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Industry News

RFMD Receives GaN Purchase from Top-tier Military Supplier

January 25, 2007
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RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD), a global leader in the design and manufacture of high performance radio systems and solutions for applications that drive mobile communications, announced it has received its first purchase order from a top-tier military supplier for a new product using RFMD's gallium nitride (GaN) high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) process technology. RFMD's GaN technology can operate over a very wide range of microwave frequencies, making it ideal for multiple band and broadband applications. The purchase order is the first received by RFMD for its GaN power amplifiers.


The purchase order is for RFMD's RF3825 Power Integrated Circuit (PowerIC) broadband power amplifier, which is a 15 W device capable of servicing a frequency band from 200 MHz to 1.9 GHz. The RF3825 greatly enhances the bandwidth of software-defined radios for military communications.

Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RFMD, stated, "This first purchase order for our proprietary GaN process technology represents a significant step forward in terms of customer and market diversification for RF Micro Devices. The combined revenue opportunity presented by these new markets is approximately $1 B, giving RFMD meaningful new drivers for incremental revenue, margin and earnings. Our GaN development has been partially funded by the United States government, and this announcement highlights just one of many military applications where GaN's technical properties excel. In addition, GaN technology is applicable to markets beyond military, including public mobile radio, WiMAX and WCDMA base stations. RFMD has an established leadership position in GaN that leverages our industry-leading compound semiconductor manufacturing assets and design engineering talent."

Bill Pratt, chief technical officer of RFMD, added, "GaN has unique electrical properties that make it the ideal technology for high power, high performance applications. GaN has efficiency and power densities that are significantly greater than silicon LDMOS technology, which is GaN's primary competition in many markets. Additionally, GaN technology can operate over a very wide range of frequencies. Accordingly, GaN cost-effectively addresses the multiple bands required in WCDMA, WiMAX, military jammers and other markets with a single device, compared to the multiple devices required by competing process technologies, like LDMOS."

RFMD is manufacturing its proprietary GaN technology in its high volume manufacturing facility in Greensboro, NC, and intends to leverage its expertise in compound semiconductors as well as its leadership in power amplifiers. The company is the world's leading manufacturer of AlGaAs HBT and GaAs pHEMT. The company is also a leading manufacturer of InGaP HBT and recently introduced its second-generation InGaP HBT process. RFMD is also the world's leading manufacturer of cellular power amplifiers. RFMD began efforts to commercialize GaN technology in 2000 and expects to commence first shipments in the first half of calendar 2007.

RFMD expects to announce future advancements in GaN technology in 2007, including the availability of high power amplifiers (HPA) featuring high linearity, wide bandwidth and power outputs up to 200 W.

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