Reaching New Levels of Linearity in Passive Mixers with GaN Technology

When microwave engineers hear the words “Gallium Nitride” (GaN), one thought usually comes to their minds: power amplifiers. Due to its physical properties of high-breakdown voltage and high-thermal conductivity, GaN is ideally suited over its Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) counterpart for the development of highly efficient, highly effective power amplifiers. Until now, the benefits of GaN technology beyond amplification have not been pursued.

Over the past year, Custom MMIC has been working with a few domestic foundries to investigate the use of GaN for passive mixers. As a result of this work, they have discovered the high-linearity properties of GaN amplifiers do indeed translate to mixers. This realization has let them develop a new family of ultra-linear mixers operating from 1 to 20 GHz. With these mixers, microwave engineers can now approach levels of linearity that used to seem impossible.