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Torrance, CA, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.78K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: QuinStar Technology proposes to develop an efficient, solid-state power amplifier (SSPA), operating over the 71 to 76 GHz band, for use in high data rate satellite transmitters. The goals of an efficient >35 watt, power amplifier at these frequencies will be met by employing a combination of state-of-the-art (SOA) wide-bandgap gallium nitride (GaN) HEMT device technology and innovative power combining techniques. Existing programs have focused on developing higher power MMIC amplifiers. However, efficient high power devices have not been realized to date. To achieve the power and efficiency goals QuinStar proposes use low loss high order combining networks to power combine a large number of smaller high efficiency MMIC amplifier blocks. BENEFIT: Future warfighters will require increased SATCOM capacity for improved situational awareness. Current SATCOM bands are already overly congested indicating the need to exploit nontraditional frequency spectra, such as the E-band up and down links at 81-86 GHz and 71-76 GHz, respectively. This proposal addresses the downlink requirement by proposing a >35 W high-efficiency power amplifier for the transmitter. High efficiency is required to reduce the prime power requirements and to reduce self-heating. This, in turn, will increase the amplifiers reliability or lifetime (MTTF). In addition to SATCOM UAV applications, this linear, high-efficiency SSPA technology can be utilized in space-based applications including broadband RF cross-link communications in satellite constellations and the Air Forces V/W-band communications system. Specific examples include the Joint Arial Layered Network (JALN) and AISR architectures. Furthermore, this high-efficiency power MMIC technology can be readily applied to other military/NASA missions in the adjacent frequency bands, V and W. QuinStar, as a merchant supplier of high-rel microwave and millimeter-wave components, is uniquely positioned in the marketplace to capitalize on this opportunity to become a major supplier of high-rel, high-efficiency SSPAs for airborne, space and broadband point-to-point communications transceivers.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2015

QuinStar Technology proposes to develop a high-efficiency, solid-state power amplifier (SSPA), operating at Ka-band frequencies, for high data rate, long range space communications. Specifically, we propose to develop a 20 W power amplifier with an associated PAE of 60% operating over the 31.5 to 34 GHz band. This will be accomplished by employing two major innovations. First, we plan to utilize wide bandgap Gallium Nitride (GaN) on Silicon Carbide (SiC) device technology to fabricate our high-efficiency MMICs. Operating at a higher voltage (typically 20-28 V versus 4-5 V for GaAs), GaN permits power densities which are 5-10 times higher than GaAs or InP. In addition to a higher power density, high-voltage operation results in lower matching and cell combining losses, making these MMICs more efficient. Secondly, we are proposing to utilize a switching mode of operation (Class-F) to enhance the device efficiency. While this method has demonstrated PAE levels of >80% at 2 GHz, these levels have not yet been realized at Ka-band frequencies. Computer simulations, contained in this proposal, indicate that by using this method, device PAE levels ranging up to 73% are possible at 32 GHz. Furthermore, this was verified by benchmark data from at least one GaN foundry showing a device, operating in Class-F, with a PAE of 80% at 3 GHz. Finally, simulations at Ka-band frequencies indicate that even with circuit losses, we can still maintain the efficiency (PAE) at or very close to 60%. The layout and performance of a multistage MMIC is included in this proposal, together with the overall SSPA configuration and performance.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.98K | Year: 2015

QuinStar Technology, Inc. proposes to develop a GaN IMPATT (IMPact-ionization Avalanche Transit Time) device operating at W-band for power generation applications. The approach is based on advanced material development of low defect GaN vertical structures, comprehensive device modeling and optimization, and state-of-the-art fabrication and packaging techniques, supported by a strong team and commercialization strategy.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.81K | Year: 2014

QuinStar Technology proposes to develop a high-efficiency, 4-W SSPA operating at F-band frequencies (106-114 GHz). This will be achieved by employing two major innovations. Firstly, we are employing state-of-the-art wide bandgap GaN (Gallium Nitride) devices. At millimeter-wave frequencies, these GaN devices have demonstrated power densities of 5 to 8 times higher than GaAs or InP devices. Further, we are proposing to operate these devices in a quasi-switching mode, which has demonstrated, in Phase I simulations, drain efficiencies approaching 70%. The resulting MMIC, operating over the 106 to 114 GHz band, will produce an output power of one watt and an efficiency of greater than 33%. Secondly, we are proposing to utilize a new low loss, H-tee combining approach to combine 4 of these high-efficiency chips to achieve 4 watts. The net result is a unique combination of high performance devices and innovative power combining. We anticipate that this work will result in an order of magnitude increase in the state-of-the-art of SSPA output power and efficiency at F-band. We anticipate that this work will be very important for NASA's Earth Science missions and for DoD W-band radar and communications applications.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.87K | Year: 2014

High power, compact, reliable and affordable power amplifiers operating in the W-band (94 GHz region) are critical to realizing transmitters for many NASA missions and other significant applications for remote sensing and environmental measurements. QuinStar Technology proposes novel approach for a family of solid state power amplifiers (SSPA) that will exceed the performance and operational requirements for measurement instruments and monitoring equipment of the future. Proposed approach is based on optimal combination of unique techniques for highly efficient and yet robust power combining, circuit integration and innovative packaging methods. This also leads to affordable products suitable for space, airborne as well as terrestrial applications. Key features of the proposed implementation are: scalability of power output, compact, lightweight, flexible architecture and high reliability with very significant potential for performance improvement and price reduction as MMIC device technology matures further. Initial objective of proposed effort is to achieve greater than 50 Watts of power output at 94 GHz at greater than 20% duty cycle and with 40 dB or more gain. Phase I work will focus on innovative robust designs for power combining, packaging and select device/material s. Phase I effort will lead to a producible and scalable design baseline that will be used in Phase II for manufacturing deployable products.

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