GaN soon on 8-inch silicon wafers, hopes MACOM

September 09, 2015 // By Julien Happich
As M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. (MACOM) announced its 4th generation 100W GaN on Silicon wideband transistor at the European Microwave show in Paris, the company is confident it will play a major role in the GaN supply chain.

Built using the company's proprietary 4th generation GaN on Silicon (GaN on Si) process, the 100W part (MAGX-100027-100C0P) is optimized for DC to 2.7GHz operation and is aimed at defense communications, land mobile radio, avionics, wireless infrastructure, ISM applications and VHF/UHF/L/S-band radar.

It supports CW, pulsed, and linear operation with output power levels up to 100W (50 dBm). Operating from 50V, the device support continuous wave operation with a 18.3dB gain at 2.45GHz, and 70% drain efficiency.

According to the company, such parts deliver a performance that rivals expensive GaN on Silicon Carbide at a projected volume production cost structure below that of incumbent LDMOS technology, and thus its Gen4 GaN technology could finally bring GaN to the mainstream market, on silicon, while enabling a power density more than four times that of LDMOS.

The company is sampling its 100W parts now, with 200W and 300W devices soon to be announced, but that's not all. It has big plans to ramp up its production, from today's 4-inch wafers to 6 or 8" silicon wafers.

Over the past few years, MACOM has been growing through a number of strategic acquisitions, including several optoelectronic chip companies such as Optomai Inc. back in 2011, or Photonic Controls LLC and BinOptics Corporation in 2014, but also Mindspeed Technologies for its foothold in wireless basestation infrastructures, and more importantly Nitronex, LLC (acquired in 2014 for its GaN-on-Silicon products and patents portfolio, including a unique process).

"MACOM now truly offers solutions across the entire wireless communication chain, from RF to optical communication links", emphasized the company's EMEA sales director, Markus Schaefer, "In fact our company has evolved so much over the past five years that internally, we like to call ourselves the new MACOM" he added.