GaN on Diamond HEMT for Gate Thermal Management
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-170
Topic Title: GaN on Diamond HEMT for Gate Thermal Management
Proposal No.: N082-170-0516
Firm: Nitronex Corporation
2305 Presidential Drive
Durham, North Carolina 27703
Contact: Edwin Piner
Phone: (919) 424-5167
Web Site:
Abstract: GaN based HEMTs are capable of achieving high power density at high frequency. Thus, solid-state high power amplifiers based on GaN will be smaller and lighter than incumbent technologies. The use of a silicon substrate for GaN HEMTs provides a reliable GaN device which is also economical. Discrete devices and MMICs based on GaN on Si are ideally suited for applications in high power radar modules for electronically scanned arrays (ESAs). The performance and reliability of GaN HEMTs is closely linked to the operating temperature. For this program, we will further develop a novel GaN on diamond HEMT structure with superior thermal conductivity relative to conventional approaches. In addition to significantly improving the thermal resistance, we will develop a novel process pathway that will be inherently manufacturable and cost effective thus enabling the maximum utilization of GaN technology in various military applications. In Phase I, we will demonstrate key features of the material structure and thermal modeling of the concept device design. In Phase II, we will advance the maturity of the concept through optimization of the process and demonstrating a functional GaN on diamond HEMT device tailored for ESA to evaluate the thermal and electrical performance.
Benefits: The proposed technology offers significant benefits in the field of high power amplifiers. Specifically, the availability of affordable high power solid state devices will enable the next generation of smaller, ligher and more powerful amplifiers that are ideally suited for land-based (mobile and stationary), airborne, and space based communications systems. GaN HEMTs can also be used to fabricate MMICs with multiple functions such as LNAs, RF switches, mixers, and power amplifiers. Such multi-function MMICs push GaN towards the system-on-chip vision where the inherent robustness is improved through the use of a wide band gap material such as GaN. The applications include commercial wireless infrastructure (W-CDMA, LTE), WiMAX, military communications (JTRS), electronic warfare, and radar.