TriQuint Semiconductor, an RF semiconductor manufacturer and foundry services provider, and IQE Plc, a manufacturer of advanced semiconductor wafers to the global semiconductor industry, announced TriQuint has placed the largest commercial gallium nitride (GaN) wafer order in the history of IQE Plc. The wafers will support ongoing development efforts and the roll-out of new commercial and military products by TriQuint.

TriQuint’s announcement comes at the start of the GOMACTech Conference (March 17-20, Las Vegas, NV) that brings together microcircuit industry leaders engaged in ongoing development efforts for the US military and other government agencies. Since being awarded a multi-year GaN research development contract in excess of $30 M by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2005, TriQuint has made significant discoveries relating to new gallium nitride-based amplifiers. TriQuint will present a paper highlighting these findings at this year’s conference; research papers in high-voltage gallium arsenide (GaAs) technology and IC packaging for next-generation military products will also be presented.

GaN amplifier technology has garnered significant military and commercial interest because of its ability to operate more efficiently and with substantially greater power density (more wattage per square millimeter of surface area) compared to other commonly used solid-state amplifier technologies. These factors enable the development of more efficient, smaller amplifiers capable of operating at higher system voltages with superior resistance to breakdown (failure occurring due to spikes in current). These benefits lead to better performance and lower overall system costs for the customer.