Innovative Substrate Opportunities in GaN RF-Defense Applications

The KORRIGAN program will provide a forum for suppliers and system houses to confirm new approaches.


KORRIGAN is a very important program in terms of GaN material and device development, giving suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate technology and products to European defense companies. This complements cooperation and business relations with Asian or US based customers who already expressed interest in those new generations of solutions.

In many ways, defense contractors face similar challenges to those on the commercial side of the business. While GaN HEMTs are technologically an attractive solution for RF in the 1–40 GHz frequency range, most of the current commerciallyavailable substrate solutions suffer from high cost (silicon carbide), inferior thermal conductivity (silicon), or both (sapphire).

For RF applications in commercial domains but certainly as well in the defense applications, GaN RF power devices need substrates that are electrically insulating, contribute little RF loss, and provide a seed layer that is sufficient to grow a high-quality active layer. From an operational standpoint, the substrate also needs high thermal conductivity to efficiently evacuate the heat generated by the transistors, ensuring longterm reliability and enabling maximum output power to be maintained.

In addition to traditional MBE-based epitaxy, solutions leveraging Smart Cut™ layer transfer-bonding technology can create multilayer wafer structures that independently optimize the top seed layer for epitaxial growth, and the back side for thermomechanical properties.

The KORRIGAN program, in addition to the European Commission-funded program HYPHEN lead by Picogiga, provides an excellent opportunity to confirm leadingedge solutions for European defense that will also compete in worldwide commercial markets. As a long-time leader of compound semiconductor solutions to the European defense industry, Picogiga is in an excellent position to make significant contributions to the program and to the industry.

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