The DARPA Nitride Electronics NeXt-Generation Technology (NEXT) program had the goal of developing a revolutionary GaN transistor technology to simultaneously achieve high-speed and large voltage swing. The expected outcome of the program was that highly-scaled GaN devices would ultimately benefit the design of efficient millimeter wave power amplifiers and mixed-signal circuits. The NEXT program was successful in developing GaN transistors with deeply scaled gate lengths along with modifications to the heteroepitaxial channel material, ohmic contacts, and overall gate structure, resulting in record performance for GaN devices.
The Millimeter Wave GaN Maturation (MGM) program seeks to capitalize on past DARPA investments, maturing the devices developed under the NEXT program to improve device yield, reduce process cycle time, and demonstrate key millimeter wave power amplifiers and mixed-signal circuits through the use of multi-project wafer runs (MPWs). To accomplish its goals, MGM is making strategic yield and reproducibility improvements that leverage Standard Evaluation Circuits (SEC), Process Control Monitors (PCM), and short loop fabrication to identify targeted process step improvements. Additionally, reliability assessment through the use of accelerated life testing is used to gauge success and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) is evaluated throughout the program. MPWs are used to engage with a diverse set of users to provide regular feedback on circuit performance, model correlation and design kit usability.
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