RF Power GaAs for Wireless Infrastructure Markets

Lynelle McKay and Lance Wilson
Wireless Infrastructure Systems Division, Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector

GaAs technologies have seen broad acceptance for low power (<1W), cellular handset RF power amplifier applications. RF high power GaAs (>10W) has, until recently, been used mainly for military, peripheral and niche market places. With the advent of 3G cellular communications, RF high power GaAs technologies are beginning to enter the mainstream of the wireless communications markets. Up to now, the RF linear power amplifier technology of choice has been a silicon-base FET technology, LDMOS (Laterally Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor). Will RF high power GaAs become a major player in the mainstream, high-volume markets? What effect will GaAs have on the future of communications infrastructure technology? Recent improvements in the efficiency of RF high power GaAs and state-of-the-art linearity attributes of LDMOS makes this race "too close to call".