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Raytheon replaces SiC substrates with diamond for GaN RF power

Diamond materials are anticipated to triple power density over silicon carbide

Raytheon Company has achieved another significant milestone for next generation gallium nitride) GaN Radio Frequency (RF) semiconductor technology. 

Through the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Near Junction Thermal Transport effort under the Thermal Management Technologies program, Raytheon's team is replacing GaN's current substrate, SiC, with diamond, a material with three to five times higher thermal conductivity, to create GaN on diamond devices. 

Raytheon has demonstrated that GaN on diamond technology triples transistor power density over GaN on Silicon Carbide (SiC), overcoming a major barrier to unlocking the potential of GaN devices. 

Data was obtained on a 10 x 125µm (1.25mm) GaN on diamond HEMT, a device representing a unit cell for constructing Power Amplifier Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs), the foundation of solid-state RF transmitters and Active Electronically Scanned Arrays. This result builds on prior successes, including Raytheon's first demonstration of GaN on diamond transistors in 2009, and GaN on diamond MMICs in 2011.    

"Raytheon continues to be an innovator leading the development of GaN technology," says Joe Biondi, vice president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon's Integrated Defence Systems (IDS) business. "We are now inserting GaN into DoD systems while remaining focused on continuing to increase performance of this revolutionary semiconductor to provide our warfighters with the most advanced sensing, communications and electronic warfare capabilities in the world."

GaN on diamond offers revolutionary performance improvement by reducing thermal resistance within the device and enabling GaN to be used at higher power densities, which will dramatically reduce the cost, size, weight and power of defence systems. GaN is a core competency within Raytheon and an integral technology behind some of the company's major including Air and Missile Defence Radar and Next Generation Jammer. GaN's unique qualities allow radar, electronic warfare and communications systems to be smaller, more affordable and highly efficient.

Raytheon Company also recently announced that under the DARPA MTO Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Program, the company has systematically matured GaN from basic material to transistors, MMICs, Transmit/Receive (T/R) Modules and finally Transmit/Receive Integrated Multichannel Modules (TRIMMs), enabling game changing system performance for the DOD.

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