small size and relatively low cost," notes CEO Liam Devlin. "Our new design has a die size of only 1.5mm x 2mm, which means around 2300 PAs can be fabricated on a single 4-inch (100mm)-diameter wafer. This makes the cost very competitive compared with other commercially available MMICs offering this level of RF output power."

The X-band GaN PA MMIC covers frequencies of 9.0–11.5GHz and delivers 7W (+38.5dBm) of RF output power from a +29dBm input, with a power-added efficiency (PAE) of 42%. This means that it can be driven by readily available gallium arsenide (GaAs) parts when used as the output PA stage.

Plextek RFI designed the MMIC using Keysight ADS 2015 electronic design automation (EDA) software, and it was manufactured by United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) using its GH25 0.25µm-gate-length GaN-on-SiC foundry process.

"As the IC is designed and manufactured in Europe, it will have the added advantage of not being subject to US export control," notes Devlin. 

Tags: Plextek GaN-on-SiC HEMT UMS EDA software

Visit: www.plextekrfi.com

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