Mitsubishi to begin shipping 8 W/14 W GaN power amplifier MMICs for Ka-band SATCOM earth stations

Mitsubishi Electric has announced that it will begin shipping samples of 8 W and 14 W gallium nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers for use in Ka-band satellite-communication (SATCOM) earth stations from July 1.

While the mainstream frequency for satellite communications is currently the Ku-band (13 GHz to 14 GHz), the higher frequency Ka-band (27.5 GHz to 31 GHz) offers multi-beam technology and a much wider bandwidth for transmitting more data. By adding more Ka-band products to its lineup, Mitsubishi Electric expects to meet the growing demand for high-capacity communications and contribute to smaller and more power-efficient satellite communications earth stations. These products were exhibited in the USA at IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS) 2024 in Washington, DC, on June 18-20.

The two new GaN MMIC power amplifiers will be shipped as customer-board-friendly bare chips. Suitable for emergency communications and Ka-band multi-carrier communications, they will support the power levels and frequencies required for Ka-band satellite communications transmitters capable of handling large amounts of data. In addition, thanks to a new GaN HEMT with high-output, high-efficiency, Mitsubishi Electric’s new chips achieve unsurpassed miniaturization and increased power-added efficiency of more than 20% at maximum linear power.

Key Features of GaN MMIC Power Amplfiers

1) Expanded GaN HEMT lineup will support the proliferation of satellite news gathering (SNG) and SATCOM emergency systems in addition to the usual SATCOM proliferation: The two new GaN MMIC power amplifiers will help meet growing demand for various types of Ka-band satellite communications.

2) The industry’s smallest bare chip class will help downsize SATCOM earth stations:

  • Both power amplifiers use Mitsubishi Electric’s new GaN HEMT for high-frequency operation (to sub-millimeter waves) and small matching circuitry to realize the industry’s smallest bare chip class.
  • The power amplifier bare chips are covered with a proprietary moisture-resistant protective film, reducing the cost of additional moisture protection on customer boards.

3) Additional power efficiency of 20% will reduce power consumption in SATCOM earth stations: The two GaN MMIC power amplifiers use Mitsubishi Electric’s proprietary matching circuitry for high-efficiency, low-distortion operation, resulting in 20% additional power efficiency at maximum linear output power, while maintaining the low distortion required for Ka-band satellite communications.

SATCOM systems are increasingly being deployed for emergency communications during natural disasters and for SNG by TV broadcasters in rural areas where fiber and/or cable networks are not available. They are also being deployed in emerging markets because they eliminate the need for constructing expensive terrestrial networks. Most existing SATCOM systems use Ku-band channels (already occupied by users), for which Mitsubishi Electric offers a range of nine GaN HEMTs for multi-carrier and single-carrier Ku-band SATCOM earth stations.