TriQuint wins contract to triple performance of RF power amplifiers

September 25, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
TriQuint Semiconductor has received a $2.7 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to triple the power handling performance of gallium nitride (GaN) circuits. The Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) effort will build on TriQuint’s advanced GaN on silicon carbide (SiC) technology and the reliability of its state-of-the-art RF integrated circuits.

The NJTT initiative is the latest in DARPA’s overarching Thermal Management Technologies program. 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% 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 recognized for its leadership in thermal testing, modeling 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 defense 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.