TRIQUINT SEMICONDUCTOR has been awarded a Defense Production Act Title III gallium-nitride (GaN) manufacturing development contract by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). TriQuint was awarded the contract based on its success and experience developing GaN technologies and products. The goal of the contract is to increase yield, lower costs, and improve time-to-market cycles for defense and commercial GaN integrated circuits (ICs). The contract is divided into three phases with goals and assessment criteria set for each milestone.

According to TriQuint Vice President, Tom Cordner, the primary goal in the first phase is to make a baseline assessment of manufacturing readiness. In the second phase, the company will work to improve and refine the production process to reach a manufacturing readiness level (MRL) of eight in developing its advanced monolithic-microwave ICs (MMICs). In the final phase, which is expected to conclude in 2013, the program will demonstrate MMIC fabrication that meets full performance, cost, and capacity goals. As TriQuint is the prime contractor, all work will be performed at its Richardson, TX facility.

"TriQuint is excited to participate in this program to accelerate galliumnitride manufacturing technology. This program will take the technology from the early stages of production to a mature manufacturing process enabling next-generation systems," states Cordner. "We have successfully transferred process technologies into manufacturing at TriQuint for more than 25 years, and we look forward to these new challenges and opportunities."

TriQuint has been involved in GaN research and product development for defense and civilian applications since 1999. In addition to its military design and manufacturing work, TriQuint has released GaN amplifiers for wireless communications and a range of other applications over the last three years. In 2008, it began offering high-frequency, high-power commercial-GaN foundry services on silicon carbide ).

According to TriQuint, GaN is leading advanced semiconductor-amplifier design due to inherent advantages including high-voltage operation, greater power density, and efficiency. The ongoing development of GaN-based devices is leading to smaller, more efficient amplifiers that reduce system size, weight, and power consumption.