NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 17-2 H9.04-8557
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced RF Communications
PROPOSAL TITLE: GaN MMIC Ka-Band Power Amplifier

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Custom MMIC Design Services, Inc.
300 Apollo Drive
Chelmsford, MA 01824 - 3629
(978) 467-4290

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James M Moniz
300 Apollo Drive
Chelmsford, MA 01824 - 3629
(978) 467-4290 Extension :119

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Paul Blount
300 Apollo Drive
Chelmsford, MA 01824 - 3629
(978) 467-4290 Extension :111

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced RF Communications is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

NASA is seeking innovative Advanced RF Platform technologies at the physical level, specifically Ka-Band high efficiency high linearity 10 to 20 Watt solid state power amplifiers (SSPAs), to meet the needs of future space missions for communications and sensor applications. Space missions require small size, weight, and power (SWaP) among the hardware components. As a result, monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) are well suited to fill this need. In Phase I of this SBIR, Custom MMIC Design Services, Inc. (Custom MMIC) analyzed a number of commercially available Gallium Nitride (GaN) MMIC process technologies from domestic foundries based in the United States, and selected the optimum process for linear power amplifiers (PAs) - the 0.2 um GaN  process as offered by Northrop Grumman Space and Technology (NGST). Custom MMIC’s use of novel small- and large-signal linear power amplifier (PA) circuit design techniques led to circuit simulations exhibiting a large signal gain greater than 22 dB from 31.7 to 32.3 GHz, a linear output power of 13 W, input and output return losses of better than -20 dB, a PAE of 41% PAE, and an error vector magnitude (EVM) of 4.5% for 8PSK 500 MHz modulation. In addition, Custom MMIC’s use of the balanced amplifier topology allowed the simultaneous independent optimization of input/output return losses and internal PA impedances for linearity and PAE. As a result, Custom MMIC has produced a design that represents a new industry state-of-the-art benchmark for linear Ka-Band GaN MMIC PAs.  In Phase II, we will develop not only the MMIC hardware that represents this design for JPL at Ka-Band (31.8 - 32.3 GHz) but also a similar linear PA for GSFC at K-Band (25.5  - 27 GHz) and a saturated radar PA for JPL at 35 GHz.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The improvements and innovations achieved during the Phase I portion of this 10-20 W, KA-Band GaN MMIC PA and subsequently manufactured in a follow-on Phase II will allow us to develop other state-of-the-art, linear, high efficiency PAs for NASA at other frequency bands. Specifically, Custom MMIC can apply these Phase I results to improve the 5 W, 25 to 27 GHz Power Amplifier as previously developed for NASA Goddard, and the 5 W, 35 GHz Power Amplifier for Radar Applications as previously developed for NASA JPL, such that both amplifiers can be increased to greater than 10 W output power with better PAE. Other NASA Applications could be 1) NASA deep space missions that require high data rate Ka-Band downlinks, 2) Mass, power and volume challenged surface missions to moons, asteroids and comets (such as Europa Lander), and 3) Future NASA instruments that require Ka-Band radars (such as Mars 2020).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Linear GaN PA MMICs represent a new frontier in microwave research and development, though to date few manufacturers have been able to turn such efforts into viable commercial products. Custom MMIC is one such company that has made the successful transition from design to production on a number of GaN amplifiers, and so is well suited to bring an expanded portfolio of new GaN amplifiers to the market in a timely and efficient manner. Custom MMIC will use the follow-on Phase II SBIR contract to bring a number of new 10-20 W, Ka-band high power amplifiers to the commercial space.
The 25-27 GHz GaN 5 W linear amplifier is being well received in the commercial markets. A customer has already designed it into a new product and we are transitioning to production. We are in discussions with this customer as to whether the performance can be improved. It is likely that when this SBIR program transitions to Phase II we would also target this lower frequency band for a 10 W linear variant.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Ad-Hoc Networks (see also Sensors)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Sensor Nodes & Webs (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport)

Form Generated on 03-05-18 17:24