Time to start producing GaN-based RF devices
“5G has brought a whole new change in RF technology. Recently, Qorvo recently released the QPA2309 c-band power amplifier (PA) designed for defense and aerospace applications, which can provide high power density and added power efficiency for 5C 6 GHz RF design. . It uses Qorvo’s self-developed QGaN25HV wafer process, namely GaN-on-SiC.
Translated from – EEtimes
5G has brought a whole new change in RF technology. Recently, Qorvo recently released the QPA2309 c-band power amplifier (PA) designed for defense and aerospace applications, which can provide high power density and added power efficiency for 5C 6 GHz RF design. . It uses Qorvo’s self-developed QGaN25HV wafer process, namely GaN-on-SiC.
Over the past year or so, many technologies are penetrating the consumer space. Qorvo’s new high-power amplifier MMIC is designed for “commercial and military radar, as well as Electronic warfare applications.”
Not so long ago GaN’s power applications were limited to a niche market. Even in many industrial applications, such as automotive or solar cell inverters, SiC is more common. And GaN has a long history in optoelectronics, enabling the production of blue laser diodes and LEDs.
But now, GaN is starting to explode in the power market. Apple’s decision to launch the last iPhone without a charging unit will drive the shift. Since it’s no longer standard with Apple, consumers may now be tempted by multiple charging power sources at once, something Apple never included in its phones or tablets. The unique advantages of GaN in power electronics are numerous and will not be repeated here.
Let’s go back to RF applications.
Current technology trends require increased RF capabilities and drive components, which is certainly a challenge.
We are on the cusp of rapid deployment of 5G systems. This means one more system and another radio in connected mobile devices and countless fixed and mobile IoT devices.
The frequency bands required for new radio systems today’s 5G and systems still being defined need to create an ideal environment for a rapid transition to GaN RF devices. As a wide-bandgap semiconductor, the advantages of GaN over conventional materials will provide a strong impetus for this particular requirement.
The graphs above strongly illustrate the cutting-edge performance of GaN. Qorvo’s amplifiers are designed to operate in the 5GHz to 6GHz frequency band, so this product is a leader in “a handful of competing technologies.” However, when it comes to power, GaN has no match. The 100W power specification makes Qorvo’s PAs available only with GaN materials.
Yole development details the breakthrough potential of GaN. In an article “RF GaN: The Stranglehold of 5G?”, the market for GaN is predicted:
GaN RF equipment market to exceed $2 billion by 2025
Annual growth rate of 20%
Rapidly increasing military use
The performance benefits of GaN will drive the adoption of 5G infrastructure.
Analyst Dr. Ezgi Dogmus predicts that 5G infrastructure will drive the “GaN dominance”. “The military and 5G infrastructure are expected to be the bulk of the growth. Strictly speaking, 5G construction is an industrial application, not a consumer application, but the technology remains at the heart of addressing consumer mobile bandwidth needs.
The GaN RF equipment market is on the verge of rapid growth, especially in the defense sector.
The choice of GaN for the Qorvo QPA2309 was the right choice, and it is packaged in a 7x7mm QFN configuration with internal matching that requires no external components. For QFN, it’s a four-axis, planar leadless kit that is quietly expanding its reach. Because it offers a good compromise between low cost and reduced board space requirements for pin counts. And, this prime-purpose kit — from power management to audio amplifiers to microcontrollers — is continuing to increase its high-power and high-frequency applications.
New Qorvo power amplifiers draw attention to emerging technologies and expanding mature package designs. From the mundane to the bizarre, they’re all worth seeing up close, and they’re expected to emerge in 2021.
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