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MACOM integrates GaAs MMIC with CMOS for radar

The firm's X-Band Core Chip combines a CMOS logic driver with a gallium arsenide transmit/receive MMIC within a single QFN package

M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. (MACOM), has launched what it says is the industry’s first integrated core chip for the 8 GHz – 11 GHz frequency range.

Containing 6-bits of phase control, 6-bits of attenuation control and 26 dB of gain, MACOM’s Core Chip is an easy to use serial/parallel interface in a surface mount QFN package. Ideal for commercial radar applications, this integrated MMIC enables radar systems in early detection and warning for severe impending weather.

The X-Band Core Chip (MAMF-011015) is a highly integrated solution setting new standards for size, weight, and performance (SWaP) enabling the next generation of radar system design.

Building on a legacy of successful product design across the entire frequency range, the X-Band Core Chip integrates a CMOS logic driver with a GaAs transmit/receive MMIC within a single QFN package.

The surface mount 7x7mm plastic package offers a cost-effective, easy to implement solution. The device’s versatility and flexibility make it ideal for weather, wildfire and related commercial radar applications.

"The X-Band Core Chip plays a pivotal role in next generation radar chip-sets for commercial applications," says Paul Beasly, Product Manager. "The device offers a unique combination of QFN surface-mount packaging with advanced MMIC design integration to provide a simple and effective solution for next generation X-Band weather radar systems."

The X-Band Core Chip development is a product of a joint investment between MACOM and FIRST RF Corporation to support new weather radar programs such as the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) Weather Radar Program.

CASA is a multi-sector partnership among academia, industry, and government - dedicated to engineering revolutionary weather-sensing networks. These innovative networks save lives and property by detecting the region of the lower atmosphere currently below conventional radar range - mapping storms, winds, rain, temperature, humidity, and the flow of airborne hazards.

"MACOM has a rich and successful history supporting the global radar market, and we are pleased to be working very closely with an industry leader on the CASA Weather Radar Program," comments Theresa Boone, President, FIRST RF Corporation.

"The X-Band Core Chip provides us with an integrated, surface mount solution that allows for high-yield automated assembly, smaller footprint design and improved reliability - enhancements which empower us to quickly identify critical weather systems, to protect people and property, and mitigate damage," she continues.

The packaged device comprises of a common leg circuit which includes digital attenuators, phase shifters, a low noise receive chain, and a transmit driver amplifier, as well as a CMOS logic driver. This integrated circuit utilizes MACOM’s advanced 0.25 µm PHEMT process, which has been optimised for high power and low noise amplifiers, passive and control components and allows for a high level of integration on a single MMIC.

The table below outlines typical performance:

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