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Characteristics and application status and development of gallium nitride

2019-01-03
In the past decade, gallium nitride research has swept the global electronics industry.This material belongs to wide bandgap semiconductor, is a kind of high hardness, high melting point material, with unique electromagnetic and optical characteristics, has become a good choice for making microwave power transistors, microelectronic devices, optoelectronic devices.After the first generation of silicon, germanium, selenium, the second generation of gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) has become a typical third generation semiconductor materials.
 
Application status and development of GaN
GaN technology and military applications

Currently the military and aerospace sector is the largest market for GaN technology.It was driven by the us department of defense that the research on GaN technology was started, and gradually became the market of GaN devices.

According to statistics, military and aerospace fields account for 40% of the total GaN device market, and the largest application market is radar and electronic warfare system.In March 2016, patriot missile defense systems Raytheon announced the adoption of the latest gan-based phased array antenna system.The radar system of the patriot missile defense system used to be a passive electronically scanned array system. The current radar system is changed to an active electronically scanned array (AESA) based on GaN technology, which will provide the patriot missile defense system with 360-degree zero-dead Angle radar search and guidance capability.The phased array antenna system based on GaN technology is increasingly used, including the current airborne fire control radar, projectile borne seeker, shipborne early warning air defense radar and so on.
Now, these GaN technologies are slowly being converted from military to civilian use.For example, car unmanned driving system, 60GHz band wi-fi technology, wireless communication base station, and 5G communication.

GaN technology and civilian applications
Although GaN devices are gradually available in communication base stations, it will take a long time to apply them to ordinary mobile phones.Mobile operators are struggling to keep up with the explosive growth in data traffic.According to the prediction of Ericsson of Sweden, from 2018 to 2023, the global data traffic of mobile communication will increase by 45% annually. In the future, if the mobile communication operators do not adopt GaN technology, they may not be able to meet the needs of users.
4.5G technology, mobile communication operators announced the new standard LTE AdvancedPro.LTE Advanced Pro 4.5 G technology combines up to 32 carrier units, while integrating large-scale multi-player and non-authorized band LTE technology.At present, the technology of large scale multiplayer has been applied in the communication base station, which is to improve the communication capacity through many antennas.

Carrier convergence and mass multiplexing require communication base stations to gradually adopt better power amplifiers.Previous rf power amplifiers used in communication base stations are mainly based on LDMOS technology of silicon Si, but the limit frequency of LDM0S technology of silicon Si cannot exceed 3.5GHz, and LDMOS technology of silicon Si cannot meet the bandwidth of more than 300MHz required by video data.

 
To sum up, communication base stations have begun to use GaN devices to replace silicon Si LDMOS devices.Silicon Si LDMOS devices have reached the limit in physical characteristics, which is why GaN devices enter the market of civilian products.With the explosive growth of data flow, communication base stations increasingly need devices with higher peak power, wider bandwidth and higher frequency, which makes the application of GaN devices in communication base stations inevitable.