Highly-Linear and Efficient mm-Wave GaN HEMTs and MMICs

We report low-noise and linear Ka-band GaN MMICs with a state-of-the-art output third-order intercept point (OIP3) of 36 dBm at 30 GHz, achieved while consuming 72 mW DC power, demonstrating the record linearity figure-of-merit, OIP3/PDC, of 17.5 dB. This record Ka-band MMIC performance was achieved by using linear graded-channel GaN HEMTs with fT and fMAX of 200 GHz and 350 GHz, respectively. The noise figure of the Ka-band MMICs was 2 dB over the band from 28–33 GHz. In comparison with the best previous Ka-band low-noise amplifiers with conventional GaAs pHEMT and AlGaN/GaN HEMTs, the linearity FOM was improved by more than 30 times, leading to the potential for dramatic DC power savings in phased array systems, including mm-wave 5G communications.