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18 September 2018

US Air Force’s GaN technology to be transferred to BAE Systems’ Advanced Microwave Products Center

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

BAE Systems has signed a cooperative agreement with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for Phase 1 of a technical effort to transition gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology developed by the US Air Force to its Advanced Microwave Products (AMP) Center in Nashua, NH, USA.

As part of the effort, BAE Systems will transfer and further enhance the technology, and scale it to 6-inch wafers to slash per-chip costs and improve accessibility of the defense-critical technology.

Since GaN technology provides broad frequency bandwidth, high efficiency and high transmit power in a small footprint, it is suitable for next-generation radar, electronic warfare (EW) and communications systems. Under the agreement, BAE Systems will work with AFRL to establish a 140nm GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) process that will be qualified for production by 2020, with products available to Department of Defense (DoD) suppliers through an open foundry service.

“Millimeter-wave GaN technologies today are produced in research and development laboratories in low volumes at high associated costs or in captive foundries that are not broadly accessible to defense suppliers,” says AMP director Scott Sweetland. “This effort will leverage AFRL’s high-performance technology and BAE Systems’ 6-inch manufacturing capability to advance the state of the art in GaN MMIC performance, reliability and affordability while providing broader access to this critical technology.”

Work on the project will primarily take place in BAE Systems’ 70,000ft2 Microelectronics Center (MEC) in Nashua, NH, where it researches, develops and produces compound semiconductor materials, devices, circuits and modules for a wide range of microwave and millimeter-wave applications. The MEC has been an accredited DoD Category 1A Trusted Supplier since 2008, and fabricates integrated circuits in production quantities for critical DoD programs.

As part of the project, the AMP Center team will work closely with the firm’s FAST Labs research organization and MMIC design experts from ENGIN-IC.


Visit: www.baesystems.com/en-us/product/amp-center

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