Top 10 tips for GaN success

September 14, 2015 //By Qorvo™
Top 10 tips for GaN success
High-performance gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN on SiC) semiconductor technology is making inroads in infrastructure, aerospace, defense, and commercial products. According to Qorvo™ — a pioneer of GaN for high-power RF devices, power amplifiers, transistors, oscillators, switches, and more — the hallmarks of a quality GaN supplier can be described in ten tips.

1 – Proven design tools
Nonlinear models, electromagnetic finite element modeling, and stability and loop stability analyses aid in designing best-in-class power and efficiency in high-power MMICs. Qorvo’s robust design methodology leads to more first-pass successes and reliable designs.

2 – Robust population testing
Industry standards allow testing of small samples of GaN products. Although this is usually adequate, Qorvo has fully characterized product failure modes by testing large populations at temperatures of interest over extended times.

3 – High Median Time To Failure (MTTF)

MTTF estimates a device’s lifetime. Suppliers should measure device reliability at a minimum of three temperatures because higher temperatures lead to shorter device life. All Qorvo GaN products have an MTTF at 200°C extrapolated to over 107 hours.

4 – No preconditioning
Some suppliers add time and cost by requiring a preconditioning or burn-in step before delivery. Qorvo’s GaN solutions have maturity in performance, reliability and manufacturing yield data that enables products to ship without preconditioning, confident in delivering high-quality performance every time.

5 – Junction temperature characterisation

Low-resolution techniques like infrared microscopy underestimate product life expectancies and peak junction temperatures. Qorvo’s thermal models and finite element analyses are verified with micro-Raman measurement, permitting more accurate temperature and device-life prediction.

6 – Accurate failure criteria
One common parametric failure criteria is a current drop of 20% of Imax. Qorvo sets its Imax parametric failure at a 10% drop, ensuring less than 1 dB of power degradation over the life of the part.

7 – Low fallout rates
Reliability is also measured by rates of catastrophic failure or fallout. Less than 0.002% of Qorvo’s GaN devices fallout per million hours at 200°C. Also check the expected operating life, T1, T5, and T10, at which 1%, 5%, and 10% of devices, respectively, will have failed based on a large population of devices.

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