TeraHertz High Reliability InP DHBT Technology for Millimeter-Wave Amplifiers and Ultra-High Speed ICs

Period of Performance: 04/10/2003 - 04/10/2005


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

RJM Semiconductor, LLC
10 Summit Ave., Building 3
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Institution POC


RJM Semiconductor (RJM) with subcontract support of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) propose to demonstrate the world's fastest transistor technology to fabricate power amplifier integrated circuits (ICs) operating above 100GHz to be delivered to MDA and other DoD components in Phase II. This project builds upon RJM expertise in Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) growth and Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (HBT) device design and is synergistic with JPL goals to develop ultra-high frequency ICs for space missions. Potential DoD applications include millimeter-wave targeting/guidance/imaging radar systems for Missile Defense, secure narrow-beam radio links, and ultra-high speed Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs). Potential commercial applications include millimeter-wave radios, automotive collision avoidance radar that can look through rain and fog, and high-speed fiber optic receivers operating up to 100GHz. The technical approach will use MBE growth technology and processing steps for a transferred substrate InP Double Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (DHBT) whose feasibility was demonstrated during the Phase I effort. The superior electron transport properties of InP-based materials along with very low parasitic capacitances in this process technology will produce transistors with cut-off frequencies approaching 1TeraHertz. High breakdown voltage InP collectors will be used to increase the output power of these amplifiers. The focus of our effort will be to demonstrate a manufacturable and reliable HBT technology that can be used in millimeter-wave amplifiers for Missile Defense, DoD, satellite, and commercial applications. The fabrication technology will use a new RJM patent-pending Self-Aligned HBT Process Technology that employs stable, non-diffusing Carbon-doped bases, high breakdown voltage InP collectors, and Si3N4 dielectric emitter p-n junction passivation to achieve the required device reliability. The Phase II Tasks include: 1. Optimized MBE growth of InP C-doped base DHBT structures. 2. HBT modeling with a device simulator to optimize DHBT design and develop equivalent circuit device models. 3. Transferred substrate DHBT IC process development and fabrication of submicron emitter stripe DHBT ICs. 4. Millimeter-wave amplifier design for the transferred substrate DHBT process. 5. RF measurements and equivalent circuit modeling of the amplifier. 6. Deliver prototype 100GHz power amplifiers to MDA, DoD, and NASA. This newly developed ultra-high frequency InP DHBT technology is expected to reduce the size, weight, and cost of millimeter-wave amplifiers, oscillators, and receivers for missile, satellite, and avionics for DoD systems. NASA can also use this transistor technology to develop millimeter wave and submillimeter wave receivers for space missions. This DHBT IC technology will substantially improve system performance by providing frequency of operation beyond the current state-of-the-art. These ultra-high frequency InP DHBT ICs could be used in millimeter-wave imaging and target acquisition RADAR systems, in military Ultra-WideBand secure communications links, in ultra-high speed Analog-to-Digital converters (ADCs), and for spectroscopic sensing of the earth's atmosphere and in space science. In addition, this InP DHBT IC technology could be enabling for commercial applications including future generations of high-speed communications systems including 40Gbit/sec and higher bit rate fiber-optic systems, millimeter-wave links for LMDS base stations, and in 77/94GHz automotive collision avoidance radar systems. These newly developed InP DHBT ICs are expected to be enabling technology for ultra-high frequency wireless and fiber optic applications with projected annual components revenue exceeding several $100M in these commercial markets.