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Communications Infrastructure

How Wolfspeed Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors are Used in Telecom

Apr 06, 2020
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Wolfspeed specializes in wide-bandgap semiconductors such as GaN on SiC (gallium nitride on silicon carbide). Wolfspeed products are critical to many different applications, including cellular transmitters, 4G and 5G cellular base stations, satcom, electronic warfare, and RADAR systems such as the United States Space Fence for tracking objects in space.

Cellular Transmitters for 4G and 5G

Wolfspeed’s wide-bandgap GaN on SiC RF power transistors are used in the design of highly efficient, compact, power-dense cellular transmitters. Wolfspeed’s transistors enable the design of cellular amplifiers supporting all cellular global standards and frequency bands from 450 MHz to 5 GHz. These transistors will support 5G’s diverse and innovative technological functionalities, such as low-latency mission-critical communications, self-driving cars, wireless virtual reality, and industrial IoT automation.

Amplifiers for 4G Technology

Although 5G is quickly evolving, there is still a need for designs that effectively support existing 4G technology and infrastructure. Wolfspeed’s GaN-HEMT (High Electron Mobility Transistor) is another example of wide-bandgap technology contributing to telecommunications via power amplifiers for 4G. The amplifiers using these high-performance transistors have a very high-power density and excellent efficiency — a result of Wolfspeed’s wide-band semiconductor transistors.

5G Cellular Base Stations

GaN on SiC combined with MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) opens the door for the widespread use of 5G technology with particular applications in cellular base stations. Many wide-bandgap GaN RF devices are made with Wolfspeed MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit) power amplifiers and GaN HEMTs, which offer faster switching speeds, low latency, and more power at high efficiencies.

Semiconductor Usage in the US Space Fence

Wolfspeed’s wide-bandgap semiconductors are also used in the US Space Fence, a ground-based system meant to catalog, detect, and track space objects to prevent collisions with ISS, GPS satellites, and other important space assets. Government contractor Lockheed Martin sought out MMIC circuits and GaN HPAs that would provide a high-power density, excellent reliability, and improved efficiency to support the active phased array system integral to the Space Fence. Lockheed Martin partnered with Wolfspeed to supply GaN on SiC HPAs (high power amplifiers) in support of this new system for tracking “space junk.”

Expanding 4G Capabilities and Empowering 5G’s Future

Wolfspeed’s GaN on SiC and LDMOS devices support wider bandwidth and a higher capacity for calls and data (e.g. streaming video) while simultaneously increasing efficiency. Wolfspeed’s wide-bandgap semiconductors are not only efficient and reliable, but also rugged enough for even the most aggressive environments. These semiconductors empower the rise of 5G technology while expanding 4G capabilities and other telecommunication applications — all requiring power transistors, MMICs, and HPAs or technology implementation such as MIMO arrays and RF antennas.

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