On Thursday, Northrop Grumman announced that it has been awarded the first phase of a $28.9-million Nitride Electronic NeXt Generation Technology (NEXT) contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The first phase of the contract totals $12.4 million.
The contract calls for the company to provide support defense communications, aircraft and space systems with the development of the next generation of gallium nitride (GaN) technology. The company’s NEXT program builds on the success of another DARPA initiative involving GaN technology — the Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for RF Application (WBGS-RF) program.
“New GaN transistors and integrated circuit technology developed under this program will enable high-performance analog-to-digital converters for future advanced electronic systems, ” said Dwight Streit, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems vice president of Electronics and Sensors.
“The goal of the NEXT program is to increase the operating frequency of GaN devices to 500 gigahertz while maintaining its high breakdown voltage in a large-scale integration process, ” said Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ Mike Wojtowicz, NEXT program manager. “This will enable the next generation, high dynamic range mixed signal technology and high frequency RF power sources. NEXT technology will provide significant improvements in performance and functionality for U.S. military and space systems.”