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  • ORanGaN project

New sovereign supply chain for 5G devices to be established in the UK

Updated: Mar 14




A project consortium is creating a new sovereign supply chain to develop UK radio frequency (RF) gallium nitride (GaN) products and devices to be used in 5G communications.


The ORanGaN project will provide more security for UK manufacturers, more export opportunities for hardware manufacturers and will enhance 5G infrastructure and resilience within the UK, helping to grow the UK economy.


The ORanGaN project, supported by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), brings together lead partner INEX Microtechnology with Custom Interconnect Ltd, Viper RF and Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult.


Currently, there are no commercial RF-GaN devices fully developed and manufactured in the UK that can be used in 5G applications.


The project is developing new manufacturing processes and packaging solutions to create 5G components such as Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit Chips (MMIC).


MMIC chips are used in power amplifiers— components that boost signals before they are transmitted from a base station to smartphones and computers.

RF power amplifiers present one of the biggest market opportunities across the 5G network, with the global market set to grow to $9 billion by 2025.


Devices built using compound semiconductors—specifically gallium nitride (GaN)—are expected to occupy 25-35% of that addressable market, with a value of $2.5-2.7 billion.


Due to the growth in new applications, compound semiconductors such as GaN are in high demand for the development of new devices within areas such as 5G communications.


GaN compound semiconductors are used in high performing devices due to their unique benefits that provide high efficiency, performance, and ruggedness.

The manufacturing processes developed during the project will focus on the design and development of the MMIC (Viper RF), manufacturing of the chip (INEX Microtechnology), testing and characterization of the technology (CSA Catapult) and the electronics and packaging of the chip (Custom Interconnect Ltd).

The project is due to end in February 2024 with the aim of advancing the UK’s export capability for RF-GaN manufacturing.


Andrew Stokes, Programme Manager at Inex Microtechnology said: “We are proud to be a part of the OranGaN project, which offers an exciting opportunity to establish a supply chain for the production of RF-GaN technologies. The project is a testament to the UK’s robust compound semiconductor design and manufacturing capabilities and is poised to unlock commercial prospects both domestically and internationally.”


Joe Gannicliffe, Head of Photonics and RF at CSA Catapult said: “We are pleased to be working with the partners on the ORanGaN project. ORanGaN will advance the UK sovereign RF-GaN supply chain, which has the potential to compete on a global scale.


CSA Catapult’s role within the project will be to develop an open-access UK test capability for RF-Microwave devices. We look forward to establishing this UK sovereign supply chain and the impact it will make to future RF-GaN products and services.”


John Boston, Managing Director at CIL said: “It has been a great learning curve working on this project and with its project partners. This project and other commercial business were one of the reasons for CIL recently opening the UK’s largest semiconductor packaging facility. We are really looking forward to completing the project and helping build a UK sovereign supply chain for GaN based RF MMIC devices.”


Reece Jackson, RF Design Engineer at Viper RF said: “We are pleased to be part of the ORanGaN consortium. As part of this programme we are designing MMICs on a UK sovereign GaN process technology.”

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