Felix Ejeckam and Ty Mitchell, both experts in GaN-on-Diamond technology, have joined forces to create Akash Systems, Inc, a company based in San Francisco, California, committed to enabling fast, affordable satellite communications.
Through the application of GaN-on-Diamond materials, they believe they can resolve issues critical to the expansive growth of data use and consumption, enabling smaller, lighter and higher performing satellites that lead to lower launch costs, reduced cost-per-bit, more launch cycles, and increased communications access and throughput.
“There is a great need and demand for new satellites that are lower-cost and allow for faster downlink data rates,” said co-founder, CEO and GaN-on-Diamond Inventor Felix Ejeckam. “Our technology will also create opportunities not envisioned today, including deep space communications, faster data links between spacecraft, and higher-density information access between human communities, no matter where they are in the universe.”
Creating this future begins with Akash’s high-performance components – phase one of their business approach – which includes GaN-on-Diamond hybrids and MMIC power amplifiers that are currently on the market. Akash plans to move into phase two, working with satellite system makers to design small satellite (Cubesat) systems and subsystems, by 2019.
Ejeckam invented the GaN-on-Diamond technology in 2003, while at Group4 Labs by lifting GaN epitaxy from its original growth substrate - for example, silicon - and transferring it to a synthetic CVD diamond substrate. Group4 Labs’ assets were acquired in 2013 by Element Six Technologies, a member of the De Beers Group of Companies.
In 2016, Ejeckam with Akash co-founder and COO Ty Mitchell, entered into an agreement with RFHIC Corporation to jointly negotiate the repurchase of the GaN-on-Diamond intellectual property (IP), with Akash acquiring all patents and other IP rights related to GaN-on-Diamond technology for use in satellite communications and related markets.
“Imagine extending the reach of fast, affordable communications to every human on earth. Imagine the possibility of high-bandwidth communications between Earth and deep space, or even human colonies in space. At Akash, we are creating technologies to make that vision come true,” said Mitchell, who prior to forming Akash was at Cree, where he served in roles including EVP/GM and VP/GM of Cree’s Optoelectronics, GaN/SiC materials, and LED Lighting businesses.
He added: “Akash is excited to acquire this IP to serve our customer base of satellite system makers around the world. We want to redefine what people believe are limitations in satellite communications.”