New GaN Transistor for RF Energy Exceeds the Efficiency of Most Magnetrons

At IMS 2019 in Boston this week, NXP Semiconductors released its first RF power transistor designed for RF energy using Gallium Nitride on Silicon-Carbide (GaN-on-SiC). Leveraging the high efficiency of GaN, the new MRF24G300HS exceeds the efficiency of most magnetrons at 2.45 GHz, while the high thermal conductivity of SiC helps to ensure Continuous Wave (CW) operations.

For more than 50 years, 2.45 GHz magnetrons have been widely used in consumer and industrial applications ranging from microwave ovens to high power welding machines. Solid-state solutions appeared on the market several years ago, bringing advanced control, reliability, and ease of use. The capability to dynamically adjust the power, frequency, and phase helps optimize the energy transmitted to the material or food being heated. The long lifetime of transistors at full rated performance reduces the need for replacements. However, until the advent of GaN-on-SiC for RF Energy, solid-state devices lacked efficiency to meet the performance standards of the incumbent magnetrons.

The new MRF24G300HS is a 330 W CW, 50 V GaN-on-SiC transistor, demonstrating 73 percent drain efficiency at 2.45 GHz, which is five points higher than the latest LDMOS technologies. The high power density of GaN enables the device to reach high output power in a small footprint. GaN technology has inherently high output impedance that allows broadband matching compared to LDMOS. This reduces the design time and ensures consistency on the manufacturing line – no more hand tuning needed. The simplified gate biasing of the MRF24G300HS RF transistor removes another step of the otherwise complex power-up sequence typically seen on GaN devices.

The RF transistor is sampling now and production is planned for Q3 2019. The 2400-2500 MHz reference circuit is available now, under order number MRF24G300HS-2450MHZ. As part of the NXP Partner Program, Prescient Wireless designed a 2-up, 550 W power amplifier pallet with 45 dB of gain, that is currently being showcased at the IMS 2019 event in Boston. NXP too, at the event, is showcasing “The Microwave Hub” at its booth #548 exploring the possibilities of integrating more functions into a single device.

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