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It is well known that trapping effects can limit the output power performance of microwave field-effect transistors (FETs). This is particularly true for the wide bandgap devices. In this paper we review the various trapping phenomena observed in SiC- and GaN-based FETs that contribute to compromised power performance. For both of these material systems, trapping effects associated with both the surface and with the layers underlying the active channel have been identified. The measurement techniques utilized to identify these traps and some of the steps taken to minimize their effects, such as modified buffer layer designs and surface passivation, are described. Since similar defect-related phenomena were addressed during the development of the GaAs technology, relevant GaAs work is briefly summarized.