Wolfspeed GaN RF devices for satellite and space systems designed to withstand harsh space environments

DURHAM, N.C., 13 April 2016. Wolfspeed engineers completed testing of the company’s GaN-on-SiC radio-frequency (RF) power transistors, which demonstrate compliance with NASA reliability standards for satellite and space systems.

Wolfspeed GaN RF devices for satellite and space systems designed to withstand harsh space environments
Wolfspeed GaN RF devices for satellite and space systems designed to withstand harsh space environments

DURHAM, N.C., 13 April 2016.Wolfspeed engineers completed testing of the company’s GaN-on-SiC radio-frequency (RF) power transistors, which demonstrate compliance with NASA reliability standards for satellite and space systems.

“This successful testing demonstrates that Wolfspeed’s GaN foundry process is capable of producing devices that meet these demanding reliability standards. Our customers now have the ability to specify our GaN RF devices in the most critical aerospace, military, and satellite electronics systems,” affirms Jim Milligan, RF and microwave director, Wolfspeed. “Our proven GaN-on-SiC technology enables design engineers to make smaller, lighter, more efficient, and more reliable solid-state power amplifiers than are possible with conventional traveling wave tube (TWT) amplifiers or those designed with gallium arsenide (GaAs) devices. Now, aerospace designers can achieve higher performance radar and communications systems with a significantly lighter payload and longer operating life."

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Wolfspeed partnered with KCB Solutions, a provider of RF and microwave components, to conduct a comprehensive testing program to demonstrate that Wolfspeed’s GaN-on-SiC devices meet NASA EEE-INST-002 Level 1 reliability and performance standards, derived from the MIL-STD requirements for Class S and Class K qualifications.

“As an AS9100-certified facility with an extensive history of supplying Class S and Class K devices for aerospace and satellite electronic systems, KCB Solutions implemented a comprehensive testing program in conjunction with Wolfspeed to ensure that their GaN process was capable of producing devices that meet these demanding NASA standards,” describes Ralph Nilsson, president, KCB Solutions. “This testing regime was derived from the established MIL-STD qualification requirements of Class S and Class K, and included evaluation for ESD, intrinsic reliability, SEM analysis, and radiation hardness.”

The testing program consisted of five test procedures conducted by KCB Solutions on Wolfspeed’s 25W GaN-on-SiC HEMT CGH40025F and 25W 2-Stage X-Band GaN MMIC CMPA801B025F devices, which are produced using the company’s proven 0.4µm G28V3 fabrication process. Both devices demonstrated no significant RF performance change after undergoing all the test procedures, including exposure to a cumulative dose of radiation exceeding 1Mrad.

Virtually all space and satellite equipment manufacturers require electronic components to meet established high-reliability military qualification standards in order to be specified into their communications and radar systems. These standards include MIL- PRF-38535 Class S for single chips, and MIL-PRF38534 Class K for multichip modules. Wolfspeed’s collaboration with KCB Solutions allows them to upscreen their GaN devices to ensure they are in compliance with the NASA EEE-INST-002 level 1 standards based on these Class S and Class K requirements. As a result of this successful testing at KCB Solutions, several companies have already specified Wolfspeed’s GaN devices for their space applications.

Wolfspeed GaN RF devices for satellite and space systems designed to withstand harsh space environmentsWolfspeed GaN RF devices for satellite and space systems designed to withstand harsh space environments

Wolfspeed is a global supplier of GaN-on-SiC high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) and monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). As the largest American producer of GaN-on-SiC RF wafer processing technology, Wolfspeed’s GaN HEMTs and MMICs enable enhanced innovation, performance, and efficiency across a broad spectrum of RF and microwave applications for both the commercial and military sectors.

Headquartered in Shirley, Massachusetts, KCB Solutions LLC brings technology together to solve the most demanding product requirements in military and aerospace. KCB’s leading lineup of hi-rel standard and custom products include single and multi-function hi-rel amplification and control devices, as well as active and passive semiconductor components. KCB’s design expertise and complete solutions include RF/microwave semiconductor package design, component integration, product manufacturing, testing, and screening. To serve its global base of military and aerospace customers, KCB maintains a world-class headquarters in Shirley, MA, which includes sales and engineering functions as well an ITAR compliant, ISO 9001-2008/AS 9100 rev. C certified RF/microwave manufacturing facility.

Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, is commercializing silicon carbide and gallium nitride, liberating designers to invent power and wireless systems for a responsible, energy-efficient future.

Wolfspeed’s wide bandgap semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency (RF) applications deliver new levels of performance through increased efficiency, higher switching frequency and reduced system size and weight for the transportation, industrial, energy and communications markets.

Cree provides lighting-class LEDs, lighting products, and semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency (RF) applications. Cree believes in better light experiences and is delivering new innovative LED technology that transforms the way people experience light through high-quality, interior and exterior LED lighting solutions.

Cree’s product families include LED lighting systems and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and RF devices. Cree’s products are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, electronic signs and signals, power supplies and inverters.


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