InP technology delivers 7 GHz synthesizer

TRW claims to have developed the world’s fastest direct digital frequency synthesizer using indium phosphide (InP).

‘This sophisticated integrated circuit, a frequency synthesizer on a chip, contains more than 3,000 InP heterojunction bipolar transistors and demonstrates the growing maturity of our InP technology,’ said Dwight Streit, president of Velocium, TRW’s new semiconductor company for InP and gallium arsenide telecommunication products.

The TRW chip operates at 7 billion cycles per second (7 GHz), or more than three times faster than any previous direct digital frequency synthesizer. It was developed under contract to the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research.

‘High-speed direct digital frequency synthesis will enable us to develop the Navy’s next-generation electromagnetic systems employing Advanced Multifunction Radio Frequency Concepts (AMRF-C). AMRF-C is expected to provide the basis to combine communications, radar and electronic warfare functions into a single, integrated aperture,’ said Max Yoder, director of the Electronics Division at the Office of Naval Research.

‘Direct digital frequency synthesizers provide far greater control over the frequency and phase of the signal than do conventional analog synthesizers,’ Yoder said.

The added control is valuable for the highly accurate rapid frequency and phase changes required by future military electronic systems. In addition, direct digital synthesis lowers phase noise in the system, heightening system sensitivity.

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