Transistors Beam Radio Energy To Cure Ceramics, Relieve Pain, and Cook Food

A transistor based on the same technology inside cellular infrastructure enables applications from drying industrial ceramics or warming organs in hospital treatments.

NXP Semiconductors said Tuesday that it had begun sampling the new component, the latest attempt to replace vacuum tubes widely used in the magnetrons powering industrial heating systems. The high-powered part can be controlled over its full dynamic range up to 750 watts and enables frequency shifting to conserve energy.

"The reliability and enhanced control features of solid-state have long been understood, but industrial system designers had difficulties combining many transistors to match the power level of magnetrons,” said Pierre Piel, the general manager of NXP's RF power business, in a statement.

The radio waves emitted from the MRF13750H act like a volumetric heat source injecting energy into loads and blocking large temperature gradients. It is capable of changing frequencies rapidly, allowing power to be spread more efficiently when processing chemicals or manufacturing ceramics or glass fibers.

NXP's transistor operates in the 700 to 1300 MHz band, which is reserved for industrial, scientific, and medical applications. It is based on laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors or LDMOS, whose lower maximum power gain frequency than gallium arsenide also makes it suitable for aerospace and radar applications.

NXP has kept alive the solid state RF business that started inside Freescale Semiconductor, which it acquired in 2014 for almost $12 billion. For that deal to pass through regulators, the Dutch supplier sold off its own RF business that became Ampleon, the other major vendor of LDMOS transistors for radio frequency power.

For the last two years, NXP has been showing transistors in a concept oven that can precisely control the amount of heat directed into food with a longer lifespan than the magnetrons inside traditional microwaves. The MRF13750H will enter production in this December, the company said.

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