Northrop Grumman Creates Highest Power Single Chip Ka-Band Amplifier
Northrop Grumman has developed what it claims is the highest power GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier ever produced at Ka-band. With a peak power of 40W at 27 GHz, the 27-30 GHz amplifier has an average output power of 36W and a Power Added Efficiency (PAE) of greater than 30 percent across the band. The MMIC area is 13.5 mm2.
The new 40W circuit was manufactured using the same process that is being matured through the company's participation in the Air Force Research Laboratory GaN Advanced Electronic Warfare Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit Producibility program, an initiative funded under Title III of the Defense Procurement Act. The program seeks to establish a domestic, economically viable, open-foundry merchant supplier production capability for Ka-band GaN MMICs.
"This is a big breakthrough for the industry because it will help lead the way to the widespread commercial availability of cost effective Ka-band GaN components with output powers exceeding 25W," said Frank Kropschot, general manager, Microelectronics Products and Services, Northrop Grumman. "The commercial availability of high frequency, high power components will greatly reduce the cost and number of parts needed for communications equipment, making higher data rates and longer distance communication links more easily obtainable."
"Designing this circuit was challenging because we aimed for a very small footprint for the amplifier and still had to give consideration to thermal concerns," said Mansoor Siddiqui, a co-author of the paper along with Mike Wojtowicz "We managed to minimize output loss while achieving a good 18dB load match in a small area. The PAE we have attained establishes a high mark while delivering 35-40W at Ka-band."