Gallium Nitride RF Technology Advances and Applications

Over the last decade, Gallium Nitride (GaN) proponents have touted the technology as the future for high power cellular base stations that will displace silicon LDMOS devices. One may speculate on how LDMOS technological advances, GaN market acceptance, reliability, or cost have moderated GaN’s advance into the LDMOS domain. This paper discusses GaN technology, 200W packaged device performance, a 2.6-2.7 GHz, 400 W Doherty power amplifier, thermal management, and cost vs. performance. It emphasizes how GaN and LDMOS technology complement each other for RF applications. GaN devices have size and performance advantages over Si-LDMOS for frequencies above 2.5 GHz. On the other hand, LDMOS devices perform very competitively at 2.6 GHz using multiple devices in larger size circuits. Unlike Doherty amplifiers where GaN versus Si LDMOS may be a close question, GaN will dominate power amplifiers at frequencies in excess of 3 GHz as well for high efficiency and wideband power amplifiers.