TriQuint - A Compact 70 Watt Power Amplifier MMIC Utilizing S

TriQuint - A Compact 70 Watt Power Amplifier MMIC Utilizing S
A Compact 70 Watt Power Amplifier MMIC Utilizing S-band GaN
on SiC HEMT Process
Shuoqi Chen, Elias Reese and Tuong Nguyen
TriQuint Semiconductor, Richardson, TX 75080 USA, schen@tqs.com
Abstract — The design and measured performance of a
compact power amplifier MMIC utilizing a 0.25μm S-band GaN
HEMT process technology is presented. Measured in-fixture
results for the two-stage amplifier at 35V drain bias showed a
nominal small-signal gain of 30 dB, a minimum output power of
50 W and a minimum PAE of 45% in the 3.1-4.3 GHz band. A
peak output power of 60W, PAE of 48.3% were measured at 3.3
GHz with 35V operation. At 40V operation, this MMIC is
capable of greater than 70W output power. With a compact
4.1x3.1 mm2 die area, an output power density of 5.6W/mm2 Psat
per die area for a single fully monolithic S-band HPA is
demonstrated. In addition, the MMIC PA provides near constant
efficiency over a wide range of bias voltages enabling desirable
Psat control with modulation of drain voltage.
Index Terms — Power Amplifier, MMIC, S-band, High Power,
High Efficiency, GaN, SiC
I. INTRODUCTION
S-band high efficiency and high power amplifier MMICs
are critical components for many commercial and military
electronic systems. Typical applications include Electronic
Warfare (EW), multi-function phased array, and general use in
test equipment. GaN on SiC HEMT technology offers an order
of magnitude improvement in performance compared to other
solid state technologies, such as GaAs and Si. The increasing
power density of GaN technology makes power levels
approaching that of vacuum tube electron devices feasible.
Recently published benchmarks demonstrate the progress in
GaN power amplifier with high output power density in Sband through Ku-band [1-8]. A 0.25μm gate length, 4-inch
wafer S-band GaN process suitable for fabricating high
performance power amplifier MMICs has been successful
developed at TriQuint Semiconductor. This GaN process is
built on the same high volume 4-inch manufacturing line as
other GaAs and GaN products. This paper describes the GaN
device model extraction, design and performance of a fully
monolithic S-band high power amplifier MMIC using this
process. The performance of this power amplifier MMIC
demonstrates the capability of this S-band GaN technology.
II. GAN PROCESS TECHNOLOGY
The S-band GaN MMIC uses an optimized AlGaN/GaN
HEMT technology on 4 inch SiC substrate. Key features of
the GaN HEMT process technology include a GaN cap layer
to control surface charges and suppress current collapse, 6 μm
source drain spacing with off center T-gate reducing the gate-
to-drain parasitic capacitance while increasing breakdown
voltage, electron-beam lithography defined 0.25μm gate
length integrated with a field plate for high breakdown
voltage. The epitaxial structure and process parameters for this
technology were chosen to achieve high power density,
efficiency, and gain performance in S-band applications. The
key features of DC characteristics of this process are Imax of
1000mA/mm, Idss of 800mA/mm, peak Gm of 250mS/mm,
Vp of -3.85V, and 3TBVgd exceeding 200V allowing
sufficient voltage swing margin for high drain voltage
operation. The S-band GaN technology is implemented within
TriQuint’s existing 3MI MMIC process flow to make devices
fully compatible with state-of-the-art GaN MMIC process [5].
The 3MI process flow provides 3 levels of metal interconnect
air-bridges and 3 capacitor density values to facilitate compact
MMIC design.
III. CIRCUIT DESIGN
Excellent device RF performance is demonstrated through
load pull results of a 4 x 280μm unit FET cell. Under CW
efficiency tuned at 3.5 GHz, a 4.8 W/mm power density, 72%
peak PAE, and an associated gain of 15.3 dB were
demonstrated at 40V and 50mA/mm quiescent drain bias
shown in Table 1. The power performance of the unit cell is
plotted vs. input power in Fig. 1. In addition, under maximum
power tuned condition, a 7.5 W/mm power density, 62% peak
PAE and 16 dB gain at 40V bias were measured with the same
FET cell. Based on the load pull data, an optimum load
impedance of Rp ~ 120 - 180Ω-mm and Cp ~ 0.4pF/mm
(normalized to FET periphery) was extracted from 28V to
40V operations.
TABLE 1. Power Performance of a 4x280μm GaN FET
Frequency
Load Pull Tune
VDS
Idq
Pout @ Peak PAE
Peak PAE
Gain @ Peak PAE
978-1-4673-0929-5/12/$31.00 ©2012 IEEE
3.5
Max. PAE
40
50
4.8
72
15.3
3.5
Max. Power
40
50
7.5
62
16
GHz
V
mA/mm
W/mm
%
dB
80
Pout
Gain
PAE
40
38
Pout (dBm)
90
f=3.5GHz
70
60
36
50
34
40
30
32
20
30
PAE (%) and Gain (dB)
42
10
28
0
7
9
11
13
15
17
19
21
23
25
Pin (dBm)
The design goals for this power amplifier MMIC are two
fold: 1) to demonstrate the capability of TriQuint’s S-band
GaN technology; 2) to realize a high efficiency and output
power PA MMIC covering 3 – 4 GHz frequency range. A
single-ended two-stage design approach with Class AB
amplifier architecture was implemented. For each gain stage,
the appropriate FET periphery was determined based on
device efficiency, power density, and associated gain.
Particularly, the PA output power and efficiency were
constrained by circuit topologies, operating bandwidth, and
matching network losses. Additionally, it was demonstrated
that control of the load reflection phase at 2f0 is critical to
efficiency enhancement. Choosing a suitable output matching
network topology, controlling optimal loading over the desired
frequency range, and minimizing matching network loss are
key design considerations. In this design, the following FET
sizes were selected to achieve 6:1 drive ratio for efficiency
consideration: a 2.4mm FET with dual output manifold for
driver stage, and four FET cells of 3.6mm with four-way
power combining for output stage. The total output FET
periphery was 14.4mm. 50μm gate-to-gate spacing was
implemented on all FET cells for better thermal dissipation.
This staging ratio is predicted to provide at least 2.5 dB of
room temperature drive margin for the output stage using the
compression levels observed in the load pull data. The various
TM
matching networks were synthesized within the AWR
Microwave Office simulation environment. The design used a
combination of lump elements and distributed components
with extensive EM simulations to realize compact die size. A
photograph of the MMIC mounted on the fixture is shown in
2
Fig. 2. The die dimensions are 4.1x3.1 mm .
Fig. 2. Photograph of the S-band GaN power amplifier on fixture.
IV. MEASURED RESULTS
All MMIC samples were evaluated in fixture. The MMIC
dies were soldered on 40mil thick CuMo carrier with 15 mil
alumina de-embedding lines for RF and DC interconnections.
External bypassing was made from 1000pF and 0.01μF chip
capacitors mounted on the carrier and placed close to DC bias
pads. The input and output RF alumina de-embedding lines
were connected to MMIC with three parallel bond wires. The
carrier assembly is then inserted into a brass test fixture. The
opposite ends of the alumina de-embedding lines are contacted
with 7mm coaxial launchers and the entire fixture is placed on
an aluminum heat sink. All power measurements were
referenced to the MMIC edge at the bond wires attached point
including bond wires effect.
40
S-parameters (dB)
Fig.1. 3.5GHz efficiency tuned load pull performance for a 4x280μm
unit FET cell at bias of VDS=40V, Idq=50mA/mm for class A/B
operation.
30
20
S21
S11
S22
10
0
-10
-20
-30
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
5.5
Frequency (GHz)
Fig. 3. Measured small-signal performance of the power amplifier
MMIC under bias of VDS=35V, Idq=700mA
The measured in-fixture small-signal responses of the
power amplifier at 35V and 700mA quiescent bias are shown
on Fig. 3. A small signal gain of ~ 30 dB and input and output
return losses typically better than 10 dB were measured in the
30
46
44
60
Gain 35V
42
50
38
40
34
30
30
20
26
10
22
25
42
40
20
38
36
0
2
6
10
14
18
22
26
30
Pin (dBm)
Fig. 6. Output power, gain and power added efficiency versus
input power.
50
80
Pout
48
75
46
70
VD=35V
44
42
40
65
Pout 100us 10%
Pout 1ms 10%
Pout 10ms 30%
PAE 100us 10%
60
PAE 1ms 10%
PAE 10ms 30%
55
38
50
34
32
35
30
30
2.8 3.0 3.2 3.4
3.6 3.8 4.0 4.2 4.4 4.6
4.8
Fig. 7. Output power and power added efficiency over different
pulsed conditions under VDS=35V operation.
10
2.8 3.0 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4.0 4.2 4.4 4.6
40
32
Frequency (GHz)
15
30
2.6
45
PAE
34
2.6
Pout
PAE
Gain
Gain (dB) & PAE (%)
Pout (dBm)
46
f=3.3GHz
PAE 35V
36
Gain (dB)
Pout (dBm) & PAE (%)
48
70
Pout 35V
PAE (%)
35
50
50
Pout (dBm)
3.1 – 4.4 GHz band. Similar small-signal performance was
obtained at 28V and 40V drain biases. The S-parameters were
measured under the CW operation with reference planes at the
7mm coaxial launchers. Test data indicates that the MMIC
amplifier is very well behaved under desired quiescent
condition.
Measured in-fixture output power, gain and efficiency for a
typical device sample are shown in Fig. 4 for a +26dBm input
power drive under 35V drain operation. The MMIC was
measured under pulsed operation with 100μs pulsed width and
10% duty cycle. A maximum PAE of 48.3% and an output
power of 47.8 dBm (60 Watts) were measured at 35V bias.
Average higher than 47dBm output power and 47% PAE are
obtained over 3.1 – 4.3 GHz frequency range that make this
amplifier greater than 30% bandwidth within +/-0.6dB power
ripple. Fig. 5 depicts the power performance over 28V, 35V,
and 40V drain biases, respectively. The maximum output
power of 48.5dBm (71Watts) at 40V drain bias was achieved.
The compression characteristics of this amplifier MMIC are
shown in Fig. 6. The compression characteristics are well
behaved without evidences of kink, instability, odd-mode or
driven oscillations.
4.8
Frequency (GHz)
Fig. 4. Output power, power added efficiency and gain at +26dBm
input power under VDS=35V operation.
50
70
Pout
48
65
46
Pout (dBm)
Pout 28V
Pout 35V
42
Pout 40V
PAE 28V
40
PAE 35V
PAE 40V
55
50
38
45
36
PAE
PAE (%)
60
44
40
34
35
32
30
30
2.6 2.8 3.0
3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4.0 4.2 4.4
4.6 4.8
Frequency (GHz)
Fig. 5. Output power and power added efficiency over VDS at
+26dBm input power.
To investigate the high power behaviors with respect to the
thermal effects for this MMIC, the same device was further
tested under three different pulsed width and duty cycle
conditions. Measured output power and PAE for the listed
pulsed conditions are shown in Fig. 7. Typical 0.6 dB output
power dropped from short pulsed waveform with low duty
cycle to long pulsed waveform with high duty cycle was
observed. The measured results indicate that the amplifier
MMIC performs as expected under different pulse responses
and channel temperature rises.
A comparison of the results in this work and available Sband GaN benchmarks is shown in Table 2. The results
presented in this paper compare favorably with the published
results, specifically for output power density, bandwidth, and
die size, as well as wide range of drain bias modulation
capability. The broadband responses of this power amplifier
provide system users an excellent single chip solution for
multi frequency band applications
TABLE 2. SUMMARY OF S-BAND POWER AMPLIFIER MMICS
Frequency
(GHz)
Bandwidth
(%)
#
Stage
Test
Method
Test
Signal
Pout
(W)
PAE
(%)
Power
Gain
(dB)
Chip
Area
(mm2)
Pout per
Chip Area
(W/mm2)
2.7 – 3.5
25.8
2
On-wafer
Pulsed
103
61
24
22.1
2.8
2.7 – 3.5
25.8
2
Fixture
Pulsed
90
56
21
22.1
2.8
3.1 – 3.6
15.0
1
Fixture
CW
25
64
13
18.8
1.4
3.1 – 4.3
32.4
2
Fixture
Pulsed
71
48
22
12.7
5.6
Reference
[1]
[2]
[8]
This
work
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
VII. CONCLUSION
The design and performance of a compact S-band power
amplifier MMIC utilizing TriQuint 0.25μm gate length, 4-inch
S-band GaN on SiC HEMT process has been presented. The
state-of-the-art combination of MMIC output power, PAE,
and bandwidth performance and compact die size are ideally
suited for both military S-band systems and commercial
applications. The high power per unit die area has key
advantages for minimizing electronic module and system size
and cost. The reduced die area provides a significant cost
advantage in GaN power amplifier MMICs. In addition, the
power amplifier is suitable to support a wide range of drain
bias modulation enabling desirable output power control while
maintaining near constant efficiency over broad range of both
frequency and power level. Under class A/B operating
conditions at 35V, a minimum output power of 50W and a
minimum PAE of 45% were demonstrated in the 3.1-4.3 GHz
band and up to 60W output power and 48% associated PAE
were measured at 3.3 GHz. At 40V drain bias, this amplifier
MMIC produced greater than 70W in output power. An
exceptional output power density of 5.6W/mm2 Psat per die
area from a single fully monolithic MMIC and excellent PAE
in a >30% bandwidth and a small die area are demonstrated.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the
TriQuint Semiconductor Defense Products and Foundry
Services business unit and Texas Operation product and
fabrication engineers/technicians, Sabyasachi Nayak and
Weixiang Gao for GaN MMIC product support, Kevin Eckert
for in-fixture microwave measurements.
REFERENCES
[1] Cree Datasheet: CMPA2735075D.
[2] Cree Datasheet: CMPA2735075F.
[3] T. Yamasaki, et al., “A 68%Efficiency, C-band 100W GaN
Power Amplifier for Space Applications”, 2010 IEEE MTT-S
Int. Microwave Symp., Dig., pp.1384 – 1387, June, 2010.
[4] K. Yamauchi, et. al., “A 45% Power Added Efficiency, Ku-band
60W GaN Power Amplifier”, 2011 IEEE MTT-S Int.
Microwave Symp., Dig., June, 2011.
[5] E. Reese, et. al., “Wideband Power Amplifier MMICs Utilizing
GaN on SiC”, 2010 IEEE MTT-S Int. Microwave Symp., Dig.,
pp.1230 – 1233, June 2010.
[6] S. Masuda, et. al., “Over 10W C-Ku band GaN MMICnonuniform distributed power amplifier with broadband couplers”,
2010 IEEE MTT-S Int. Microwave Symp., Dig., pp.1388 –
1391, June 2010.
[7] C. Lee, et al., “Gallium Nitride Wideband and S-band MMIC
Development”, GOMAC Tech 2009.
[8] C. Campbell, et. al., “S-band High Efficiency Class-E Power
Amplifier MMICs Manufactured with a Production Released
GaN on SiC Process”, GOMAT Tech 2009.
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