Freescale Semiconductor has entered the gallium arsenide (GaAs) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) marketplace with the introduction of four new devices designed and optimized specifically for high performance in macro base stations, repeaters and femtocells employed in wireless networks.

The devices address low-noise amplifiers and transmit power amplifiers – two elements of wireless infrastructure equipment for which extremely high RF performance is critical. The devices are also designed for low power consumption, resulting in optimized energy efficiency and long-term reliability.

A leader in silicon RF LDMOS power transistors used in wireless base stations, Freescale holds numerous GaAs-related patents, and was one of the first companies to develop devices based on GaAs technology. The company’s growing family of general-purpose amplifiers (GPA) based on InGaP heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBT) and GaAs heterojunction field effect transistors (HFET) covers a broad array of RF and microwave applications.

“Freescale’s high performance MMIC devices offer comprehensive RF active solutions for applications requiring high performance such as 3G and 4G cellular base stations, repeaters and femtocells,” said Gavin P. Woods, Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s RF Division. “We developed the new MMIC products with the same standards as our advanced LDMOS RF technology in terms of quality and reliability. Our GaAs MMICs also come with the software and hardware tools necessary to extract optimal performance with minimal overhead costs.”

The MML09211H is an enhancement-mode PHEMT MMIC low noise amplifier ideal for applications ranging from W-CDMA base stations in the 865 to 960 MHz band to the high-datarate networks currently being implemented in the 728 to 768 MHz band. The device offers an exceptionally low noise figure of 0.6 dB including circuit losses, and supports operation from 400 to 1400 MHz. Small-signal gain is 20 dB at 900 MHz, P1dB output power is 21 dBm, isolation is - 35 dB, and third-order output intercept point (IP3) is 32 dBm at 900 MHz.

The MMA20312B is a two-stage InGaP HBT power amplifier designed for use in wireless base stations as well as repeaters and femtocells. Specifically, for femtocells this device enables high energy efficiency while meeting linearity requirements. The amplifier covers 1800 to 2200 MHz, delivers P1dB output power of 31 dBm at 2140 MHz and small-signal gain of 26 dB.

The two other new broadband MMIC amplifiers are equally suited for use as driver amplifiers in the transmit chain or as second-stage low-noise amplifiers in the receive chain. They exhibit excellent linearity with lower current consumption than typical HBT solutions. The MMG15241H is a pHEMT device that covers 500 to 2800 MHz, with a noise figure of 1.6 dB at 2140 MHz, P1dB output power of 24 dBm, IP3 of 39 dBm, and small-signal gain of 15 dB. The MMG20271H low-noise amplifier covers 1500 to 2400 MHz, with a noise figure of 1.8 dB at 2140 MHz, P1dB output power of 27 dBm, IP3 of 42 dBm and small-signal gain of 15 dB.

To complement the new MMICs, Freescale has also introduced application boards and RF characterization data for its MMG3004NT1, MMG3005NT1 and MMG3006NT1 GPAs. The boards and data showcase the MMICs’ capabilities in actual base station transmitter device line-ups. The latest data shows that the devices’ current consumption can be reduced by almost 50 percent from the initial data sheet conditions with little penalty in linearity.

The new MMICs are the first of many planned Freescale MMIC devices currently under development to cover popular wireless bands and applications.