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TriQuint wins DARPA contract to up performance of RF power amps

Posted: 25 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF IC? gallium nitride? silicon carbide? Near Junction Thermal Transport?

TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. has received a $2.7 million contract from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to triple the power handling performance of gallium nitride (GaN) circuits. According to the company, the Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) effort will build on its GaN on silicon carbide (SiC) technology and its modern RF ICs.

"We are very pleased that DARPA selected TriQuint to develop this critical technology. Like other programs ('programmes' for plans) 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," stated TriQuint VP and GM for infrastructure and defence products, James L. Klein.

The NJTT initiative is the latest in DARPA's overarching Thermal Management Technologies program ('programme' for plan). 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 per cent of operational temperature increases. By combining its industry-leading GaN on SiC process technology with diamond substrates and new thermal handling processes, TriQuint seeks 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 (United Kingdom), Group4 Labs and Lockheed Martin. The University of Bristol is recognised for its leadership in thermal testing, modelling and micro Raman thermography. Group4 Labs is a pioneer in the use of diamond substrates and has worked with TriQuint to demonstrate diamond's potential as a substrate material. Lockheed Martin will evaluate the results of the program for its projected impact on future defence systems.

TriQuint has pioneered GaN technology since 1999 and currently leads multiple process and manufacturing initiatives for DARPA as well as the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy laboratories.

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