RF power amplifiers (PAs) are under pressure to perform as never before in a growing variety of applications. The technology is being called upon to support higher gain targets without adding cost, size, weight, or complexity. They’re also expected to deliver the necessary linearity and efficiency to accommodate higher-order modulation schemes that are even more sensitive to distortion than their predecessors. Board space is at a premium, but until now the path to more compact solutions faced difficult peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) tradeoffs.
These challenges are being solved with a new generation of gallium-nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) PAs that are seeing greater adoption where they’re needed most. With proper implementation, designers can maximize the value of these devices in applications ranging from space- and ground-based commercial and defense satellite communications to test equipment.