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GaN transistor amp delivers 400W for 3G base stations

Posted: 23 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NEC? power transistor amplifier? gallium nitride? GaN? 3G base stations?

NEC Corp. has announced the development of a compact gallium nitride (GaN) power transistor amplifier, said to have the world's highest output power level of 400W while featuring low-distortion characteristics, targeted at 3G base stations.

The new amplifier is composed of a single transistor package, which according to NEC achieves the highest power output amplification under a W-CDMA scheme, without using any power-combining circuits. This technology was developed through the "High-Power, High-Frequency Gallium Nitride Device Project" by Prof. Yasushi Nanishi of Ritsumeikan University, under the Research and Development Association for Future Electron Devices (FED) that is supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

The need to achieve a large-capacity and high-speed system is becoming more crucial with the rapid increase in traffic accompanying the swelling of 3G mobile subscribers and the increasingly sophisticated and diversified 3G services worldwide. To achieve such a system, a power amplifier with higher output power and high linearity for 3G base stations is vital. The amplifier also needs to realize energy savings and feature a compact size. Conventional amplifiers composed of silicon LDMOS transistors or gallium arsenide (GaAs) transistors require power-combining circuits due to the small output power of each transistor. As a result, the amplifier is larger in size and incurs increased power losses.

NEC's new device is a single-ended GaN amplifier with a digital predistorter for W-CDMA base stations and operates on 45V. It has a 400W peak output power for 2.14GHz W-CDMA signal; third order intermodulation distortion of -50dBc (at average output power of over 60W); and, drain efficiency of 25 percent (at average output power of 60W).

The technology is targeted for commercialization at the end of 2008.

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