Mitsubishi Electric develops new Technology to Realize Small, High Efficiency GaN Power Amplifier Module for 5G Base Stations

Mitsubishi Electric, a world leader in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment, has come up with new technology to create a gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier module for 5G base-stations. The module uses the lowest amount of chip components in the matching circuit to control high-quality signal output. It helps realise 5G base-stations that are highly power-efficient and widely deployable.

A combination of extra-high power efficiency and compact (6mm by 10mm) footprint can be achieved with the help of the gallium nitride power amplifier module. Here’s how Mitsubishi Electric’s new technology makes it possible: -

A little background first…

5G base stations use Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (mMIMO) antennas to create multiple radio-frequency beams for simultaneously connecting with other base-stations and a huge amount of users. Since the components have a dense arrangement on the panel, each one should be very small.

The power amplifier uses the most amount of energy in the antenna. That is why it should be efficient in order to prevent problems associated with heat dissipation.

Compact power amplifier modules for more widely deployable 5G base stations

4G base-stations don’t use massive mMIMO antennas. For the matching circuit, power amplifiers make use of metal-foil transmission lines. Although this reduces power loss and results in a high-efficiency operation, the transmission lines take up room and make it hard to realise power-efficient base stations.

This is where the new technology by Mitsubishi Electric brings about a difference. It eliminates the need for transmission lines in 5G power amplifiers. The matching circuit of the new amplifier module is integrated with SMDs, short for Surface Mount Devices. These include capacitors and inductors. By introducing a highly precise electromagnetic field analysis method and implementing a one-of-its-kind technology to densely arrange SMDs, Mitsubishi Electric has effectively reduced the size of the amplifier to just 1/90th of conventional power amplifiers!

How power-efficiency helps lower power consumption in 5G base stations

When Surface Mount Devices (SMDs) are used for the matching circuit, they tend to decrease the size of the amplifier. However, it also reduces power efficiency since Surface Mount Devices (SMDs) have a high-power loss. Mitsubishi Electric’s new technology, on the other hand, creates a matching circuit using Surface Mount Devices (SMDs) in a small number (it is important to note here that Surface Mount Devices (SMDs) provide the same electrical characteristics as metal-foil transmission lines).

The resulting power amplifier module obtains a world-leading power efficiency rating of more than 43% in the 3.4-3.8GHz bands used for 5G communications.

Mitsubishi Electric Group operates on the corporate principle of creating a vibrant society by enhancing its services, creative powers, and technologies. As a brand, Mitsubishi Electric has always believed in fostering technological innovation. This new technology will have a crucial role to play in helping create a small yet high-efficiency GaN Power Amplifier Module for 5G base stations.

4 November 2020

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