New Product: Ultra-Broadband Mixer IC Covers 20 to 80 GHz

A background photo of a drone circling over a mountainous terrain. A photo of the TMC170D IC overlays the background, with the text 20–80 GHz Active Mixer.

We’re pleased to announce our latest disruptive product: an active mixer providing frequency conversion from 20 to 80 GHz. In addition to its bandwidth, the TMC170D stands out with 0 dB average conversion loss across the band and an LO drive of only 0 dBm.

The InP semiconductor-based design achieves RF and LO coverage from 20 to 80 GHz and an IF from kHz to 70 GHz, the low IF frequency limited only by the size of an external blocking capacitor. The mixer has an integrated LO amplifier that eliminates the need for an external LO buffer amplifier and requires only 0 dBm drive.

Plot of conversion gain/loss vs. LO drive
The TMC170’s low conversion loss is achieved with very low LO drive.

The triple-balanced architecture (LO, RF, and IF) ensures outstanding harmonic performance. RF-to-IF isolation is greater than 80 dBc. All ports are matched to 50 Ω, with VSWR better than 1.5:1.

The active mixer requires three bias voltages: +5 V, drawing 90 mA; +7 V, drawing 90 mA; and –3 V, drawing 55 mA.

APPLICATIONS

The broadband coverage of the TMC170D makes it well-suited for electronic warfare (EW) and mmWave instrumentation systems.

The increasing use of the mmWave spectrum for communications and other applications means signals intelligence (SIGINT) receivers must cover the extended spectrum, quickly scanning to detect and classify signals. With the wide bandwidth RF, LO, and IF, the TMC170D offers flexible frequency planning and simplified receiver designs for software-defined radios used in drones and portable SIGINT systems.

Instrumentation systems such as vector network analyzers (VNA) must extend their capabilities to provide precision measurements in the higher mmWave bands. The TMC170D can be used in frequency extenders, as well as enabling wide bandwidth front-ends integrated directly into VNAs and spectrum analyzers.

AVAILABILITY

The TMC170D is available in die form, 1.6 mm (input to output) x 1.09 mm (width) x 75 µm (thickness). Bond pad and backside metallization are Au-based to be compatible with standard wire bonding and high conductivity epoxy die attach processes.

Download the TMC170D datasheet here. To obtain more information and order evaluation quantities, email mmTron at contact@mmTron.com.

New Products: We Do Switches Too

The 805D and 806D die layouts, partially obscured, are shown with a backdrop of the universe. The title says 70 and 90 GHz SPDT Switches

While our focus remains on disruptive MMICs with high power, linearity, and efficiency, we couldn't resist applying our design talents to mmWave switches. Virtually every mmWave front-end needs a switch.

With switches, the lower the loss and the higher the isolation, the better. Targeting these goals, mmTron has developed two impressive single pole double throw (SPDT) switches fabricated with a GaAs pHEMT process:

— The TMC805D covers DC to 70 GHz with 4.5 dB loss and 25 dB isolation at 70 GHz.

— The TMC806D covers DC to 90 GHz with 6 dB loss and 25 dB isolation at 90 GHz.

Switching is controlled with a +5 V voltage.

Both switches are available as die, 0.68 mm x 0.73 mm x 50 µm. Bond pad and backside metallization are Au-based to support standard ribbon and wedge bonding and die attach processes.

Download the datsheets for the TMC805 and TMC806 and contact us with any questions: contact@mmTron.com.

New Product: Single-Chip Front-End Module Covers 24–30 GHz

Block diagram of the TMC252 with the text "Announcing a front-end RFIC for FWA. 5G, and Satcom. TMC252"

mmTron has developed its first single-chip front-end IC for mmWave communications. Covering 24 to 30 GHz, the TMC252 integrates a power amplifier (PA), low noise amplifier (LNA), and transmit-receive (T/R) switch on a single GaN IC that is available as a die or packaged in a 5 mm x 5 mm air-cavity QFN.

The TMC252 is well-suited for fixed wireless access, 5G infrastructure, point-to-point radio, and satellite communications (Satcom). Its broadband performance covers several FR2, radio, and Satcom bands.

Tx Performance

In transmit mode, at 27 GHz the TMC252 provides 38 dBm saturated output power, 37 dBm at 1 dB compression, and 42 dBm OIP3. At saturated output, the power-added efficiency (PAE) is 22%. Small-signal gain is 22 dB. Biased at 23 V on the drain and –3.8 V on the gate, the quiescent current is 590 mA.

TMC252 measured on-wafer output power with 18 dBm drive at 24, 27, and 30 GHz.
TMC252 Tx path measured on-wafer output power with 18 dBm drive at 24, 27, and 30 GHz.

Rx Performance

In receive mode, at 27 GHz the TMC252 provides 19 dB gain with 5 dB noise figure. The output power at 1 dB compression is 25 dBm and OIP3 is 29 dBm. The recommended drain bias is also 23 V, and the current drain is 60 mA with –4.5 V on the gate.

TMC252 receive path measured on-wafer noise figure from 23 to 31 GHz.
TMC252 receive path measured on-wafer noise figure from 23 to 31 GHz.

T/R Switching

The single pole, double throw GaN switch routes the transmit signal from the PA to a common port, typically connected to an antenna, or the receive signal from the common port to the LNA. It is switched with 0 or 23 V; no negative voltage is required to control the switch.

The TMC252 is available as a die (designated TMC252D) which measures 3 mm x 3 mm x 0.1 mm. It is also available packaged in a 5 mm x 5 mm air-cavity QFN.

The datasheet for the TMC252 may be downloaded here.

PA and Driver for FWA, 5G Infrastructure, and Satcom

To extend the reach of high data rate radios operating in the frequency bands between 24 and 30 GHz, mmTron has developed a linear power amplifier (PA) and companion driver, both fabricated with a high linearity, high reliability GaN process.

TMC254 24–30 GHz PA

Small-signal performance of the TMC254D measured on-wafer.

The TMC254 PA delivers 39 dBm saturated output power with 29.5% power-added efficiency (PAE). P1dB is 38 dBm and OIP3 is 44 dBm. Linear gain is 24 dB.

The 24 to 30 GHz bandwidth of the PA supports high data rate applications like fixed wireless access (FWA), 5G infrastructure, Satcom, and supporting test and measurement systems. The linearity of the PA enables system designers to extend the reach and/or the data rates of their radio links.

The TMC254 is typically biased with 28 V on the drain and –3.8 V on the gate, drawing 588 mA quiescent current.

The PA is available as a die (TMC254D) or packaged in a 5 mm x 5 mm air-cavity QFN (TMC254). The die size is 3.0 mm x 3.0 mm, and the IC’s thickness is 0.1 mm. Bond pad and backside metallization are Au-based to ensure compatibility with wire bonding and high conductivity epoxy or eutectic die attach.

Download the TMC254 data sheet here.

TMC248 22–30 GHz Driver

Small-signal performance of the TMC248D measured on-wafer.

The companion TMC248 driver amplifier covers 22 to 30 GHz and provides 20 dB small-signal gain, 27 dBm saturated output power, 26 dBm output at P1dB, and 30 dBm OIP3.

The output power of the TMC248 is more than sufficient to drive the TMC254 to its saturated output without degrading the linearity of the signal chain. The driver can also be used as the PA in lower power systems.

Like the PA, the driver is typically biased at 23 V on the drain and draws 60 mA quiescent current at –4.5 V gate bias.

Available as die (TMC248D), the size of the IC is 3.0 mm x 3.0 mm, and the IC’s thickness is 0.1 mm. Bond pad and backside metallization are Au-based.

Download the TMC248 data sheet here.

The Latest Disruptive PA in Our Satcom Portfolio

The image summarizes the key performance parameters of the TMC215 and includes a plot of the measure P1dB, and associated PAE and gain.

We’re pleased to announce the latest disruptive power amplifier (PA) in our satellite communications portfolio:

Designed for the Ka-Band satellite uplink band, the TMC215 PA provides 45 W output power at P1dB with 24% power-added efficiency (PAE) across 27 to 31 GHz. The three-stage GaN MMIC delivers >20 W of linear power with 19 dBc noise power ratio (NPR). The design has 23 dB small-signal gain and is well-matched to 50 Ω.

With a wide operating bandwidth, from 26 to 32 GHz, the TMC215 is also useful for fixed wireless access links, 5G infrastructure, and test instrumentation.

The recommended drain bias is 28 V and 3 A current, although the bias can be reduced to 18 V while maintaining 25 W output power with good PAE and linearity.

The TMC215 is available as die (5 mm x 4 mm x 0.1 mm) for integration in a multi-chip module, with on-chip DC blocking capacitors at input and output and built-in ESD protection.

The bond pad and backside metallization are Au-based, ensuring compatibility with standard wire bonding and die attach methods.

An assembled evaluation module is available to help potential customers evaluate the PA.

Review the performance specs here.

mmTron Distributed Amplifier MMICs Available as X-MWblocks®️

mmTron logo with text "Product News" above a backdrop of a green printed circuit board.

Four of mmTron’s broadband, high performance distributed amplifier MMICs are now available from Quantic X-Microwave as X-MWblocks®️, enabling quick and easy prototyping of systems.

With their wide frequency range, these distributed amplifiers are well-suited for electronic warfare and instrumentation. They are also useful as gain blocks in many systems, offering high, flat gain and well-matched to 50 Ω at input and output.

mmTron Distributed Amplifiers Available As X-MWblocks

mmTron’s TMC162 is a low noise amplifier (LNA) covering DC to 20 GHz with 2.5 dB noise figure and 19 dB gain. The output power is very respectable for an LNA: 24 dBm P1dB and 31 dBm OIP3. Quantic X-Microwave’s X-MWblock part number for the TMC162 is XM-D537-0404D.

The TMC163 was optimized for high linearity and provides 34 dBm OIP3 and 26 dBm P1dB. It covers DC to 20 GHz and has 17 dB small-signal gain. The X-MWblock part number is XM-D539-0404D.

For systems requiring higher output power, the TMC164 provides 27 dBm P1dB and 34 dBm OIP3 with 16 dB small-signal gain across DC to 26.5 GHz. The X-MWblock part number is XM-D542-0404D.

The fourth MMIC, TMC200 is mmTron’s highest output power distributed amplifier. It provides 30 dBm saturated, 29 dBm P1dB, and 39 dBm OIP3 and covers DC to 26.5 GHz with 15 dB small-signal gain. The X-MWblock part number is XM-D536-0404D.

TMC200 X-MWblock layout drawing
TMC200 X-MWblock circuit layout.

How To Order

The X-MWblock versions of mmTron’s distributed amplifier MMICs are available from Quantic X-Microwave as well as from Mouser Electronics, a global distributor of semiconductors and electronic components.

Die and SMT packaged versions of these distributed amplifiers are available directly from mmTron. For mmTron pricing and delivery, send an email to contact@mmTron.com.

What’s An X-MWblock?

If you’re not familiar with X-MWblocks, Quantic X-Microwave has compiled a catalog of various circuit functions from numerous manufacturers that can be combined on a prototype plate to build and evaluate a signal path. X-MWblocks can also be configured with SMA connectors to serve as standalone modules.

mmTron Releasing Ultra-Low Noise and Super-Low Power Dissipation LNAs for Satcom

The graphic shows a satellite orbiting above a partial view of the Earth's curved surface, with a parabolic antenna pointing toward the ground. The text says Satcom LNAs. The mmTron logo appears in the upper left of the image.

To complement its power amplifier MMICs for satellite communications, mmTron is fabricating two ultra-low noise amplifier MMICs with super-low power dissipation.

The TMC173 is designed to cover the 17.3 to 21.2 GHz downlink band, providing an extremely low 1.2 dB noise figure and 23 dB gain. Biased with a single supply of +3 V on the drain, the MMIC draws only 17 mA — just 51 mW power dissipation.

The TMC174 is designed to cover the 27 to 31 GHz uplink band, also providing an ultra-low 1.5 dB noise figure with 21 dB gain. Biased with a single supply of +2 V on the drain, the MMIC draws only 15 mA — just 30 mW power dissipation.

Both MMICs are being fabricated on a GaAs pHEMT process that has been space qualified for satellites in geostationary and lower Earth orbits, i.e., GEO, MEO, and LEO. They will be available as die or in ceramic air-cavity QFN packages, the TMC173 in a 3 mm x 3 mm QFN, the TMC174 in a 4 mm x 4 mm.

The specifications for the MMICs are available on mmTron’s website at mmtron.com/products/.

mmTron is accepting pre-orders from companies wishing to evaluate the MMICs. If interested, please contact mmTron at contact@mmtron.com.

Highest Efficiency Class AB GaN PA MMIC for LEO Satellite Downlinks

—TMC261 covers the 17.3 to 21.2 GHz satellite downlink band
—Provides 1.1 W with 35% power-added efficiency at 13 dB NPR
—MMIC fabricated with high reliability GaN process used for LEO constellations

mmTron has developed the highest efficiency class AB GaN power amplifier (PA) MMIC for the 17.3 to 21.2 GHz satellite downlink band: The TMC261 covers the band with margin and provides 1.1 watts of output power with 35 percent power-added efficiency (PAE) at a noise power ratio (NPR) of 13 dB.

“High data rate communications satellites require PAs with very high linearity and high efficiency — two parameters that are difficult to achieve simultaneously,” said Seyed Tabatabaei, mmTron’s CEO and founder. “Our engineers designed this PA to achieve both, aiming to set a new standard for satellite applications. We’ve already received an order from the largest European satellite payload manufacturer to evaluate the TMC261 for a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.”

The three-stage MMIC provides 31 dBm output power at 1 dB compression and has 24 dB linear gain. The PA draws 74 mA at the recommended drain bias of 18 V. The bias can be increased to 24 V to increase the output power to 2 watts, maintaining good efficiency and NPR.

TMC261 measured output power and power-added efficiency versus frequency

The MMIC is fabricated with a high reliability GaN process that has been used for LEO satellite applications. Gold is used for the bond pad and backside metallization, which is compatible with ball and wedge bonding and eutectic and epoxy die attach assembly processes.

The TMC261 is available either as a die for assembly in multi-chip modules or in a 6 mm x 6 mm air-cavity QFN package. The die measures 3.5 mm x 2.5 mm and is 0.1 mm thick.

Samples of the TMC261 will be available for customer evaluation this quarter (Q4 of 2023).

Low Loss MMIC Balun Family Covers Bands from 3 to 100 GHz

—Initial products cover 3–18 GHz, 11–65 GHz, and 27–100 GHz
—Low loss, tight matching, and high power handling
—3–18 GHz balun has option for AC coupled differential ports to simplify external circuitry
—Die for integration in multichip modules; 3–18 GHz baluns also available in SMT packages

mmTron announces the first four products in a family of broadband, low loss, 50 Ω baluns, covering 3–18, 11–65, and 27–100 GHz. (Baluns are components that transform balanced to unbalanced signals and vice versa.)

“Several of our MMIC products use baluns, and we designed our own to get the best performance. Our experienced designers chose a high power and high Q GaAs process to achieve very low loss, excellent gain and phase matching, and higher power handling,” said Seyed Tabatabaei, mmTron’s CEO and founder. “We’re now offering them as products, so other designers can use them.”

The TMC810-1 and TMC811-1 cover 3 to 18 GHz and have 2 dB midband insertion loss. The balanced ports have 0.4 dB amplitude and 1 degree phase matching, with a common mode rejection of 35 dB. Return loss is 10 dB.

On the TMC811-1, the balanced ports are DC coupled and connect to ground. On the TMC810-1, the balanced ports are AC coupled, which eliminates the need for large, external coupling capacitors in applications where DC voltage is present at the balanced ports.

Circuit diagrams of the TMC810-1 and TMC811-1

The TMC812 and TMC813 baluns cover 11 to 65 and 27 to 100 GHz, respectively, and are DC coupled.

All the baluns are offered as die so they can be integrated in multichip modules. To simplify module assembly, the layouts are symmetric. The TMC810-1 and TMC811-1 are also available in QFN packages for surface-mount assembly.

Part Number Frequency Range (GHz) Die Size (mm) Differential Ports Die/SMT
TMC810-1 3–18 1.25 x 2.17 AC Die & QFN
TMC811-1 3–18 1.25 x 2.17 DC Die & QFN
TMC812 11–65 1.25 x 0.85 DC Die
TMC813 27–100 0.79 x 2.17 DC Die

All baluns in the family are available in production quantities.

More information about product performance is available at mmTron’s Products page. For characterization measurements and datasheets, email mmTron at contact@mmtron.com.

Low Noise, High Linearity RF to A/D Converter Interfaces

Family of RF interface devices for driving high-speed A/D converters to Ka-Band
Low noise and high OIP2/OIP3 maximize the dynamic range and sensitivity of software-defined radios
TMC161 integrates an input balun with bias T; quasi-differential low noise, high OIP2/OIP3 amplifiers; and dual lowpass filters in a 7 mm x 7 mm QFN

mmTron announces the release of a family of MMICs for driving high-speed analog-to-digital (A/D) converters. The TMC161 family converts a single-ended RF input to a differential output to drive A/D converters for direct-sampling applications from L/S/C- into Ku- and Ka-Band. The TMC161 provides low noise, high linearity (low IMD2 and IMD3 distortion) amplification and anti-alias filtering.

MARKET NEED

Increasing data converter Nyquist sampling rates and instantaneous bandwidth have enabled a simplified RF front-end architecture to be adopted by many applications. System benefits include simpler frequency planning; high spur-free dynamic range (SFDR); reduced latency; low analog phase and amplitude uncertainty; simplified channel synchronization; and lower size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C).

“Higher A/D converter sampling rates are enabling direct digital conversion at ever-increasing bandwidths, making the quality of the RF signal presented to the A/D converter critical to maximizing the system's dynamic range and sensitivity,” said Seyed Tabatabaei, mmTron’s CEO and founder. “Our skilled team designed the TMC161 family to provide high SFDR and low noise amplification with low IMD2 and IMD3 distortion, while converting a single-ended RF input to the differential signal required by high sample-rate A/D converters. The integration provides SWAP-C advantages for software-defined radios.”

APPLICATIONS

EW systems must simultaneously track multiple targets and instantaneously tune across a wide frequency range to implement complex sweeping and hopping patterns. The TMC161 and its companion TMC160 digital-to-analog (D/A) converter interface extend the frequency range of direct digital processing in these systems into Ka-Band.

In addition to EW, the TMC161 simplifies the design of software-defined radios for instrumentation, radar, satellite communications, and 5G, enabling the receiver to process a much wider instantaneous bandwidth in less time than previous solutions.

PERFORMANCE

The TMC161 integrates an input balun with bias T, quasi-differential low noise amplifiers, and anti-alias lowpass filters in a 7 mm x 7 mm air-cavity surface-mount QFN. The anti-alias filters can be custom designed to reject specific clock and mixing frequencies.

TMC161 block diagram showing the input feeding a balun, to convert from single-ended to differential, followed by dual amplifiers, each with a lowpass filter, leading to the dual output of the device. The dual output ports connect to the differential inputs of an analog/digital converter.

Each product in the family provides 10–16 dB gain with 6 dB noise figure and 29–33 dBm output third-order intercept (OIP3). Biased with 5 V and –0.7 V, the RFIC draws 250 mA. The internal bias T eliminates the need for an external inductor, simplifying amplifier biasing.

AVAILABILITY

Characterization data, samples, and reference design assistance are available for customer evaluation for the TMC160-16, which covers 3–16 GHz. 12 and 18 GHz versions will be available during the fourth quarter of 2023.

To receive more information, including datasheets, email mmTron at contact@mmtron.com.