LDMOS vs GaN for RF Energy?

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May 3, 2018

Accelerating innovation in RF energy systems runs parallel with the significant forward progress that GaN-on-Si has achieved relative to LDMOS in the RF semiconductor technology domain. The GaN-based devices targeted to underpin solid-state RF energy systems strike an optimal balance of performance, power efficiency, small size and reliability, and can be produced at LDMOS-like cost structures at scaled volume production levels. 

The performance benefits that GaN-on-Si delivers compared to LDMOS are well understood.  Where LDMOS compromises in power and frequency capability, GaN-on-Si demonstrates exceptional performance across both of these metrics, while offering several additional technical benefits. GaN-on-Si delivers raw power density that is considerably higher than LDMOS, with the ability to scale the device technology to high frequency.  GaN-on-Si is also distinguished by its high efficiency, providing up to 10% greater power efficiency than LDMOS. This is a major benefit for continuous wave RF energy applications, where every incremental gain in power efficiency translates to less power consumption and lower operating costs over sustained usage. Properly exploited, this efficiency delta can have a big impact at the system level in commercial RF energy applications. GaN-on-Si’s high breakdown voltage is another noteworthy attribute for the ruggedness it contributes to the end design.

In terms of cost structure, when taking into account GaN-on-Si’s inherent power density advantage and scalability to 8-inch substrates, GaN-on-Si is expected to yield RF devices that are more cost-effective at scaled volume production levels than LDMOS in absolute $/W before even taking into account the benefits at a system level.

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