Satellites may soon carry Raytheon's gallium nitride (GaN) technology into Earth orbit. Raytheon Co. has successfully validated its GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology for use in space-bound equipment.

Raytheon GaN MMICs, fabricated at its Andover, Mass. foundry, demonstrated the radiation hardness required for space through single event burn-out (SEB) and total ionizing dose (TID) testing. The results showed the devices are not susceptible to catastrophic failure caused by heavy ions. Further testing showed no loss of performance at exposure levels up to 1 Mrad, significantly more than is needed for typical space applications.

GaN-based components are more than five times more powerful than semiconductors presently used in radars and other types of sensors resulting in lighter, more capable electronics. 

"Raytheon's GaN technology is mature, robust, and already integrated into a number of defense systems for land, sea and air," said Paul Ferraro, Raytheon's vice president of integrated defense systems' advanced technologies programs. "Now that our GaN is validated for space, Raytheon customers can use this game-changing technology in a wide variety of space-based applications."  

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