Akoustis Technologies, Inc., an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced that it has successfully completed Phase 1 of its contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods that can scale its XBAW technology to 18 GHz, and was awarded a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract for Phase 2 of the DARPA COmpact Front-end Filters at the ElEment-level (COFFEE) program.
Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling, and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. An alternative approach to BAW frequency scaling is a simple overtone mode operation, but this severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In DARPA’s COFFEE program, Akoustis developed a novel technology (“XP3F”) to overcome trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce XP3F filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire electromechanical coupling capability of the underlying piezoelectric material.
Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis, stated, “The first phase of the COFFEE program has been a resounding success for Akoustis as we have been able to fully leverage the inherent advantages of single crystal materials to develop a superior technology over purely poly-crystal based technologies.” Mr. Shealy continued, “Through DARPA COFFEE, we successfully introduced a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q-factor while mitigating the decrease in electromechanical coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology and the XP3F overtone technology developed in Phase 1 of COFFEE, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology from X-band through 18 GHz—specifically in terms of power handling, Q-factor, and electro-mechanical coupling relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.”
Akoustis maintains its momentum with robust demand and an expanding sales pipeline for its XBAW® filter products, in addition to its new XBAW®/SAW resonator and oscillator products, and semiconductor back-end services. The Company continues to secure new Wi-Fi design wins in its target markets including Wi-Fi, 5G Infrastructure, and Automotive, many of which are slated to ramp into production in the coming months.