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RFMD puts GaN transistors in the shop window

Eyeing a total addressable market that it believes to be worth $1 billion, RF Micro Devices introduces five 48 V GaN power transistors and says that volume production should begin in the second half of this year.

RF Micro Devices says that it is poised to capture a significant chunk of the market for high-power semiconductors with its new portfolio of 48 V GaN transistors.

The North Carolina firm officially introduced its RF393X family of products at the International Microwave Symposium in Hawaii, although at the same event last year it showcased nine different GaN-based products (see related story).

The five unmatched power transistors in the RF393X product family range in output power from 10 W through to 120 W, offer a wide tunable bandwidth, gain of between 14 dB to 16 dB, and a peak drain efficiency of 65 percent at 2.1 GHz.

With customers in the pipeline, RFMD estimates the total addressable market for GaN high-power semiconductors at about $1 billion, of which unmatched power transistors make up $150 million.

CEO Bob Bruggeworth said, "The company is engaged with top-tier companies in multiple markets and expects to commence production in the second half of calendar 2007."

RFMD is hopeful of applying its existing customer relationships and expertise in GaAs device production to the emerging GaN market in applications like high-power radar and cellular infrastructure.

But, whereas its GaAs operation is based on in-house epiwafer production using MBE, RFMD s GaN-based products are fabricated on SiC substrates using MOCVD.

Earlier this year, the company announced details of its first customer for GaN-based products (see related story).

RFMD is developing three distinct families of GaN semiconductor products. As well as the unmatched power transistors launched in Hawaii, it is working on RFICs featuring the material, and matched transistors.

The RFIC products will come in the form of power amplifiers suitable for military communications and public mobile radio, while the matched transistors will be similar to the initial GaN product line, albeit with additional internal matching elements to improve impedance and efficiency.

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