White Paper

For Better SWaP, Choose GaN

Source: Richardson RFPD

By David Silvius, Director, Strategic Marketing, Richardson RFPD

Today’s GaN‐based products are rising to the challenge of rapidly evolving demands for size, reliability, linearity, power density and energy efficiency, by providing RF system engineers with the flexibility to achieve significantly higher power and efficiency, with lower part count, board space and resultant cost.

GaN technology is suited to meet today’s size, weight and power (“SWaP”) demands better than older technologies like GaAs because GaN offers:
• Higher power densities leading to reduced combining losses for a given power target
• Increased efficiency over frequency
• Ability to maintain high performance over wide bandwidths
• Higher thermal conductivity / lower thermal resistance (GaN on SiC)

And GaN has better thermal properties than competing GaAs technologies. Thermal conductivity for SiC is roughly 4x that of GaAs. An added benefit is that GaN can support the million hour MTTF reliability benchmark at a junction temperature of 200°C or higher versus 150°C for GaAs. These thermal advantages do not solve the thermal problem at the system level; however, they bring the thermal management concern down to a reasonable design trade‐off for the system engineer.