Nebula Public Library

The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

GaN Advanced Performance Epitaxy (GaNaPE) - Phase 1

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Start Date
End Date
United Kingdom

To develop next generation epitaxial wafers, with state of art performance, to enable manufacture of improved efficiency GaN RF devices capable of operating up to W-band


Thanks to previous activities, GREAT2, GaN devices have been successfully developed enabling use of the devices into applications up to Ka-Band. However the efficiency is less than is required to meet future planned missions, in particular for the High Power Amplifier (HPA), which is a critical element for the deployment of active array/phase array antennas.  To achieve higher frequency transistor operation in the mm-wave range, design modifications of the device are required : it is necessary to shrink both the active device lateral (gate length) and vertical (channel barrier) dimensions. However, this modification has a negative effect on performances. As the channel barrier thickness is reduced, there is a pro-rata reduction in electron population leading to lower current and hence poor output power / efficiency capability. 

To overcome this problem and to maintain device performances in the mm-wave frequency range, two approaches have to be considered : 

- use of new materials (e.g. InAlN, AlN, ScAIN) in the transistor channel to increase the electron density capability

- introduce new design concepts (e.g. multiple conducting channels) in order to maintain transistor current capability, and minimise short channel effects. 

This activity is the first phase of a two phases work program that aims to achieve disruptive performances of GaN integrated circuits operating in the mm-wave frequency range, with a particular emphasis on efficiency improvement. 

This activity focuses on material improvement according industrial production quality standard and encompasses the following tasks :

- literature review to identify materials and transistor structures

- modeling and simulation of material composition

- exploratory expitaxial manufacturing trials

- design and process optimisation

- manufacturing and characterization of best concepts within European foundries

- definition of future work 

During the second phase, subject to a follow-on activity, more in depth analysis of best design concepts and best materials would be carried out to design, manufacture  and characterise the new GaN devices.

Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
23 - Electrical, Electronic and Electro-mechanical (EEE) Components and Quality
Competence Domain
1-EEE Components, Photonics, MEMS
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Public Document