InP High Electron Mobility Transistor Design for Cryogenic Low Noise Amplifiers
Licentiate thesis, 2018

The InGaAs/InAlAs/InP high electron mobility transistor (InP HEMT) is the superior technology for the most demanding low-noise and high-speed microwave and millimeter-wave applications, in particular in radio astronomy and deep-space communication. InP HEMT has enabled cryogenic low noise amplifier (LNA) designs with noise temperatures about ten times the quantum noise limit from sub  GHz up to 120 GHz. In this thesis, design techniques of 100 nm gate length InP HEMTs for state-of-the-art cryogenic LNAs are reported. Detailed DC, RF and noise analysis for the InP HEMTs at 300 K and 5 K are presented. The thesis is divided into two parts.

The first part of the work reports on the optimization of 100nm gate length InP HEMT technology for cryogenic LNA applications at microwave frequencies. By scaling the gate length and barrier thickness combined with reduction of source and gate resistances, advances in cryogenic noise performance for wideband monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) LNA were demonstrated in the frequency range 0.3-28 GHz. At 4 K, the minimum noise temperature was 2.2 K and 4.8 K for a 0.3-14 GHz and 16-28 GHz LNA, respectively. The cryogenic MMIC LNAs demonstrated state-of-the-art noise performance.

In the second part, cryogenic stability of two-finger InP HEMTs is investigated. The InP HEMTs exhibited anomalous behavior in terms of jumps in drain current, sharp peaks in transconductance, and decreased gain under cryogenic operation. Three different design techniques for two-finger HEMTs were tested to mitigate the anomalous instabilities associated with cryogenic operation. By either adding a source air-bridge, connecting the back end of gates or increasing the gate resistance, stable device operation was demonstrated for each case. Successful stabilization was confirmed both on device and circuit level by cryogenic measurements. A three-stage 24-40 GHz and a four-stage 28-52 GHz MMIC LNA based on the source air-bridge design technique for the two-finger InP HEMTs were demonstrated at 5.5K. The minimum noise temperature was 7 K and 6.7 K in the 24-40 GHz and 28-52 GHz LNA, respectively. Both designs demonstrated the lowest noise temperature reported so far for cryogenic MMIC LNAs for these frequency bands.



noise temperature




Fasrummet A820
Opponent: Assistant Prof. Helena Rodilla, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Terahertz and Millimetre Wave Laboratory, Chalmers University of Technology


Eunjung Cha

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Microwave Electronics

Two-Finger InP HEMT Design for Stable Cryogenic Operation of Ultra-Low-Noise Ka- and Q-Band LNAs

IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques,; Vol. 65(2017)p. 5171-5180

Journal article

0.3-14- and 16-28-GHz Wide-Bandwidth Cryogenic MMIC Low-Noise Amplifiers, E. Cha, N. Wadefalk, P. -A. Nilsson, J. Schleeh, G. Moschetti, A. Pourkabirian, S. Tuzi, and J. Grahn

Cryogenic low-noise InP HEMTs: A source-drain distance study

2016 Compound Semiconductor Week, CSW 2016,; (2016)p. Article number 7528576-

Paper in proceeding

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (SO 2010-2017, EI 2018-)

Materials Science

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences

Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


Basic sciences


Nanofabrication Laboratory

Technical report MC2 - Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Chalmers University of Technology: 387



Fasrummet A820

Opponent: Assistant Prof. Helena Rodilla, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Terahertz and Millimetre Wave Laboratory, Chalmers University of Technology

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