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EETE OCT 2015

GaN soon on 8-inch silicon wafers, hopes MACOM By Julien Happich As M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. (MACOM) announced its 4th generation 100W GaN on Silicon wideband transistor at the European Microwave show in Paris, the company is confident it is set to play a major role in the GaN supply chain. Built using the company’s proprietary 4th generation GaN on Silicon (GaN on Si) process, the 100W part (MAGX-100027- 100C0P) is optimized for DC to 2.7GHz operation and is aimed at defense communications, land mobile radio, avionics, wireless infrastructure, ISM applications and VHF/UHF/L/S-band radar. It supports CW, pulsed, and linear operation with output power levels up to 100W (50 dBm). Operating from 50V, the device support continuous wave operation with a 18.3dB gain at 2.45GHz, and 70% drain efficiency. According to the company, such parts deliver a performance that rivals expensive GaN on Silicon Carbide at a projected volume production cost structure below that of incumbent LDMOS technology, and thus its Gen4 GaN technology could finally bring GaN to the mainstream market, on silicon, while enabling a power density more than four times that of LDMOS. The company is sampling its 100W parts now, with 200W and 300W devices soon to be announced, but that’s not all. It has big plans to ramp up its production, from today’s 4” wafers to 6” or 8” silicon wafers. Over the past few years, MACOM has been growing through a number of strategic acquisitions, including several optoelectronic chip companies such as Optomai Inc. back in 2011, or Photonic Controls LLC and BinOptics Corporation in 2014, but also Mindspeed Technologies for its foothold in wireless basestation infrastructures, and more importantly Nitronex, LLC (acquired in 2014 for its GaN-on-Silicon products and patents portfolio, including a unique process). “MACOM now truly offers solutions across the entire wireless communication chain, from RF to optical communication links”, emphasized the company’s EMEA sales director, Markus Schaefer, “In fact our company has evolved so much over the past five years that internally, we like to call ourselves the new MACOM” he added. In particular, the Nitronex acquisition means the company holds key patents for RF devices built using GaN-on-Silicon, so in effect, other companies considering using GaNon Silicon instead of GaN-on-Silicon Carbide would have to license the IP. In order to further lower the cost of GaN-on- Silicon and also to ensure double sourcing for a broader adoption of its technology, MACOM is looking for fab partners willing to share some of their capacity on 8-inch silicon wafers. “We’ll be making an announcement soon” promised Mike Ziehl, Vice President of Marketing for the RF and Microwave business unit at MACOM. “If you consider an average selling price of $20 for GaN RF transistors, 50 million of them shipping yearly just for base stations, and possibly another 50 million transistors for the RF energy market (including microwave ovens), that makes up a two billion dollars addressable market opening its doors to our technology”, Ziehl added. “We are a 500 million dollars company today, we could well double in size within the next five years”, he added optimistically. The company is confident that thanks to its IP portfolio and with strategic licensing agreements, it could lay the foundation for a new GaN supply chain model whereby it could become the preeminent supplier of compound semiconductors for RF and microwave applications. Li-Fi interconnect aims to replace plugs and cables By SPaul Buckley cientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden are aiming to use Li-Fi communication modules to replace wired fieldbus systems or HF connectors that are subject to wear. The scientists claim that for moving or movable plant components the Li-Fi interconnect technology offers greater reliability and security. Optical technology makes it possible to transmit data in both half and full duplex modes at speeds of up to 12.5 gigabits per second over short distances. The transceiver replaces cable or plug connections and operates up to ten times faster than currently available wireless solutions. Other advantages include negligible bit error rates (<10-11), and low energy consumption. The unique transceiver is especially suitable for industrial applications in which large amounts of data need to be transmitted very quickly and where plug connections no longer meet requirements or provide the necessary level of reliability. “With our know-how in the field of optical design, high-frequency electronics, packaging as well as high-frequency and optical measurement and test, we are able to flexibly react to the needs of our customers,” explained Project Manager Frank Deicke. “So we can, for example, optimize the size of existing prototypes or customize application-specific range and alignment”. The Fraunhofer IPMS technology can already be tested and the institute currently offers evaluation kits for data rates of 1, 5 and 10 Gbps. 14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE OCT 2015
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