New Entrant Akash Systems to Transform SATCOM with GaN-on-Diamond Technology

With worldwide data demand outpacing the frequency, bandwidth and power capabilities of our current communications infrastructure, Felix Ejeckam and Ty Mitchell, both experts in gallium nitride (GaN)-on-Diamond technology have joined forces to create Akash Systems, a company committed to revolutionizing the future of fast, affordable satellite communications.

Through the application of GaN-on-Diamond materials, Akash’s technologies can resolve issues critical to the expansive growth of data use and consumption, enabling smaller, lighter and higher performing satellites that lead to lower launch costs, reduced cost-per-bit, more launch cycles, and increased communications access and throughput.

In GaN-on-Diamond, the hottest part of a transistor is brought to within tens of nanometers of synthetic diamond – the most thermally conductive material known to the industrial world. The result is a dramatic reduction in the effect of heat on the power amplifier, and therefore the satellite system. The RF power amplifier is typically responsible for the bulk of the power used and the heat generated in most communication systems. The cooler state of operation gives RF and satellite system designers a previously unattainable thermal envelope to improve energy efficiency and shrink the system’s size, weight, and operating costs.

According to Felix Ejeckam, Co-founder, CEO of Akash Systems and GaN-on-Diamond Inventor - There is a great need and demand for new satellites that are lower-cost and allow for faster downlink data rates. Their technology will create opportunities not envisioned today, including deep space communications, faster data links between spacecraft, and higher-density information access between human communities, no matter where they are in the universe.

Phase one of their business approach is to develop GaN-on-Diamond Hybrids and MMIC Power Amplifiers that are currently on the market. Then they plan to move into phase two, in which they will work with satellite system makers to design small satellite (Cubesat) systems and subsystems. They expect to reach phase two in 2019.

Ejeckam invented the GaN-on-Diamond technology in 2003, while at Group4 Labs, Inc., by lifting GaN epitaxy from its original growth substrate - for example, silicon - and transferring it to a synthetic CVD diamond substrate. Group4 Labs’ assets were acquired in 2013 by Element Six Technologies, a member of the De Beers Group of Companies.

In 2016, Ejeckam with Akash Co-founder and COO Ty Mitchell, entered into an agreement with RFHIC Corporation to jointly negotiate the repurchase of the GaN-on-Diamond intellectual property (IP), with Akash acquiring all patents and other IP rights related to GaN-on-Diamond technology for use in satellite communications and related markets.