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TriQuint wins GaN contract to triple RF PA performance

The firm will use its gallium nitride on silicon carbide experience to improve its power amplifier devices
TriQuint Semiconductor has received a $2.7 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to triple the power handling performance of GaN circuits.

The Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) effort will build on TriQuint's advanced GaN-on-SiC technology and the reliability of its state-of-the-art RF integrated circuits.

"We are very pleased that DARPA selected TriQuint to develop this critical technology. Like other programs 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," says TriQuint Vice President and General Manager for Infrastructure and Defence Products, James L. Klein.

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 percent of operational temperature increases. By combining its 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 in the United Kingdom, Group4 Labs and Lockheed Martin. The University of Bristol is recognised 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 defence systems.

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

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