RICHARDSON, Texas, 1 July 2013. Engineers at RF-Lambda, a global manufacturer of microwave products, needed power transistors for its new line of high-power amplifiers. They found their solution at TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. (NASDAQ:TQNT), a radio-frequency (RF) solutions and technology supplier in Hillsboro, Ore. RF-Lambda’s new products, based on TriQuint gallium nitride (GaN) power transistors, are currently being qualified in commercial 4G systems, a defense flight system, and other aerospace and defense projects.
Reducing part counts and maintaining performance was central to RF-Lambda’s decision, according to Michael Liu, director of R&D at RF-Lambda. “We formerly supplied a key customer with two separate GaAs amplifiers to cover two bands. By using TriQuint GaN, we were able to replace those with a single GaN HEMT and cover the full frequency range. This increased design flexibility while decreasing production variation.
“Our customers also benefit by using software to switch bands rather than physically changing hardware, while still achieving necessary power,” says Liu. “Our products support some of the world’s leading defense and commercial communications companies.”
RF-Lambda is developing other new power amplifiers based on TriQuint GaN transistors including a 1- to 18-GHz, 50-watt device and 20W/40W solutions for 0.1-6 GHz as well as the RFLUPA0706GE (0.7-6 GHz) 7W amplifier.
“TriQuint GaN products offer important size, weight, and power (SWaP) advantages that the defense industry was fast to appreciate,” James L. Klein, TriQuint vice president and general manager for infrastructure and defense products. “We now see more commercial applications using GaN thanks to its advantages, and we look forward to supporting RF-Lambda’s new programs.”
“While defense supported GaN in many applications, communication infrastructure utilization is growing fast. Sat-Com, power, and other infrastructure markets are ramping to higher revenues,” according to market researchers at Strategy Analytics, who foresee significant GaN growth.
Strategy Analytics forecasts that the market for GaN microelectronic devices will grow with a compound average annual growth rate of over 34 percent to approximately $186 million by 2015,” says Eric Higham, director of Semiconductor Practice.
TriQuint’s new GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) devices offer optimized power and efficiency at high drain voltage operating conditions, a spokesperson says.
RF-Lambda chose the T2G6001528-Q3, which offers typical power added efficiency greater than 50 percent at 15dB gain; its performance can reduce the number of transistors in a design, which also benefits heat management. These advantages can lower part counts, reduce board space, and lower overall system costs.
The T2G6001528-Q3 is offered in a low thermal resistance, flangeless package. Samples and evaluation boards are now available.