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Research & Technology

Gallium nitride is expected to accelerate the 5G network

An EU project with partners from research and industry aims to develop low-cost, high-performance technologies based on gallium nitride for the upcoming mobile communication standard.

03 Oct. 2018
HMI-ID09-061br_fraunhofer-02
Gallium nitride is expected to accelerate the 5G network (Photo: © Fraunhofer IAF)

A total of 17 partners are working on technologies for the 5G network as part of the EU project 5G GaN2 , which will also use frequency bands in the millimeter wave range (> 24 GHz) in the future. The current mobile communication and antenna technology is not yet capable of efficiently operating with the new frequency ranges. It is thus necessary to increase the available output power and the energy efficiency of the network infrastructure, according to Dr. Dirk Schwantuschke from the participating Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF). The plan is thus to develop components and circuits for 5G base stations on the basis of gallium nitride (GaN) that are much more energy-efficient than conventional silicon (Si) components.

The research institutes participating in the "5G GaN2" project include the Fraunhofer IAF as well as the universities of Padua, Bratislava and Dublin. Industry partners cover the entire wireless technology value chain, from wafer producers and semiconductor manufacturers to system integrators, including Tesat , X FAB and the Swedish companies Ericsson and SweGaN . The project aims to realize key technology demonstrators with a capacity of 28 GHz, 38 GHz and 80 GHz to promote the development of a 5G mobile communication network based on GaN.