5G SwaP+C

Date: 02.10.2023

Topics: Future telecoms, Gallium Nitride, RF & Microwave

Project summary

Project details

Total project cost: £3,500,000

Funder: Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

Start date: 02/10/2023

Partners: Space Forge; BT; CSA Catapult

This project brings together CSA Catapult, BT and Space Forge to develop high-frequency and energy-efficient radio frequency (RF) GaN (Gallium Nitride) power amplifiers for massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) systems.

The project will focus on producing and utilising alternative ultra-wide bandgap materials alongside RF GaN to create state of the art, efficient power amplifiers.

The use of alternative wide band gap materials in RF GaN power amplifiers offers significant advantages in thermal efficiency. This enables the devices to operate at higher frequencies and faster speeds, meeting the increasing demands for wireless bandwidth in the 5G and future 6G networks.

By leveraging the exceptional thermal properties of wide bandgap materials, these power amplifiers can run more efficiently. It will result in reduced power consumption and improved overall system cost for telecom operators like BT.

The project aligns with the UK's strategic goals of creating a sovereign supply chain for wireless infrastructure components. It ensures the security and resilience of the country's telecommunications network.

By developing advanced power amplifier technologies and enhancing energy efficiency in radio units, the project aims to lower operational costs and provide globally competitive mobile services.


“BT are delighted to be supporting the UK component supply chain on this cutting edge project. This will provide greater supply chain resilience and enable us to steer innovation to gain global competitive advantage. There is clear demand for high-performance energy-efficient 5G/6G components. The project will fabricate and characterise new technical RF front ends to show the operational benefits for network operators. We will measure the performance uplift as a function of frequency with enhanced thermal interface materials and cooling. Novel material fabrication can significantly reduce the energy consumption of terrestrial wireless communications whilst also delivering improved RF performance.”

Fraser Burton, Senior Manager – Network Physics, BT

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