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11 October 2006


Nitronex's GaN-on-Si process now qualified; launches RF power transistors for WiMAX

At this week's WiMAX World event in Boston, MA, USA, Nitronex of Raleigh, NC, USA announced that its SIGANTIC GaN-on-silicon manufacturing process is now fully qualified for volume production following the completion of all
reliability testing.

Chris Rauh, VP sales & marketing, says that the new NRF1 process is an improvement on the earlier process used to develop the first WiMAX samples, made available in October 2005 when Nitronex first announced that it was entering the WiMAX RF power transistor market. In the interim, the company decided to improve the process and finish the productization and qualification only on the new process, adds Rauh.

Also, the first three members of its family of discrete high-performance RF power transistors for power amplifiers in WiMAX infrastructure are now available, offering high gain, high efficiency and high linearity, along with broadband operation, Nitronex claims.

The 50W/28V NPT35050 has an average output power of 6W from 3.3­3.8GHz (offering 10.5dB of gain) and a saturated power output at 3.5GHz of 65W. It offers error vector magnitude (EVM) of less than 2.5% and a drain efficiency of 18%. The device is packaged in an air-cavity plastic package with a copper-moly-copper flange for enhanced thermal performance.

The 15W/28V NPT35015 and NPT25015 operate from 3.3-3.8GHz and 2.3-2.7GHz, respectively. Both deliver 1.5W of average power at 2% EVM during OFDM operation. The parts take advantage of small, cost-effective plastic
overmold packaging, common in other semiconductor segments but relatively new to RF power transistors says Nitronex, and are running in high-volume packaging production at Amkor Technology without any modification to Amkor's standard processes.

"The WiMAX market requires combinations of power, efficiency, frequency and bandwidth that are beyond the specs of the current cellular market," says Rauh. "In addition, considerable pressure is being applied to smaller form factors and to total cost of WiMAX infrastructure hardware." GaN-on-silicon field-effect transistor technology enables base-station OEMs to optimize bandwidth, power and efficiency at attractive sizes and costs, he adds. "The
use of 100mm silicon wafers allows us the scale to produce statistically significant and compelling reliability data, to use proven packages from the silicon industry, and to quickly scale up volume production."