TriQuint Semiconductor Inc., a leading RF solutions supplier and technology innovator, introduced a family of reflective MMIC RF and microwave SPDT switches that combine the higher power-handling ability of gallium nitride (GaN) with high speed, low insertion loss, high isolation and broad frequency coverage of DC to 6, 12, or 18 GHz. TriQuint’s new GaN devices — the first solid-state solution to handle this much power — were announced in conjunction with the European Microwave Week exhibition. TriQuint is exhibiting in booth 323.

The GaN switches allow designers of defense, aerospace, or high performance commercial systems to use a tiny semiconductor device in many applications where the only alternative previously was to utilize larger, heavier electromechanical devices.

TriQuint’s innovative GaN switch family includes: TGS2351-SM packaged in a 4 x 4 mm, 24-lead, air-cavity ceramic package, and three die-level switches, the TGS-2351 (DC to 6 GHz, 40 W CW), the TGS2352 (DC to 12 GHz, 20 W CW) and the TGS2353 (DC to 18 GHz, 10 W CW). The TGS2351-SM’s air-cavity ceramic package utilizes proprietary techniques to offer enhanced protection for the GaN die while also effectively dissipating more heat in a way not achievable with fully-encapsulated plastic packaging form factors. Packaged versions of the 12 GHz and 18 GHz die-level devices are in development.

GaN has a unique power-handling advantage over GaAs FETs and PIN diodes when employed in switches—GaAs FETs, although solid-state, can handle only a few watts of power, whereas PIN diodes can handle higher power, but typically consume more DC energy. In contrast, TriQuint’s HEMT GaN-on-SiC process enables its MMIC switches to handle up to two and a half times more on-state power and eight times more off-state power than a GaAs FET switch fabricated in a typical 0.25 µm GaAs process. They do so while consuming minimal current, remaining highly stable over temperature, and delivering performance comparable to or better than that of GaAs FETs or diodes. GaN switches are orders or magnitude smaller than some electro-mechanical switches.

“TriQuint innovation and GaN product development has led to another break-through device that offers performance advantages in size, weight and power that should be of particular interest to defense and aerospace designers,” said Grant Wilcox, GaN Product Manager. GaN switches have the potential to shrink the size of the host product and lower its power consumption with performance not previously offered by a solid-state switch solution.”