MMIC Compatible High-power T/R switches based on Ultra-fast Broadband and Low-cost Novel Phase Change Materials
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-040
Topic Title: MMIC Compatible High-power T/R switches based on Ultra-fast Broadband and Low-cost Novel Phase Change Materials
Proposal No.: N141-040-0701
Firm: Metamagnetics Inc.
480 Neponset Street
Canton, Massachusetts 02021-1938
Contact: Andrew Daigle
Phone: (781) 562-0756
Web Site:
Abstract: Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits realized on GaAs, GaN, InP, SiGe, and to a lesser extent Si are integral components of many deployed NAVY detect, control, and engagement systems due to their broad bandwidth, fast-response time, and small size (<10mm2) at microwave frequencies (300 MHz to 300 GHz). MMICs have particular interest for PEO IWS 2.0 platforms including Radar and EW systems due to their low-cost and high-power handling capability. These components, designed to operate in standard 50-ohm environments, can easily be adapted to fit into many demanding and complex architectures. However, many of these advantages come at a cost. For example, high-power handling MMIC operation is generally restricted to GaN based devices which are very expensive due to necessitating liquid phase epitaxy (LPE) in their fabrication. Ultra-fast switches based on InP, GaAs, and SiGe cannot handle high power loads and are also prohibitively expensive. In order to address these engineering shortcomings Metamagnetics proposes the development a novel MMIC topology based on the phase-change material vanadium dioxide that has the potential to enable low-cost fabrication, low voltage controllability, and increased switching speed, while maintaining favorable insertion loss and isolation over a wide bandwidth at high-power ( >10 W).
Benefits: Microwave switches fabricated on GaAs are integral component of T/R modules and have been the "go-to" RF/microwave switch since the 1980s. It was at this time that MMIC circuits became readily available at low prices with greatly improved reproducibility. These devices have remained popular due to their low power operation, small size and design simplicity. However since the existing technology is mature at this point and costly to produce, overwhelming improvement to device performance is unlikely. Alternative switch technologies such as Silicon-on-Sapphire, Silicon-on-Insulator, and MEMs are gaining market share with the MEMs market alone exceeding $650 USM in 2012. Metamagnetics' proposed MMIC topology based on vanadium dioxide phase change material switches has advantages over all of these systems due to the low-cost to produce coupled with the low voltage controllability and significantly improved device performance. The low-cost nature of these substrates in recent years has been linked to developments in the LED industry where the number of substrates sold exceeded 120 billion units in 2012. A low-cost high-performance MMIC would be ideal for integration into a number of next generation IWS 2.0 systems such as AMDR, SPS-48E, SPS-49, SPY1, AN/SLQ-32, and SEWIP among others.