Improvements in GaN power semiconductor technology and modular design are making possible high power continuous wave (CW) and pulsed amplifiers at microwave frequencies. GaN is raising the bar when it comes to output power, frequency, bandwidth, and reliability. The attributes driving these improvements are lower parasitics, smaller gate lengths, higher operating voltages, and higher maximum junction temperatures.
In addition to GaN technology, great strides have been made in mechanical/thermal packaging and low loss broadband combining methods. These strides include state of the art modeling, thermal aspects of material science, and C-SAM and X-Ray validation of die attachment. Combining techniques range from simple to complex structures realized in microstrip, stripline and waveguide. Manufacturers have developed and shipped amplifiers with some of the highest RF/microwave power densities contained within decreasing volumes. The challenges associated with the seamless integration of these next generation SSPAs into complex EW and communication systems will also be addressed. Amplifier manufacturers are developing sophisticated FPGA based control systems that enable seamless interfaces, advanced built in test and diagnostic capability, and modular, easily maintainable systems.
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