GaN RF Devices Demonstrate Reliability in Space EnvironmentsApril 13, 2016 by Jeff Shepard
Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, announced that its GaN-on-SiC RF power transistors have completed testing to demonstrate compliance with NASA reliability standards for satellite and space systems. Wolfspeed's proven GaN-on-SiC fabrication processes have demonstrated industry-leading reliability and performance, delivering more than 100 billion total hours of field operation with a best-in-class FIT rate of less than-5-per billion device hours for discrete GaN RF transistors and multi-stage GaN MMICs.
Wolfspeed partnered with KCB Solutions, a recognized leader in RF and microwave components to conduct a comprehensive testing program to demonstrate that Wolfspeedâ€™s GaN-on-SiC devices meet NASA EEE-INST-002 Level 1 reliability and performance standards, derived from the MIL-STD requirements for Class S and Class K qualifications.
â€œThis successful testing demonstrates that Wolfspeedâ€™s GaN foundry process is capable of producing devices that meet these demanding reliability standards. Our customers now have the ability to specify our GaN RF devices in the most critical aerospace, military, and satellite electronics systems,â€ said Jim Milligan, RF and microwave director, Wolfspeed.
â€œOur proven GaN-on-SiC technology enables design engineers to make smaller, lighter, more efficient, and more reliable solid-state power amplifiers than are possible with conventional traveling wave tube (TWT) amplifiers or those designed with gallium arsenide (GaAs) devices. Now, aerospace designers can achieve higher performance radar and communications systems with a significantly lighter payload and longer operating life," concluded Mulligan.
â€œAs an AS9100-certified facility with an extensive history of supplying Class S and Class K devices for aerospace and satellite electronic systems, KCB Solutions implemented a comprehensive testing program in conjunction with Wolfspeed to ensure that their GaN process was capable of producing devices that meet these demanding NASA standards,â€ said Ralph Nilsson, president, KCB Solutions. â€œThis testing regime was derived from the established MIL-STD qualification requirements of Class S and Class K, and included evaluation for ESD, intrinsic reliability, SEM analysis, and radiation hardness.â€
The testing program consisted of five test procedures conducted by KCB Solutions on Wolfspeedâ€™s 25W GaN-on-SiC HEMT CGH40025F and their 25W 2-Stage X-Band GaN MMIC CMPA801B025F devices, which are produced using the companyâ€™s proven 0.4Âµm G28V3 fabrication process. Both devices demonstrated no significant RF performance change after undergoing all the test procedures, including exposure to a cumulative dose of radiation exceeding 1Mrad.
Virtually all space and satellite equipment manufacturers require electronic components to meet established high-reliability military qualification standards in order to be specified into their communications and radar systems. These standards include MIL- PRF-38535 Class S for single chips, and MIL-PRF38534 Class K for multichip modules. Wolfspeedâ€™s collaboration with KCB Solutions allows them to upscreen their GaN devices to ensure they are in compliance with the NASA EEE-INST-002 level 1 standards based on these Class S and Class K requirements. As a result of this successful testing at KCB Solutions, several companies have already specified Wolfspeedâ€™s GaN devices for their space applications.