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Gallium Nitride (GaN) high electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) can operate at very high power-density levels, which may cause a significant temperature rise in the transistor channel. In addition, surface and substrate energy levels, or “traps,” can cause strong dispersion effects from pulsed I-V down to dc timescales. Such effects, for both simulation accuracy and device reliability purposes, must be accounted for in any nonlinear device model. In this paper, a novel nonlinear high-power GaN HEMT equivalent circuit electrothermal model is described. Features of the model include a nonlinear thermal subnetwork that is capable of capturing the well-known inherent nonlinear thermal resistance and capacitance of GaN material. Also included is a comprehensive dispersion model that can be extracted and modeled from simple measurements. The model can very accurately predict the pulsed I -V curves at different pulse widths and duty cycles from isothermal up to the safe-operating area limit. Large-signal one-tone, two-tone, and frequency sweep tests show excellent agreement with measurements. Finally, a continuous class-F amplifier is fabricated, and large-signal frequency sweeps are performed. Comparison between the measured and modeled amplifier metrics demonstrate that the model remains accurate over a 50% bandwidth under real-world conditions.
Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:61 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013