GaN Foundry Makes Big Impression with STARRY NITE

The DoD has supported GaN technology maturation for the last two decades because of the technology’s superior performance in high-power, broadband RF applications. © 2022 HRL Laboratories.

HRL Laboratories to Extend Maturation of Gallium Nitride Fabrication for Higher Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits under Navy Program

HRL Laboratories, LLC, will further its maturation of gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor fabrication with a new award as part of the US Navy’s SOTA Radio Frequency Gallium Nitride (STARRY NITE) program. The $24M program is administered by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and the National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL). The program will enable HRL to advance the manufacturing readiness level of its 40nm node T3 GaN process. Regular multi-project wafer runs will feature designs by US government partners and third-party circuit designers selected by them and commercial design teams. Newly developed advanced interconnects suitable for W-bandfrequencies and above will improve the ability to package these advanced GaN chips.

HRL Laboratories will further its maturation of GaN semiconductor fabrication as part of the US Navy’s STARRY NITE program. © 2022 HRL Laboratories.

The Department of Defense has supported GaN technology maturation for the last two decades because of the technology’s superior performance in high-power, broadband radio frequency (RF) applications. Leading-edge foundry capabilities like those at HRL are key to millimeter-wave applications such as fifth generation or 5G communications, satellite communications, electronic warfare, and radar.

“We are excited to build upon the T3 maturation work that is underway with the DARPA Mm-wave GaN Maturation program and will bring the process to Manufacturing Readiness Level 8,” said David Fanning, HRL’s program manager for STARRY NITE. “The MPW runs will allow more designers across industry, academia, and government labs to access our world-class T3 GaN process and we look forward to getting HRL GaN into the hands of more users.”

HRL is running four multi-project wafer runs per year. To maintain leadership in RF microelectronics, the US Defense Industrial Base requires accelerated maturation of domestic open foundries with next generation RF GaN fabrication capabilities.

HRL Laboratories processes GaN wafers in a 10,000-square-foot ISO Class 4 cleanroom, and is a US Department of Defense Trusted Foundry. Details are available at the company foundry website ( or by email at fab[at]

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HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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