Electronic – GaN pulsed operation


Does anybody have experience biasing and pulsing a microwave GaN HEMT? I've just ordered a 10 Watt S-band transistor. I know all about bias sequencing. This application is pulsed. I've read about pulsing the drain with a high side switch as well as pulsing by pinching the gate (Microsemi, Triquint, etc. white papers and PhD defences).

Has anyone tried either approaches. In order of importance: (1) rise/fall time, (2) efficiency. I'm concerned about undocumented effects of more than just series resistance with drain pulsing.

I would like real world experiences.

Best Answer

Drain switching is somewhat complex, as one need to be assured the bias conditions are stable before applying and signal to the gate. I am assuming you are familiar with stability circles and the like and have performed the required analysis for your wanted operating conditions. Be aware that the steady state large signal S-parameter may differ significantly from your pulsed large signal S-parameters (not an easy measurement, btw) which may invalidate your initial stability analysis, but if that's all you have it's a reasonable starting point. At a push, even the small signal S-parameters are better than nothing. GaN devices suffer more than GaAs from internal heating effects, due to their smaller geometries and higher energy densities - there's less chip backside area to conduct the heat away. The canon of knowledge on GaN is significantly smaller than for GaAs, although that may have changed since I last looked.

Obviously, when drain switching, there is a certain amount of time required for the bias to stabilize - this is dependent on the device and duty ratio and power.

If your application allows, using class B or C operation is the simplest way to go which avoids the need for drain switching, but you will generate more harmonics, which is a problem unless you have a tuned load. Also remember that filters generally reflect out of band power, which might upset your device.

Always ensure that your device is protected from operating into an open circuit - one way is to use a isolator on the output - many power devices have been destroyed this way.

Do not expect to be able to simulate the behaviour of these devices fully - you will have to experiment - and you will lose a few devices along the way! Good luck!

Related Topic