TriQuint Semiconductor, a supplier of microwave and millimeter-wave products for the defense industry and RF front-end modules for wireless handsets, announced that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded TriQuint a 20-month, $3.1 M contract to improve manufacturing methods of producing high power, high voltage S-band gallium arsenide (GaAs) amplifiers.

According to TriQuint’s Contract program manager and director of R&D, Anthony Balistreri, the company’s high voltage PHEMT technology provides the higher power density and efficiency required for near-term production applications for the Navy, including phased-array radar, electronic warfare and communications systems. The Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC is the contracting agency (N00173-06-C-4112). TriQuint has been developing high voltage gallium arsenide PHEMT technology since 2000. An advanced X-band version of that process was developed under a previous ONR contract.

Balistreri said the new program has two primary objectives, split into phases, or ‘tasks’: an MMIC design optimization task followed by a manufacturing cost reduction task. Under the first phase, TriQuint will design an S-band high power amplifier suitable for a wide range of applications. This initial design will be updated throughout the program and will be used to validate manufacturing process improvements. Overall design goals include high power and efficiency with a minimum 24 V operating voltage. The contract’s primary focus is manufacturing, with two principal goals: reducing cost and improving throughput. Contract ‘sub-tasks’ are designed to improve manufacturing variability, reduce cycle time and improve wafer and device yields. TriQuint is the sole contractor and is performing the work at its Richardson, TX facility.

“Winning this contract demonstrates the government’s confidence in TriQuint’s ability to develop the critical technologies needed for Department of Defense applications. High voltage gallium arsenide is a tested and proven technology that demonstrates high reliability using existing processes and materials, ideally suited for military and commercial production programs,” said Balistreri.