Power amplifiers for 5G made of gallium nitride

Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) are using gallium nitride (GaN) to develop power amplifiers for energy-efficient and rapid 5G mobile standard.

“New power amplifiers provide the necessary frequencies over which the data is transmitted,” explained Dr Rüdiger Quay of Frauhofer IAF.

According to him, radio frequencies must go up to 6GHz for 5G. LTE is currently limited to 2.7GHz. “Higher frequencies mean faster data transmission, but less power is available for the transmitters. Due to GaN’s special crystal structure, the same voltages can be applied at higher frequencies, leading to a better power and efficiency performance.”

Currently, base stations can only transmit high data rates with a high energy expenditure. However, with electronically steerable antennas and GaN-based power amplifiers, the information reaches the receivers with pinpoint accuracy and a much lower energy bill.

The Institute claims to already be successfully testing prototypes within the EU project Flex5Gware.