October 4, 2023
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).