Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New power semiconductor technology may be living up to its initial promise

Posted by John Keller

It's always great to see a new company start to fulfill its promise when systems integrators start buying the new company's product. So it is with HVVi Semiconductors in Phoenix. which makes silicon-based power semiconductors.

I told you a couple of months ago that you'd be hearing more from power semiconductor manufacturer HVVi, which manufacturers a new technology called high-voltage vertical field effect transistors (HVVFETs) for high-power applications like electronic warfare and ground-based pulsed radar.

HVVi now has had its first design-in -- a 200-Watt power amplifier from Daico Industries Inc. in Carson, Calif. Daico engineers are using one HVVi 25-Watt L-band radar RF power transistor, the HVV1214-025, to drive two HVVi 100-Watt power transistors, the HV1214-100, in Daico's L-band DAMH9172 power amplifier.

Daico's power amplifier is going into a pulsed-ground radar system that operates in the 1.2 to 1.4 GHz band for U.S. border surveillance, HVVi officials say. No more information is available on this system yet.

HVVi officials assure me that more design-ins are to come, as they have interest from radar and electronic warfare manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and BAE Systems.

HVVi officials tell me that HVVFET technology has big advantages in its small size, light weight, and small power consumption. HVVFET is designed to handle substantially more power at higher frequencies than the technologies HVVFET is designed to replace, like DMOS and LDMOS. The technology also may give gallium nitride (GaN) technology a run for its money.

We'll see in the months ahead how excited the industry may be about HVVFET technology. At any rate, however, HVVi looks to be off to a good start.

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