GaN-on-SiC RF transistors pave the way to 5G

10th September 2015
Barney Scott

Infineon Technologies has introduced the first devices in a family of Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide (GaN-on-SiC) RF power transistors at this year's European Microwave Week. As part of Infineon’s GaN portfolio, the devices allow manufacturers of mobile base stations to build smaller, more powerful and more flexible transmitters.

With higher efficiency, improved power density and more bandwidth than currently used RF power transistors, the devices improve the economics of building infrastructure to support today’s cellular networks. Additionally, they will pave the way for the transition to 5G technology with higher data volumes and thus, enhanced user-experience.

The RF power transistors leverage the performance of GaN technology to achieve 10% higher efficiency and five times the power density of the LDMOS transistors commonly used today. This translates to smaller footprints and power requirements for the power amplifiers of base station transmitters in use today, which operate in either the 1.8-2.2 or 2.3-2.7GHz frequency range. Future GaN on SiC devices will also support 5G cellular bandsup to the 6GHz frequency range. This roadmap allows Infineon to build on its long-standing expertise and state-of-the-art production technologies for RF transistor technology.

Design flexibility and support for next-gen 4G technology are additional benefits of GaN devices for RF power applications. The devices have twice the RF bandwidth of LDMOS, so that one PA can support multiple operating frequencies. They also have increased instantaneous bandwidth available for transmitters, which lets a carrier offer higher dates using the data aggregation technique specified for 4.5G cellular networks.

“This device family combines innovation with knowledge of the application requirements for cellular infrastructure to provide our global customer base with next-generation RF power transistors. They allow significant improvement in the operating performance and reduction in size of the transmitter side of mobile base stations,” said Gerhard Wolf, Vice President and General Manager, RF Power Product Line, Infineon. “Additionally, with the transition to wide bandgap semiconductor technology, we are setting the pace for the continued evolution of the cellular infrastructure.”

Engineering samples and reference designs are available to customers under specific Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA).

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