SSPA stands for a solid-state power amplifier. This is one among the two types of microwave amplifier, the other one being traveling wave tube amplifier-TWTA.
Amplifiers come in varied shapes and sizes, especially in the satellite communication sector. Whether it is SSPAs, vacuum-tube amplifiers, magnetic amplifiers or negative resistance amplifiers, all have their inherent usefulness and drawback or inapplicability, basis their utilization.
Irrespective of the types of amplifiers, it is the most important component which makes satellite communications possible by enhancing the power of radio frequencies received by antennas.
An SSPA system based on Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) is in use for over 4 decades now and are popular.
However, Gallium Nitrate (GaN) based SSPA was first designed by the department of defense, in 2000 and were used for improvised explosion device-IED-jammers in Iraq.
Commercial use of Gallium Nitrate (GaN) based SSPA, initially, was developed for low-frequency L, S and C band satellite communications. Now, it is also been used for higher frequencies like X, Ku, and Ka frequency bands.
SSPA based on GaAs and GaN transistors are used for microwave and millimeter-wave electronics purposes like satellite, radar, communications and electronic warfare systems.
The temperature is a crucial aspect of SSPA’s performance, Gallium Nitrate-GaN-based SSPA can perform better, without degradation, as compared to a GaAs SSPA.
Gallium Nitrate based SSPA is voted to be the most intrinsically reliable SSPA compared to other amplifiers, as it has a reduced maintenance down-time that results in OPEX cost saving.
Many GaAs and GaN SSPA can be found on the Raditek website.