TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has developed a prototype gallium nitride high-electron mobility transistor (GaN HEMT) amplifier with a world-leading (as of April 25, 2012) 100W output power for Ku-band (14GHz) satellite communications. The amplifier is expected to contribute to smaller and lighter transmitters for terrestrial stations used in satellite communications.
Mitsubishi Electric’s high-output GaN HEMT amplifier features a downsized configuration and a low-loss circuit. Output power is double that of the company’s existing GaN HEMT amplifier and quadruple that of Mitsubishi Electric’s GaAs amplifier. The new amplifier’s ability to perform the tasks of four conventional units represents an important contribution to downsize transmitters to one sixth the size of a GaAs amplifier.
Vital satellite communications require robust systems that must work under adverse conditions, such as during natural disasters. High-power output is required for radio transmission from terrestrial stations to satellites in geostationary orbit 36,000 km above sea level. Also, terrestrial stations must be small enough to be transported by vehicles and installed.
Gallium arsenide (GaAs) amplifiers have been used commonly for satellite communication transmitters, but gallium nitride (GaN) amplifiers have become increasingly popular recently because GaN transistors can handle very high voltage.
Mitsubishi Electric began to ship samples of C-band 100W GaN HEMT power amplifiers for satellite communications in 2011.