News & Analysis

Top-cooled RF amplifier modules shrink 5G radios

6th June 2023
Mick Elliott

5G base station operators will be able to deploy smaller, thinner and lighter radio units following NXP Semiconductors launch of a family of top-cooled RF amplifier modules.

“The modules reduce the thickness and weight of the radios by 20 per cent,” said Gavin Smith, RF Product Launch and Global Distribution Manager, Radio Power Product Line.

“Connections are shorter and fewer, we have removed the top side shield and integrated the heatsink and shield and removed the need for the coin on the pcb,” he added.

Enabling this advance is a new top-side cooling packaging technology which in turn reduces the carbon footprint.

“Deployment costs are lowered as any radio unit under 23 kilograms only need one person for installation,” explains Nathan Glaza, Integrated Power Solutions Portfolio Manager, Radio Power Product Line.

“Less material is used in the radio, it has a smaller wind profile so that fewer accessory and mechanical weights are needed to support the radio, and the radiop will blend in more discretluy with the surrounding environment.”

“Top-side cooling represents a significant opportunity for the wireless infrastructure industry, combining high power capabilities with advanced thermal performance to enable a smaller RF subsystem,” said Pierre Piel, Vice President and General Manager for Radio Power at NXP. “This innovation delivers a solution for the deployment of more environmentally friendly base stations, while also enabling the network density needed to realize the full performance benefits of 5G.”

NXP’s new top-side cooled devices deliver significant design and manufacturing benefits, including the removal of the dedicated RF shield, use of cost-effective and streamlined printed circuit board, and separation of thermal management from RF design.

These features help networking solution providers create slimmer and lighter 5G radios for mobile network operators, while reducing their overall design cycle.

NXP’s first top-side cooled RF power module series is designed for 32T32R, 200 W radios covering 3.3 GHz to 3.8 GHz. The devices combine the company’s in-house LDMOS and GaN semiconductor technologies to enable high gain and efficiency with wideband performance, delivering 31 dB gain and 46 percent efficiency over 400 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth.

NXP has a dedicated RF GaN production facility in Arizona.

The A5M34TG140-TC, A5M35TG140-TC and A5M36TG140-TC products are available today from NXP and the company’s distributors – “we are getting the stock into them now,” says Smith. The A5M36TG140-TC will be supported by NXP’s RapidRF reference board series.

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