Thursday, January 31, 2008

Demonstrator speeds transponder development

The DE70321 is a complete AIS Class B (IEC 62287) technology demonstrator aimed at speeding manufacturers' design and development of Marine AIS Class B transponders and AIS receiver products

CML Microcircuits has released a marine AIS (automatic identification system) Class-B demonstrator. The DE70321 is a complete AIS Class B (IEC 62287) technology demonstrator aimed at speeding manufacturers' design and development of Marine AIS Class B transponders and AIS receiver products. Using CML's CMX7032 AIS Class B baseband processor with RF synthesiser IC, the design is a flexible platform using CML's proprietary FirmASIC component technology, which configures the on-chip sub-systems of the CMX7032 via a function image.

A function image is a data file that is uploaded during device initialisation and configures the device's function and feature set, allowing users to configure and evaluate with two build options: the Class B Transceiver (using CMX7032 FI-1.x) and the Dual Channel Rx-only (using CMX7032 FI-2.x).

The FI-1.x function image allows full host control over all CMX7032 functions and the FI-2.x automatically programs the CMX7032 RF synthesisers to the correct frequencies.

The default board configuration is designed for dual channels receiving 161.975MHz (AIS channel 1) and 162.025MHz (AIS channel 2) with 25kHz channel spacing and 9600bps over-air data rate.

An EEPROM is included which can automatically load the FI-2.x function image into the CMX7032 at power-up.

Received data is automatically provided as NMEA 0183-HS sentences at 38,400bit/s from the DB9 RS232 port.

All necessary RF circuits, such as VCOs, a 2W PA, harmonic filter, antenna switching and LNA, are provided on the DE70321 to facilitate easy evaluation and demonstration of the design as a Class B unit.

A C-BUS interface is provided for control of the CMX7032 by a host microcontroller (required to perform the higher level protocol functions on a Class B implementation).

The design is production engineered for low cost, with the minimum number of component types.

CML's highly integrated baseband signalling processors fulfil the requirements of all marine AIS transponders, AIS Rx-only units and aids to navigation systems, on both large and small vessels.

Operating from a single 3.3V supply, the CMX7032 is available in either a 64-pin VQFN or a 64-pin LQFP package.

The CMX7042 is available in a 48-pin VQFN or 48-pin LQFP package.

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Modbus family includes bus couplers

Three additions to the Inline Modular family, the Modbus TCP/UDP and Modbus RTU/ASCII bus couplers, as well as a backplane expansion module, broaden the company's offering compact I/O solutions. The 80-mm-wide Modbus TCP/UDP incorporates eight digital inputs, four digital outputs and a built-in Ethernet switch, while the similarly sized Modbus RTU/ASCII includes eight digital inputs, four digital outputs, and an RS-485 D-Sub connection for Modbus.

Both devices feature diagnosis LEDs. The backplane expansion module enables the expansion of the local bus onto a second rail within the control cabinet. Maximum capacity is 63 devices. (Contact company for pricing—available now.)

Phoenix Contact, Harrisburg, PA
Technical Service 800-322-3225
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High-efficiency telco rectifier cuts power losses in half

Device, 96% efficient, helps carriers cut costs and be green

An ac/dc power rectifier for telecommunications applications, the Flatpack2 HE module 48/2000 offers 96% typical power conversion efficiency, the highest in the industry. The unit cuts power loss in half and helps companies meet green environmental initiatives.

The product is a stand-alone 48-V rectifier and battery charger that provides up to 2 kW of power. The unit has an operating temperature range from -40° to 85°C, and is suitable for remote terminal locations. It can also be integrated into systems with an output of up to 100 kW for use in central offices. Specifications include a voltage input range of 85 to 300 Vac and a maximum output current of 41.7 A.

The unit makes use of breakthroughs in resonant topology and in digital control to dramatically boost efficiency above today's industry standards. The use of digital controls enables a reduction of component count by 40% and an increase in reliability. The product features a CAN bus interface to allow it to communicate with the company's Smartpack controller, which monitors the rectifier and other elements. ($450 available now.)

Eltek Valere, Richardson, TX
Sales 469-330-9100
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Phar Lap Embedded ToolSuite 14.0

Hitex UK has announced release 14.0 of the Phar Lap Embedded ToolSuite, the real-time operating system for embedded x86 systems.

The latest version features updated support for the Microsoft Visual Studio product suite, as well as enhanced debugging capabilities.

The Phar Lap Embedded ToolSuite is a Win32 API-based real-time operating system for x86-based architectures. According to Hitex, its hard real-time performance and robust development environment and toolset enable efficient deployment of stable and reliable embedded applications.

Because it works with standard PC-based hardware, ETS is designed to allow for cost-effective deployments and short development cycles. Additionally, states, Hitex, it enhances the widely-deployed and well-known Microsoft Developer Studio Integrated Development Environment with a number of plug-ins so that developers can create complex embedded applications as easily as they can develop Windows applications.

Enhancements in version 14.0 include:

· Embedded StudioExpress™ support for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003

· Embedded StudioExpress™ support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

· ETS applications can now be debugged over  a TCP/IP network connection

· Usability enhancements to most Embedded Tool Suite utilities

· Expanded sample program support for all supported Visual Studio environments

· Many other device driver enhancements, additional Ethernet controller support, and more

See and

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New Kind Of Transistor Radios Shows Capability Of Nanotube Technology

The nanotube radios, in which nanotube devices provide all of the active functionality in the devices, represent "important first steps toward the practical implementation of carbon-nanotube materials into high-speed analog electronics and other related applications," said John Rogers, a Founder Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Schematic exploded view of a radio-frequency transistor that uses parallel, aligned arrays of carbon nanotubes for the semiconductor. (Credit: Images courtesy John Rogers)

Rogers is a corresponding author of a paper* that describes the design, fabrication and performance of the nanotube-transistor radios, which were achieved in a close collaboration with radio frequency electronics engineers at Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems in Linthicum, Md.

"These results indicate that nanotubes might have an important role to play in high-speed analog electronics, where benchmarking studies against silicon indicate significant advantages in comparably scaled devices, together with capabilities that might complement compound semiconductors," said Rogers, who also is a researcher at the Beckman Institute and at the university's Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory.

Practical nanotube devices and circuits are now possible, thanks to a novel growth technique developed by Rogers and colleagues at the U. of I., Lehigh and Purdue universities, and described last year in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The growth technique produces linear, horizontally aligned arrays of hundreds of thousands of carbon nanotubes that function collectively as a thin-film semiconductor material in which charge moves independently through each of the nanotubes. The arrays can be integrated into electronic devices and circuits by conventional chip-processing techniques.

"The ability to grow these densely packed horizontal arrays of nanotubes to produce high current outputs, and the ability to manufacture the arrays reliably and in large quantities, allows us to build circuits and transistors with high performance and ask the next question," Rogers said. "That question is: 'What type of electronics is the most sensible place to explore applications of nanotubes"' Our results suggest that analog RF (radio frequency) represents one such area."

As a demonstration of the growth technique and today's nanotube analog potential, Rogers and collaborators at the U. of I. and Northrop Grumman fabricated nanotube transistor radios, in which nanotube devices provided all of the key functions.

The radios were based on a heterodyne receiver design consisting of four capacitively coupled stages: an active resonant antenna, two radio-frequency amplifiers, and an audio amplifier, all based on nanotube devices. Headphones plugged directly into the output of a nanotube transistor. In all, seven nanotube transistors were incorporated into the design of each radio.

In one test, the researchers tuned one of the nanotube-transistor radios to WBAL-AM (1090) in Baltimore, to pick up a traffic report.

"We were not trying to make the world's tiniest radios," Rogers said. "The nanotube radios are a demonstration, an important milestone toward building the technology into a form that ultimately would be commercially competitive with entrenched approaches."

*The paper has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is to be published in PNAS Online Early Edition in the first week in February, 2008.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Source : Click here

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Board-mountable sensor measures airflow, temperature

Can digitally control fans and alarms to protect mission-critical electronics

Even though ambient temperature inside a product depends on the airflow, most electronic systems monitor only temperature because a board-mountable airflow sensor has not been available. Measuring 6.35 x 14.25 x 25 mm, the F600 airflow and temperature sensor changes that, being designed specifically for embedded application in telecommunications, IT, and military designs that require in situ airflow sensing at critical locations.

The anemometer measures airflow over a board in real time (9-s response time), and can communicate with a host processor over several types of digital interfaces: I2C, UART, PWM, frequency, or switch output. With an overall velocity range of 100 to 1,000 fpm, the sensor is accurate to ±10% of reading from 200 to 1,000 fpm at 25°C, and it measures temperature with an accuracy of ±3°C from 15° to 60°C.

The device is designed to be minimally intrusive to airflow with a ±45° acceptance angle to axis along the board plane, and requires 12-V power. It is individually calibrated and is available packaged or as an unpackaged board. ($25 ea/10,000 -- available 4 to 6 weeks ARO.)

Degree Controls, Milford, NH
Rick Melloy 603-672-8900
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Piezo actuators provide forces up to 30,000 N

Providing load capacities from 2,000 to 30,000 N and travel ranges from 15 to 180 µm, the PICA P-212, P-216, P-225, and P-235 stacked piezo actuators suit applications requiring extremely high forces and dynamics such as precision engineering, micromechanics, nanotechnology, adaptive mechanics, adaptronics, precision positioning, force generation, optics, and laser tuning.

Features include microsecond response, a closed-loop option for higher linearity, and sub-nanometer precision. (Contact David Rego for pricing—available now.)

Physik Instrumente (PI), Auburn, MA
David Rego 508-832-3456
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Confusion Reigns Over TV Transition

Much of what consumers are learning about the looming shift to digital broadcasting is just plain wrong and could end up costing them money, according to a survey.

Some people think they need to buy new equipment when they don't, according to a Consumers Union survey, and others say they don't plan on taking any steps to deal with the change when they should.

'Confusion about the digital television transition will cost consumers a lot of money for equipment they may not want or need,' Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for the Consumers Union, said Wednesday.

Starting Feb. 18, 2009, full-power television stations in the U.S. will turn off their old-technology analog signals and broadcast only in a digital format, potentially leaving millions of televisions displaying nothing but snow.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, says 36 percent of respondents in its survey were unaware of the transition _ a big number, but much lower than what has been reported in studies from a year ago.

The great majority of consumers _ anyone whose television is hooked up to a cable or satellite service or owns a digital set _ will not be affected. Anyone who owns an older television that gets its signal via antenna, however, will need a converter box, which the government will help pay for.

As of December 2007, the Nielsen Co. reported that 13.5 million television households, or about 12 percent, rely on over-the-air television broadcasts for programming.

Among those consumers who are aware of the transition, 58 percent believe all televisions will need a converter box to function. Forty-eight percent believe that only digital televisions will work after 2009, and 24 percent believe they will need to throw away all of their analog television sets.

None of these presumptions is true.

The government has allocated $1.5 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to pay for coupons that will subsidize the cost of converter boxes. But only $5 million of that is for consumer education. Another $1.5 million has been allocated to the Federal Communications Commission for public education efforts.

While more Americans are becoming aware of the transition, 73 percent of those surveyed were unaware of the government coupon program, according to the Consumers Union survey.

Each household is eligible for two coupons, regardless of whether they have pay-television service or not. To request a coupon, consumers can apply online at or call the 24-hour hotline, 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).

Also on Wednesday, the National Association of Broadcasters released its own survey on consumer awareness. The broadcast lobbying organization reported 79 percent of respondents said they had 'seen, read or heard something' about the transition. The number was more than double the 38 percent reported in January 2007.

FCC information:

To order coupons:

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Tektronix offers automotive test solution

Tektronix, Inc, a leading worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced that both its DPO7000 Series Oscilloscope and TDP1000 High Voltage Differential Probes are being used by Denso Corporation to successfully analyze nanosecond transient noise spikes in its Electronic Control Units (ECUs) for engine control.  Denso is Japan's largest automotive electronics components manufacturer and was the first domestic company to develop engine control ECUs.

Automotive engines are electronically controlled by an onboard computer known as an ECU.  An ECU computes information in real time to determine optimum values for engine control parameters based on data relayed from sensors placed around the vehicle. Multiple control ECUs are used in contemporary automotive electronics systems, with as many as a 100 built into top-of-the-line luxury vehicles.

However, because ECUs form part of the vehicle's onboard system, they are required to function in an extremely challenging environment. Malfunctions cannot be tolerated as this could jeopardize passenger safety.

Operational conditions and requirements for these units have become increasingly stringent in recent years. Similarly, demand for the ability to analyze higher frequencies has escalated, particularly with regard to noise immunity to transient signals or spikes in the millisecond or microsecond, and most recently at the nanosecond level. However, analysis of high-frequency noise in the order of nanoseconds with conventional oscilloscopes and probes had been problematic because of the presence of extremely noisy waveforms.

To address this challenge, Tektronix proposed to reduce the electrical load on the measurement system, including the probe. Although the passive voltage probes being used previously were simple to use, input capacitance was quite large with a pF in the teens, consequently distorting the waveform being measured.

To correct for this, Denso utilized the Tektronix DPO7000 series Oscilloscope and the TDP1000 Active High Voltage Differential Probe, which is connected directly to the oscilloscope. The differential input capacitance of the TDP1000 is low, at less than 1pF, so any influence of the measuring instruments on the measurement system is minimal.

Another key feature is that differential input facilitates resistance to common mode noise. Accordingly, any influence on the waveform quality resulting from connection of the probe is suppressed to the minimum, making it possible to further refine analysis from microseconds previously to the order of nanoseconds. This has enabled Denso to visualize and identify which signal line is causing which behavior, even in cases where nanosecond-order high-frequency noise is experienced. This is an extremely significant achievement that will result in enhanced quality and reliability for ECUs.

"Now that ECUs are built into vehicle engine compartments rather than the cabin interior, the environment for noise has become even more severe," said Mr. Tetsuya Nakamura, of Denso's Electronics Engineering Department 2, Design Section 1. 

"This new combination of the Tektronix DPO7000 oscilloscope and TDP1000 High Voltage Differential Probe has enabled us to accurately capture and analyze high frequency transient noise at the nanosecond level, a feat impossible until now. Accordingly, we have been able to provide even higher quality for ECUs.  The ability of Tektronix to provide a solution for analyzing ECU noise in the order of nanoseconds is proof of the effectiveness of measurement technologies, as well as being a major contribution towards the development of automotive electronics."

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 and DMC-LZ8 Cameras

Panasonic announced a new LZ-series of digital cameras today with the LZ-10 and LZ8. The DMC-LZ10 has a 30mm wide-angle lens and a 5x optical zoom. The DMC-LZ8 features a 32mm wide-angle lens. Both cameras have a 5x optical zoom and intelligent auto mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 and DMC-LZ8 Cameras

Both of the cameras also use the Venus Engine IV for high speed image processing. "Not long ago it would have been hard to imagine a user-friendly and affordable digital camera packed with features professional photographers would envy, such as wide-angle Leica lenses, and manual controls," said Alex Fried, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "However, Panasonic's commitment to research and innovation, our partnership with Leica, and our dedication to providing our consumers with the technologies they need to take professional-quality images resulted in an extraordinary feat with the 2008 LUMIX LZ-Series."

Both cameras have manual modes for shutter and aperture settings and have automatic scene modes for portrait, sports, landscape and night portrait. The intelligent auto mode selects the best mode for the environment automatically. The LZ10 has a 10.1 MP sensor and the LZ8 has an 8.1MP sensor. The cameras will be available in February for $249.95 for the LZ10 and $179.95 for the LZ-8.

Via Panasonic

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Actel announces MIL-STD 883 Class B qualified FPGA

Actel Corporation has announced that it has completed the stringent MIL-STD 883 Class B qualification of its four-million gate radiation-tolerant RTAX-S field-programmable gate array (FPGA). 

According to the company, the qualification of the RTAX4000S device, combined with its usable error-corrected on-board memory and large number of user I/O, make it ideal for high-bandwidth processing applications in spacecraft payloads.
The high-density RTAX4000S device has completed 1,000 hours of high-temperature operating life (HTOL) testing and nearly 80,000 total hours of life testing data to date, says Actel. This device specific testing data is in addition to the 2,000,000 device hours of testing achieved by the remainder of the RTAX-S family.

"We continue to build and support our highly successful RTAX-S product portfolio," said Ken O'Neill, director of marketing, military and aerospace at Actel Corporation. 

"No other FPGA delivers the high density, radiation tolerance and the reliability of the RTAX4000S device.  To further meet customer requirements, we are testing and qualifying these parts to the most stringent standards – from 883 Class B to QML Class V, assuring our customers that these programmable solutions can withstand even the most extreme conditions in space."
Hardened by design against radiation single-event upsets (SEUs), the nonvolatile RTAX4000S requires no radiation mitigation techniques.  Competing high-density FPGA solutions require user-instantiated triple module redundancy (TMR), which can consume more than two-thirds of the device's available logic. 

According to Actel, the RTAX4000S offers the inherent flexibility of the programmable fabric, delivering cost and time-to-market advantages over radiation-hardened (RH)-ASICs with their long lead times and high up-front tooling charges. 


The RTAX4000S device, the largest member of the RTAX-S family, is available now.  For further information about pricing and availability, contact Actel.

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XP Energy convection-cooled power system provides up to 1440W

XP Energy Systems, an XP Group company, announces the CCR Series modular rack-mount power system which is designed to provide 240 to 1440W.

Unusually for a power system of this size, CCR Series units are convection cooled and do not require fans or forced air for operation.

This, coupled with the option of a conformally coated PCB, allows the system to be used in truly industrial environments. Operating temperature range is between 0 and 50ºC.

The CCR Series offers the option of single or dual AC inputs and outputs can be either 24 or 48VDC. The units are CE marked and power factor correction is standard.

Up to six hot-swap modules can be incorporated into the system's 3U high, 19in subrack each providing up to 240W and the unit can be configured for N+1 redundancy. Connection is via IEC or screw terminal options.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Cell Phone that Reads to the Blind - National Federation of the Blind Chris Danielsen, 410-262-1281 (Cell) Public Relations Specialist or K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. Sarah Reed, 877-547-1500, extension 243 Public Relations Coordinator K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc., a company combining the research and development efforts of the National Federation of the Blind and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc., today
unveils an exciting product line that will revolutionize access to print for anyone who has difficulty seeing or reading print, including the blind and learning disabled. The company's world-renowned reading software has been especially designed for and paired with the Nokia N82 mobile phone to create the smallest text-to-speech reading device in history. A press conference to demonstrate the Reader Mobile product line, including the knfbREADER and the kREADER, will be held on January 28 at 10:00 a.m. The demonstration will take place in the Columbia Room, Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C Street, SW, Washington, DC.

This truly pocket-size Reader enables users to take pictures of and read most printed materials at the push of a button. Blind users hear the contents of the document read in clear synthetic speech, while users who can see the screen and those with learning disabilities can enlarge, read, track, and highlight printed materials using the phone's large and easy-to-read display. The combination of text-to-speech and tracking features makes interpreting text much easier for individuals with learning disabilities.

Using the state-of-the-art Nokia N82 cell phone running on the powerful Symbian operating system with its integrated high-resolution camera, the Reader puts the best available character-recognition software together with text-to-speech conversion technology--all in a device that fits in the palm of your hand. The product includes Kurzweil's unique intelligent image processing software to enhance real-world images captured by a handheld device.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The knfbREADER Mobile will allow the blind unprecedented access to the printed word, affording a level of flexibility and capability never before available. No other device in the history of technology has provided such portability and quick access to print materials. The NFB promotes equal opportunity for the blind, and this Reader will make blind people dramatically more independent. The result will be better performance at work, at school, at home, and everywhere else we go. This Reader will substantially improve the quality of life for the growing number of blind people and people who are losing vision, including seniors."

Blind users will have access to all of the functions featured in the most advanced cell phones on the market including video and music playback, GPS, wireless communications, photography, e-mail, text messaging, calendar and task functions, and more. The combination Reader and cell phone weighs 4.2 ounces and can store thousands of printed pages with easily obtainable extra memory. Users can transfer files to computers or Braille notetakers in seconds.

"The knfbREADER Mobile allows me immediate access to printed information, whether it be a menu or a letter," said James Gashel, vice president of business development for K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. and a blind user of the product. "So many people already carry cell phones. This innovation is exciting because it puts all of the functions that users need into one product, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices. The Reader's simple user interface makes it ideal for the growing number of blind seniors."

"Technology that enlarges the printed word or converts it to speech has dramatically improved the lives of millions of Americans with many types of disabilities, enabling them to read and comprehend printed materials to which they never before had access," said Ray Kurzweil, President and CEO of K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. "This innovation has created opportunities disabled people had never considered before due to the large amounts of reading required in certain occupations. The first machine of this type was the size of a washing machine. As optical character recognition technology is integrated into smaller and smaller devices, access to print becomes available almost instantaneously."

About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

About K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc.

K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. is a joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies, headed by CEO Ray Kurzweil, a thirty-year innovator and pioneer in assistive technologies and the inventor of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind; and the National Federation of the Blind, the largest, most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The company's latest products, the Mobile Reader Product Line, which includes the knfbREADER Mobile, designed for blind and low vision individuals, and the kREADER Mobile, designed for use by sighted individuals with reading difficulties, is being launched in January of 2008. The products are distributed in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and the Pacific Rim. For more information, please visit
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Linear uModule Receiver Subsystem Bridges Gap

Linear Technology introduces the LTM9001, the first in a series of System in a Package (SiP) signal chain receiver modules, leveraging Linear's breakthrough uModule packaging technology.

This new family of integrated receiver subsystems is intended to bridge the expertise gap between the RF world and digital domain to provide ease of use and shortened time to market. The LTM9001 is a semi-customizable IF/baseband receiver subsystem that includes a high performance 16-bit Analog-to-Digital converter (ADC) sampling up to 160Msps, an anti-aliasing filter, and fixed gain differential ADC driver.

The LTM9001 harnesses years of applications design experience to offer integration, ease of use with guaranteed high performance to enhance system performance in many communications and instrumentation applications. 
Sampling high dynamic range signals in RF applications requires extensive experience to maximize the full capabilities of the analog-to-digital converter. An intimate knowledge of the amplifier output stage and ADC front end is required to match the impedances, while careful attention to layout is required to minimize coupling of the digital outputs into the sensitive analog input. Degraded ADC performance can in many cases be attributed to bad layout.

These considerations can challenge the engineer whose expertise lies in the RF or digital worlds. The LTM9001 transfers this burden of component selection, input impedance matching, filter design and layout from designer to device, shortening overall design time, system troubleshooting and ultimately improving time to market.

The beauty of the LTM9001 lies in its semi-customization (customization requires minimum order quantity). Using pin-compatible product families, the LTM9001 can be configured for various sampling rates and the differential ADC driver can be substituted for fixed gain versions ranging from 8dB up to 26dB. The anti-aliasing filters can also be configured as Low-Pass or Bandpass filter versions, accepting input frequencies as high as 300MHz.
The LTM9001 is packaged in a space-saving 11.25mm x 11.25mm LGA package, utilizing a multi-layer substrate that shields sensitive analog lines from the digital traces. The LGA pads are positioned on the bottom of the package so that input and clock signals are separated from the digital outputs, simplifying the layout for the designer.

Bypass capacitance is placed inside the module and close to the die, providing a space, cost and, more significantly, a performance advantage over traditional packaging. With no external capacitance required, the LTM9001 consumes approximately half the space of the discrete implementation.
The LTM9001 is available in production volumes today and is priced at $82.00 each in 1,000 piece quantities. Demonstration circuits and samples are available at

Summary of Features: LTM9001

  • Integrated 16-Bit, High Speed ADC, Passive Filter & Fixed Gain Differential Amplifier
  • Up to 300MHz IF Range
  • Low Pass & Bandpass Filter Versions
  • Low Noise, Low Distortion Amplifier
  • Fixed Gain:8dB, 14dB, 20dB, 26dB
  • Noise Figure as Low as 5.9dB
  • 50ohm, 200ohm or 400ohm Input Impedance
  • 72dB SNR, 82dB SFDR
  • Integrated Bypass Capacitance, No External Components Required
  • Optional Internal Dither
  • Optional Data Output Randomizer
  • LVDS or CMOS Outputs
  • 3.3V Single Supply
  • Power Dissipation: 1.65W
  • Clock Duty Stabilizer
  • 11.25mm x 11.25mm LGA Package
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Maxim announces overvoltage-protection controllers

Maxim Integrated Products introduces the MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE overvoltage-protection (OVP) controllers with internal overcurrent protection.

These devices integrate low-capacitance (3pF, typ) diodes to provide robust, ±15kV ESD protection (Human Body Model) for Hi-Speed USB and USB (full-speed or low-speed) D+/D- signals. The MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE are ideal for space-constrained applications-such as cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, MP3 players, and portable video players-that are attached to USB ports for connectivity or charging.

To reduce external component count and save space, the MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE integrate a low-Ron nFET that protects low-voltage systems from overvoltages up to 28V. They provide an overvoltage trip level of 6.15V, and undervoltage trip levels of 2.55V (MAX4987AE) and 4.2V (MAX4987BE), with a start-up delay of 30ms. A flag signal notifies the microcontroller when an overvoltage or undervoltage fault condition occurs. The MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE also feature internal overcurrent protection of 1.5A (min) to protect the circuitry against short-circuit conditions. The devices can be controlled by an enable input.

The MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE are available in a small, 2mm x 3mm, 8-pin TDFN package and are fully specified over the -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius extended temperature range. Prices start at $1.30 (1000-up, FOB USA).

Maxim Integrated Products, a two billion dollar company, designs and manufactures ICs for analog and mixed-signal applications.  The company's broad portfolio of 27 product lines is among the industry's deepest, with over 5400 products.


The MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE are overvoltage-protection controllers that integrate ESD protection for USB data lines.

These devices provide robust ESD protection for Hi-Speed USB and USB (full-speed or low-speed) D+/D- signals.

These OVP controllers integrate low-capacitance (3pF, typ) ESD-protection diodes to allow transmission of USB 2.0 signals.

The MAX4987AE/MAX4987BE are ideal for mobile devices-such cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, and personal entertainment systems-that are attached to USB ports for connectivity or charging.

Contact details

For further information contact Maxim Integrated Products on 1 800 998 8800.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Feeder controllers

Accurate control of Vibratory Linear Feeders and Bowl Feeders can be achieved with the R3 and R5 stabilised controllers from Enmin.
Most electromagnetic Vibratory Feeders will benefit from the stabilised circuits allowing smooth progressive control of feeding or metering of material.

The electronic circuit must be capable of handling voltage fluctuations, interferences from adjacent machinery, excessive vibrations and be housed in an IP rated plastic or metal enclosures. The R3 and R5 series presents internal trim pots for sweep adjustments, provision for no voltage OP switching, current limiting overload control and a choice of ramp times for acceleration changes.

These standard models are available for up to 6.0 amp loads, in 50 and 60 Hz versions with 240 volt power. External power light indicator, on/off switching and a 0 to 100% non-stepped sweep control all on the enclosures.


03 9753 3633

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Infrared camera

The new ThermoVision A320-series infrared camera from FLIR Systems keeps an eye on your production process, safeguards production plants and assets and, measures temperature developments enabling operators to assess the situation.

The devise operates like sophisticated visual cameras used in industrial applications, and has standard interfaces for easy deployment and connection to back-end systems and network via Gigabit Ethernet.

It sees abnormalities before they become costly and potentially life-threatening failures. The camera triggers an alarm and sends an e-mail alerting the operator of the problem.

The infrared camera is equipped with an extensive range of measurement, analysis and communication features which enables the camera to perform as an automatic control, monitoring and messaging system.

It features a comprehensive set of input, output and connectivity options, including Power over Ethernet (an industry first) MPEG 4 video streaming and automatic file and e-mail messaging.

The camera comes with a standard software package for easy installation and control including configuration utilities, remote control and motorised focus. The camera¹s IR Monitor software is included in the package and links up to nine cameras for simultaneous monitoring.

FLIR Systems

1300 729 987.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Device Helps Provide Resettable Circuit Protection For Automotive Wire Harnesses

Tyco Electronics has announced the introduction of a new line of Raychem Circuit Protection PolySwitch devices for the automotive market. Useful in helping to provide resettable overcurrent protection for passenger vehicle and heavy truck wire harnesses, the PolySwitch bladed contact device features a 2.8 mm form factor to facilitate easy, one-to-one replacement of mini-sized fuses and Type II bimetal circuit protection devices in 12V vehicle systems.

Device Helps Provide Resettable Circuit Protection For Automotive Wire Harnesses Unlike Type II bimetal circuit breakers – which typically cycle several times before latching – the PolySwitch BD280 device features a no-moving parts design with a resistance switching action that latches immediately following an overcurrent tripping condition that causes the resistance of the device to increase to a high value. Such latching occurs even at lower battery voltage and low environmental temperatures. Since the device has no contacts to arc, erode or weld together, the resettable PolySwitch device offers longer life than bimetal breakers and can provide more reliable performance.

The PolySwitch BD280 device is a constant wattage device, providing virtually constant power consumption across a voltage range of 4V to 14V. The device's low power dissipation and flatter thermal derating result in less thermal crosstalk between devices than a Type II bimetal circuit breaker. Rated for operating temperatures between - 40ºC and +125ºC, the PolySwitch BD280 device passes more current at higher temperatures than bimetal circuit breakers and is suitable for harsh underhood applications.

The solid-state construction of the PolySwitch BD280 series provides high resistance to shock, vibration and rough handling. The bright color-coded housing and rated current value printed on the top of the device make replacement of automotive fuses and bimetal breakers easy, and help prevent installation errors. The device also incorporates two exposed probe points to facilitate inspection and faultfinding.

The PolySwitch BD280 device is used to help provide resettable overcurrent protection for power window, power seat, and power outlet circuits. Available in current ratings of 10A, 15A, 20A, 25A and 30A, the devices meet all applicable SAE and ISO standards.

Source : Click here

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pacer plastic lasers offer increased power at low cost

New Multi EPI-cavity plastic packaged lasers from PerkinElmer double or triple the output power of a single cavity chip. DPGEW (double) and TPGEW (triple) are high performance 905nm pulsed lasers in low cost plastic encapsulated packages.

The lasers employ PerkinElmer's novel multi-active area laser chips to deliver high output power in a small emitting area, allowing easy fibre coupling.

The active areas are monolithically grown through MOCVD on the GaAs substrate and are separated by grown separation regions (tunnel junctions).

With this approach, a doubling or tripling of the available optical output power from a single chip is achieved. This power enhancement comes with only a slight increase in the near-field transverse active area dimension.

The Multi-EPI lasers are now in production and available from Pacer International. High quality, reliability and RoHS compliance mean these devices suit high volume applications including laser range finding, LiDAR, laser scanners, automotive adaptive cruise control, fog sensing and blind spot detection, security access/presence and fibre optic instrumentation.

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International Rectifier IRS26302D three-phase gate driver IC

International Rectifier has introduced the IRS26302D protected 600V three-phase gate driver IC with ground fault protection. The IC has a seventh gate drive channel for a power factor correction (PFC) switch or inverter brake, making it well-suited to medium power appliance motor control and many other general-purpose three-phase inverter applications.

With its integrated bootstrap functionality, PFC or brake, and ground fault protection this latest high-voltage IC is aimed at three-phase inverter applications with space limitations. As part of IR's latest HVIC generation, this compact IC also delivers protection features including negative Vs immunity circuitry, to withstand very large negative Vs transients seen during high-current switching and short-circuit conditions.

The IRS26302D integrates power MOSFET/IGBT gate drivers with three high-side and three low-side referenced output channels to provide 200mA/350mA drive current at up to 20V MOS gate drive capability operating up to 600V. An additional low-side driver is provided for a PFC switch or inverter brake.

The IC incorporates negative Vs immunity circuitry to protect the system from catastrophic events that can be seen during high-current switching and short-circuit conditions in addition to ground fault protection, critical features for industrial systems that require high levels of robustness and reliability. Also, an advanced input filter has been integrated to reject noise and reduce distortion, improving system performance in many motor control applications.

According to the company, to address the needs of applications suffering from space constraints and to simplify design, the IRS26302D features integrated bootstrap functionality. This functionality can reduce the bootstrap power supply from six components to three, it states, while providing VBS over-voltage protection for the system through the use of additional integrated intelligent protection circuitry.

Part of IR's G5 HVIC platform, the new IC uses the company's advanced high-voltage IC process which incorporates next-generation high-voltage level-shifting and termination technology to deliver superior electrical over-stress protection and higher field reliability.

In addition to the over-current and over-temperature detection input, the IRS26302D features under-voltage lock-out protection, integrated deadtime protection, shoot-through protection, a shutdown input, fault-reporting, and is compatible with 3.3V input logic.


Part Number IRS26302DJPbF
 Voffset 600V
 Vout 10V-20V
 Io+ /Io- (typ) 200 mA/350 mA
 Deadtime (typ)  290 ns

A data sheet is available on the website at

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USB power manager maximizes battery runtime, minimizes heat

PMIC integrates multiple functions in low-profile QFN package

The LTC3556 multifunction power management IC for Li-ion/polymer battery applications integrates the company's switching PowerPath manager, a stand-alone battery charger, an ideal diode, an I2C control, a synchronous buck-boost regulator, two synchronous buck regulators plus an always-on LDO -- all in a compact, low-profile 4 x 5-mm QFN package. It seamlessly manages power flow between multiple input sources such as a wall adapter or USB port and the lithium battery while preferentially providing power to the system load. In addition, its instant-on operation ensures system load power even with a dead or missing battery.

The switching input stage converts nearly all of the 2.5 W available from the USB port to charging current, enabling up to 700 mA from a 500-mA USB supply or up to 1.5 A when wall powered. An internal 180-mΩ ideal diode and optional external ideal diode controller provide a low-loss power path. The onboard synchronous buck-boost regulator can deliver up to 1 A continuously and is suited for regulating a 3.3-V output voltage over the full lithium battery voltage range, down to 2.75-V input. The LTC3556 features USB-compatible programmable current limiting to 100 mA/500 mA/1 A. It draws 44 µA in suspend mode. The charger is compatible with inputs up to 5.5 V. (From $4.80 ea/1,000 -- stock.)

Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA
Information 408-432-1900
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Bar supports laser systems

The VHB bar has a power output of 80W (up to four times the brightness of a typical 10mm bar) and measures only 3.2mm in width

Laserline has selected Bookham's Very High Brightness (VHB) bar to support their high-brightness, direct-diode laser systems. Volker Krause, Managing Director and cofounder of Laserline said, 'Based on our experience of working with Bookham, with 120W bars, we chose to work with the company again on this demanding product because of their fast innovation cycles and responsiveness.

'The VHB bar, with its unique form factor, is the perfect match for our high brightness direct diode systems as it features the Bookham hard-solder technology to support the typical intermittent operation mode we find in industrial and automotive applications'.

The announcement of volume shipments of the VHB bar comes just six months after its launch at Laser 2007.

The VHB bar, being shown for the first time in North America at Photonics West later this month, has a power output of 80W (up to four times the brightness of a typical 10mm bar) and measures only 3.2mm in width.

The product supports direct industrial laser systems and enables fibre coupling without beam transformation optics by delivering high output power at a narrow emitting area.

'We are very proud to have brought this new product to volume production in such a short period of time', added Christian Naumer, Senior Product Line Manager at Bookham.

'The key to the speed of this deployment is the way that we have worked in close co-operation with the customer and designed a product that exactly meets the needs of this cutting edge systems manufacturer'.

Source : Click here
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Step-Down Converter Helps Backplane-based Equipment Designers Meet Environmental Standards

Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. announced the AAT1160, a synchronous step-down DC/DC converter delivering up to 3A output from a 12V input. Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc. announced the AAT1160, a synchronous step-down DC/DC converter delivering up to 3A output from a 12V input. The device operates across a wide 4V to 13.2V input voltage range. It supplies a load current up to 3A with a fixed or adjustable output voltage which can be regulated to as low as 0.6V. The device supports efficiency levels up to 96 percent. It consumes an industry-leading low 150 µA no-load quiescent current, according to the company. The user can select to operate the device in a forced Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) mode and synchronize the switching to an external signal to control switching noise. The high 800 kHz switching frequency also minimizes total size by allowing the use of small external components. A soft start function limits input surge current and eliminates output voltage overshoot when the device is turned on. The AAT1160 also features short-circuit and over-temperature protection. The AAT1160 operates across the -40°C to +85°C temperature range and is available in a lead free, 16-pin 3 mm × 4 mm TDFN package. It sells for $1.82 in 1K quantities.

Advanced Analogic Technologies Inc.

Product URL:
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Pulse Radar Sensors with Self-Adjusting and Target Tracking Technology

pulse radar sensorsAutomation Products Group's PR Series Pulse Radar Level Sensors offer non-contact level measurement in challenging environmental conditions. Providing the process industry standard output of 4-20 mA, the sensors operate using a frequency burst at 6.3 GHz. Pulse Radar sensors provide a detection range up to 100 ft. (30m), resolution to 0.22 in. (5.7mm) and accuracy to ¼ percent of maximum range. The standard operating temperature range is -40°C to 140°F (-40°C to 60°C), with higher temperature ranges available. These sensors will operate over long distances even with target materials that have moderately low dielectric constants. The sensor automatically adjusts the transmit power and receiver gain to optimize the return signal to a level that delivers accurate readings, and is not affected by any interference. The sensor is designed to overcome potential build-up on the antenna, and avoids obstacles that may be installed near the detection path. They also offer reliable operation in metal stilling wells.  Programmable software allows users to mask unwanted echoes and adjustable damping factors. Powerful electromagnetic waves also enable Pulse Radar sensors to operate in vacuum environments, as well as applications with rapid temperature changes, high temperatures and high acoustical noise, and those with long measuring ranges.

Automation Products Group
(435) 753-7300,


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Hittite Velocium Analog targets microwave radios

Hittite Microwave Corporation, the world class supplier of complete MMIC based solutions for communication & military markets, announces a new family of GaAs PIN diode based MMIC wideband analog Voltage Variable Attenuator (VVAs) chips that operate in the 17 to 86 GHz frequency band.

These Hittite-Velocium VVA products are an ideal choice for use in a wide range of military, space and commercial applications including E-band and short haul microwave radios, ECM , SATCOM, sensors, automotive radar and test instrumentation.

The HMC-VVD102 is a monolithic GaAs PIN diode based MMIC VVA, which operates between 17 and 27 GHz. This VVA provides 1.5 dB of insertion loss, a high input IP3 of +17 dBm, and 18 dB of dynamic range while requiring only a single control voltage in the -4V to +4V range.

The HMC-VVD104  is a monolithic GaAs PIN diode based MMIC VVA, which operates between 70 and 86 GHz. This VVA provides 2 dB of insertion loss and 14 dB of dynamic range while requiring only a single control voltage in the -5V to +5V range.

The HMC-VVD106 is a monolithic GaAs PIN diode based MMIC VVA, which operates between 36 and 50 GHz. This VVA provides 1.5 dB of insertion loss, a high input IP3 of +17 dBm and 22 dB of dynamic range while requiring only a single control voltage in the 0V to +4V range.

These wideband VVA die products are compatible with conventional die attach methods as well as thermocompression and thermosonic wirebonding, making then ideal for integration into microstrip, multi-chip modules and hybrid circuits.

Individual die product samples of the HMC-VVD102, HMC-VVD104, and the HMC-VVD106 are available from stock and can be ordered via the company's e-commerce site or via direct purchase order. Packaged versions of these wideband VVA products will be introduced in the coming months.

Contact information

For further information, contact Hittite Microwave Hittite on 978 250 3343 or .

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

National Semiconductor LME49600 audio buffer

National Semiconductor claims its new audio buffer delivers the industry's lowest noise and harmonic distortion for professional audio applications.

Part of National's high-fidelity LME audio amplifier family, the LME49600 produces the necessary output current to drive multiple low-impedance headphones and the voltage swing to drive several high-impedance headphones.

Other applications include line drivers, analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) input drivers, low-noise and wide-frequency voltage regulators, and it can also drive the headphone amplifier output stage in mixer consoles as well as capacitive loads in low-power audio amplifiers.

According to the company, the LME49600's high-fidelity specifications ensure that it can respond to highly dynamic inputs, accurately reproducing these signals without degrading them by adding distortion.

The device delivers 180 MHz bandwidth, a high slew rate of 2000 V/us and has 2.6 nV/rtHz input referred voltage noise density. In a closed-loop configuration with National's LME49710 single operational amplifier (op amp), the total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) is just 0.00003 percent.

Combining the LME49600's +/- 250 mA output current capacity with the LME49710 and an LM4040 low-noise bandgap reference produces a very high-performance, low-noise, wide-bandwidth, audiophile quality, voltage regulator.

National engineers developed the LME49600 using the company's proprietary VIP3 process technology. The high-voltage, high-performance, complementary bipolar technology, with vertically integrated NPN and PNP transistors, enables larger peak-to-peak output voltage swings that are well-suited for high-voltage requirements in high-end audio applications.

Key technical features

The LME49600 can continuously source or sink 250 mA. Designed for use inside an op amp's feedback loop, it increases output current, improves capacitive load drive and eliminates thermal feedback.

The LME49600 offers pin-selectable bandwidth, including a low current, 110 MHz bandwidth-mode that consumes 8 mA and a wide 180 MHz bandwidth-mode that consumes 15 mA. In both modes, the LME49600 has a nominal 2000 V/us slew rate. Bandwidth is easily adjusted by either leaving the bandwidth-control pin unconnected or connecting a resistor between the bandwidth pin and the emitter voltage pin. The device's supply voltage range is +/- 2.25V to +/- 18V. The LME49600 is fully protected through internal current limit and a thermal shutdown that activates when the junction temperature exceeds 150 degrees C.

Pricing and availability

The LME49600 is available now in a 5-lead TO-263 surface mount package and is priced at $4.50 each in 1000-unit quantities. More information is available at

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Maxim MAX8655 25A step-down regulator

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX8655, a 25A step-down regulator. According to the company it is the first switching, step-down regulator to incorporate discrete MOSFETs and to shrink regulator packaging into the TQFN footprint 8mm x 8mm x 0.8mm (height).

The device provides output currents of up to 25A. A wide 4.5V to 25V input-voltage range allows for internal bus architecture (IBA) applications, where input voltage can have a two-to-one variation. It is aimed at any application in which space, power, and versatility are crucial.

Peak current-mode control at up to 1.2MHz switching simplifies compensation, states Maxim, and allows for all types of output capacitors, and provides feed-forward for optimum line regulation. Together with this peak current-mode-control topology, accurate current sensing enables paralleling in multiphase fashion. As a result, higher output currents are achieved and smaller output-filter components are required.

Programmable features of the MAX8655 include slope compensation, OVP threshold, short-circuit protection, frequencies, and current limit (either latchoff or current fold-back with autorecovery overcurrent protection). Sync input/output and thermal protection are standard features that assure safe operation under all conditions.

A Data Sheet for this product is available on the web - see
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Contact Lenses With Circuits, Lights A Possible Platform For Superhuman Vision

The device to make this happen may be familiar. Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.

"Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising." The results were presented today at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' international conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems by Harvey Ho, a former graduate student of Parviz's now working at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. Other co-authors are Ehsan Saeedi and Samuel Kim in the UW's electrical engineering department and Tueng Shen in the UW Medical Center's ophthalmology department.

There are many possible uses for virtual displays. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see.

"People may find all sorts of applications for it that we have not thought about. Our goal is to demonstrate the basic technology and make sure it works and that it's safe," said Parviz, who heads a multi-disciplinary UW group that is developing electronics for contact lenses.

The prototype device contains an electric circuit as well as red light-emitting diodes for a display, though it does not yet light up. The lenses were tested on rabbits for up to 20 minutes and the animals showed no adverse effects.

Ideally, installing or removing the bionic eye would be as easy as popping a contact lens in or out, and once installed the wearer would barely know the gadget was there, Parviz said.

Building the lenses was a challenge because materials that are safe for use in the body, such as the flexible organic materials used in contact lenses, are delicate. Manufacturing electrical circuits, however, involves inorganic materials, scorching temperatures and toxic chemicals. Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes one third of a millimeter across.

They then sprinkled the grayish powder of electrical components onto a sheet of flexible plastic. The shape of each tiny component dictates which piece it can attach to, a microfabrication technique known as self-assembly. Capillary forces -- the same type of forces that make water move up a plant's roots, and that cause the edge of a glass of water to curve upward -- pull the pieces into position.

The prototype contact lens does not correct the wearer's vision, but the technique could be used on a corrective lens, Parviz said. And all the gadgetry won't obstruct a person's view.

"There is a large area outside of the transparent part of the eye that we can use for placing instrumentation," Parviz said. Future improvements will add wireless communication to and from the lens. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens, Parviz said.

A full-fledged display won't be available for a while, but a version that has a basic display with just a few pixels could be operational "fairly quickly," according to Parviz.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and a Technology Gap Innovation Fund from the University of Washington.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Washington.

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Linear Technology LTC3220/-1 LED driver

Linear Technology has announced the LTC3220/-1, an inductorless, low noise, high efficiency LED driver for cell phone displays and other programmable lighting applications.

The IC provides 18 individually configurable LED current sources for flexibility in programming multiple displays. The display currents are set via a precision internal current reference.

The universal current sources can be digitally controlled with independent dimming, brightness, blinking, and gradation control, programmable via a simple two-wire I2C serial interface; LTC3220 and LTC3220-1 each offer a unique I2C address.

The LTC3220/-1's 2.9V to 5.5V input voltage range has been optimised for single-cell Li-Ion/Polymer battery applications. Efficiencies when driven from a Lithium battery (3.6V nominal) reach 91%, with quiescent current as low as 500uA, maximizing battery run-time. Furthermore, slew-rate limited switching reduces conducted and radiated noise (EMI).

The LTC3220/-1's multimode charge pump features low-noise constant-frequency operation, automatically optimising efficiency based on the voltages across the LED current sources.

The device powers up in 1x mode and automatically switches to boost mode (1.5x) when any enabled LED current source approaches dropout; a subsequent dropout switches the device into doubler (2x) mode. Internal circuitry prevents inrush current and excessive input noise during start-up and mode switching. In addition, the device has short circuit and thermal protection.

The LTC3220/-1 is available from stock in the ultra-thin (0.55mm) 28-lead QFN (4mm x 4mm) package. The IC requires only five small capacitors for a tiny, complete LED power supply and current controller solution. Pricing starts at $2.35 each for 1,000-piece quantities.

Summary of Features: LTC3220/-1

  •  18x20mA Independently Configurable Universal Current Sources with 64-Step Linear Brightness Control
  •  Independent ON/OFF, Brightness Level, Blinking and Gradation Control for Each Current Source Using 2-Wire I2C Interface
  •  Multimode 1x/1.5x/2x Low Noise Charge Pump Provides up to 91% Efficiency
  •  Slew Rate Limited Switching Reduces Conducted & Radiated Noise (EMI)
  •  Up to 360mA Total Output Current
  •  2.9V to 5.5V Input Voltage Range Optimised for Li-Ion/Polymer Applications
  •  Internal Current Reference
  •  Single Reset Pin for Asynchronous Shutdown and Reset of All Data Registers
  •  Two I2C Addresses are Available (LTC3220: 0011100; LTC3220-1: 0011101)
  •  Automatic or Forced Mode Switching
  •  Internal Soft-Start Limits Inrush Current
  •  Short Circuit/Thermal Protection
  •  Ultrathin (0.55mm) 4mm x 4mm QFN-28 Package 


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Murata monolithic chip coil series of power inductors

Murata has announced a new monolithic chip coil series of power inductors, the LQM2HP series. It features a package size of 2.5 by 2.0 by 1.1mm (1008 size).

These multilayer power inductors use Murata's proprietary ceramic materials and inner electrode design. According to the company, they enable board space savings of up to 44% without performance degradation when compared to wirewound parts.

Aimed primarily at DC-DC converter circuits, the LQM2HP series is suitable for miniaturisation of power supplies in electrical appliances that demand the best possible performance, states Murata. The inductors feature integral magnetic shielding to eliminate EMI issues.

Parts are available with inductances between 0.47 and 4.7uH. Low DC resistance of between 0.04 and 0.12 Ohms (depending on the part number) minimises losses and boosts efficiency.

The series is available with rated currents up to 1.8A. See for more information.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Maxim MAX5881 DAC optimised for synthesising RF signals

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX5881, what it describes as the industry's first 12-bit, 4.3Gsps DAC that can directly synthesize multichannel QAM signals in the 50MHz to 1000MHz cable downstream band.

The device meets the requirements of DOCSIS 3.0 for up to four contiguous channels per RF port. In addition to enabling a fully digital cable upconversion solution, states Maxim, the MAX5881 simplifies the RF portion of the design, thus achieving a lower cost per QAM channel than analog solutions.

According to Maxim, this simplification eliminates the need for many of the components used in the traditional analog solution, such as an upconversion modulator or mixer, a downconversion mixer, fixed and agile frequency synthesizers, amplifiers, and filters.

It is targeted at DOCSIS 3.0-compliant edge QAM devices and cable modem termination systems (CMTS).

The MAX5881 operates from 3.3V and 1.8V supplies, and consumes 1.2W at 4.0Gsps.

Fully specified over the 0 degrees Celsius to +70 degrees Celsius commercial temperature range, it is offered in a compact, 11mm x 11mm, RoHS-compliant, 169-ball CSBGA package.


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Catalyst launches 8-channel LED driver for large video displays

Catalyst Semiconductor, a supplier of analog, mixed-signal and non-volatile memory semiconductors, has expanded its recently introduced family of large LED video display drivers with the new CAT4008, an 8-channel, constant-current sink LED driver for billboard, marquee, instrument and other large, general-purpose LED displays.  The CAT4008 joins Catalyst's CAT4016, 16-channel, constant-current LED driver introduced in October 2007.

The CAT4008 LED channels can operate with an output voltage on the LED pins as low as 0.4V (for 2mA to 100mA LED current), to enable more power-efficient designs.  The nominal LED current is set by an external resistor.  A high-speed, 4-wire serial interface with up to 25MHz clock frequency, controls each of the 8 channels using a shift register and latch configuration.  A serial output data pin allows multiple devices to be cascaded and programmed via one serial interface. 

The CAT4008 features a blanking control pin (BLANK), which can be used to disable all channels independently of the interface.  Additionally, on-chip thermal shutdown protection disables the LED outputs if the die temperature exceeds a set limit. 

The CAT4008 is available in a 16-lead, 150 mil SOIC package and offers a replacement for popular devices from Macroblock, Toshiba and others. 

Product Features

  • 8 constant-current sink channels
  • Serial interface with up to 25MHz clock frequency
  • LED current range from 2mA to 100mA
  • LED current set by external resistor
  • 300mV LED dropout at 30mA
  • Thermal shutdown protection
  • Packaging:  16-lead SOIC, 150 mils

Price and Availability

The CAT4008 LED driver is priced at $0.49 each in 10,000 piece quantities.  Samples of the CAT4008 are available now.  Projected lead-time for production quantities is currently 6 to 8 weeks ARO.

Contact details

For further information, contact Catalyst Semiconductor on + (1) 408 542 1000.

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Linear switch mode power manager

Linear Technology announces the LTC3556, the latest in a family of smaller next-generation, multi-function power management solutions for Li-Ion/Polymer battery applications.

The LTC3556 integrates a switching PowerPath manager, a stand-alone battery charger, an ideal diode, I2C control, a synchronous buck-boost regulator, two high efficiency synchronous buck regulators plus an always-on LDO, all in a compact, low-profile 4mm x 5mm QFN package. The LTC3556's PowerPath control feature seamlessly manages power flow between multiple input sources such as a wall adapter or USB port and the Lithium battery while preferentially providing power to the system load. In addition, its "instant-ON" operation ensures system load power even with a dead or missing battery.

For fast charging, the LTC3556's switching input stage converts nearly all of the 2.5W available from the USB port to charging current, enabling up to 700mA from a 500mA limited USB supply or up to 1.5A when wall powered. An internal 180milliohm ideal diode plus optional external ideal diode controller provide a low loss power path, further minimizing heat generation and maximizing efficiency.

The LTC3556's onboard synchronous buck-boost regulator can deliver up to 1A continuously and is ideal for efficiently regulating a 3.3V output voltage over the full Lithium battery voltage range, down to 2.75V input. The LTC3556's two integrated synchronous buck regulators feature 100 per cent duty cycle operation and are capable of delivering output currents of 400mA each, with adjustable output voltages down to 0.8V.

The LTC3556 switching regulator's internal low RDS(ON) switches enable efficiency as high as 94 per cent, maximizing battery run time. In addition, Burst Mode operation optimizes efficiency at light loads with a quiescent current of only 20uA for the buck-boost regulator and only 35uA for each buck regulator ( < 1uA each in shutdown for all). The high 2.25MHz switching frequency allows the use of tiny low cost capacitors and inductors less than 1mm in height. Furthermore, the regulators are stable with ceramic output capacitors, achieving very low output voltage ripple.

The LTC3556 features USB-compatible programmable current limiting to 100mA/500mA/1A, while its Bat-Track adaptive output control enables high efficiency battery charging and reduces power dissipation. Stand-alone autonomous operation simplifies design, eliminating the need for an external microprocessor for battery charge termination. To preserve battery energy, the LTC3556 draws only 44uA in suspend mode. The charger is compatible with inputs up to 5.5V (7V absolute maximum transient for added robustness).

The LTC3556 is available from stock in a compact, low-profile (0.75mm) 4mm x 5mm QFN-28 package. Pricing starts at $4.80 each for 1,000-piece quantities.

Summary of Features: LTC3556

  • Complete Multi-Function PMIC: Switching Power Manager, Li-Ion/Polymer Battery Charger, Buck-Boost Regulator, Dual Buck Regulators & LDO
  • Thermally Enhanced, Low Profile (0.75mm) 28-Lead
  • 4mm x 5mm QFN Package
  • Power Manager & Battery Charger
  • High Efficiency Switching PowerPath Controller with Bat-Track Adaptive Output Control 
  • Maximum Charge Current Programmable up to 1.5A from Wall Adapter
  • Up to 700mA Charge Current from USB Port
  • DC/DC Converters
  • High Efficiency Buck-Boost Regulator: 1A IOUT
  • Buck-Boost Regulator Adjustable Output Voltage Range: 2.75V to 5.5V 
  • Two High Efficiency 2.25MHz Synchronous Buck Regulators: 400mA/400mA IOUT
  • Buck Regulator Adjustable Output Voltage Range: 0.8V to VBAT
  • Burst Mode Operation for Low IQ: 20uA for Buck-Boost, 35uA per Buck Regulator 
  • Always-On 3.3V/25mA LDO
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Unipower wall-mount rectifier systems provide power levels up to 700W

Unipower Europe announces its RW Series of wall-mount rectifier systems designed as an alternative to rack mount units for powering a wide variety of telecoms equipment. They are highly efficient and offer users a range of output voltages and power levels.

The rectifiers range in output power from 290 to 700W with nominal output voltages of 12, 24 and 48V.  Input range for full output power is 100 to 275VAC and active power factor correction is standard. They may be used alone or operated in parallel to provide redundancy or higher output ratings.

They are compact, easy to install convection cooled units and are available with temperature compensation as well as an internal low voltage disconnect and relay-based alarm outputs.

All models meet the requirements of all relevant safety standards including  UL60950, CSA22.2 No. 60950 and IEC/EN60950-1. The RW Series units are RoHS compliant.  Product is available from Unipower's factories located in the U.K. and the U.S.

Contact details

For further information, contact Nigel Frey, Unipower Europe, on +44 (0) 1903 768 204 or

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gas Sensor Is Tiny, Quick, Effective At Detecting Many Toxins

The researchers have taken the common techniques of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry and shrunk them to fit in a device the size of a computer mouse. Eventually, the team, led by MIT Professor Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande, plans to build a detector about the size of a matchbox.

"Everything we're doing has been done on a macro scale. We are just scaling it down," said Akinwande, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and member of MIT's Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL).

Scaling down gas detectors makes them much easier to use in a real-world environment, where they could be dispersed in a building or outdoor area. Making the devices small also reduces the amount of power they consume and enhances their sensitivity to trace amounts of gases, Akinwande said.

He is leading an international team that includes scientists from the University of Cambridge, the University of Texas at Dallas, Clean Earth Technology and Raytheon, as well as MIT.

Their detector uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to identify gas molecules by their telltale electronic signatures. Current versions of portable GC-MS machines, which take about 15 minutes to produce results, are around 40,000 cubic centimeters, about the size of a full paper grocery bag, and use 10,000 joules of energy.

The new, smaller version consumes about four joules and produces results in about four seconds.

The device, which the researchers plan to have completed within two years, could be used to help protect water supplies or for medical diagnostics, as well as to detect hazardous gases in the air.

The analyzer works by breaking gas molecules into ionized fragments, which can be detected by their specific charge (ratio of charge to molecular weight).

Gas molecules are broken apart either by stripping electrons off the molecules, or by bombarding them with electrons stripped from carbon nanotubes. The fragments are then sent through a long, narrow electric field. At the end of the field, the ions' charges are converted to voltage and measured by an electrometer, yielding the molecules' distinctive electronic signature.

Shrinking the device greatly reduces the energy needed to power it, in part because much of the energy is dedicated to creating a vacuum in the chamber where the electric field is located.

Another advantage of the small size is that smaller systems can be precisely built using microfabrication. Also, batch-fabrication will allow the detectors to be produced inexpensively.

Akinwande and MIT research scientist Luis Velasquez-Garcia plan to present their work at the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) 2008 conference the week of January 13. In December, they presented at the International Electronic Devices Meeting.

The research, which started three years ago, is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass.

Adapted from materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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AnalogicTech power supply selector switch reduces system size

Designers of digital photo frames, mobile phones, set-top boxes and many other electronic devices typically resort to discrete switches when they need to support more than one power source. 

By combining two inputs with a low, 200mV dropout in a compact TSOPJW package, AnalogicTech's AAT4674 and AAT4674-1 offer high system integrity in a smaller, more integrated solution size.

The two dual input, single output power supply selector switches have low dropout capability and are designed to operate from batteries or any power source up to 6V.  The AAT4674 and AAT4674-1 integrate reverse blocking, current sensing, a programmable current limit and single control pin switching in a compact footprint.

The devices operate from an input supply range of 2.5V to 6V.  Both devices integrate a reverse blocking diode, current sensing, programmable current limit and single control pin switching functions.

The AAT4674 and AAT4674-1 connect the supply voltage on IN1 and IN2 to the output through very low RDS(ON) power MOSFETs that minimise voltage drops and power dissipation.

The enable (EN) and select (SEL) pin voltages control the operational state of the internal power MOSFET switches.  A break-before-make switchover feature minimises output voltage droop during the transition between the input supplies on IN1 and IN2 to the output (OUT).

To power the output, both input supplies must be above the under-voltage lockout (UVLO) threshold.  If both supplies are above the threshold and the device is enabled, both devices will connect the supply from IN1 to OUT when the SEL pin voltage is logic low and connect the supply from IN2 to OUT when the SEL pin voltage is logic high.  If either input voltage is below the UVLO threshold on the AAT4674, then the output floats. 

When only one of the input voltages is above the UVLO threshold on the AAT4674-1, the device passes through the input that is above the UVLO threshold to the output. 

Qualified across the -40 to +85C temperature range, the AAT4674 and AAT4674-1 are available in a Pb-free, 12-pin TSOPJW packages.

Contact details

For further information contact Phil Dewsbury, Advanced Analogic Technologies on +44 (0) 1189 657 763 or .

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Varitronix presents new wide viewing TFT technology

Varitronix is launching the first in a new family of colour TFT displays, using HFFS technology to deliver exceptional image quality even when viewed at extreme angles. The first Varitronix HFFS TFT display to be released is a 3" WQVGA model (480 x 272 pixels) in 16:9 widescreen format.

High aperture ratio Fringe Field Switching (HFFS) is a new development in TFT technology that enables displays to be viewed at almost 180 degree in both axes, without the colour shift that is normally seen at the extremes of viewability. The outcome is a display that can be viewed from almost directly above, below or from either side without loss of image quality.

HFFS works by optimising a screen printing treatment in the LCD cell which alters the alignment of the liquid crystals. The result is vastly improved viewing properties such as a contrast of 500:1, as well as higher light transmission with a 30-40% higher aperture ratio than conventional vertically aligned TFT displays. As a result, the backlight can be turned down for certain applications, saving power. HFFS also requires a much lower driving voltage than standard vertically aligned TFTs in this size.

A further significant feature of HFFS is its exceptional sunlight readability. The innovative design of the LCD increases inner reflectance while the modified polarizer reduces outer reflectance.

Contact details

For further information, contact Varitronix on +44 (0) 1344 303077 or

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Xilinx announces production availability of all Virtex-5 SXT devices

Xilinx, the world's leading provider of  programmable solutions, today announced that all of its digital signal processing (DSP)-optimized Virtex-5 SXT devices are available in production.  These devices are part of the Xilinx XtremeDSP portfolio of solutions that includes development kits, design software, IP, and reference designs. 

The Virtex-5 SXT platform of devices is optimized for high performance and can deliver over 350 GMACs of fixed-point performance for many applications including wireless, test and measurement, and defense and up to 82.5 GFLOPS of floating-point DSP performance for applications such as medical imaging.

All three devices in the 65-nm Virtex-5 SXT family are production-qualified and supported by the XtremeDSP portfolio of development tools and IP including, System Generator for DSP, Core Generator, Platform Studio, and ISE Foundation. The Virtex-5 SXT platform consists of three devices, SX35T, SX50T and SX95T, that offer a range in logic density from 35,000 to 95,000 logic cells and 192 to 640 dedicated DSP48E slices.  Developers can get started on designs today by purchasing the Virtex-5 SXT FPGA ML506 Evaluation Platform.

The Virtex-5 SXT devices complete the XtremeDSP silicon portfolio that is available today for delivering maximum price/performance flexibility to customers. The other platforms include the 90nm Virtex-4 SX platform with over 250 GMACS at 500MHz and the Spartan-3A DSP platform with the most price-performance optimized devices offering over 30 GMACS at 250MHz.

"With Virtex-5 SXT devices available in production, customers can confidently implement the industry's leading DSP-optimized FPGA in their high-performance systems," said Vin Ratford, vice president and general manager of the Xilinx Processing Solutions Group.

"For example, these devices can be used to lower the costs of wireless base stations, support emerging wireless standards, improve the data acquisition and resolution of medical imaging equipment, and improve the performance of defense systems."

Each Virtex-5 SXT device offers integrated system-level capabilities that shrink design cycles and reduce system cost. These features include low-power RocketIO GTP serial transceivers, and built-in PCI Express Endpoint and tri-mode Ethernet MAC blocks. No other FPGA vendor provides a DSP-optimized FPGA fabric that also includes dedicated PCI Express and tri-mode Ethernet blocks.

The Virtex-5 family is the industry's first FPGA to use 65nm triple-oxide technology to reduce overall dynamic power consumption up to 35 per cent while maintaining low static power consumption. The enhanced DSP48E block consumes only 1.4mW/100MHz typical at 38 percent toggle rate, and the RocketIO GTP transceivers consume as little as 100mW typical at 3.2 Gbps, all of which combine to lower the overall system power and cost.

Pricing and availability

Production-qualified Virtex-5 SXT devices are available today in FF665 27 x 27mm and FF1136 35 x 35mm packages. The SX50T lists for US $299 in 1,000 unit volumes. For even further cost reductions, the Virtex-5 EasyPath program offers up to 75 percent cost reduction. The ML506 board featuring the Virtex-5 SX95T device is available now and sells for $1,195.00.

Contact information

Additional information is available at

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Coherent economical UV laser for semiconductor inspection

The new Paladin Advanced 355-8000 from Coherent is a diode-pumped, solid-state laser that delivers 8W of quasi-CW output at 355 nm, while offering enhanced economy compared to previous lasers at this power level.

Specifically, improved resonator efficiency has reduced the number of pump diodes from four to two, enabling the Paladin Advanced 355-8000 to provide the same performance characteristics of the previous 8W unit while featuring both a lower purchase price and reduced costs of ownership.  Key performance features include excellent mode quality (M2<1.2), low noise (<1% RMS from 10 Hz to 2 MHz) and an 80 MHz repetition rate.   

The Paladin Advanced 355-8000 also features PermAlign optics mounting, which makes the laser insensitive to shock and vibration, and ensures long-term stability without the need for adjustments. High reliability, long lifetime, Aluminum-free Active Area (AAA) pump diodes maximize the interval between diode replacements.  A smart power supply allows hands-free operation and makes the Paladin Advanced 355-8000 easy to integrate. 

With 8W of output power, the Paladin Advanced 355-8000 is ideal for laser direct imaging (LDI) of printed circuit boards, flat panel display (FPD) substrate scribing and circuit imaging, and inspecting both patterned and unpatterned semiconductor wafers. 

Contact details

For further information, contact Torsten Rauch, product manager, Diode-Pumped Solid-State Business Unit at (408) 764-4000 in Europe at 49 451 3000 375 or

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Linear dual 800mA & 400mA synchronous boost regulator with output disconnect

Linear Technology Corporation announces the LTC3527/-1 dual output 2.2MHz, current mode, synchronous boost DC/DC converters with integrated output disconnect. Their internal 800mA and 400mA switches can deliver output voltages as high as 5.25V from an input voltage of 0.70V (0.5V when running), up to 5V, making them ideal for Li-Ion/Polymer or single-multicell alkaline/NiMH applications.

The LTC3527/-1 can deliver up to 200mA and 100mA of continuous output current (at 3.3V) from a single alkaline cell or 400mA and 200mA from dual cells. Synchronous rectification enables efficiencies of up to 94% while Burst Mode operation lowers quiescent current to only 12uA, providing extended battery run-time in handheld applications.

Selectable 1.2MHz or 2.2MHz operation provides a choice between the highest efficiency or smallest solution footprint. The combination of a 3mm x 3mm QFN-16 package and high switching frequency minimize both inductor and capacitor sizes, providing a tiny solution footprint required in handheld applications.

The LTC3527/-1's have the ability to regulate output voltage even when VIN exceeds VOUT, further extending battery run time. The output disconnect feature allows the outputs to be completely open in shutdown, whereas the LTC3527-1 actively discharges VOUT1 and VOUT2 when entering shutdown.

Additionally, inrush current limiting minimizes input surge currents during start-up. Additional features include anti-ringing control, short-circuit protection and thermal protection. The LTC3527/-1 deliver an ideal solution for boost applications requiring dual boost channels with up to 400mA of output current and where a small solution size and high battery run-time are key factors.

LTC3527EUD and LTC3527EUD-1 are both available from stock in 16-lead QFN packages. 1,000-piece pricing starts at $2.95 each.

Summary of Features: LTC3527/-1

  • Dual 800mA/400mA, 2.2MHz Synchronous Boost
  • Regulators with Output Disconnect
  • Delivers 3.3V at 200mA/100mA from one Alkaline/NiMH
  • Cell, or 3.3V at 400mA/200mA from Two Cells
  • Minimum VIN Start-Up Voltage: 700mV
  • 0.5V to 5V VIN Range after Start-Up
  • 1.6V to 5.25V VOUT Range
  • Output Disconnect in Shutdown
  • VIN > VOUT Operation
  • 1.2MHz or 2.2MHz Operation
  • 12uA Quiescent Current in Burst Mode Operation
  • Inrush Current Limiting and Soft-Start
  • Logic-Controlled Shutdown (< 1uA)
  • Quick VOUT Discharge (LTC3527-1)
  • 16-Lead, 0.75mm × 3mm × 3mm QFN Package
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