Sunday, December 30, 2007

Integrated Receiver For High Frequency Applications On A Tiny Chip

The receiver is just a few square millimetre and is suitable for new safety systems, image sensors, and radio communication for high bitrates. The receiver is an electronic circuit including antenna, low noise amplifier, and frequency converter monolithically integrated on gallium arsenide.

The receiver is just a few square millimetre and is suitable for new safety systems, image sensors, and radio communication for high bitrates. The receiver is an electronic circuit including antenna, low noise amplifier, and frequency converter monolithically integrated on gallium arsenide. (Credit: Image courtesy of Chalmers University)

"This is a breakthrough in our research. Our result opens the possibility to manufacture systems for very high frequencies within the so called 'THZ-electronics' area, to a relatively low cost. In the next phase of this project even more functions can be integrated on the same chip", according to Herbert Zirath, professor at the department of Microwave Electronics.

This circuit can be used, for instance, in radiometer systems in future safety systems looking for concealed weapons without personal intrusive search. Other applications for this circuit are imaging sensors that can look through darkness, smoke or fog. This is an important safety function for vehicles such as cars and aircrafts.

"Thanks to this technology, we now have the possibility of integrating imaging sensors by using circuits of a few square millimetre which is much smaller that the present technology at a lower cost. For automotive applications such as cars, aircrafts and satellites, the size and weight is of utmost importance. The present systems consist of many pieces and demands several cubic decimetres volume", says Herbert Zirath.

The new circuit is designed to work at the frequency of 220 gigahertz, but this is not an upper limit. According to professor Zirath, the technology can be used up to and above 300GHz in a near future.

The technology is also interesting for wireless data communication because, due to the very high bandwidth, data rate well above 10 Gbit/s is possible to realize in future radio links. Together with Omnisys Instruments in Gothenburg, we are also implementing receivers for future earth observation satellites for environmental studies and weather forecasts at frequencies 118 and 183 GHz, using the same technology.

Source : Click here
Read more ...

Five key tips for using an oscilloscope

The oscilloscope is one of the most widely used pieces of test equipment. It is used my many engineers almost every day and as a result it sometimes helps to recap some simple but important tips that enable the best to be gained from this type of test equipment.

When making measurements using an oscilloscope there are a number of pitfalls that result in measurements not being as accurate or useful as they might otherwise be. Taking a few simple precautions when using an oscilloscope, it is possible to ensure that the measurements taken are as accurate as possible and that the measurements are as useful as possible.

Some of the precautions result from knowing the limitations of using an oscilloscope. However other precautions can be reflected in the way the oscilloscope is used, and the equipment, including probes that are used with the test equipment.

Beware of oscilloscope bandwidth limitations
As with any item of test equipment used for making measurements of signals and waveforms the bandwidth of the oscilloscope is particularly important. If the oscilloscope is to be able to reproduce the image of the waveform accurately then it must have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate the frequencies within the signal.

For sinusoidal type waveforms, measurements should not be made near the 3dB bandwidth as operating in this area will give a 30% reduction in the signal level. For digital measurements, the expected rise time of the signal can be used to determine the bandwidth requirements of the oscilloscope.

Ensure the correct triggering
In order that any waveform can be seen clearly when using an oscilloscope, it is necessary to ensure that the oscilloscope triggers correctly. If it does not trigger properly then the waveform will not be seen clearly. In view of the fact that it is necessary to view many complex waveforms on an oscilloscope, it is not always possible to enable it to trigger correctly when using the automatic trigger facility taken from the input channels. When looking at the best methods it is necessary to consider using the external trigger, and using a pulse of other suitable waveform from another point on the circuit under test. In this way it is often possible to gain a much better signal so that the oscilloscope can display the optimum image of the waveform.

Use the right oscilloscope probe
In the same way that the performance of any piece of test equipment can have its performance limited by some of the peripheral equipment, the same is particularly true when using an oscilloscope. While it is common to focus on the specification of the oscilloscope as this is the item into which the major investment is made. However the performance of the oscilloscope probe is just as important. If a poor oscilloscope probe is used then the performance of the whole test equipment will be impaired.

The oscilloscope probe should provide a simple way of presenting the signal on the board or item under test to the input of the oscilloscope, and ideally being totally transparent. A typical probe will consist of three major elements: probe tip; length of shielded wire; and a compensation network.

The most common types of oscilloscope probe are the passive probes. Of these there are two major types that are used namely a X1 and a X10. The X1 probe presents the signal as it is to the oscilloscope. Normally the oscilloscope input impedance is 1 Mohm. However this can load the device under test and distort the waveform. In addition to this tip capacitance of a x! oscilloscope probe can be as high as 100 pF. To overcome some of these problems and load the circuit under test less, a X10 probe can be used. Providing an input impedance of 10 Mohms and a capacitance which may be typically around 10pF, it will distort the waveform much less. Where even greater levels of performance are required, active oscilloscope probes may be sued. Having the active element very close to the tip of the oscilloscope probe, these have much higher levels of input impedance and lower levels of capacitance.

Remember to calibrate the oscilloscope probe
When using an oscilloscope, it is very easy to plug the oscilloscope probe in and start to make measurements. Unfortunately oscilloscope probes need to be calibrated before they are sued to ensure that their response is flat. There is a built in calibrator on virtually every oscilloscope for this purpose. It provides a square wave output, and there is a small preset adjustor on the probe. With the oscilloscope probe connected to the output of the calibrator the shape of the waveform displayed on the screen should be adjusted until it is perfectly square. If the high frequency response of the probe is down then the edges of the square wave will be rounded. If it is up then the square wave edges will show overshoot.

Although a simple adjustment, it is essential that it is undertaken to ensure that the performance of the probe is correct.

Beware using ground clips for high speed measurements
Oscilloscope probes normally come with a clip that is removable, and an earth or grounding clip that provides the earth return to the circuit under test. The clip can normally be taken to a convenient earth test point on the board. While this is perfectly adequate for most low frequency measurements and tests, when high speed tests are to be made, it is not satisfactory. The wire to the clip introduces inductance and this can introduce ringing into the circuit and this affects the measurements.

The only way to overcome this problem is to significantly reduce the length of any return path, and also reduce the length of wire to the actual probe tip. This can be done by removing the ground clip and its associated wire. In addition to this the clip on the centre of the probe can also be removed. This leaves a short exposed coaxial style connection. The centre connection or pin is for the signal and the surrounding connection is for a direct connection to an earth plane. While this may present some physical problems in making connections, it provides a far better level of electrical performance.

Using the oscilloscope
Oscilloscopes are easy to use, and with the developments in recent years oscilloscopes, along with many items of electronic test equipment have become even more versatile. It is possible to use them to see waveforms that might not have been at all easy even a few years ago. However the basic knowledge of using oscilloscopes is only gained from years of using them, but it is hoped that these few tips will enable them to be used in a better way and to be able to gain more from them.

Source : Click here
Read more ...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dual Multiband Transceiver with FPGA Offers Improved Signal-to-Noise, SFDR

Dual Multiband Transceiver with FPGA Offers Improved SNR and SFDRPentek released its Model 7141 Dual Multiband Transceiver with FPGA. It is a complete software radio system for connection to HF or IF ports of a communications system. The device's signal-to-noise ratio and the spurious free dynamic range are improved by 10 dB, when compared to many competitive products, according to the company. It accepts two full scale analog HF or IF inputs on front-panel MMCX connectors at +10 dBm into 50 ohms with transformer coupling into Linear Technology’s LTC2255 14-bit 125 MHz A/D converters. A/D output samples are delivered into the Virtex-II Pro FPGA for signal processing or for routing to other module resources. A TI/Graychip GC4016 quad digital downconverter accepts either four 14-bit inputs or three 16-bit digital inputs from the FPGA, which determines the source of GC4016 input data. These sources include the A/D converters, FPGA signal processing engines, SDRAM delay memory and data sources on the PCI bus. Each GC4016 channel may be set for independent tuning frequency and bandwidth. A TI DAC5686 digital upconverter (DUC) and dual D/A accepts baseband real or complex data streams from the FPGA with signal bandwidths up to 40 MHz. When operating as an upconverter, it interpolates and translates real or complex baseband input signals to any IF center frequency between DC and 160 MHz. It provides real or quadrature (I+Q) analog outputs through two 320 MHz, 16-bit D/A converters to two front-panel MMCX connectors at +4 dBm into 50 ohms. The Xilinx XC2VP50 Virtex-II Pro FPGA serves as a control and status engine with data and programming interfaces to each of the on-board resources including the A/D converters, GC4016 digital downconverter, digital upconverter and D/A converters.

Source :
Read more ...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sony becomes latest to quit rear-projection TVs

Sony Corp said on Thursday it would stop making rear-projection televisions, becoming the latest company to distance itself from a technology once seen as a promising rival of LCD and plasma displays in the flat-TV market.

Sony said it would focus its resources on liquid crystal display (LCD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology to address the flat-TV market, which is growing rapidly as consumers trade in their boxy tube sets for sleeker flat screens.

The consumer electronics firm plans to stop making rear-projection TVs at three plants in Japan and overseas in February, company spokesman Shinji Obana said.

Seiko Epson Corp said earlier this month that it had halted production and sales of its rear-projection TVs, while Hitachi Ltd withdrew from the North American rear-projection TV market earlier this year.

Demand for rear-projection TVs, which were once dominant in the large-sized flat-TV market, has been dwindling as electronics makers in recent years started offering larger and cheaper LCD and plasma models.

In October, Sony cut its rear-projection TV sales target for the year to March by 43 percent to 400,000 units.

Read more ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Integrated Circuits And How They Affect You

Integrated circuits have played a large role in the development of all the technological wonders that populate the world today. But what is an integrated circuit? How does it apply to you? How has their development changed your life? To answer these questions, we must first work to understand them as a whole.

Integrated circuits, or chips, simply perform as a very powerful electric circuit. Their makeup should not be too far from your grasp, as they are constructed from basic electronic parts. The technology that makes your computer able to run everything from Word to Half-Life is just run by connected transistors, diodes, capacitors, and resistors. The transistors act as amplifiers for all of our household electronics, while the resistors focus on tuning back the effect.

Capacitors allow electricity to be stored and released in varying amounts for special effects, and the diode works to cut off electricity. Through these simply changes to electric current, we are able to send information throughout the device to make everything just work.

Now that you understand the basics, you should probably at least understand how we went from basic circuitry in the 1950s to the supercomputers of the 21st Century. The 1950s saw a very important change in the field of electronic parts. Transistors were invented to replace the bulky and ineffective vacuum tubes that were once necessary for circuits. This let smaller electronics be practical and possible, since you finally didn't need your own power plant to run advancing technologies.

The chips were still held back by old circuitry though. Computers require the electric signals to flow quickly between the different parts. Old methods of production meant that the chips were just too large to actually be fast enough for practical computing. A new method for building a faster and smaller chip had to be found.

The answer came through the development of the integrated circuit by Jack Kilby. He was just a new researcher left alone in the Texas Instruments laboratory while several of his colleagues were on vacation. While alone, he came up with a radical new way to actually craft chips. The different parts could just be made out of one block of a semi-conductive material.

Metal connections would then just connect the different pieces together. Gone were the days of unwieldy and ineffective wires for transmitting information from point A to point B. This technique allowed for smaller integrated circuits to be made later on, which ultimately led to the development of the microprocessor.

In the end, this simple development opened the door for years of refinement that have led us to our current position. One integrated circuit led to another until it ended with the mind shatteringly fast chips of today. Hundreds of millions of basic electronic parts are now able to fit on one chip that is no larger than an average fingernail.

Pretty amazing, especially when you consider that this chip powers your life through its advanced methods of calculation that paved the way for the information age.

Source : Click here
Read more ...

Monday, December 17, 2007

SiBar™ Devices Help Protect High Data Rate Telcom and Datacom Equipment

Tyco Electronics expands its Raychem™ brand SiBar™ thyristor series to include new bi-directional transient voltage surge suppressors with an expanded range of voltages and lower capacitance to help protect high-speed ADSL/VDSL modems, Ethernet and Power-over-Ethernet and other high data rate communications equipment.

Product Features
  • GR-1089 Core, ITU K.20/K.21, IEC61000-4-5, FCC part 68, and UL60950 compliant
  • F, bi-directional protection in industry standard surge current families of 50A, 80A and 100A (10/1000µs)
  • Voltage ranges from 6V to 400V, capacitance values as low as 12pF, maximum leakage current of only 2µA and a minimum hold current of 150mA
  • Housed in surface-mount SMB (JEDEC DO-214AA) and SMA (JEDEC DO-214AC) package options
  • Small form factor, low on-state power dissipation, and accurate foldback voltage shunting
  • RoHS-compliant
  • Analog and Digital Linecards
  • xDSL and ISDN Modems
  • Set-top Boxes
  • T1 Equipment
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) Equipment
Read more ...

New Scale Debuts World's Smallest Linear Motor

At 1.5 x 1.5 x 6 mm, Latest Piezoelectric SQUIGGLE Motor is Half the Size of Other Micro-Motors; Offers Ten Times the Precision and Push Force

May 25, 2006 - Victor, NY - The latest SQUIGGLE motor from New Scale Technologies, Inc. is the smallest linear motor on the market, the company announced today. At 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm, the new SQL-1.5 piezoelectric motor is half the size of competing micro-motors. It also offers a 20 gram push force and sub-micron position resolution, performing ten times better than its closest competitor on both counts.

"The SQL-1.5 opens a whole new range of performance for miniature electronic systems such as phone cameras and medical devices," said New Scale president David Henderson. "Designers of leading edge mobile devices finally have a precise, reliable linear motor that fits within their size and power budgets. They can add motion – and hence new capabilities – where they were unable to do so before."

A description of the SQUIGGLE motor operating principle is available at

Typical applications: phone cameras and medical devices

The SQL-1.5 has been designed into next-generation auto focus and optical zoom assemblies by leading camera module developers, who support the top tier handset manufacturers. Focus and zoom capabilities have become an essential ingredient in the drive to deliver smaller, thinner handsets with the image quality of digital still cameras.

"Even by the most conservative handset sales forecasts, phone cameras alone represent a new market for one billion motors a year," Henderson said. "The requirements of these cameras can not be met by current motor technologies."

The SQL-1.5 is also of interest to medical device manufacturers for a new class of implantable drug pumps and micro-valves. The motor itself is tiny, but its high precision is what enables the most dramatic reduction in overall device size. It provides more precise valve control, which permits more concentrated medications and therefore smaller fluid reservoirs. The patented ceramic motor design generates no magnetic fields and can be made of non-ferrous materials, making it MRI-safe and image compatible.

SQL-1.5 SQUIGGLE Motor Specifications

- Motor body dimensions 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm x 6 mm
- Stroke 10 mm (customizable)
- Resolution Better than 100 nm
- Speed (no load) Up to 10 mm/s
- Force > 20 grams
- Typical input power (moving) 400 mW (< 40 V)
- Input power (stationary) 0 mW (0 V)

See complete SQL Series specifications and downloadable data sheet on the website. The SQL-1.5 SQUIGGLE motor evaluation kit is $950 and will be available to qualified OEMs for delivery in July 2006.

The evaluation kit includes an SQL-1.5 SQUIGGLE motor, drive electronics card, cables, and computer control software including an ActiveX command library.

About the SQUIGGLE Motor

The patented SQUIGGLE motor design uses a threaded nut and screw to create precise linear movement in a very small space. Piezoelectric ceramics create ultrasonic vibrations in the nut, causing the screw to rotate and translate with high precision. SQUIGGLE motors are smaller, more precise, less expensive and more efficient than conventional electromagnetic motors. In addition, they use 90 percent fewer parts and require no gear reduction, which eliminates many failure modes. The patented ultrasonic motor design has much lower power consumption than miniature electromagnetic motors and holds its position when the power is turned off, further conserving battery life. This ceramic motor is fundamentally compatible with high magnetic fields including MRI chambers.

SQUIGGLE motors are used in nanotechnology research, microelectronics, optics, lasers, biotechnology, medical devices, aerospace and defense, fluid control, and office/consumer products including mobile phone cameras.

About New Scale Technologies, Inc.

New Scale Technologies, Inc. ( makes miniature ceramic motors that enable our customers to create smaller products and research tools. Our piezoelectric SQUIGGLE motors are smaller, more efficient and more precise than conventional motors. With very few parts and no gears, this patented piezoelectric motor design uses ultrasonic vibrations to create precise linear motion. New Scale's miniature motors are compatible with extreme environments including vacuum, very low (sub-Kelvin) temperatures, and high magnetic fields.

SQUIGGLE is a registered trademark of New Scale Technologies, Inc.

For more information contact:

Fred Haas, Sales Manager, New Scale Technologies
Phone 585-924-4450 x 112

Read more ...

New High-Power LED Driver from Catalyst Semiconductor Optimized for Rapidly Growing, Mid-Size LCD Panel Market

Catalyst Semiconductor, Inc. (NASDAQ:CATS) a supplier of analog, mixed-signal and non-volatile memory semiconductors has expanded its line of high-power LED drivers with a new device optimized for the rapidly growing mid-size LCD panel market. The new CAT4139 boost converter provides a switch current up to 750mA and drives LED strings up to 22V, making it an ideal choice for digital photo frames and other backlighting applications where high LED counts (up to 40 LEDs) are emerging.

Many high-voltage boost converters typically use a simple variable-frequency switching scheme. This approach results in a wide range of unwanted harmonics, which are not easy to filter or eliminate. The CAT4139 uses a fixed frequency (1MHz) switching architecture making it ideal for low noise applications. A high voltage CMOS output stage in the device allows 5 LED strings (up to 22V) to be accurately biased and regulated from a low voltage input supply while still delivering efficiency levels of up to 87%. The CAT4139 follows Catalyst's CAT4240 high-power boost converter introduced earlier this year, which drives 10 LED strings up to 38V each.

To eliminate excessive "in-rush" currents which can occur during initial power-up, the CAT4139 offers an integrated soft-start control. In the event of an open-LED fault condition, an internal over-voltage protection circuit will place the device into a low-power operating mode restricting the output voltage to safe levels without the need for external circuitry. Both of these features are fully integrated, eliminating the need for external components and the associated cost and board space overhead.

Designers have a choice of controlling LED dimming in the CAT4139 using a DC voltage, logic signal, or pulse width modulation (PWM) signal.
Product Features
  • Switch current limit 750mA
  • Drives high voltage LED strings up to 22V
  • 1MHz fixed-frequency, low-noise operation
  • Fully protected
  • Packaging: 5-lead TSOT23 (1mm max height)
Price and Availability
The CAT4139 LED driver is priced at $0.64 each in 10,000 piece quantities. Samples are available now. Projected lead-time for production quantities is currently 6 to 8 weeks ARO.

About Catalyst Semiconductor
Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Catalyst Semiconductor designs and markets analog, mixed-signal and non-volatile memory products, including Digitally Programmable Potentiometers (DPP™), white and color LED drivers, DC/DC converters, LDO regulators, voltage supervisors, bus expanders, serial and parallel EEPROMs, Flash and NVRAM. Many of Catalyst's products incorporate the Company's Quantum Charge Programmable™ technology, to deliver Adaptive Analog™ products, which offer a new level of customer flexibility, lower power and smaller die size. Catalyst products are used in telecommunications, computer, automotive, industrial and consumer markets. Typical applications include LCD displays, automotive lighting, optical networks, printers, modems, wireless LANs, network cards, DIMM modules, cellular telephones, navigation systems, set-top boxes and Internet routers.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to uncertainties and risks including, but not limited to statements relating to lead times and product availability for Catalyst Semiconductor's LED drivers. These statements are based on current information and market conditions and, as such, are subject to uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ from those described in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may affect product availability and lead times include manufacturing process interruptions at Catalyst's or our vendors' production facilities, fluctuations in customer demand and changes in market supply. Additional information about factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained under the heading "Certain Factors That May Affect the Company's Future Results of Operations" listed from time-to-time in reports Catalyst files with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, but not limited to, Catalyst's Annual Report filed on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports filed on Form 10-Q. Catalyst disclaims any obligation to update information contained in any forward-looking statement.

Read more ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Link Partners

Read more ...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rohde & Schwarz unveils fast production tester for wireless devices up to 6 GHz

The R&S CMW500 non-signaling tester delivers high speed, accuracy, and high scalability when used in the production of wireless devices. Featuring a frequency range up to 6 GHz and an IF bandwidth of 40 MHz/70 MHz (analyzer/generator), the production tester has been designed to anticipate future technological developments, This ensures minimum test costs and high safety of investment.

The R&S CMW500 one-box tester includes a powerful RF analyzer and generator. This combination plus a new test concept ensures maximum test performance, minimum space requirements, and comparatively low power consumption.

"Modern mobile phones are becoming more and more complex", says Anton Messmer, Director of the Mobile Radio Testers Subdivision. "The test effort increases with every new technology and every additional frequency band. To curb the growth in test times and costs, completely new approaches are needed. That's the reason Rohde & Schwarz developed the R&S Smart Alignment test concept for manufacturers of chipsets and wireless devices. By applying this test concept, alignment times are up to ten times faster than with conventional methods."

A prerequisite for minimum production costs is maximum first pass yield. Yield depends on optimizing the entire production process, where the measurement accuracy of the individual components involved is crucial. For this reason, very high standards – especially with regard to absolute accuracy, repeatability, and linearity – were set during the development of the R&S CMW500.

The R&S CMW500 presently supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, mobile WiMAX, CDMA2000, and TD-SCDMA as options. Further technologies will follow. Rohde & Schwarz provides applications that allow extremely fast measurements.

With a frequency range of 3.3 GHz, the base unit supports all important mobile radio bands used today. Since the range can be easily extended from 3.3 GHz to 6 GHz with software, the tester is excellently positioned for future developments.

Due to the high stability of the R&S CMW500 design, users can extend the calibration interval to two years, generating further cost savings.

Source : Click here

Read more ...

NI intros high-performance Smart Camera family

National Instruments has announced the NI 1722 and NI 1742 Smart Cameras to provide engineers and scientists with high-performance systems at a low cost. The NI Smart Cameras are embedded devices that combine an industrial controller with an image sensor and integrate with NI vision software to offer image processing directly on the cameras, making them ideal for applications such as locating parts, inspecting packaging, verifying assembly and reading 1-D and 2-D codes.

The new cameras are shipped with National Instruments Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI), an interactive software environment for configuring, benchmarking and deploying machine vision applications without programming. With this intuitive, menu-driven software, engineers can build complex machine vision applications incorporating not only vision algorithms but also state-based execution with looping and branching using the built-in state diagram editor. For more advanced applications, NI Smart Cameras also integrate with National Instruments LabVIEW software and the full NI library of image processing and machine vision algorithms such as edge detection, pattern matching, 1-D and 2-D code reading and optical character recognition. Machine vision applications can migrate between platforms with few modifications because LabVIEW and Vision Builder AI support this entire range of hardware.

"The NI Smart Camera represents a significant step forward for the vision industry by achieving high performance at a low cost while expanding the NI vision hardware platform beyond PC-based systems and compact vision systems to the sensor itself," said John Hanks, NI vice president of industrial product marketing. "From inspecting silicon wafers to packaging food products, NI Smart Cameras provide machine builders and process engineers with easy-to-use, all-in-one inspection solutions that deliver the capabilities of a full-featured vision system."

Built for use in harsh industrial environments, the NI 1722 features a 400 MHz PowerPC processor and the NI 1742 features a 533 MHz processor. The monochrome VGA (640 x 480) image sensor used in both cameras is a high-quality Sony charge-coupled device. The cameras also provide built-in industrial I/O, including two opto-isolated digital inputs and two opto-isolated digital outputs, one RS232 serial port and two gigabit Ethernet ports with support for industrial protocols, including Modbus TCP.

In addition, the NI 1742 includes quadrature encoder support and a built-in controller featuring NI direct drive lighting technology. With quadrature encoder support, engineers can easily synchronize inspections with linear and rotary drive systems. The NI direct drive controller features a built-in LED lighting drive that provides up to 500 mA constant current and up to 1 A strobed current. Strobe lighting offers increased lighting intensity by up to four times without harming the light head.

Source : Click here

Read more ...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nanotube-producing Bacteria Show Manufacturing Promise

The research team believes this is the first time nanotubes have been shown to be produced by biological rather than chemical means. It opens the door to the possibility of cheaper and more environmentally friendly manufacture of electronic materials.

The team, including Nosang V. Myung, associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering in the Bourns College of Engineering, and his postdoctoral researcher Bongyoung Yoo, found the bacterium Shewanella facilitates the formation of arsenic-sulfide nanotubes that have unique physical and chemical properties not produced by chemical agents.

"We have shown that a jar with a bug in it can create potentially useful nanostructures," Myung said. "Nanotubes are of particular interest in materials science because the useful properties of a substance can be finely tuned according to the diameter and the thickness of the tubes."

The whole realm of electronic devices which power our world, from computers to solar cells, today depend on chemical manufacturing processes which use tremendous energy, and leave behind toxic metals and chemicals. Myung said a growing movement in science and engineering is looking for ways to produce semiconductors in more ecologically friendly ways.

Two members of the research team, Hor Gil Hur and Ji-Hoon Lee from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Korea, first discovered something unexpected happening when they attempted to remediate arsenic contamination using the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella. Myung, who specializes in electro-chemical material synthesis and device fabrication, was able to characterize the resulting nano-material.

The photoactive arsenic-sulfide nanotubes produced by the bacteria behave as metals with electrical and photoconductive properties. The researchers report that these properties may also provide novel functionality for the next generation of semiconductors in nano- and opto-electronic devices.

In a process that is not yet fully understood, the Shewanella bacterium secretes polysacarides that seem to produce the template for the arsenic sulfide nanotubes, Myung explained. The practical significance of this technique would be much greater if a bacterial species were identified that could produce nanotubes of cadmium sulfide or other superior semiconductor materials, he added.

"This is just a first step that points the way to future investigation," he said. "Each species of Shewanella might have individual implications for manufacturing properties."

Study results appear in the December 7 issue of the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Myung, Yoo, Hur and Lee were joined in the research by Min-Gyu Kim, Pohang Accelerator Laboratory, Pohang, Korea; Jongsun Maeng and Takhee Lee, GIST; Alice C. Dohnalkova and James K. Fredrickson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.; and Michael J. Sadowsky, University of Minnesota.

The Center for Nanoscale Innovation for Defense provided funding for Myung's contribution to the study.

Source : Click here

Read more ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sim Free Nokia Mobile Phones-another Leap in Mobile Technology

Mobile phones these days are not just about staying in touch. They are also about convenience and cost effective communication. To cater to the changing style and requirements of phone users and to stay ahead of the competition, mobile companies have to come up with innovative and cutting edge technology everyday. SIM free mobile phones are another introduction in the global mobile phone market that gives independence from a specific mobile network to handset users.

When we think of stylish phones with innovative features, the first name that comes in our mind is Nokia. Nokia has always considered the needs of customers and now it has come out with a range of SIM free phones that let you switch from one network service provider to another without any hassle. The handsets give you the flexibility to communicate. Especially, when you are traveling in foreign countries, these phones prove advantageous for you.

Nokia SIM free phones are the cheapest way to staying in touch. You are not bound to any mobile network service provider. With a Nokia SIM free mobile phone, you can change your network without having to wait for any contract to get over. In case you are not satisfied with your current network service provider, you can shift to another anytime. Also, if you want to upgrade your handset without changing the operator, you could opt for a Nokia SIM free mobile phone. The convenience provided by Nokia SIM free mobile phone has become extremely popular with mobile phone users. There are several options that you can choose from in terms of network, model, tarrif plans, etc.

So in case you are still using a mobile phone without a SIM free facility, it's time for you to go for a Nokia SIM free mobile phone and get rid of the hassles that you have been facing in staying connected.
Read more ...

Watch Satellite TV on Computer and Save on Subscription Fees

If you are still paying monthly satellite TV subscription bills, you might find it a huge relief to know that know you can watch satellite TV on computer for an affordable one-time software download fee. Though the concept is still new, it is becoming increasingly popular among satellite TV viewers for a number of obvious reasons.

1. Simple and user-friendly software is the only thing you need to pay for in order to watch satellite TV on computer. The price of less than $50 with most retailers is ridiculous in comparison with expensive satellite dish equipment and monthly subscription fee.

2. Software installation is a child's play as compared to a messy dish system set-up. Anybody with minimum computer skills can do it.

3. While a satellite dish can cover 600-700 channels at maximum, the software that allows watching satellite TV on computer provides instant access to over 3000 TV channels and radio stations, including the ones that are normally not available in your country via satellite subscription services.

4. The software provides access to dozens of various languages and channels from nearly 80 countries worldwide.

5. You get to watch satellite TV on computer for free. Exclusive of the low software cost, there are no monthly payments, no hidden charges, no extra fees for new channels and updates.

6. When you choose to watch satellite TV on computer, you are free to select viewing only the channels or programs you want. With the smart software you can easily search and save your favorite channels to come back another day.

Any media player and fast Internet connection are two basic things you need to be able to watch satellite TV on computer using the software. Broadband connection will ensure the smoothest television feeds transmission. While other specifications do matter if you want to watch quality satellite TV on computer, you shouldn't bother too much as most of the modern PCs meet the minimum requirements.

As you see, monster satellite dish systems are becoming a notion from the past. Not only the younger tech savvy generation tends to watch satellite TV on computer using the amazing software, but some older folks too switch to the new method. With your PC or laptop being easily transformed into a satellite television set you can watch satellite TV on computer as soon as today itself!
Read more ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SMD-type DC/DC converter has up to 5W power rating

Source : Click here

DC-DC converter

Taiwan – Minmax Technology Co. Ltd offers its MSKW2000 series of DC/DC converter that features a power rating of up to 5W and a typical full-load efficiency of 85 percent, and has 21 models available. Each model has input voltage ranges of 9V to 18V DC, 18V to 36V DC and 36V to 75V DC, suitable for use in data communication equipment, mobile battery-driven devices, distributed power systems, mixed analog/digital subsystems, process/machine control equipment, computer peripheral systems and industrial robot systems. It provides precisely regulated output voltages of 3.3V, 5V, 12V, 15V, +/-5V, +/-12V and +/-15V DC. It has high-power density, a remote on/off control, short-circuit protection and an MTBF of more than one million hours.

Each EN55022 Class A-compliant converter has a "gull-wing" SMD-type package that minimizes cost and eliminates the need for external filtering. It operates at temperatures within -40 degree to 71 degree Celsius.

Read more ...

Radio-on-chip breaks low-power barrier for mobile devices

Source : Click here

Consumes 70% less power in active mode than competitive solutions and near-zero power in standby

Claimed to feature breakthrough low power for mobile WLAN solutions, the AR6002 radio-on-chip consumes 70% less power than competitive solutions on the market in active mode while downloading content. In addition, the AR6002 significantly extends battery life by drawing virtually zero power in standby.

For example, the part will take more than 100 hours to deplete a standard 3.7-V 800-mAh phone battery in continual VoIP mode. The device features substantial radio BOM integration onto the chip with integrated power amplifier (PA), low-noise amplifier (LNA), and RF switch in a leading total solution footprint of less than 50 mm2.

Additional features include pre-installed WLAN driver support for the Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 operating system, advanced algorithms for Bluetooth coexistence, and support for two-, three-, and four-wire handshaking protocols. The solution is available in single- (2.4-GHz) and dual-band (2.4/5-GHz) options in CSP or BGA packages (Call company for pricing samples available now; prod qty, 1st qtr 2008.)

Read more ...

MIMO technology to boost WiFi networking speed

Source : Click here
Atheros, the WiFi chip company, is pushing 802.11n multiple input multiple output MIMO WiFi as a technology which will double range and increase actual data throughput by six times, despite questions over the technology's attractions.

There are questions over interoperability, over the willingness of hot-spot owners to upgrade and over users' requirements for longer range and higher throughput.

"We're expecting pretty substantial growth for 802.11n. By the end of 2008 we expect to see it in 30 per cent of new, shipped, notebooks," Todd Antes, v-p for marketing at Atheros, told EW.

Last week Atheros introduced its first 802.11n single-chip product. The theoretical data throughput speed is 300Mbit/s. "At close range, ten feet, actual throughput is 60 per cent of that," said Antes. "We have measured 200Mbit/s actual throughput."

That compares to a theoretical 54Mbit/s for 802.11g, and an actual throughput, at close range, of 20Mbit/s.

The range of 802.11n compared to 802.11g is twice as much, according to Atheros.

So far, so good, but, asked about interoperability testing, Antes pointed out that a specification for testing products from different companies had only been agreed by the WiFi Alliance in May.

"Any products that have made it through the WiFi testing exhibit a mandated level of interoperability," said Antes. It is a less than ringing endorsement of 802.11n interoperability.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that users, who basically want to use WiFi for email, Skype calls and downloading printed data, have any complaints about the speeds of 802.11a and g.

So there is no pressure on hot-spot owners to install 802.11n. A further drawback for 802.11n installation is a lack of tools. Installers now have to use tools designed for 802.11a and g.

Since 802.11n is a draft standard, with final ratification maybe a year away, availability of installation tools could be limited for some time.
Read more ...

Sealed Beam LED Marker and Floodlight

Source : Click here

LEDtronics announced their PAR36 Series Marker Lamps and Floodlights designed as an energy-saving substitute for PAR36 sealed beam lamps. LEDtronics announced their PAR36 Series Marker Lamps and Floodlights designed as an energy-saving substitute for PAR36 sealed beam lamps. suitable industrial vehicles, golf carts, architectural accent lighting, low-heat medical spotlighting, emergency egress lighting systems, landscape lighting, and other utilizations. The lamp can be a direct drop-in replacement for 12/14V DC, 6V DC and 120V AC PAR36 incandescent lamps. The housing is a sealed unit that protects the LEDs inside and is resistant to moisture and dust, making it suitable for outdoor purposes where it can withstand exposure to harsh environments. They are available in Warm White (3000 Kelvin), Pure White (5500 Kelvin), and Cool White (8000 Kelvin) color temperatures. The lamp generates a negligible amount of heat and can brightly indicate your presence while consuming only 4.5Watts of power. An LED cluster lamp continues to provide light even if one or more emitters fail—unlike when the filament fails in an incandescent bulb.

Click here for the datasheet:

Read more ...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Encapsulated 15W to 40W PCB-Mount Supplies

Source : Click here

Lambda introduced its new KM-family of encapsulated AC/DC power supplies designed for applications that require robust, encapsulated, lightweight and compact power supplies - content Lambda introduced its new KM-family of encapsulated AC/DC power supplies designed for applications that require robust, encapsulated, lightweight and compact power supplies. Single, dual and triple output models are available with power ratings from 15W to 40W. They are available with combinations of output voltages including 3.3V, 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, and 24V (adjustable for special applications) and operate with an input range of 90V AC to 264V AC. Featuring a reinforced 4k Vac input to output isolation, these units meet IEC60601-1 international safety standards for medical equipment making them suitable for patient-connected medical and general-use applications.  The PCB-mount supplies are designed for convection cooling and can be operated in temperatures from -25°C to +70°C.  These sealed supplies resist dust, humidity and harsh environments. Standard features include high efficiency and MTBF, overcurrent, overvoltage and over-temperature protection.  Compliances include UL/IEC60601-1 Safety, Class II (no input ground wire needed), CE Mark, EN55011 EMC, and RoHS-compliant. The KM series are available now with prices starting at $26 each in 100 piece quantities.

Read more ...

Monday, November 05, 2007

LCDs and Plasma Televisions Highly Reliable

Source : Click here

Famed product review organization Consumer Reports has found that LCD and plasma televisions are generally very reliable and require few repairs during their first three years of service. The findings are potentially significant as the end-of-year holiday buying season begins, and electronics retailers pressure consumers to purchase extended warranties to go along with their new flat-screen televisions. According to Consumer Reports, most repairs to LCD and plasma televisions fall within manufacturer warranty periods, and even though rear-projection TVs were found to more problematic than LCD or plasma sets, even they don't generally need extended warranties unless they're going to see very heavy use.

Overall, Consumer Reports found that LCD and plasma flat-panel television sets had a 3 percent repair rate, while rear-projection televisions had an average 18 percent repair rate. About a quarter of the repairs in rear-projection TVs involved replacing the bulbs, with many of those failures occurring early in the unit's service and covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Average repairs for a rear-projection TV were $300; Consumer Reports recommends customers considering an extended warranty spend no more than $200 to $300 on it (essentially, the cost of a new bulb) or 15 percent of the unit's price, whichever is lower. But unless users are planning on using the TV 5,000 or more hours within the warranty period, an extended warranty probably still isn't worthwhile.

Among flat-panel televisions, Panasonic's 50-inch TH-50PZ700U plasma was rated the best flat-panel television the organization had ever tested. Panasonic LCD and plasma sets had a 2 percent overall repair rate; other brands with low LCD repair rates included JVC, Toshiba, Samsung, and Sony, while Pioneer and Samsung plasma sets were also found to be reliable. Consumer Reports found less reliable sets were sold by Dell LCD TV (the company has exited the flat-panel TV market), Hitachi LCDs, and Philips plasma sets.

Read more ...

Bug Labs lets consumers build their own gadgets

Source : Click here

The BUGbase the hub that every BUGmodule snaps into. Image credit: Bug Labs.

The BUGbase, the hub that every BUGmodule snaps into. Image credit: Bug Labs.

A New York company called Bug Labs has recently released information about their new product called BUG. A collection of various open source hardware modules, BUG allows consumers to build their own gadgets, such as cameras, keyboards, speakers, GPS and more. The product requires no soldering or solid state electronics skills, so virtually anybody can mix, match, and create their own unique device.
These modular gadget kits may be more than just fun for tech enthusiasts, however. The product is just the beginning of Bug Labs´ goal to redefine consumer electronics with—a name they´ve coined—"community electronics." Just as software was democratized 30 years ago with open source alternatives, the company hopes that BUG will invert the currently top-down consumer electronics market with its open source hardware.

Each BUG hardware module can produce one or more Web services. Consumers simply snap together the modules the way they want, and the Web services connect. A module called the BUGbase, a programmable and "hackable" Linux computer, serves as the hub for every device. With space for four connections, the BUGbase consists of a CPU, 128MB RAM, built-in WiFi, rechargeable battery, USB, Ethernet, and a small LCD.

The BUGmodules, which simply snap into the BUGbase, so far include a digital camera/video cam, GPS, touch-sensitive LCD screen, and an accelerometer to detect motion. BUG devices are attached to BUG via the Bug Module Interface (BMI). The company explains that creating BUG applications is simple and intuitive, using JAVA and OSGi. Users can share the BUG applications they create with other users/developers through an online community called BUGnet.

As the company explains, the inspiration behind the BUG idea comes from the childhood interest of taking things apart and seeing how things work:

"With BUG, we want people to recapture and share this excitement again, and we want them to apply this to their everyday device. We believe everybody is an inventor at heart, so we´ve developed a platform for users to create and forever modify their favorite gadget, allowing for ultimate customization and use."

Read more ...

A series of Langer’s IC EMC testing devices available from Westek Electronics

Source : Click here

Langer's IC EMC testing devices
Langer EMV Technik has released a series of IC EMC testing devices including RF current measurement and burst injection probes, as well as a pulse burst generator. These devices permit a comprehensive suite of emission and immunity testing of ICs, ASICs, etc.

The Langer testing devices are obviously important in the design of ICs but are of equal importance in the evaluation and comparison of available components to circuit designers. This can save in production costs by avoiding the use of filtering and shielding components.

The Langer series 700 RF voltage measurement probes makes possible the detailed evaluation of RF voltage spectra at both high and low output levels. The probes are characterised by a high input resistance and capacitive coupling, as well as low input capacitance so that little load stress is placed on the output pins of the device under test.

The Langer series 600 RF current measurement probes have a shunt of 0.1 ohm coupled capacity, making them capable of measuring RF current without short-circuiting the device output pins.

The Langer model 600 RF probe measurements in combination with open circuit measurements achieved with the 600 series probes permit output impedance calculations. This permits circuit designers to work around device characteristics to achieve optimum immunity and minimum emission.

The RF characteristics of the supply rails can also be evaluated utilising Langer series 600 probes. An inductance is cut into the supply rail, and by virtue of the internal inductance of the IC being much greater than that encountered in the supply rail, its RF current returns to ground via the probe.

The behaviour of a device, for example an ASIC-based controller, under operating conditions can be evaluated using the Langer series 200 burst injection probes in combination with the Langer PBS burst generator.

In this way interference phenomena including toggling of certain registers, triggering of internal resets, etc can be tested. For example, a program loop is set up in the controller under test, and with the injection of various pulse burst patterns the output of a specific pin whose output is supposed to invert at the end of the program cycle, is monitored. Faults such as interference injected at reset pins can be tested using Langer series 200 and 300 probes.
Read more ...

Hua Hong NEC Releases USB Inter-Chip PHY IP for Embedded Flash Process Platform

Source : Click here

Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Co Ltd has released the USB Inter-Chip PHY IP (HQUSBFI001) for 0.25µm embedded Flash process platform.

The HQUSBFI001 is characterized by its advanced low-power performance, which is important to portable application IC designers. It can be set up on standard or ultra-low power mode when being suspended. The power will be lower than 1µA when it is in the ultra-low power mode. The company adopts a similar interface for this HQUSBFI001 with USB1.1 PHY. Since the HQUSBFI001 integrates inner pull-up and pull-down resistors, external resistors are not required. This is said to offer a convenient and cost-effective production design solution for customers.

The HQUSBFI001 is compatible with the USB2.0 Full speed, which fully meets the USB Inter-Chip criteria.

Read more ...

Op amps enable low-power instrumentation

Source : Click here

Dual and quad CMOS op amps rival the best bipolar amplifiers in DC performance while achieving picoampere input bias currents

Linear Technology reckons its newest CMOS op amps push the limits of precision with 3.5MHz gain-bandwidth product and less than 90uV offset over the entire -40 to +125C temperature range. Featuring rail-to-rail input and output stages, the dual LTC6081 and quad LTC6082 achieve low frequency noise of just 1.3uV peak-peak and low input bias current of 1pA maximum at 25C, making these amplifiers ideal for precision instrumentation.

The LTC6081 and LTC6082 only consume 330uA per amplifier and offer an optional shutdown feature, allowing the current to be reduced to 0.5uA per amplifier, which provides further savings in battery power.

In addition, the amplifiers have an uncompromising gain bandwidth of 3.5MHz and a slew rate of 1V/us.

The LTC6081 and LTC6082 offer a CMRR of 105dB and PSSR of 90dB, and the large signal voltage gain of 120dB ensures gain linearity.

'The LTC6081 and LTC6082 rival the best bipolar amplifiers in DC performance while achieving picoampere input bias currents', says Brian Black, Product Marketing Manager.

'Combining this precision with an excellent speed-power ratio opens up new possibilities for designers of low-power instrumentation systems'.

The LTC6081 dual is offered in the 8-pin MSOP and tiny 3 x 3mm DFN package.

The LTC6082 quad is available in the 16-pin SSOP and 5 x 3mm DFN packages.

1000-piece pricing starts at US $1.74 each for the LTC6081 dual and US $2.97 each for the LTC6082 quad. Request a free brochure from Linear Technology Corp....

Read more ...

Wireless Sensors To Monitor Bearings In Jet Engines Developed

Researchers at Purdue University, working with the U.S. Air Force, have developed tiny wireless sensors resilient enough to survive the harsh conditions inside jet engines to detect when critical bearings are close to failing and prevent breakdowns.

The devices are an example of an emerging technology known as "micro electromechanical systems," or MEMS, which are machines that combine electronic and mechanical components on a microscopic scale.

"The MEMS technology is critical because it needs to be small enough that it doesn't interfere with the performance of the bearing itself," said Farshid Sadeghi, a professor of mechanical engineering. "And the other issue is that it needs to be able to withstand extreme heat."

The engine bearings must function amid temperatures of about 300 degrees Celsius, or 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers have shown that the new sensors can detect impending temperature-induced bearing failure significantly earlier than conventional sensors.

"This kind of advance warning is critical so that you can shut down the engine before it fails," said Dimitrios Peroulis, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Findings will be detailed in a research paper to be presented on Tuesday (Oct. 30) during the IEEE Sensors 2007 conference in Atlanta, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The paper was written by electrical and computer engineering graduate student Andrew Kovacs, Peroulis and Sadeghi.

The sensors could be in use in a few years in military aircraft such as fighter jets and helicopters. The technology also has potential applications in commercial products, including aircraft and cars.

"Anything that has an engine could benefit through MEMS sensors by keeping track of vital bearings," Peroulis said. "This is going to be the first time that a MEMS component will be made to work in such a harsh environment. It is high temperature, messy, oil is everywhere, and you have high rotational speeds, which subject hardware to extreme stresses."

The work is an extension of Sadeghi's previous research aimed at developing electronic sensors to measure the temperature inside critical bearings in communications satellites.

"This is a major issue for aerospace applications, including bearings in satellite attitude control wheels to keep the satellites in position," Sadeghi said.

The wheels are supported by two bearings. If mission controllers knew the bearings were going bad on a specific unit, they could turn it off and switch to a backup.

"What happens, however, is that you don't get any indication of a bearing's imminent failure, and all of a sudden the gyro stops, causing the satellite to shoot out of orbit," Sadeghi said. "It can take a lot of effort and fuel to try to bring it back to the proper orbit, and many times these efforts fail."

The Purdue researchers received a grant from the U.S. Air Force in 2006 to extend the work for high-temperature applications in jet engines.

"Current sensor technology can withstand temperatures of up to about 210 degrees Celsius, and the military wants to extend that to about 300 degrees Celsius," Sadeghi said. "At the same time, we will need to further miniaturize the size."

The new MEMS sensors provide early detection of impending failure by directly monitoring the temperature of engine bearings, whereas conventional sensors work indirectly by monitoring the temperature of engine oil, yielding less specific data.

The MEMS devices will not require batteries and will transmit temperature data wirelessly.

"This type of system uses a method we call telemetry because the devices transmit signals without wires, and we power the circuitry remotely, eliminating the need for batteries, which do not perform well in high temperatures," Peroulis said.

Power will be provided using a technique called inductive coupling, which uses coils of wire to generate current.

"The major innovation will be the miniaturization and design of the MEMS device, allowing us to install it without disturbing the bearing itself," Peroulis said.

Data from the onboard devices will not only indicate whether a bearing is about to fail but also how long it is likely to last before it fails, Peroulis said.

The research is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park and at Sadeghi's mechanical engineering laboratory.

Read more ...

Friday, November 02, 2007

TDK Prototypes Holographic Material w/ Enhanced Recording Capability of 76 Gbits/inch2TDK Prototypes Holographic Material w/ Enhanced Recording Capability of 76 Gbits/inch2

TDK Corp prototyped a material with enhanced recording capability intended for holographic media and presented the results of recording/playback using this material.

The material has a high M# of 41.8/mm. The M# indicates the overwriting capability of holographic media. As the M# gets higher, the degree of data multiplexing can be increased more easily, resulting in a higher recording density. The shrinkage percentage is 0.29%.

According to the company, when the data was written on the prototype material by coaxial holographic recording, it was confirmed that the material can provide a recording density of 76 Gbits/inch2. Sony Corp undertook the data recording.

The achievement was presented at ISOM'07, an international conference on optical memory held in Singapore from Oct 21 to 25, 2007, as well as at other events.

TDK improved the M# by increasing the difference in refractive index between the portion that turns into polymer by the monomer multiplexing at the time of recording interference fringes and the binder portion except the polymer. The intensity of diffracted light at the time of playback increases as the difference in refractive index becomes greater, thereby resulting in satisfactory reproduction signals even when the data is overwritten.

Increasing the difference in refractive index

Source : Click here

In order to increase the difference in refractive index, TDK enhanced the refractive index of the binder by mixing it with a transition metal having a high refractive index. However, if the metal component is singly mixed, the material becomes clouded and cannot be used for recording due to the degradation of compatibility between the binder and monomer. To prevent the deterioration of compatibility, the company combined the binder with an organic group.

TDK also produced two other recording materials. One has an M# enhanced to 63.5/mm while maintaining a shrinkage percentage of 0.29%. The other has a shrinkage percentage reduced to 0.08% while retaining a comparable M# of 45.6/mm.

Both materials were achieved by the improvement of monomers used. In general, it is difficult to maintain a high M# and low shrinkage percentage at the same time because when the proportion of monomer is increased to improve the M#, the proportion of binder, which reduces shrinkage, decreases, and thus increasing the shrinkage percentage.

The higher the shrinkage percent is, the harder it becomes to record interference fringes. On the other hand, the M# decreases when the shrinkage percentage is reduced.

The company plans to actually record data on the new materials, and focus on the development of recording materials having even higher M# and lower shrinkage percentage.

Read more ...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tokai University Develops New Transparent Conductor w/o Using Indium

Source : Click here


Masashi Chiba, associate professor at Tokai University, explains the new transparent conductive film by using a model of Mg(OH)2 crystal.

Researchers of the School of High Technology for Human Welfare at Tokai University announced that they developed a transparent conductive film with materials composed mainly of magnesium hydrate (Mg(OH)2).

The film's characteristic values, including its electric resistivity, are still low. But the researchers aim to replace ITO (indium tin oxide), transparent conductive film used for LCD panels and others, with the new transparent conductive film, taking advantage of the fact that the cost to procure its materials is low and its manufacturing process is simple.

The transparent conductive film was developed by Toshiro Kuji and Masashi Chiba, professor and associate professor, respectively, of the School of High Technology for Human Welfare at Tokai University.

The chemical elements constituting the transparent conductive film are magnesium (Mg), oxygen (O), hydrogen (H) and carbon (C). As for the film's structure, the results of an X-ray diffraction method showed that carbon exists in the crystal of magnesium hydrate, Kuji said.

The crystal of magnesium hydrate is originally transparent. Therefore, "We think that the crystal of magnesium hydrate provides transparency and the network of carbon in the crystal provides conductivity," Chiba said.

Mg reacts with H2O and becomes transparent

In the manufacturing process, the RF magnetron sputtering method is used. Magnesium metal and graphite are sputtered in a low vacuum to form a film of the composite of magnesium and carbon. The temperature is not controlled in the process.

Then, the opaque film turns transparent after being left in a water vapor atmosphere for 10-15 minutes, with H2O gradually reacting with Mg.

"It works in the same way as magnesium metal starts an exothermic reaction in water and generates Mg(OH)2 and H2 (except for the existence of carbon)," Kuji said.

The film is 2.4μm thick. And the particle diameter of the crystal ranges from several tens to several hundreds of nanometers.

When carbon is not used in the sputtering process, insulating crystal with very high specific resistance is formed. Because carbon was used this time, a specific resistance value of about 10-1Ωcm was observed. This value is much larger than ITO's 10-4Ωcm.

Nevertheless, "The specific resistance values of ITO and ZnO were as low as 10-1Ωcm when they were first developed," Chiba said. "I believe that the value of the transparent conductive film can be reduced too as we continue our research."

"By controlling the ratio of carbon to optimize the carbon's network, we possibly can increase the conductivity of the film beyond that of ITO while keeping the transparency of the film," Kuji said.

On the other hand, the light transmission of the film is relatively high from the beginning. When carbon is added, the light transmission of the filmed materials is 89.8% in average in the wavelength range of 380nm-1μm. In the infrared domain, the light transmission is even higher.

"From now on, we will diminish the size of particle diameter to increase the uniformity and reduce the degree of reflection," Chiba said.

There are many challenges in making the film fit for practical use.

"We will test the film's adhesive properties to substrates, the stability of resistance value, the temperature dependency and whether it becomes a semiconductor material," Kuji said.

Though Mg(OH)2 decomposes into MgO and H2O at 330°C, it is fairly stable at 100°C and below, he said.

Working toward practical use in collaboration with manufacturers

"We do not intend to confine our research to the university," Kuji said. "We want to actively work toward practical use of it in collaboration with manufacturers."

Aisekku Nano Tyubu, developer of carbon nanotubes, will be one of the participants in the joint research.

Read more ...

Ultra-Small, RoHS-Compliant Quartz Crystals with Wide Frequency and Operating Temperature Ranges

X series of ultra-miniature quartz crystal that has a wide frequency range of 16 MHz to 60 MHz and can operate in temperatures as low as -40ºC and as high as +85ºC - MMD Components Source : Click here

MMD Components introduced an ultra-miniature quartz crystal that has a wide frequency range of 16 MHz to 60 MHz and can operate in temperatures as low as -40°C and as high as +85°C. Measuring only 2 mm × 2.5 mm, with a maximum profile of just 0.55 mm, the X series crystals are hermetically sealed in a 4-pad ceramic package and delivered on tape and reel for easy pick and place. They can be used in any application where limited space is a key issue and a frequency reference is required, such as Bluetooth devices, PDAs, mobile phones and MP3 players. The crystals have a frequency tolerance/stability rate as high as ±50 PPM/±100 PPM; are RoHS compliant; and feature ruggedized construction for extreme vibration and shock applications, meeting MIL-STD-883 and MIL-STD-202 specifications. Availability is stock to 14 weeks, with prices starting at $0.95 in 1K quantities.
MMD Components

Read more ...

Epson Commercializes Non-Contact Power Transmission Module

Source : Click here

Seiko Epson Corp has commercialized what it claims is a highly efficient module enabling non-contact power transmission. The product comprises a power transmission module and a power receiving module. Using these two elements as a set enables transmission of up to 0.5W (5V/100mA).

Non-Contact Power Transmission Module

The thin, flat coil used for power transmission results in a compact design, with the secondary module having an overall thickness of 2.3mm. Electromagnetic shielding fitted to the back of the transmission surface in each module reduces interference with other electronic components contained within the same device.

The module enables users to incorporate advanced safety measures for non-contact power transmission into their designs, with in-built safety features including metal detection, secondary detection and automatic cut-off in the event of excess current or abnormal temperature.

With the rapid increase in mobile devices, such equipment has come to be used in a more diverse range of environments. This product solves problems associated with conventional external power supplies using contact terminals, namely contact terminal degradation and insufficient power supply due to bad connections. Users can also use it to create mobile devices for applications that could previously only be powered by a conventional plug-in power supply.

Read more ...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sony Introduces Automatic Optical Inspection Machine for PWBs

Source : Click here

Sony Manufacturing Systems America Inc (SMSA) has announced an automatic optical inspection (AOI) machine that delivers high-speed operation with accuracy and flexibility in a compact design.

Suitable for the detection of inaccurate component mounting, reversed components, missing components, incorrect polarity, missing solder, bridging and solder quantity, the SI-V200 model has a 2-Mpixel color CCD camera and a high-intensity, three-stage white ring lighting system incorporated in a rigid, cast-iron frame. This significantly reduces operational noise and ensures a stable inspection environment.

When the 2-Mpixel CCD camera is used in standard resolution (15.5µm), the field of view (FOV) capacity is increased by 54% as compared to the previous models. According to Jim Price, director of sales for the SMT division of SMSA, the increased FOV correlates directly to the improved inspection speed realized by the new SI-V200 unit. In addition, the upgraded camera provides high-resolution mode (11µm), allowing for the inspection of 01005-sized components.

Another feature of the unit is a high-intensity, three-stage white ring lighting system, which Price said has been proven to supply consistently stable illumination, leading to higher clarity in both black-and-white and color inspection. The system also works in conjunction with a tele-centric lens to reduce distortion, increasing the inspection accuracy of adjacent components and ensuring that images are captured correctly in all areas.

Also new is the use of a linear motor to drive the X axis. Industry tested linear motor technology provides higher reliability and lower maintenance as it relies on fewer mechanical parts. To complement the upgrade to the linear motor drive, Sony has chosen its own Magnascale technology for position control and feedback.

Read more ...

30W DC/DC Converter has 4:1 Input

VSCQ30 Series 30W DC/DC Converters V-Infinity

Source : Click here

V-Infinity introduced a line of 30W DC/DC converters. The VSCQ30 series is compact, has a wide 4:1 input range, and excels in environments where space is at a premium and high efficiency is demanded.  The pin mount version measures 2" x 1.6". This series also has an available "T" chassis mount version for mounting convenience. The device has an input range from 9V DC to 36V DC at a nominal input of 24V or 18V DC to 75V DC input range at nominal input of 48V. Output options range from 3.3 V DC to 15V DC. The series operates over a wide temperature range and is up to 91 precent efficient. It comes with industry standard pin-out in a six-sided metal case. Other features include fixed 300 KHz switching frequency, regulated outputs, and continuous short circuit protection. OEM pricing starts at $38 per unit. 
Read more ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CamSemi Secures $26 Million Funding To Continue Development of Energy Efficient Products

Source : Click here

CamSemi announced the completion of what is described as one of the largest VC funding rounds for a European fabless semiconductor company this year by raising US$26 million (&Euro;13 million). The C round funding, led by 3i and existing shareholders Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and TTP Ventures, sees the Carbon Trust join as a new investor. Carbon Trust Investments is taking a $4 million equity stake in CamSemi – its first investment in a company focused on improving the energy efficiency of consumer electronics products.

The new funding will support CamSemi's commercialization of products that the company states can dramatically reduce the energy consumption of electronic equipment in operating and standby modes. CamSemi is developing sophisticated ICs that it states will allow manufacturers to introduce highly cost-efficient mains-connected converters and battery chargers that are smaller, cheaper and more power efficient. They are said to have the potential to deliver a 10-fold improvement in standby energy efficiency and reduce operating mode losses by a factor of three.

David Baillie, CEO at CamSemi stated, "Our first products are already available to the worldwide market and shipping in volume. The C2470 family of controllers allows manufacturers for the first time to replace bulky, low cost and power-hungry linear supplies with a simple, cost competitive and much more energy efficient approach. Linear power supplies typically operate with power conversion efficiencies of 50% or even less and standby consumptions of 1 W. However, products based on CamSemi's C2470 controllers offer very significant improvements with figures of around 85% and 100mW respectively. Products are also smaller and lighter, which saves on transportation costs plus they require far less raw materials to manufacture them and they are easier to recycle too."

Read more ...