Industry News RFIC Channel

TriQuint Achieves Breakthrough GaN-on-Diamond Results

Enables high performance, low heat operation, significantly smaller transistors

TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. today announced that it has produced the industry’s first gallium nitride (GaN) transistors using GaN-on-diamond wafersthat substantially reduce semiconductor temperatures while maintaining high RF performance. TriQuint’s breakthrough technology enables new generations of RF amplifiers up to three times smaller or up to three times the power of today’s GaN solutions.

TriQuint received aCompound Semiconductor Industry Award in March commending its new GaN-on-diamond achievements. TriQuint’s James L. Klein, Vice President and General Manager for Infrastructure and Defense Products, remarked that unlocking the true potential of high-efficiency GaN circuits will depend on achievements like those of TriQuint’s advanced research and development program.

Operating temperature largely determines high performance semiconductor reliability. It’s especially critical for GaN devices that are capable of very high power densities. “By increasing thethermal conductivity and reducing device temperature, we are enablingnew generations of GaN devices that may be much smaller than today’s products. This gives significant RF design and operational benefits for our commercial and defense customers,” he said.

TriQuint demonstrated its new GaN-on-diamond,high electron mobility transistors (HEMT)in conjunction with partners at the University of Bristol, Group4 Labs and Lockheed Martin under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT) program.

NJTT is the first initiative inDARPA'snew ‘Embedded Cooling’ program that includes the ICECool Fundamentals and ICECool Applications research and development engagements.NJTT focuses on device thermal resistance 'near the junction' of the transistor. Thermal resistance inside device structures can be responsible for more than 50% of normal operational temperature increases. TriQuint research has shown that GaN RF devices can operate at a much higher power densityand in smaller sizes, through its highly effective thermal managementtechniques.

TriQuint’s New GaN Achievement in Detail

TriQuint’s breakthrough involves the successful transfer of a semiconductor epitaxial overlay onto a synthetic diamond substrate, providing a high thermal conductivity and low thermal boundary resistance, while preserving critical GaN crystalline layers. This achievement is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of GaN-on-diamond HEMT devices. Results to date indicate TriQuint achieved the primary NJTT goal of a three-fold improvement in heat dissipation while preserving RF functionality; this achievement supports reducing power amplifier size or increasing output power by a factor of three. Additional fabrication improvements and extensive device testing are underway to optimize the epitaxial layer transfer process and fully characterize enhancements that can be achieved in these new HEMT devices.

TriQuint Gallium Nitride Product Innovation, Honors and Resources



Leader in defense and commercial GaN research since 1999


Leader in performance and reliabilityGaN development

University Partners

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame,

University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Bristol

The Global GaN Impact

Strategy Analytics recognizes TriQuint’s GaN R&D / GaN Product Innovation

Active R&D programs

DARPA NEXT programfor highly complex, high frequency GaN MMICs


Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III program for GaN on SiC; Radar and EW MMICs: Air Force and Navy sponsors


DARPA Microscale Power Conversionprogram to develop ultra-fast GaN power switch technology that is integrated into next-generation amplifiers


DARPA Near Junction Thermal Transport (NJTT)GaN program to increase circuit power handling capabilities through enhanced thermal management


Army Research Laboratory(ARL) Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to jointly develop advanced GaN circuits

Recent Honors

2013 CS Industry Awardfor DARPA NJTT program; 2012 CS Industry Awardfor DARPA MPC program; 2011 CS Industry Awardfor DARPA NEXT

GaN Products

Wide selectionof innovative GaN amplifiers, transistors and switches

GaN Foundry

0.25-micron GaN on SiC; 100mm wafers; DC-18 GHz applications

Source: TriQuint Semiconductor

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