Researchers Use IQE GaN-on-SiC Epiwafers to Achieve Highest Reported Power Density for X-band and Ka-band Simultaneously

IQE of Cardiff, UK has reportedly supplied commercially ready 100mm gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon carbide (SiC) epiwafers that achieved record results for both high gain and high power density transistor devices. IQE reports that its 100mm GaN-on-SiC epiwafers for the first time are enabling flexible monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) design for efficient high-voltage and high-power broadband operation at frequencies from 0 – 40 GHz.

High-frequency microwave capabilities of up to 40GHz (also known as Ka-band) are essential for satellite communications and will become increasingly important for next-generation (5G) wireless communications. However, until now, designers have faced compromises between frequency and power.

The results were published in the 10 Octorber 2015 edition of the IEEE Electron Device Letters in an article by Fitch et al. The the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate, Aerospace Components Division, purchased the GaN-on-SiC wafers that IQE produced. IQE fabricated the GaN-on-SiC epiwafers using MOCVD on 4′ semi-insulating SiC substrates at its New Jersey facility.

The outlined solution gives designers the option of incorporating two different devices. Designers can implement a 0.14-μm gate length GaN MMIC process that enables high-efficiency Ka-band operation while simultaneously achieving high power density X-band operation using the same process flow. The authors demonstrated the highest reported power densities achieved simultaneously at X-band and Ka-band in a single wideband GaN MMIC process.