New Industry Products

Nitronex’s High-Performance RF Power Transistors for WiMAX Market Now Available

October 08, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Nitronex announced that its GaN-on-silicon manufacturing process is fully qualified for volume production. Nitronex also announced that the first three members of a family of discrete high-performance RF power transistors for the WiMAX market are production qualified and now available for sale. Nitronex's SIGANTIC® process, named NRF1, combines the superior intrinsic high performance of GaN (gallium nitride) devices with the economic benefits and ease of working with standard silicon substrates.

The three new Nitronex RF power transistors are for use in power amplifiers targeted at the 3.33.8, and 2.3 – 2.7GHz bands of the WiMAX market. They offer high gain, high efficiency and high linearity, along with broadband operation. The NPT35050 is a 50W/28V device with an average output power of 6W from 3.3 – 3.8GHz and a saturated power output at 3.5GHz of 65W. At the average power output level, it offers 10.5 dB of gain. It offers EVM (error vector magnitude, a measure of linearity) of less than 2.5%, and a drain efficiency of 18%. It is packaged in an air-cavity plastic package with a copper-moly-copper flange for enhanced thermal performance.

Meanwhile, the NPT35015 and NPT25015 are 15W/28V power transistors operating from 3.33.8GHz and 2.3-2.7GHz respectively. Both parts deliver 1.5W of average power at 2% EVM during OFDM operation. The parts take advantage of small, cost-effective plastic overmold packaging, which is common in other semiconductor segments but is relatively new to RF power transistors. In fact, the 35015 & 25015 are running in high-volume packaging production at Amkor Technology without any modification to Amkor's standard processes.

"The WiMAX market requires combinations of power, efficiency, frequency and bandwidth that are beyond the specs of the current cellular market. In addition, considerable pressure is being applied to smaller form factors and to total cost of WiMAX infrastructure hardware," said Christopher Rauh, Nitronex's Vice President of Sales & Marketing. "The ideal choice is GaN on silicon field-effect transistor technology, because it enables base station OEMs to optimize bandwidth, power and efficiency at attractive sizes and costs. Our approach – using industry-standard silicon substrates – is key for a number of reasons. The use of 100mm silicon wafers allows us the scale to produce statistically significant and compelling reliability data, to use proven packages from the silicon industry and to quickly scale up volume production. All of these issues are paramount to our OEM customers."

The NPT35050 and NPT35015 are available immediately, while the NPT25015 will be released on October 19. Evaluation kits for each are available now. The NPT35050 evaluation kit comes with two parts and an application board and is priced at $950. The NPT35015 & NPT25015 evaluation kit comes with an application board and a single device surface-mounted to the board. NPT35015 & NPT25015 application kits are priced at $650.