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Amplifiers / Semiconductors / Integrated Circuits

TriQuint Unveils PowerBand High Power, Wideband RF Transistors

November 21, 2008
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TriQuint Semiconductor, an RF product manufacturer and foundry services provider, announced the availability of a revolutionary new high power discrete RF transistor family for broadband applications including radar, signal jammers and wireless communications. TriQuint’s new PowerBand™ family was unveiled today at the MILCOM military communications conference and exhibition at the San Diego Convention Center (USA).

PowerBand™ 1 devices deliver high power performance across an exceptionally wide bandwidth while maintaining very high efficiency. Previous broadband market solutions traded-off performance to achieve relative wide-band service. TriQuint’s PowerBand innovation achieves unprecedented bandwidth coverage without sacrificing efficiency or other key performance parameters.

“PowerBand changes the wireless equation, creating an opportunity to save a tremendous amount of space, cost and energy. Because PowerBand efficiently delivers high power across unprecedented bandwidth, an RF design may require only one transistor line-up2 instead of several. This fact directly impacts the bill of materials and size of end user products by substantially reducing space dedicated to RF,” exclaimed TriQuint president and CEO Ralph Quinsey.

“The incredible performance of PowerBand is the first thing that evaluating engineers recognize as truly outstanding,” said Bill McCalpin, PowerBand co-inventor and general manager, TriQuint Colorado Design Center. “A traditional high power RF transistor is designed to operate across a narrow frequency range, such as 2.53 to 2.65 GHz. Within that range it delivers power relatively efficiently. But as bandwidth increases, performance falls. PowerBand is totally different in its ability to deliver high power — up to 50 W — and high efficiency performance – 50 percent PAE, typical – across a much wider frequency range, from 500 MHz to 3 GHz.”

“PowerBand is disruptive technology, and as such there are sure to be some skeptics,” Quinsey acknowledged. “But the proof is here. We’ve achieved results that are reproducible and manufacturable.”

PowerBand devices have been reviewed by companies that require high power broadband RF transistors for their designs including Milpower Inc., a California-based supplier of RF power systems for defense, military and aerospace contractors. “PowerBand technology is a leap forward for wideband high power RF designs. The improved efficiency and bandwidth will pay system dividends in the form of less PCB area dedicated to RF, longer battery life, the opportunity to reshape end products and reduce size, as well as less need for thermal management,” said Dean Schulze, senior development engineer, Milpower Inc.

Many broadband defense and military programs could benefit from TriQuint’s new technology. In typical applications, one PowerBand transistor amplifier line-up (containing 2-4 devices) covering an entire band could replace three or more traditional transistor amplifier line-ups (containing 2-4 devices). In a typical application, 2-4 PowerBand devices could replace between 6 and 12 conventional RF transistors. PowerBand enables greater efficiency for mobile as well as ground-based RF networks infrastructure applications. In the case of mobile devices, greater efficiency can extend battery life and reduce system over-heating. Efficiency in ground-based systems translates into less waste heat, which can reduce power costs and carbon footprints associated with heat removal while also reducing the amount of equipment dedicated to thermal management. For both mobile and ground-based RF systems, PowerBand™ can reduce BOMs, speed assembly and shrink inventory overhead.

PowerBand™ technology is also incredibly flexible, meaning that it can be applied to most common semiconductor processes that manufacturers use to create RF transistors. PowerBand™ devices can be developed using gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium nitride (GaN), as well as RF LDMOS (laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) technologies. “The applications of this technology are vast,” said Mr. McCalpin. “We encourage anyone who has an interest in the benefits of PowerBand™ technology to talk with us about their application requirements. This innovation can enable new usage models and cost points for a broad range of wireless products.”

Prototypes and evaluation boards are now available; product delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2009. TriQuint’s first family of PowerBand devices offer output power from 10 to 50 W; operating voltages range from 12 to 28 V and operational frequency ranges from 500 MHz to 3 GHz.


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