A Fundamental Advantage in Technology:
The Power of Synthetic Diamond
At the core of our RF Power Amplifiers (RFPAs) and small satellites (or CubeSats) is a pioneering new invention: Gallium Nitride (GaN)-on-Diamond wafer technology. In 2003, Akash co-founder, Felix Ejeckam (then at Group4 Labs, Inc.), invented the idea of lifting GaN thin films from its original growth substrate (for example, Silicon) and transferring it to a synthetic CVD diamond substrate . CVD diamond exhibits the highest thermal conductivity known to humans; at 1500+ W/mK, it is nearly four times that of copper or silicon carbide. This creative idea for the first time allows the power of diamond to be applied to high frequency (1 GHz+), high power (10W+) RF devices which are the basis of all radio telecommunications.
GaN-on-Diamond RF Devices:
Beat the Heat
Bringing the GaN active device layers – the sort used in our RFPAs – to within tens of nanometers from diamond helps whisk heat away from the devices almost at the instant that it is generated. Heat is a primary cause of failure or underperformance in modern wireless electronics; reducing or eliminating heat from a chip’s core will significantly and positively impact thermal efficiency, BOM costs, system costs, system lifetimes, and lifetime costs [2-10].
GaN-on-Diamond MMICs and Amplifiers:
How to Improve Size, Weight and Power
GaN-on-Diamond is the ultimate building block for an RF Power Amplifier; it gives the system designer a new thermal envelope to use for any number of product or system improvements. Performance benefits such as higher data transmission rates and greater picture resolution in a satellite are only part of the story: these Akash RFPAs can eliminate bulky heat sinks; enable smaller and more compact subsystem or system designs; enable greater system-wide efficiency by dissipating less thermal energy; or deliver previously unachievable levels of power from a power amplifier.
GaN-on-Diamond enabled CubeSats:
Power and Performance in a Small Package
Our vision is to enable, build and launch low-cost CubeSats with functionality and power density far exceeding that of much larger conventional satellites.
For the end-user or system operator, many performance boundaries will be broken and new ones set. Applications currently not contemplated will come to life. We hope to bring new services to market, among them 1 Tbps downlink data-rates, high definition streaming video, high-res multi-spectral imaging, powerful radars, and opportunities in “burst” communications that will enable new applications from consumer mobile to military.
Akash Systems holds over a dozen patents related to GaN-on-Diamond in the field of satellite communications.
Selected Published References
 “First GaN-on-Diamond transistor announced by Group4 Labs, Emcore, and AFRL” in Semiconductor Today, Aug 2, 2006. [Wafer maker: Group4 Labs, Inc.]
 F. Ejeckam, D. Francis, F. Faili, D.J. Twitchen, B. Bolliger, J. Felbinger, and D. Babic, “S2-T1: GaN-on-diamond: A brief history”, in Lester Eastman Conference on High Performance Devices (LEC), August 5-7 2014, DOI: 10.1109/LEC.2014.6951556. INSPEC Accession Number: 14775316
 G.D. Via, J.G. Felbinger, J. Blevins, K. Chabak, G. Jessen, J. Gillespie, R. Fitch, A. Crespo, K. Sutherlin, B. Poling, S. Tetlak, R. Gilbert, T. Cooper, R. Baranyai, J.W. Pomeroy, M. Kuball, J.J. Maurer, and A. Bar-Cohen, “Wafer-Scale GaN HEMT Performance Enhancement by Diamond Substrate Integration” in 10th International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors, ICNS-10, August 25-30, 2013, Washington DC, USA. [Wafer maker: Group4 Labs, Inc.]
 Felix Ejeckam, “Keeping Cool with Diamond”, in Compound Semiconductor Magazine, Vol. 20, Iss.7, October 2014 [Wafer maker: De Beers (Element Six)]
 D. I. Babic, Q. Diduck, P. Yenigalla, A. Schreiber, D. Francis, F. Faili, F. Ejeckam, J.G. Felbinger and L.F. Eastman, “GaN-on-diamond Field-Effect Transistors: from Wafers to Amplifier Modules”, MIPRO, 2010 Proceedings of the 33rd International Convention, Opatija, Croatia, 24-29 May 2010, pp. 60-66 [Wafer maker: Group4 Labs, Inc.]
 D.I. Babic, Q. Diduck, C.S. Khandavalli, D. Francis, F.N. Faili, and F. Ejeckam, “175,000 Device-Hours Operation of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs on Diamond at 200C Channel Temperature”, in MIPRO 2013, May 20-24, 2013 Opatija, Croatia.
 F. Ejeckam, D. Babic, F. Faili, D. Francis, F. Lowe, Q. Diduck, C. Khandavalli, D. Twitchen, B. Bolliger, “3,000+ Hours Continuous Operation of GaN-on-Diamond HEMTs at 350C Channel Temperature” in Semiconductor Thermal Measurement and Management Symposium (SEMI-THERM), 2014 30th Annual, March 9-13, 2014.
 D.C. Dumka, T.M. Chou, J.L. Jimenez, D.M. Fanning, D. Francis, F. Faili, F. Ejeckam, M. Bernardoni, J.W. Pomeroy, and M. Kuball, “Electrical and Thermal Performance of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs on Diamond Substrate for RF Applications” in 35th IEEE Compound Semiconductor IC Symposium (CSICS) Oct 13-16 2013, Monterey, CA, Section F.4. [Wafer maker: Group4 Labs, Inc.]
 D. Altman, M. Tyhach, J. McClymonds, S. Kim, S. Graham, J. Cho, K. Goodson, D. Francis, F. Faili, F. Ejeckam, and S. Bernstein, “Analysis and Characterization of Thermal Transport in GaN GEMTs on SiC and Diamond Substrates,” GOMACTech 2014, Charleston SC, April 2014, in press. [Wafer maker: De Beers (Element Six)]
 J. Pomeroya , M. Bernardonia , A. Saruaa , A. Manoia , D.C.Dumkab , D.M. Fanningb , M. Kuball, “Achieving the Best Thermal Performance for GaN-on-Diamond,” in 35th IEEE Compound Semiconductor IC Symposium (CSICS) Oct13-16 2013, Monterey, CA, Section H.4. [Wafer maker: De Beers (Element Six)]
 B. Alvarez, D. Francis, F. Faili, F. Lowe, D. Twitchen, K.B. Lee and P. Houston, “Elimination of Leakage in GaN-on-Diamond” in 38th IEEE CSIC Symposium, Austin, TX, Oct 23rd -26th 2016, Sec G.2. [Wafer maker: De Beers (Element Six)]
 L. Yates, A. Sood, Z. Cheng, T. Bougher, K. Malcom, J. Cho, M. Asheghi, K. Goodson, M. Goorsky, F. Faili, D. J. Twitchen, S. Graham, “Characterization of the Thermal Conductivity of CVD Diamond for GaN-on-Diamond Devices” in Compound Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Symposium (CSICS) 2016 IEEE, pp. 1-4, 2016. [Wafer maker: De Beers (Element Six)]. – This paper shows actual measurements of a GaN device channel temperature; an approximately 80C drop in temperature is shown (Table III). GaN-on-SiC shows a peak temperature of 232C, whereas GaN-on-Diamond shows a peak temperature of 152C.