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DARPA Unveils Project to Reduce Heat, Boost Capacity of Radio Frequency Systems

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching a project intended to reduce thermal resistance in high-power density transistors.

The Technologies for Heat Removal in Electronics at the Device Scale program would help boost the electronic capacity of radar capabilities, especially when applied in the military’s mission-critical and situational awareness operations, DARPA said Wednesday.

Gallium nitride and other wide bandgap transistors have proved effective in increasing power output by more than fivefold, according to Thomas Kazior, the agency’s program manager for THREADS. However, the technology is prone to excessive waste heat.

“If we can relax the heat problem, we can crank up the amplifier and increase the range of radar. If the program is successful, we’re looking at increasing the range of radar by a factor of 2x to 3x,” Kazior explained.

DARPA has issued a broad agency announcement for THREADS and is hosting a Proposers Day on Nov. 30.