Freescale Semiconductor has introduced its first gallium nitride (GaN) RF power transistor for base stations.
The power semiconductor, dubbed the A2G22S160-01S, is the first in a planned series of GaN transistors for the cellular market. The power IC works with wireless infrastructure applications, specifically in 30 watt and 40 watt amplifiers.
Freescale is working to transition GaN from niche markets to mainstream applications such as the cellular infrastructure, says Paul Hart, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Radio Frequency business. He says the time is right to deliver GaN products to a broad base of telecommunications customers.
IHS forecasts the market for both GaN and silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors will reach new heights in the next 10 years, expanding by a factor of 17. This growth is expected to come from increased demand for power supplies, hybrid and electric vehicles, photovoltaic (PV) inverters and other established applications. Revenue from sales of GaN and SiC power chips is projected to rise to $2.5 billion by 2023, up from just $150 million in 2013, IHS says.
The advantage GaN offers is that it allows for higher power-conversion efficiencies, faster switching speeds and greater power densities than silicon. Additionally, GaN-based power transistors are smaller in size than traditional devices.
The drawback to GaN is the high cost of manufacturing. But Freescale believes recent commercial and technological advances will close the price gap and enable a larger-scale rollout of power semiconductors to mainstream applications. Freescale also recently introduced a GaN RF power transistor for military and industrial applications.
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