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The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and TriQuint Semiconductor have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to explore and develop new high-frequency and mixed signal integrated circuits (ICs), based on gallium nitride (GaN) technology.

The newly signed agreement is expected to provide army researchers with access to TriQuint’s development, fabrication and packaging expertise in the ongoing research and development programmes.

According to the company, the CRADA is designed to stimulate high performance monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) development and accelerate new programmes supporting communications, radar, electronic warfare and similar applications.

The circuits, manufactured as part of the agreement, are expected to be based on TriQuint’s new enhancement-depletion mode (E/D) GaN technology.

As part of the initiative, the ARL will provide designs and test circuits, in support of their advanced programmes, to the company.

Army Research Laboratory director John Miller said that creative partnerships formed through CRADA encourage outside businesses and university organisations to share in the discovery of, and investment in, technologies.

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"The advanced IC processes, together with ARL’s design expertise, could lead to innovations and advancements in both military and consumer applications in communications, radar and electronic warfare," Miller added.

TriQuint’s GaN process, under development since 1999, has already been used by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for its Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation (NEXT) programme.

Multiple US Air Force, Army and Naval laboratories’ programmes based on GaN process and manufacturing technology, including the Defense Production Act Title III manufacturing enhancement programme, also benefit from the process.

TriQuint has also been selected for the US military’s Microscale Power Conversion (MPC) programme, aimed at developing ultra-fast, high power DC-DC switch modulator technology for advanced integrated RF amplifiers.