Microwave Journal

RTX and DARPA to Revolutionize GaN Technology for Improved RF Sensors

November 17, 2023

Raytheon has been awarded a four-year, $15 million contract from DARPA to increase the electronic capability of RF sensors with high-power-density GaN transistors. The improved transistors will have 16x higher output power than traditional GaN with no increase in operating temperature.

Raytheon is a leading manufacturer of military-grade GaN, a cutting-edge semiconductor technology that, when used in radar systems, improves range and radar resource management handling. This new prototyping work is being performed under DARPA's Technologies for Heat Removal in Electronics at the Device Scale program, known as THREADS.

"Our engineers have unlocked a new way to produce Gallium Nitride, where thermal management is no longer a limiting factor," said Colin Whelan, president of Advanced Technology at Raytheon. "These new system architectures will result in sensors with enhanced range."

Raytheon is partnering with the Naval Research Laboratory, Stanford University and Diamond Foundry to grow diamond, the best thermal conductor, for integration with military-grade GaN transistors and circuits. Cornell University, Michigan State University, the University of Maryland and Penn State University are also providing technology and performance analysis.