GaN: The high frequency substrate suitable for 5G applications, Part 5

This blog series is focused on GaN, a substrate for integrated circuits that shows exceptional performance in terms of wide frequency broadband especially suitable for very high-speed data transmission applications like the new 5G communication standard:

“There is a consensus among most of the major players that the 5G infrastructure market will grow very rapidly during the period leading up to deployment and immediately afterwards, although estimates of the rate of this growth can vary considerably. The drivers are said to include a growing demand for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices, which need low latency, and a continued growth in demand for high-speed connectivity for existing types of devices like smartphones and tablets. Additionally, 5G will enable a whole raft of new cellular-enabled use cases including autonomous cars and massive M2M communications, as well as mission-critical IoT applications. Last-mile delivery of fixed broadband services is also proving an early testing ground for 5G technology, including mm Wave frequencies.…Even in 4G base stations, GaN has been taking over the slots traditionally filled by LDMOS at a fairly rapid rate, due to its superior efficiency, power density and linearity, especially as the commercialization of GaN-on-Si has reduced the cost to a comparable level. Wolfspeed has estimated verbally that around 40% of 4G radios already use GaN devices in the transmitter PAs. The more complex technologies being developed for 5G, including massive MIMO and beamforming, will mean that GaN will be the device technology of choice for sub-6GHz base station PAs, and several compound semiconductor device vendors have already launched 5G-ready products for this application. Both Infineon and Mitsubishi launched new ranges of GaN HEMT transistors in the 3.5GHz candidate band for 5G at European Microwave Week. ” (Source: Innovate UK)

A great example of implementation of GaN technology in electronics components is represented by the Infineon HEMT GaN Transistors (see Figure 1):

“Gallium Nitride (GaN) offers fundamental advantages over Silicon. In particular the higher critical electrical field makes it very attractive for power semiconductor devices with outstanding specific on resistance and smaller capacitances compared to Silicon switches, which makes GaN HEMTs great for high speed switching. Infineon CoolGaN™ technology is built to fully exploit the benefits of GaN. Our 400V and 600V CoolGaN™ e-mode HEMTs are offered for consumer and industrial applications such as server, telecom, wireless charging, adapter and charger, and are qualified well beyond the standards. Infineon's enhancement mode GaN HEMTs are based on the most robust and performing concept on the market. Our 400V and 600V CoolGaN HEMTs focus on high performance and robustness and will add significant value to a broad variety of systems across many applications. How does a GaN transistor work? Using a p-GaN gate structure, Infineon CoolGaN™ works similar to conventional silicon MOSFETs with enhancement mode gate drive bias. When a positive gate voltage is applied, electrons are accumulated and form a low resistance channel in a lateral two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) layer between drain and source. Unlike silicon MOSFETs with PN junction body diodes, GaN devices conduct reverse current as one of the switching states, eliminating reverse recovery charge which is a major source of switching noise.” (Source:

Figure 1

The CoolGaN technology by Infineon (Source: Infineon)

The CoolGaN technology by Infineon (Source: Infineon)

The exceptional behavior of GaN material towards a wide range of frequencies makes this material very suitable for being utilized in Class D amplifiers as shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2

The advantages of the class D amplifier solution by Infineon 
(Source: Class D Audio 400V emode CoolGaN HEMTs - Application Brochure)

The advantages of the class D amplifier solution by Infineon (Source: Class D Audio 400V emode CoolGaN HEMTs – Application Brochure)

Do you believe in the potential of GaN as a substrate for high performance electronics in communications?

1 comment on “GaN: The high frequency substrate suitable for 5G applications, Part 5

  1. Andy_I
    October 12, 2018

    What happened to the graphics?  They're missing.

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