BAE Systems has signed a cooperative agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for Phase 1 of a technical effort to transition gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology developed by the US Air Force to its Advanced Microwave Products (AMP) Center.
As part of the effort, BAE will transfer and further enhance the technology, and scale it to 6-inch wafers to slash per-chip costs and improve the accessibility of this defense-critical technology.
GaN technology provides broad frequency bandwidth, high efficiency, and high transmit power in a small footprint, making it ideal for next-generation radar, electronic warfare, and communications systems. Under the agreement, the firm will work with AFRL to establish a 140-nanometer GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) process that will be qualified for production by 2020, with products available to Department of Defense (DoD) suppliers through an open foundry service.
“Millimeter-wave GaN technologies today are produced in research and development laboratories in low volumes at high associated costs or in captive foundries that are not broadly accessible to defense suppliers,” said Scott Sweetland, Advanced Microwave Products director at BAE Systems. “This effort will leverage AFRL’s high-performance technology and BAE Systems’ 6-inch manufacturing capability to advance the state of the art in GaN MMIC performance, reliability, and affordability while providing broader access to this critical technology”.