GaN on diamond triples power density

April 02, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Near Junction Thermal Transport effort under the Thermal Management Technologies program, Raytheon's team is replacing GaN's current substrate, Silicon Carbide, with diamond, a material with 3 to 5X higher thermal conductivity, to create GaN on diamond devices.

The company has demonstrated that GaN on diamond technology enables a 3X increase in transistor power density over GaN on Silicon Carbide, overcoming a major barrier to unlocking the potential of GaN devices.

Data was obtained on a 10 x 125 µm (1.25 mm) GaN on diamond HEMT, a device representing a unit cell for constructing Power Amplifier Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs), the foundation of solid-state RF transmitters and Active Electronically Scanned Arrays. This result builds on prior successes, including Raytheon's industry-first demonstration of GaN on diamond transistors in 2009, and GaN on diamond MMICs in 2011.

"Raytheon continues to be an innovator leading the development of GaN technology," said Joe Biondi, vice president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) business. "We are now inserting GaN into DoD systems while remaining focused on continuing to increase performance of this revolutionary semiconductor to provide our warfighters with the most advanced sensing, communications and electronic warfare capabilities in the world."

GaN on diamond offers revolutionary performance improvement by reducing thermal resistance within the device and enabling GaN to be used at higher power densities, which will dramatically reduce the cost, size, weight and power of defense systems. GaN's unique qualities allow radar, electronic warfare and communications systems to be smaller, more affordable and highly efficient.

Raytheon Company also recently announced that under the DARPA MTO Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Program, the company has systematically matured GaN from basic material to transistors, MMICs, Transmit/Receive (T/R) Modules and finally Transmit/Receive Integrated Multichannel Modules (TRIMMs), enabling game changing system performance for the DOD.