Carbonics has been awarded a US Air Force contract to develop high linearity Carbon Nanotube Field Effect Transistor (CFET) for RF amplification to dramatically improve the power and spectral efficiencies in wireless communication.
Modern communications systems utilize complex RF modulation schemes to increase spectral efficiency, bits/second/Hz. Distortions caused by nonlinear RF amplifiers directly limit the data rate that can be achieved in a given channel.
While methods like pre-distortion and envelope tracking can improve linearity, higher linearity is achieved primarily by increasing the DC current flow/power in the amplifier and modulating the current over a small linear region. This leads
to a direct tradeoff between spectral efficiency and power. As a contrast, electron current transport in CFETs is inherently linear. CNTs also offer advantages in power efficiency applications (low Eg which means low drive voltage), low noise (reduced shot noise due to quasi ballistic transport) and is able to effectively dissipate heat (high thermal conductance).
The market for RF semiconductors sits at about $10B with a whopping 28% annual growth rate. Carbonics target markets include communications using 5G and WiGig and sensing/imaging such as automotive radar, wideband phased arrays and radiation hard RF electronics. Our technology will allow leapfrog enhancements to RF circuit blocks such as power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, RF switches and mixers. In addition, the Internet of things (IoT), ubiquitous sensing, big data and the massive move to wireless will demand RF electronics to become more and more efficient (to save battery), more linear (to cope with high data rates & limited bandwidths) and integratable with Si CMOS (to reduce cost).