Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }


Communications devices use microwaves, which are tricky to amplify. Vacuum tube hardware weighing hundreds of kilograms is needed to produce the highest-power signals for military radar. Semiconductor devices made of silicon or gallium arsenide work well for the few-kilometer transmissions required by cell phones, but they have too little power to send signals over long distances. A new microwave amplifier built at General Electric’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, packs the amplifying power of vacuum tubes into a semiconductor package. GE developed techniques for reducing defects in gallium nitride as it is manufactured; the team also built computer models to design devices that work well despite such defects. The result: gallium nitride devices that provide about seven times the power of other semiconductors at certain microwave-communications frequencies. GE is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to deliver high-power radar for lightweight, unmanned military aircraft in five to ten years.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Web

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me