Merrimac Industries Inc. announced that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nitronex Corp. to develop new highly integrated power amplifiers using Merrimac’s proprietary Multi-Mix® multilayer circuit technology and high-power gallium nitride (GaN) transistor technology from Nitronex. GaN device technology is highly sought as a higher-power replacement for GaAs and LDMOS device technology in communications equipment. The discrete transistors are ideal for high power transmitter amplifiers in third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) wireless communications systems as well as emerging broadband WiMAX base stations.

Nitronex has developed and qualified a GaN on Silicon process to service the needs of both commercial users in the wireless infrastructure industry and military users involved in communications, electronic warfare and radar systems. The ability to deliver high power, high frequency and broadband devices with outstanding efficiency is a key reason why users in both commercial and military systems are designing in GaN devices now.

Because of its outstanding thermal dissipation, Merrimac’s Multi-Mix technology supports the design and manufacture of reliable high power amplifiers using RF power transistor die rather than larger, more expensive packaged devices. The use of transistor die allows extensive use of automation in the amplifier manufacturing process, resulting in extremely compact, cost-effective and highly integrated amplifiers well suited for a wide range of commercial wireless infrastructure applications, including cellular and WiMAX base stations.

Merrimac and Nitronex have agreed to consider the joint development of a roadmap for next-generation amplifier designs based on Merrimac's Multi-Mix amplifier platform and Nitronex' high-performance GaN transistor technology. The roadmap will include the development of prototype units to be used to demonstrate the capabilities of the Multi-Mix GaN amplifiers for different frequency bands and applications.

According to Nitronex VP sales and marketing Chris Rauh, "We think the combination of the Multilayer Multi-Mix Microtechnology from Merrimac and Nitronex GaN on Silicon devices is a real winner for our customers in many markets."

Merrimac Chairman and CEO Mason N. Carter commented, "Merrimac is eager to work with Nitronex on the development of high-power Multi-Mix amplifiers. By combining the high power density of their GaN transistors with the excellent thermal properties of multilayer Multi-Mix Microtechnology, we are confident that we will develop new benchmarks in terms of the RF amplifier power/size ratio, reliability and value for our customers."