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TriQuint and U.S. army to develop GaN devices

The firm's gallium nitride technology in DARPA programs has led to a new beneficial joint venture with the ARL

TriQuint Semiconductor has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to explore and fabricate new high-frequency and mixed signal integrated circuits (ICs) based on TriQuint's GaN technology.

The CRADA is designed to accelerate new programs supporting communications, radar, electronic warfare and similar applications.

The CRADA will give Army researchers dedicated access to TriQuint’s development, fabrication and packaging expertise. Researchers from both TriQuint and the ARL will benefit from the new co-development environment. Circuits created as part of the initiative are expected to be based on TriQuint’s new E/D (enhancement-depletion mode) GaN technology.

This GaN process has been utilised in Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiatives, including the Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation (NEXT) program that TriQuint now leads. Through NEXT, TriQuint continues to establish benchmark performance standards for mixed-signal (digital and RF) devices. TriQuint GaN achievements also led to its selection as a prime contractor in the Microscale Power Conversion (MPC) program that is developing ultra-fast, high power DC-DC switch modulator technology for advanced integrated RF amplifiers.

TriQuint’s role in MPC was recognised by Compound Semiconductor magazine on March 12 with a 2012 CS Industry Award.

“Creative partnerships through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements encourage outside businesses and university organisations to share in the discovery of and investment in technologies. In this case, ARL is leveraging industrial fabrication capabilities allowing ARL to maximize its return on investment,” points out John Miller, Army Research Laboratory Director. “These advanced IC processes, coupled with ARL’s design expertise, could lead to innovations and advancements in both military and consumer applications in communications, radar and electronic warfare.”

“TriQuint’s GaN research leads the industry. This new CRADA is another example of ways that our work in one program benefits other DoD agencies and service branches. We will provide access to our extensive development capabilities and the ARL will provide designs and test circuits in support of their advanced programs,” adds James L. Klein, TriQuint Vice President and General Manager for Defence Products and Foundry Services.

TriQuint’s new agreement with the ARL is designed to stimulate high performance monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) development. The ARL’s design and testing capabilities will be leveraged with TriQuint’s MMIC fabrication, testing and packaging expertise. Both TriQuint and ARL researchers will work towards identifying circuits of mutual interest that have the potential to advance state-of-the-art design programs.

TriQuint has been a pioneer in GaN development and research since 1999. The firm is involved in a number of GaN process and manufacturing technology programs for DARPA, the US Air Force, Army and Naval laboratories including the Defence Production Act Title III manufacturing enhancement program. TriQuint has also led two other DARPA programs that were part of the Wide Bandgap Semiconductor (WBGS) RF research initiative.
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