Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Omron introduces 1x64 splitter planar waveguide

Omron Components Business - Europe has extended its range of compact bi-directional PLC splitter modules for Passive Optical Networks with a new 1x64 version. Omron P1C planar waveguide devices are suitable for FTTx Passive Optical Networks, DWDM and CWDM systems, optical cable TV and other outside equipment applications. The new 1x64 version complements the existing 1x4, 1x8, 1x16 and 1x32 splitters already available.

Each device in the range is a packaged optical waveguide chip based on patented plasma chemical vapour deposition (P-CVD) technology. The combination of PLC structure and P-CVD process technology provide high stable optical characteristics and good reliability. In addition, the splitter modules exhibit low insertion loss, low polarisation dependent loss and high port uniformity. The splitters are tested to Telcordia GR1209 and GR1221. Optional custom packaging, metal fittings and connectorised cassette modules are also available. All products are immediately available to order.

Source : Click here

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TI expands application chips beyond phones

Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.N: QuoteProfile , Research) unveiled new application chips on Tuesday that can be used in everything from music players to medical equipment, with an aim of expanding its business beyond the cell phone chip market.

TI, which faces competition from Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O: QuoteProfile , Research) in the wireless market, said it would address broader markets with by expanding its OMAP product line, which is mostly used to support features like gaming and video in cell phone.

"We're basically making this technology available to thousands of customers instead of tens of customers," said Neil Anderskouv, vice president of TI's digital systems business.

TI would not disclose any revenue projections.

TI's OMAP 3500 line of digital chips would support features such as graphics displays in navigation equipment, medical imaging equipment or music players, he said.

The company is working with as many as 100 clients on making products using the new chips, Anderskouv said, but did not name the clients.

TI, whose biggest client is the world's largest cell phone maker Nokia (NOK1V.HE: QuoteProfile , Research), derives about 40 percent of its revenue from wireless chips.

San Diego-based Qualcomm has been making inroads on TI in the market for advanced phones, and overtook its Dallas-based rival in the wireless chip market in the first quarter of 2007.

Qualcomm ended 2007 with an 18.2 percent share of the $30.8 billion cellular chip market, compared with TI's 16 percent share, according to estimates from research firm iSuppli.

In-Stat analyst Jim McGregor said it made sense for TI to bring out versions of OMAP to suit other markets.

"It wasn't necessarily the best fit outside wireless," McGregor said.

TI said its OMAP3503 chipset would ship within four weeks. It also announced OMAP3515, OMAP3525 and OMAP530, which it said would be available in the second half of the year.

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Closed-loop digital-input Class D amp is industry’s first

Architecture improves sound quality, reduces power demands, and lowers audio subsystem cost

Claimed to be the first closed-loop digital-input Class D amplifier, the TAS5706 improves sound quality and lowers system cost by relaxing power supply performance requirements. Targeting the HDTV market, the 20-W device speeds time to market and provides flexible output configurations along with easy-to-use support tools.

For LCD TVs, the audio amp can be powered from the existing 24-V backlight power supply, making a dedicated power rail for the audio subsystem unnecessary. Other sound enhancement features include dynamic range compression, a dedicated subwoofer channel for 2.1 applications, and speaker equalization.Housed in a QFP package, the amp supports stereo, quad, and 2.1 output configurations along with PWM headphone and subwoofer outputs. ($5.46 ea/100 — available now.)

Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX
Product Information Center 800-477-8924
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Tyco Electronics RN73 high stability precision chip resistors

The RN73 series of high stability precision chip resistors from Tyco Electronics has been extended to offer resistance tolerances down to 0.01 per cent, which means the devices are up to 10 times more accurate than previously available versions.

The resistors are available in a choice of packages, down to 0402 case size. Standard package size is 0805.

Based on nichrome thin film technology, the devices are produced with three sputtered layers of resistive metal film. This enables very stable high frequency performance to be achieved.

Temperature coefficient of resistance values down to 10ppm/ deg C, and even 5ppm/ deg C for some case sizes, are available over a wide value range (5R1 - 470K) in the E96 and E24 value grids.

For applications requiring higher power, the alternative RP73 series resistors offer increased power dissipation, higher temperature capabilities (up to +155 deg C) and increased operating voltages (200Vdc) compared to the standard RN73 series.

See www.tycoelectronics.com

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STMicroelectronics VD6725 small 2megapixel optical-format imaging sensor

STMicroelectronics has introduced its smallest single-chip 2megapixel camera sensor for mobile applications.

The VD6725 is a 1/5-inch optical-format imaging sensor, with an active pixel array of 1600x1200 (UXGA), image processor and camera control functions on a single chip. It is designed to fit in phone camera modules smaller than 6x6x3.8mm due to its 1.75-micron pixel design.

The device's image processor will support features such as flipped and mirror-reversed images or pure black-and-white conversion for whiteboard content capture, document extraction and barcode reading.
IT will also produce digital video streams at 15frames per second at full UXGA resolution and 30fps at VGA resolution. It supports fast context switching, which means that the sensor switches extremely fast from 'preview' to 'capture mode', minimizing the delay of the capture control.

The single-chip camera sensor is available in the firm's Through Silicon Via wafer-level package. This type of package enables the production of reflowable camera modules which can be soldered directly on the phone motherboard.

See www.st.com

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National Instruments USB-5132/5133 digitisers and USB-4065 digital multimeter

National Instruments has announced the release of the NI USB-5132/5133 digitisers and the NI USB-4065 6½-digit digital multimeter (DMM).

These instruments feature bus-powered and plug-and-play operation and they are also shipped with the LabVIEW SignalExpress LE interactive measurement workbench for acquiring, analysing and presenting data, with no programming required.  

The USB-5132/5133 50Msample/s and 100Msample/s digitisers offer two simultaneously sampled channels with 8-bit resolution. These USB digitisers feature 10 input ranges from 40mV to 40V and programmable DC offset, and come standard with 4Mbyte/channel of onboard memory for measurements requiring extended data captures.

The USB-4065 DMM offers 6.5 digits of resolution at up to 10 readings per second and up to 3,000 readings per second at lower resolutions. With +/-300V of isolation, current measurements up to 3A and 2- or 4-wire resistance measurements, the USB-4065 offers a complete multimeter for portable 6.5 digit measurement needs.

See www.ni.com

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International Rectifier triple output DC-DC power converters

International Rectifier has introduced a range of triple output DC-DC power converters, the Mx series, designed for space applications powering specific RF communication satellite applications.

The Mx series converters can be configured to meet a range of spacecraft power bus voltages, varying output load requirements, and telemetry needs, and are optimized to ensure maximum performance for sensitive RF equipment onboard spacecraft, such as receivers, transmitters, beacons, low noise amplifiers (LNAs), and up/down converters.

The aim is to offer the cost benefits of a high volume standard product with a customisable product.  
Two power levels are available. The MA platform is rated at 5W and the MB platform is rated at 15W output power. The platform has three outputs; each output can be configured from 3.3V to 15V and independently regulated to eliminate cross talk and minimize noise.

Output noise is less than 1mVRMS and conducted susceptibility (CS) rejection is better than 95dB.  In addition, the converter offers output voltage accuracy and end-of-life output voltage variations of less than two per cent.

The converters are designed to accommodate common satellite power buses from 20V to 100V. An input filter is included to meet stringent EMI requirements. Isolated telemetry/tele-command interface and output turn-on/turn-off sequencing (normally required by RF amplifiers) capability are also offered.

See www.irf.com

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Amazing Minaturized 'SIDECAR' Drives Webb Telescope's Signal

This is an artist's conception of what JWST will look like in space. (Credit: NASA)
These components, called a "SIDECAR" have been miniaturized from a volume of about one cubic meter (35.3 cubic feet) to a small integrated circuit.

SIDECAR ASIC means "System for Image Digitization, Enhancement, Control And Retrieval Application Specific Integrated Circuit." This tiny advanced low-noise, low-power microprocessor-based control chip was designed by Teledyne Imaging Sensors, Thousand Oaks, Calif. to convert the analog signals (which is what television stations currently broadcast) into digital signals (which television stations will broadcast starting Feb. 2009). Like televisions, the Webb telescope is getting several of those "converter boxes." Digital signals can be easily transmitted and stored.

There are also several benefits to the extreme miniaturization of the SIDECAR. Further, it's about the size of a half-dollar and can do the same job as an electronics box weighing 20 pounds. It's smaller weight also makes it easier to launch.

"In addition, a smaller SIDECAR enables the ASIC to be physically close to the detector it is controlling. This close proximity minimizes the distance the analog signal travels, thus reducing the noise of the system," said Matt Greenhouse, Integrated Science Instrument Module Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The three instruments that will use the SIDECAR on the Webb telescope are the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), and the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS). These instruments all use highly sensitive infrared detectors to study distant stars, planets, and galaxies. SIDECAR will sit next to each of these detectors like a sidecar on a motorcycle, and the microprocessor will control these infrared detectors.

SIDECAR will convert the analog signals from the infrared detectors into digital data which is much more robust and easier to transmit. Without the SIDECAR, the analog signals might be corrupted in transmission and the science images would be lost or damaged.

"The significant technical advancement in the SIDECAR is its very low noise - the analog to digital conversion is nearly perfect, adding no significant noise to the image; and its very low power - the SIDECAR consumes only 11milliwatts of power," said Markus Loose, lead designer of the SIDECAR at Teledyne. Low consumption of power is important for keeping the telescope's science instruments cold (37 Kelvin, or minus 400 Fahrenheit) as they collect faint signals from objects near the edge of the universe.

Astronomers are "test-driving" four SIDECARs that were installed in early 2007 in the University of Hawaii's 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea. Since then they have been collecting science data and giving scientists experience in operating the SIDECAR so that its performance is optimal by the time that the Webb telescope flies.

The concept for the SIDECAR was proposed in June 2000 through a program for Webb telescope technology development by the University of Hawaii and Teledyne Imaging Sensors, formerly the Rockwell Science Center. After seven years, the SIDECAR passed an important milestone in 2007 when an independent review team concluded that the technology had been shown to be ready for use on the Webb telescope. That test confirmed that SIDECAR could handle the radiation, vacuum, and the cold of the space environment.

As a result of SIDECAR's success in the review and in ground-based telescopes other missions are planning to use it, and there's a plan to install it in the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008.

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MLCC is first with settable ESR


Stabilizes ESR values and controls circuit impedance in power applications

A multilayer ceramic chip capacitor featuring a novel internal structure is presented as the industry's first to allows ESR values to be set to any value within a specified range—stabilizing ESR values and controlling circuit impedance. In applications such as power supply decoupling and dc/dc converter I/O smoothing, setting ESR values of capacitors located near a CPU can result in smaller impedance changes between the power supply and the processor over a broad range of frequencies as well as voltage variation limiting effects.

With a voltage range of 4 to 6.3 V, the capacitors are currently available in 1608 and 2012 case sizes and offer values of 1 and 10 µF, respectively. ESR range is from 10 to 1,200 mΩ for the 1608 size and 10 to 500 mΩ on the 2012. (1608, 20 yen; 2012, 60 yen—available now.)

TDK, Tokyo, Japan
Y. Osuga 0-11 81-3-5201-7102
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Peregrine Semiconductor unveils antenna tuning switch


Peregrine Semiconductor, a supplier of high-performance RF CMOS and mixed-signal communications ICs, today unveiled the UltraCMOS PE42641 SP4T antenna tuning switch delivering an unparalleled IMD performance of -110 dBm, making it ideal for converged designs requiring high linearity and low distortion.

A variety of emerging market applications benefit from the exceptional RF performance advantages of the PE42641 switch, including 3G GSM/EDGE/WCDMA and CDMA handset and PC card applications; machine-to-machine applications such as vending machines and parking meters; or designs requiring antenna tuning, such as repeater and telematics applications.

The UltraCMOS silicon-on-sapphire based PE42641 incorporates Peregrine's revolutionary HaRP technology enhancements to deliver exceptional harmonic results, linearity and overall RF performance: high linearity of +68 dBm IP3 or -110 dBm IMD; harmonics better than -80 dBc, low insertion loss of 0.5 dB (typ); high isolation 35 dB at critical paths; and complete monolithic integration.

Additionally, the new switch offers Class 2 ESD (2 kV HBM) on all pins, and Class 3 (4 kV HBM) at the antenna, which is the highest ANT-pin ESD protection available today.

With the UltraCMOS PE42641, the industry is finally able to deliver on the promise of tuning capability in mobile devices, a challenge which has been on the whiteboards of antenna designers for many years.  The PE42641 is Peregrine's first step in supporting the emerging market of tunable

Further, as with the entire Peregrine portfolio, this SP4T is developed on UltraCMOS which is a standard CMOS technology. It leverages all the same low-cost, high-value benefits in manufacturing yields, scalability and ease-of-use, while delivering the unprecedented performance offered only with our proprietary sapphire substrate.   For high-performance switch applications at any throw-count, UltraCMOS is the future.

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Knitter-Switch presents versatile rotary coded switch series


A new series of rotary coded switches designed for a variety of control and automation system applications is announced by knitter-switch. The 60000 Series is available in a variety of formats and codings and can be supplied with or without a shaft.

Designed as a drop-in replacement for Hartmann's PT65 Series, the 60000 Series switches are available in standard, surface-mount or right-angle versions and provide the users with a good, quality switch "feel". Four different codings are offered – BCD, BCD inverse, hexadecimal and hexadecimal inverse.

The RoHS compliant switches measure just 10 x 10mm with a body height of 6.5mm and are designed to be lead-free reflow solderable at up to 260ºC for a maximum of 5s.

The switches have a long mechanical life with a minimum of 10000 cycles and contact ratings of 12VDC.

The 60000 Series will interest those manufacturers of industrial control and automation systems, building automation products and telecommunication systems.

Knitter-switch 60000 Series switches are available from stock and from a number of distributors throughout Europe. Samples are usually available on next day delivery.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sony Walkman NWZ-A820 Series: Video MP3 with Bluetooth Stereo

iPod, what iPod? Looking at the new Sony Walkman NWZ-A820 Series, I'd bet there'll be many who'd jump over the fence if the A810 didn't convince them. This new line of video mp3 players with Bluetooth stereo seems like a hit in the making. The large, clear 2.4" QVGA screen ensures you'll enjoy the high quality video playback, and, as the name implies, it has Bluetooth connectivity for wireless music. There are three storage capacities available:

The 16GB NWZ-A829 which can store 62 hours of video or 3,800 songs.
The 8GB NWZ-A828 which can store 30 hours 40 mins of video or 1,850 songs.
The 4GB NWZ-A826 which can store 15 hours or 925 songs.

Another winner is the extended battery life which entails 10 hours of video and 36 hours of music playback. Even when the Bluetooth is enabled, the battery is still capable of supporting the player for 7 hours video and 15 hours music playback. Speaking of video playback, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A820 can support 30 fps of it. The device can support a variety of media formats such as copyright-free AAC, Linear PCM, MP3, WMA for audio; AVC and MPEG-4 for video; and JPEG for picture files. Files can easily be transferred from your PC to the player via drag and drop. The device also boasts four 'Clear Audio' Technologies for maximum listening experience.

The three versions of the new Sony Walkman NWZ-A820 Series will be available starting April 2008 in Europe. Pre-orders are now possible through http://www.sonystyle-europe.com/

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Handheld calibrator suits process-control ops


Able to perform source/measure functions, the CA150 handheld calibrator can serve as a multifunction calibration platform for process control, eliminating the need for multiple instruments, such as a standard generator, dial resistor, and multimeter.

The CE-compliant unit can measuring generated current signals while supplying 24-Vdc loop power up to 22 mA and -- in addition to calibrating RTDs, thermocouples, and instruments -- can check transmitters, thermostats, and signal converters. Easily operated, the large-display instrument is accurate to 0.02% of source/measure Vdc ranges and can store up to 21 settings and 100 readings. (From $1,900 -- available now.)

Omega Engineering, Stamford, CT
Information 203-359-1660
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Avago 10 Gb/s Ethernet SFP+ SR optical transceiver launched


Avago Technologies today announced availability of the 10 Gb/s Ethernet SFP+ SR (short reach) optical transceiver. The company is a leading supplier of interface components for communications, industrial and consumer applications.

Shipping in production volumes, Avago's 850 nm VCSEL-based 10 Gb/s AFBR-700SDZ SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable) transceiver with digital monitoring interface (DMI) is the first to bring new levels of speed and high-port density to next-generation networking equipment.

"The SFP+ form factor presents a tremendous opportunity for vendors to add port density and value to their networking products. Avago is first out of the gate with its 10 Gb/s SFP+ transceiver and our product is already qualified with multiple customers.

With our strong technical leadership and our internally developed VCSEL source, we have the expertise and scaleable resources to reliably produce a stable supply of high-quality cost-effective products," said David D'Andrea, director of marketing for Avago Technologies' fiber optic products division.

At the core of Avago's 10 Gb SFP+ transceiver is its own 850 nm VCSELs. These VCSELs leverage technology from Avago's highly reliable 4G VCSEL design which has undergone over 2 billion device hour testing with no failures. The AFBR-700SDZ also uses multimode fiber which enables the SFP+ transceiver to extend coverage up to 300 meters.

Avago's new optical transceiver supports the SFF-8431 specification for enhanced 10 Gb SFP+ as well as the SFF-8472 specification for DMI in optical transceivers. The ROHS 6 (restrictions of hazardous substances) compliant, lead-free AFBR-700SDZ delivers real-time temperature, supply voltage, laser bias current, laser average output power and received input power information through a two-wire interface. The digital diagnostic interface also adds the ability to disable the transmitter, monitor for transmitter faults and monitor for receiver loss of signal.

"Avago continues to provide leadership in standards development for next generation networking technologies," added D'Andrea. "We were the first to release a production-ready 10 Gb XENPAK LRM transceiver which dramatically increased bandwidth for networking applications. With today's announcement of our 10 Gb SFP+ product, we are once again providing products which give our customers the performance edge to effectively compete in a highly competitive market."

According to a recent report issued by IDC, installation of 10GbE ports will more than double from 1.4M in 2007 to over 3M by 2010. The application areas fueling this growth include networking switches and data communication equipment.


Avago's AFBR-700SDZ is available now.

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Linear dual full-bridge Piezo driver launched


Linear Technology announces the LT3572, a highly integrated dual full-bridge Piezo driver, capable of driving two Piezo motors at up to 40V.

Each Piezo driver and the boost converter can be independently turned on or off. This design topology makes the LT3572 ideal for dual axis image stabilization as well as auto focus and zoom motor control for digital still and video cameras. Its 2.7V to 10V input voltage accommodates both single-cell and dual-cell Li-Ion powered digital cameras.

The LT3572's integrated 900mA boost converter can deliver up to 50mA of output current at 30V from a Li-Ion input. Its switching frequency can be programmed between 500kHz and 2.25MHz, keeping externals very small. Offered in a 4mm x 4mm QFN package, it provides a very compact solution footprint. A PGOOD pin indicates when the output of the boost converter is in regulation, allowing the Piezo drivers to start switching. Other features include soft-start and external synchronization.

The LT3572EUF is available from stock in a 20-lead QFN package. 1,000-piece pricing starts at $2.75 each.

Summary of Features: LT3572 

  • 2.7V to 10V Input Voltage Range 
  • 900mA Boost Converter 
  • Dual Full-Bridge Piezo Drivers 
  • Programmable Switching Frequency from 500kHz to 2.25MHz 
  • Synchronizable Up to 2.5MHz
  • Soft-Start
  • Separate Enable for Each Piezo Driver and Boost Converter 
  • Available in a 4mm × 4mm 20-Pin QFN Package
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Transceiver claims first true “flexible radio”


The SEQ7400 HEDGE RF transceiver has been verified to support HSUPA, TD-SCDMA, S-Band, and GMR satellite specifications via extensive testing, making it the first true "flexible radio."

The SEQ7400 is based on the company's patented FullSpectra architecture, which includes the only transmitter in the industry to use polar modulation in all modes. (Call company for pricing and availability.)

Sequoia Sequoia, San Diego, CA
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50-W dc/dc converter powers railway


The RWY 50-72/48 is a rugged, dc/dc converter designed for operation in railways and other harsh environments. The 50-W, single output converter delivers 48 Vdc and accepts an input voltage of 72 Vdc (42 to 110 Vdc range). It has an I/O configuration based on a field-proven topology of encapsulated dc/dc converters.

The converter meets the requirements of EN 50155 for electronic equipment used on railway rolling stock. It also meets EN 50121-3-2 (EMI and EMC) and EN 55022 Class B EMI. Full encapsulation in a thermally conductive MIL-spec. silicon rubber compound ensures immunity to shock, vibration, moisture, salt and airborne contaminants. It is conduction cooled via a base plate to perform at temperatures from -40°C to 70°C. ($155 ea/100, available now.)

Absopulse Electronics, Carp, Ontario, Canada
Information 613-836-3511
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Tiny 5-Mpixel chip works in low light without flash


1/4-in.-format device provides the high performance, small size, and low price desired for next-generation cell phones and handheld devices

Employing new color filtering technology unveiled last summer (Electronic Products, July 2007, p. 23 http://www.electronicproducts.com/ShowPage1.asp?FileName=olrc01.jul2007.html), the KAC05020 5-Mpixel image sensor provides what is said to be the best low-light performance, letting users take snapshots in common indoor situations such as birthday parties without the need for flash. Further, the 1/4-in. format imager provides extremely fast auto-focus, and the ability to record 720p HD video with stop motion at 30 fps.

To work in lowest light levels, the chip combines the new filtering approach with a pMOS "hole detector" IC technology (see image) that results in a low SNR found only in considerably larger devices. The small chip size allows it to be incorporated into camera modules measuring as little as 8 x 8 x 4.5 mm and also keeps it price low, which suits it for use in cell phones, digital cameras, and other handheld devices.

With an external I-Pipe, the chip supports such DSC features as image stabilization (antishake), autofocus, face recognition, and optical zoom. The imager can accommodate MIPI or Parallel interfaces. (Less than $5 ea / 1 million -- samples available 2nd qtr, volume shipment 4th qtr.)

Kodak Image Sensor Solutions, Rochester, NY
Sales 716-722-4385
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Alfalight high-brightness 30W 808nm fibre laser pump sources


New from Alfalight, and available from Pacer, is the AC3-808B and AC3-808BW series of high-brightness 30W 808nm fibre laser pump sources based on high-reliability single-emitter (SE) laser diodes.

New from Alfalight, and available from Pacer, is the AC3-808B and AC3-808BW series of high-brightness 30W 808nm fibre laser pump sources based on high-reliability single-emitter (SE) laser diodes. 

The combined power modules (CPM III) provide over 20,000 hours MTTF and do not suffer the catastrophic failure mode inherent in conventional bar-based emitters. 

Alfalight's proprietary technology for wavelength stabilisation is designed to minimise wavelength shift over temperature, enabling air-cooled operation.

The CPM III series modules combine seven single-emitter diodes to provide 30W of 808nm fibre-coupled light output.

Use of a 685[micro]m fibre bundle with 0.15NA gives higher brightness and allows for incorporation into an existing fibre-coupled bar based 0.22NA systems.

Target markets include industrial end-pumped DPSS lasers for Nd:YAG or Nd:YVO4 systems for end uses such as material cutting and processing, light welding, marking and printing.

See www.pacer.co.uk and www.alfalight.com

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Linear high side power monitor launched


Linear Technology introduces the LTC4151, a high side power monitor that measures current and input voltages from 7V to 80V. The LTC4151 utilizes an internal 12-bit ADC to continuously measure both high side current and input voltage to give a true power reading. The LTC4151 replaces prior solutions that use costly current sense amplifiers with a separate ADC, a hot-swap controller with an ADC, or an ADC with a floating ground.

These older implementations are in many cases limited by the ADC's input voltage range (typically 5V or 10V), are much more expensive, require more board space, and are not reliable. The LTC4151's simple, single-chip solution is ideal for 48V telecom equipment, advanced mezzanine cards (AMC), and blade servers used for measuring input power over a wide input range. The device is also appropriate for power monitoring in industrial applications running at 12V or 24V.

The maximum total unadjusted error (TUE) for the high-side current and voltage measurements is ±1.25% over the -40°C to +85°C industrial temperature range. A 2-wire I2C-compatible interface reports the LTC4151's input power data, as well as a third low voltage input, which can be used to measure a voltage from a thermistor or a fuse.

Data can be reported continuously or in a no-latency single snapshot mode, for applications that only need to measure input power occasionally. The LTC4151 features a dedicated shutdown pin to reduce power dissipation by 10x, while its counterpart, the LTC4151-1, features split I2C data pins with an inverted output to drive optoisolators.

The LTC4151 and LTC4151-1 are both available today in tiny MSOP-10 and 3mm x 3mm DFN-10 packages, with pricing beginning at $2.60 in 1,000-piece quantities.

Summary of Features: LTC4151

  • Wide Operating Voltage Range: 7V to 80V 
  • 12-Bit Resolution for Both Current and Voltages
  • 2-Wire I2C Interface
  • Low Voltage Auxiliary ADC Input 
  • No-Latency Single-Reading Snapshot Mode 
  • Shutdown Mode Reduces Supply Current to 120uA (LTC4151)
  • Individual Data Input/Output Lines for Optoisolation (LTC4151-1) 
  • Small footprint MSOP-10 and 3mm × 3mm DFN-10 Packages
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Li-ion battery charger IC offers superior accuracy

Three power management ICs can be factory-customized to support a multitude of applications

A family of Li-ion battery charger ICs claims the industry's highest performance and accuracy to meet the exacting needs of Li-ion batteries for the portable consumer electronics market. The MC34671, MC34673, and MC34674 single-input autonomous battery charger ICs offer output-voltage accuracy of ±0.4% over temperature and charging-current accuracy of ±5% over temperature. The ICs can be customized to address cell phones, personal media players, navigation systems, and digital still cameras. Pinout, feature set, charging parameters, and LED indication can be programmed into a customized charger IC.

The battery charger ICs deliver up to 1.2 A of charge current to single-cell Li-ion or Li-polymer batteries. The battery charger input voltage can come from an ac adapter or a USB port. The high-input-voltage capability (up to 28 V) eliminates the need for an external input overvoltage protection circuit required in handheld devices.

Each battery charger IC comes in a low-profile 2 x 3 x 0.65-mm ultrathin dual flat no-lead (UDFN) thermally enhanced package. The factory-programmable ICs include flexible output voltages, input over-voltage protection, trickle-charge current, constant charge current, and trickle-charge voltage threshold, recharge threshold, and thermal foldback threshold. (From $0.52 ea/10,000 -- available now.)

Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, TX
Sales 800-521-6274
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3D EDA tool targets antenna system design

The Antenna Modeling Design System (AMDS) full-wave 3-D electromagnetic (EM) modeling and simulation software contains a scripting feature for performance optimization and automation of complex designs such as patch array antennas, allowing designers to fine-tune antennas for the best performance within electronic devices such as handheld wireless cell phones. Designers can write their own programs to automate element placement and incorporate mathematical functions to perform virtually any analysis on the antenna design before it is integrated into the complete mobile wireless device.

Designers also can use equations to define the geometry of complex antennas (such as those with fractal and conformal surfaces) to optimize performance. It meshes, simulates and optimizes an entire wireless device, together with its surrounding real-world environment, to analyze compliance standards such as HAC, SAR (specific absorption rate), and antenna diversity and MIMO (multiple-input, multiple output). (From $50,000available now.)

Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA
Janet Smith 970-679-5397
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Aerco DC fan designed for high cooling applications

A new high performance ADDA DC fan from Aerco has been produced in the larger frame size of 127 x 127 x 38mm to meet the high cooling requirements of modern computer server equipment and other high density equipment cabinets.

The AD1324HB produces 110.3 litres/sec (242 CFM) in free air at nominal voltage and a maximum static pressure of 15.75 MM H²O at zero air volume. This new fan is also available in a low noise version that, while operating at 2000 rpm, produces 48.8 litres/sec (107 CFM) at a noise level of 41 dB/A. This is 2dB/A lower than a 120 x 120 x 38mm size fan with a similar air delivery.

Operating from a 24VDC supply the fan is protected against locked rotor condition, with automatic restart, has an operating temperature range of -10ºC to +70ºC at 65% (±20%) relative humidity and is available with several different function signals including any combination of alarm detection, speed detection (tacho) and PWM. Precision ball bearings provide a life expectancy of 50,000 hours at 40ºC and 65% RH.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Metro network device connects 10GbE Ethernet

XAUI-to-XFI 10G LAN/WAN/OTN framer/mapper/PHY device targets optical networks

Enabling metro Ethernet equipment to connect directly to 10GbE/OTN optical networks, the PEMAQUID S19258 framer/mapper/PHY device targets line cards in carrier-grade switches/routers, 10GbE/OC-192 MSPPs, and OTU2 DWDM networks. The XAUI-to-XFI 10G LAN/WAN/OTN IC operates in 10GbE, 10G Fibre Channel, OC-192/STM-64, and OTU2 network applications and features 10GbE to OTU2 mapping modes, EDC, FEC, and XAUI and serial 10G interfaces.

The chip is said to be the industry's first physical-layer device for migration from traditional SONET/SDH to carrier-grade Ethernet transmission equipment. It enables a direct connection between 10G MACs, network processors, or 10GbE switches, and XFP/SFP+ optical modules and can replace up to three devices.

The chip's integrated FRACn synthesizer requires only one low-cost external reference oscillator to enable support for 10G line rates from 9.954 to 11.32 Gbits/s, while meeting SONET/SDH and OTN jitter requirements. The IC comes in a 19 x 19-mm package and consumes only 2.5 W in typical applications. ($95 ea/10,000samples available now.)

Applied Micro Circuits, Sunnyvale, CA
Sales 408-542-8600
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Eddy-current tester handles coils, probes

For nondestructive testing of magnetic and nonmagnetic materials, the MultiMac multimode eddy current tester works with both encircling/sector test coils and test probes. The Windows-based system can have up to eight test channels and offers a selection of test parameters and special circuits to enhance SNR.

Each channel can be configured with different frequencies and modes: differential mode can be used to detect short weld-line defects using coils while absolute mode suits detection of long, continuous surface flaws and open welds using probes. (Contact Jean Gould for pricing and availability.)

Magnetic Analysis, Mount Vernon, NY
Jean Gould 914-699-9450
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Vishay presents power metal strip resistors

Vishay Intertechnology today announced two new high-temperature, surface-mount Power Metal Strip resistors that are the industrys first such devices in the 3921 and 5931 case sizes to offer an operating temperature range of 65°C to +275°C.

The proprietary construction of the new WSLT3921 and WSLT5931 devices incorporates a solid metal iron-chrome alloy resistive element with low TCR (<20PPM/°C) and specially selected and stabilized material for high-temperature capability. This results in a current-sensing resistor with an operating temperature range of 65°C to +275°C while maintaining the superior electrical characteristics of the Power Metal Strip construction.

For designers, this high-temperature capability allows the use of the WSLT3921 and WSLT5931 resistors in harsh, high-temperature environments without sacrificing power rating or electrical performance.

The new devices are ideal for all types of current-sensing, voltage division, and pulse applications, including switching and linear power supplies, instruments, and power amplifiers in automotive electronic controls such as engine and chassis controls, driver information electronics and climate controls; and industrial controls, including down-hole test/measurement equipment for oil/gas well drilling.

The WSLT3921 resistor measures 0.394in. by 0.205in. [10.0mm by 5.2mm] with a maximum height profile of 0.020in. [0.5mm], and the WSLT5931 resistor measures 0.591in. by 0.305in. [15.0mm by 7.75mm] with a height profile of 0.020in. [0.5mm]. A proprietary processing technique produces low resistance values ranging from 0.001Ω to 0.004Ω with tight tolerances of 1.0% and 5.0%.

Like all Power Metal Strip resistors, the new devices released today feature an all-welded construction that contributes to their superior electrical performance. The WSLT3921 and WSLT5931 provide very low inductance of <5ηH, excellent frequency response to 50MHz, and low thermal EMF (<3μV/°C).

Offered in tape-and-reel packaging, samples and production quantities of the new WSLT3921 and WSLT5931 high-temperature resistors are available now, with a lead time of four to six weeks for larger orders.

Contact details

For further information contact Andrew Post on +1 (610) 251 5287 or andrew.post@vishay.com.

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Linear presents six-channel supply monitor

Linear Technology introduces the LTC2932, a six-channel supply monitor that includes separate open-drain voltage comparator outputs for individual supply monitoring. The LTC2932 is designed for monitoring network servers, telecom and industrial equipment with numerous supply voltage rails.

An external resistive divider between a bandgap reference output, an ADC input, and ground determines which of the six channels are set to preset or adjustable voltage monitor inputs, as shown in the voltage threshold selection table below. The preset voltage thresholds are digitally configurable for 5%, 7.5%, 10% or 12.5% supply tolerances below the nominal operating voltage.

The LTC2932 can also be configured to monitor up to four adjustable supplies, with the option for negative voltage monitoring by connecting a resistive divider between the negative supply and buffered reference instead of ground. All six preset or adjustable channels feature ±1.5% (max) threshold accuracy over the entire temperature range.

With guaranteed specifications across the -40°C to +125°C temperature range, the LTC2932 can be used in automotive and military applications. The LTC2932's reset timeout period can be adjusted using an external capacitor and the reset output is guaranteed to be in the correct state for VCC as low as 1V. The LTC2932 also includes a reset disable pin for margining applications.

The LTC2932 is releasing alongside two new six-channel configurable supervisors. The LTC2931 offers similar functionality and performance, while including a watchdog input, adjustable watchdog timer, and a fixed 5% monitor threshold. The LTC2932 and LTC2931 are both offered in 20-pin TSSOP packages. The LTC2930 includes a push-button manual reset input and uses only a single reset output for voltage monitoring, and is available in a tiny 3mm x 3mm DFN-12 package. All three six-channel supervisors draw only 52uA of supply current.

The LTC2930, LTC2931, and LTC2932 are available today in commercial, industrial, and automotive temperature grades, with 1,000-piece pricing beginning at $2.56 each.

Summary of Features: LTC2930/LTC2931/LTC2932 

  • Simultaneously Monitors Six Supplies
  • 16 Selectable Combinations of 5V, 3.3V, 3V, 2.5V, 1.8V, 1.5V and ±ADJ Thresholds
  • Guaranteed Threshold Accuracy: ±1.5%
  • Selectable Supply Tolerances: 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 12.5% (LTC2932)
  • Reset Disable for Margining Applications (LTC2932)
  • Watchdog Input and Output, Adjustable Watchdog Timeout (LTC2931)
  • Buffered Reference Output for Adjustable, Negative Monitoring
  • Low Quiescent Current: 52uA
  • Guaranteed Operation to 125°C
  • Adjustable Reset Timeout Period
  • Tiny 3mm x 3mm DFN-12 Package (LTC2930)
  • Small TSSOP-20 Packages (LTC2931, LTC2932)
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Analog signal-conditioning chip simplifies design process

Analog bridge sensor conditioner connects directly to the piezoresistive sensor to provide analog calibration, temperature compensation, and amplification

The MBSTC-02 signal-conditioning chip is offered as the first active analog circuit incorporating the company's passive, polysilicon adjustable resistor technology known as Rejustors. The chip simplifies the design process allowing sensor calibration and temperature compensation after final assembly, which negates cumulative errors associated with the assembly processes, such as manufacturing tolerance errors, error introduced by stress, and packaging.

The device features low-noise operational amplifiers with Rejustors to provide precise signal conditioning with integrated temperature correction for use with sensors with a negative TC sensitivity. Adjustment is performed in-circuit, after assembly and packaging. The adjustment process is isolated from the signal path, allowing true in-circuit adjustment. Once adjusted, the MBSTC-02 maintains its configuration indefinitely without standby power or a boot-up sequence. Housed in a QFN-16 package, it operates over temperatures ranging from -40 to 125C. ($1.99 ea/1,000available now.)

Microbridge Technologies, San Jose, CA
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Strategic Test 16-channel data acquisation cards for PCI express

Strategic Test has announced two new 250 kHz 16-bit data acquisition cards for PCI Express. The UF2e-4721 has 16 analog inputs and the UF2e-4020 has 8 channels. Unique features include the options for dual-timebase sampling, synchronous digital inputs, asynchronous digital I/O and the possibility to synchronize up to 4336 channels.
Drivers and programming examples for Microsoft Windows Vista, XP64, XP and Linux (RedHat, Fedora, SuSe, Sarge) are supplied with the card, as well as the SBench 5.3 oscilloscope program. SDK's for MATLAB, LabVIEW, Agilent-VEE, DASYLab and LabWindows/CVI are available as options.
Key specifications include: 

  • 32 mega samples memory - expandable to 2 giga samples
  • Continuous streaming to host PC > 120 mega samples/s

  • Effective Number of Bits > 14.7 bits
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio > 90.6 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion < -105.0 dB
  • The standard -3dB bandwidth is > 125 kHz  

Each channel its own 250 kHz ADC for true simultaneous sampling, together with eight voltage ranges from ±50 mV to ±10 V, a programmable offset of 100% and input impedances of 50 Ohm or 1 MOhm, allowing each channel to be individually configured for the signal source.
Like all UltraFast boards, the UF2e-472x scope cards can be customized with hardware options to best match the application:

  • Onboard memory: 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 or 2048 mega samples
  • Multiple Recording: memory segmentation
  • Gated Sampling: output clock controlled by external TTL signal
  • TimeBase : records time of trigger events or Gates
  • ABA Mode: slow-fast-slow recording on trigger
  • Star Hub: synchronization of up to 5 or 16 boards, or 5 to 16 PC's to a maximum or 271 boards. Can be used with Digitizer, AWG  and Digital I/O boards to create mixed-mode systems
  • Digital Inputs : adds 8 synchronous digital inputs
  • BaseXIO : adds 8 asynchronous digital I/O lines 

Prices start at $4190 with volume/OEM discounts available.

Contact details

For further information, contact Bob Giblett, President, Strategic Test Corporation on 617 621 0080 or media@strategic-test.com.

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Clare Instruments' all-in-one bench-top high voltage wiring analyser

An all-in-one bench-top high voltage wiring analyser from electrical safety testing specialists Clare Instruments is designed for HiPot testing up to 1500Vdc/1067Vac within production test environments.

The instrument incorporates a PC with flash memory and eight digital I/0. Up to 128-point testing can be carried out with the Horizon II.

It is also possible to expand this up to 1024 points, with the capability of switching 1A and HiPot testing up to 1500v DC and/or 1067V AC.

Other features include built-in 'START' and 'STOP' buttons, there are on-screen user help tips and a redesigned adapter retention system will improve user load/unload times.

See www.clareinstruments.com

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Zetex drivers meet demands of next generation LEDs

A family of three flexible LED Drivers from Zetex Semiconductors provides designers with the performance needed by the next generation of high brightness LEDs. 

The ZXLD132X inductive DC-DC converter series drive single or multiple LEDs with currents from 700mA through to 1.5A, in buck, boost and buck/boost configurations.  Housed in a tiny 3mm x 4mm DFN package, the drivers can reduce the circuit footprint of existing solutions by up to 50 per cent.

Employing an innovative variable 'on' and 'off' time control scheme with an adjustable peak switch current limit, the chips are significantly simpler to control than alternative PFM solutions. The drivers also enable both LED current and peak inductor current to be set accurately and independently.

The ZXLD132X feedback control circuit ensures excellent load and current regulation, resulting in LED current stability of typically +/-3 per cent throughout the useful life of the battery and over the extended operating temperature range of –40ºC to 125ºC. 

LED current can be adjusted from 100 per cent down to 10 per cent of preset value by applying a DC voltage signal and down to 2 per cent using a PWM input.

The highly integrated ZXLD132X LED driver family also features a thermal control circuit that monitors an external thermistor in order to linearly reduce output current once temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold.  The device can also be shut down by applying a low-level DC voltage signal.

Patrick Durand, Worldwide Applications Manager for Future Lighting Solutions said, "The next generation of high brightness LEDs, such as Luxeon® K2, require harder driving in order to maximise lumen output.  These latest LED drivers from Zetex give designers the output current performance and importantly the ease of use that they've been waiting for."

Chris Jolly, VP Marketing, Zetex Semiconductors added, "By combining the DC-DC converter, a current monitor for accurately stabilising the output current, the thermal control circuitry and a powerful 2A NPN switching transistor into a tiny DFN package, we have enabled our customers to maximise the Lumen output they get from the latest LED technology."

At the head of the product family, the ZXLD1320 buck mode driver will deliver up to 1.5A continuous LED current for an input voltage range of 4V to 18V.  Providing up to a maximum of 24W of power, depending on supply voltage and external component selection, the device will suit halogen lamp replacement and battery driven applications.

The ZXLD1321 is a boost mode driver operating with an input voltage range of 1V to 12V and delivers an LED current of 1A, while the ZXLD1322 is a buck/boost mode driver producing 700mA for an input voltage of 2.5V to 15V.  Both devices suit high power LED flashlight, LED back-up lighting and general LED driving applications.

The ZXLD132X family members are priced in the range of $1.35 in quantities of 1K.

Contact details

For more information contact Ronnie Doctor, Zetex Semiconductors on +44 (0) 161 622 4444 or rdoctor@zetex.com.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sony Ericsson to make Windows Mobile phones

Sony Ericsson (6758.T: QuoteNEWS , Research) (ERICb.ST: QuoteProfile , Research) and Microsoft (MSFT.O: QuoteProfile , Research) will cooperate in making smartphones, with the first Sony Ericsson handset based on the Windows Mobile operating system on sale by the end of the year.

The world's fourth-biggest cell-phone maker also unveiled six other new models on Sunday, including two additional touch-screen phones, a Walkman music phone with 8 gigabytes of memory and a dust-resistant camera phone.

The Microsoft deal means all the world's top handset makers apart from Nokia (NOK1V.HE: QuoteProfile , Research) will now have Windows Mobile versions. The Sony Ericsson model, named the "X1," will be a slider phone with a typewriter-style qwerty keyboard and touch screen.

The marketing manager of Microsoft's mobile business, Scott Horn, told Reuters he was confident of reaching the company's goal of selling at least 20 million smartphones with partners by the end of Microsoft's fiscal year at the end of June.

About 123 million smartphones -- phones with computer-like capabilities such as e-mail and Internet browsing -- were sold in 2007, according to market research firm Gartner. In total, about 1.14 billion phones were sold worldwide.

Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones with 40 percent of the market, sold nearly 19 million smartphones in the fourth quarter alone.

The Finnish company does license some software for music and e-mail from Microsoft, but does not use Windows Mobile operating system.

"We'd love them to do it," said Microsoft's Horn. "We have a very good relationship with them. I think our hope is that at some point they say: 'Why not just license the whole thing?'"

Sony Ericsson has become best known for its strongly branded Walkman music phones and Cybershot camera phones.

Microsoft has alliances with dozens of handset makers including four of the top five as well as more specialized vendors like Taiwan's HTC (2498.TW: QuoteProfile , Research), the world's biggest maker of smartphones.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Tarmo Virki; editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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Backplane connector replaces standard VHDM-HSD part

Delivers 10-dB lower crosstalk and scales to date rates in excess of 10 Gbits/s

An upgrade to the company's industry-standard VHDM-HSD platform, the eHSD high-speed backplane connector delivers up to 10-dB lower crosstalk than that previous version and is scalable to data rates greater than 10 Gbits/s. The shielded, five-row, press-fit connector features an insertion loss of less than 2 dB at 10 GHz, supports differential pair architectures, and is fully backward compatible with existing VHDM-HSD slots to extend the life of existing designs and reduce development costs by scaling systems to next-generation speeds without the need for redesign.

The connector platform includes 5-and 8-row versions with densities from 25 to 38 real differential pairs per linear inch (10 to 15 real differential pairs per 10 mm) and additional power and guidance options. (Per mated signal line, $0.10 to $0.12 ea/prod qty—available now.)

Amphenol TCS, Nashua, NH
Catherine Palmer 603-879-3600
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Powersolve introduces PSL400BP range of baseplate cooled AC/DC units

With designers looking for high power, conduction-cooled power supplies, Powersolve has introduced the  PSL400BP range of baseplate cooled AC/DC units. These power supplies are designed to offer single outputs of 5V, 12V, 24V or 48V DC with output power up to 400W.

The input range is wide at 85 to 264VAC, 47 to 63Hz and all models feature active Power Factor Correction to conform with EN61000-3-2.

These ruggedised power supplies are housed in a robust extruded aluminium chassis designed for use in industrial or other types of equipment where cooling fans are undesirable and convection airflow is not available.  Units can be mounted in a sealed box providing that the external heat sinking is adequate to maintain the baseplate at a temperature of 80 deg C or below.

Standard features include over current and short circuit protection, over voltage and over temperature protection, output voltage adjust, remote on/off, output power good signal, +5V 1A standby output and LED indicator to show Vout present.

All units are also designed to be able to operate in parallel for N+1 redundant operation and feature integral ORing diodes.
See www.powersolve.co.uk

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cable and backplane drivers top 6 Gbits/s

Adaptive equalizers come with 4, 8, and 12 channels

The M21030 cable and M21451 backplane 6.5-Gbit/s four-channel active adaptive equalizers are presented as yielding superior transmission quality, via an independent equalizer and driver with programmable output swing and de-emphasis, while consuming just 120 to 136 mW/channel. The devices' adaptive equalization is critical in applications where the transmission channel may be modified, such as when cables or blades are changed out and they feature small, 6 x 6-mm, QFN44 packages.

The eight-channel M21452 and twelve-channel M21453 backplane signal conditioners operate at 50 Mbits/s to 6.5 Gbits/s and need just 115 mW/channel. They provide high-quality backplane transmission at up to 40 in. across low-cost backplane materials such as FR-4. The two devices have programmable equalizers targeting environments where the nature of the transmission channel is well defined and the focus is on power and scalability.

All devices feature nonblocking switch matrices that can be used for redundancy. They support a wide range of protocols, including PCI Express, SAS, SATA, Infiniband, SONET and XAUI, and transparently pass out of band (OOB) signaling utilized in protocols such as SATA/SAS. All chips operate from -40° to 85°C. (M21030, $19.95; M21451, $12.95; , M21452 $23.95; $31.95, M21453 ea/prod qtysamples available now.)

Mindspeed Technologies, Newport Beach, CA
Sales 949-579-3000
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Micro-Robotics embedded system starter kit launched

Micro-Robotics, the Cambridge based manufacturer of off-the-shelf embedded control systems, is introducing a starter kit with touchscreen display.

The kit consists of a Hitachi 5.7in. QVGA (320 x 240) monochrome display, a model that sets the standard for this type of unit, with an integral 4-wire resistive touch screen and driver board.

There is also a VM-1 controller, Venom-SC language, real-time clock kit, application boards, power supply, serial lead and full documentation including a 160-page tutorial guide.

The application boards are designed to mount on the back of the display unit to allow users to develop bespoke applications.

Read more ...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Continuous-Time Sigma-Delta ADC

The ADC12EU050 is a high-speed, continuous-time sigma-delta ADC (analogue-to-digital-converter) device. This eight-channel, 12-bit, 50Msample/s data converter chip offers users an alias-free sample bandwidth up to 25MHz, while consuming 350mW, 30% less than most competing pipeline devices currently on the market. Its low power will enable manufacturers to extend battery life and reduce heat in portable medical ultrasound and industrial imaging equipment. The continuous-time architecture greatly simplifies system design as it allows the integration of other signal-path functions such as signal conditioning, while incorporating anti-aliasing filtering into the ADC. The integrated low-pass, brickwall anti-aliasing filter blocks out-of-band signals. An easy-to-drive, purely resistive input stage, which does not require a sample-and-hold amplifier, is also integrated. Instant-overload recovery circuitry recovers from saturation within one clock cycle if the input exceeds pre-determined limits.

National Semiconductor GmbH
Livry-Gargan-Straße 10
82256 Fürstenfeldbruck - Germany
tel: +49 81 4135 0
fax: +49 81 4135 1515

Source : Click here

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Shear Ingenuity: Tweaking The Conductivity Of Nanotube Composites

New measurements by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have uncovered an intriguing wrinkle. For a given CNT concentration, the electrical properties of the composite can be tuned from being a conductor to a non-conductor simply by changing processing conditions—basically how fast the polymer flows.

Carbon nanotubes—sheets of graphite rolled up into nanoscale hollow cylinders—are under intense scrutiny for a wide range of materials applications. The NIST study* shows how the conductivity and dielectric properties of these mixtures depend on flow and how they change once flow has stopped.

These property changes have relevance to the process design of these materials in a long list of potential applications for conducting plastics including transparent electrodes, antennas, electronic packaging, sensors, automotive paint, anti-static fuel hoses and aircraft components.

The NIST researchers augmented a standard instrument, a shear rheometer, normally used for viscosity measurements, to simultaneously measure conductivity and dielectric properties Using this "rheo-dielectric spectrometer," they discovered that the conductivity of the nanocomposite dramatically decreases with increasing flow rate, effectively changing the material from a conductor to an insulator.

This extraordinary sensitivity of the conductivity (and other properties) to flow is prevalent near a characteristic CNT concentration where an interpenetrating CNT network first forms. Surprisingly, once the flow is removed, they found that the nanocomposite reverts back to its original conductivity.

Based on these measurements, the NIST team proposed a theoretical model that successfully accounts for these dramatic effects. This model quantitatively predicts the observed conductor-insulator transition and is useful for optimizing and controlling the properties of these new polymer-nanotube composites.

Adapted from materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Source ; Click here

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Micro-Robotics embedded system starter kit launched

Micro-Robotics, the Cambridge based manufacturer of off-the-shelf embedded control systems, is introducing a starter kit with touchscreen display.

The kit consists of a Hitachi 5.7in. QVGA (320 x 240) monochrome display, a model that sets the standard for this type of unit, with an integral 4-wire resistive touch screen and driver board.

There is also a VM-1 controller, Venom-SC language, real-time clock kit, application boards, power supply, serial lead and full documentation including a 160-page tutorial guide.

The application boards are designed to mount on the back of the display unit to allow users to develop bespoke applications.

Read more ...

Lattice FPGA provides high-speed glueless interface

Lattice Semiconductor has introduced its LatticeECP2 and LatticeECP2M FPGA interface reference design supporting the Texas Instruments' ADS6000 family of analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs). 

The FPGAs will provide a high-speed glueless interface capable of acquiring 14-bit ADC data at rates up to 120Msample/s from the two to four serial channels found in ADS6000 ADC family devices.

Systems migrating to higher sample rate/ resolution ADCs often require an FPGA with an interface speed of approximately 800Mbit/s to bridge between existing hardware and the newer interface provided by the higher speed ADC.

Typically this can require costly high-end FPGAs, the aim of Lattice is to provide these bridge functions in an optimally sized FPGA at a lower cost.

"Previously, only expensive, high-end FPGAs could interface with ADC bus speeds greater than 600Mbit/s," said Stan Kopec, corporate v-p of marketing. 

"Now our customers can use the LatticeECP2/M FPGA's 840Mbit/s source synchronous interface to design their systems at a significantly lower cost without sacrificing performance or flexibility."

To facilitate design verification, the default configuration of the reference design utilises a new hardware interface card developed by Lattice to work with existing TI and Lattice evaluation boards. 

The LatticeECP2/M family supports logic densities from 6K LUTs up to 95K LUTs, has high performance DSP blocks, supports DDR2 memory interfaces at 533Mbit/s and up to 840Mbit/s generic LVDS performance.

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SST targets entry level handsets with ComboMemory series

SST (Silicon Storage Technology) announced the 34WA Series of 1.8V ComboMemory products, the latest additions to the Company's family of high-performance flash memory/RAM combination memory products. The 34WA Series supports functions and features new to SST's ComboMemory family, including burst-mode operation for faster performance and address/data bus multiplexing for a lower pin count and smaller device footprint.

The products in the 34WA Series use a very small semiconductor package, measuring just 6mm x 8mm x 1mm, making them the smallest address/data bus multiplex combination memory devices available on the market today. The performance and space savings provided by the 34WA Series make these products ideal for the entry-level mobile handset market's need for high-performing, cost-effective, small form factor mobile phones.

"Entry-level mobile handsets for emerging regions continue to be significant areas of growth in the mobile phone market," said Paul Lui, senior vice president, Memory and Special Products Business Unit, SST.

"Mobile handsets with basic features that once served as entry-level products are no longer sufficient for the growing demands of customers in these regions. In light of this, OEMs need to deliver mobile handsets at aggressive price points, yet still provide strong performance, small size and long battery life. The introduction of our new 34WA ComboMemory Series confirms SST's commitment to supporting these market segments, and we believe the enhanced feature set, low power consumption and small footprint make our 34WA products a compelling choice for handset OEMs."

The 34WA Series supports burst-mode operation, which allows the data in the devices to be read at high speed, thereby increasing overall system performance. The devices also support address and data bus multiplexing to allow the sharing of I/O pins to reduce package pin count and overall device size. The 1.8V operating voltage of the 34WA Series devices leads to lower system power consumption.

Contact details

For further information, contact Richard Sawers, Silicon Storage Technology on +44 1932 23 81 33 or rsawers@sst.com.

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Battery fuel gauges target mobile Internet devices

System- and pack-side impedance-track fuelgauge ICs simplify power management design

The bq27510 and the bq27540 battery fuel gauge devices with integrated low-dropout (LDOs) regulators are designed for smart phones, mobile Internet devices, and media players with embedded or removable batteries. The new system-side and battery-pack-side fuel gauges build on the company's family of ICs that are claimed to predict battery life with 99% accuracy.

The bq27510 system-side battery fuel gauge with impedance track technology incorporates an LDO regulator and can be powered directly from the battery cell with less external circuitry, regardless of system voltage. It also measures remaining capacity data from a device's single-cell Li-ion battery to predict remaining battery capacity under all conditions, even as a battery ages.

The bq27540 single-cell battery manager resides directly on the embedded or removable battery pack to intelligently manage available power that resides in the battery. It supports SDQ, HDQ, and I2C communication protocols to allow the system to read important information from the battery. ($1.35 ea/1,000 – prod qty, 2nd qtr.)

Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX
Product Information Center 800-477-8924
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Analog Devices announces digitally programmable variable gain amplifier

Analog Devices today introduced a digitally programmable VGA (variable gain amplifier) with transmit driver that sets a new standard of performance for driving signals over power lines, cables, and other applications with low impedance. The AD8260 operates on a single 3.3-V power supply and has a transmit driver that produces ±200-mA output up to 100 kHz, and greater than ±100-mA above that frequency. This is an improvement over competing solutions using a discrete VGA, output driver and pre-amp, which consume 90 percent more board space, and require multiple power supplies.

The AD8260 VGA operates at -3dB bandwidth of 200-MHz and includes a 30-dB gain range digitally adjustable in 3-dB gain steps providing the headroom needed for losses introduced in various cabling systems. The new VGA features 2.4nV/rtHz input voltage noise and driver with a built-in gain of 1.5, which is ideal for converting DAC (digital-to-analog converter) differential output signals to a voltage that can directly drive very low impedances. The AD8260 can fully drive a 10 load with 2 Vpp at 10 MHz. In addition, the chip dissipates just 93 mW of power, which is less than half that of competing devices.

More About the AD8260

The AD8260 includes a high-current driver, usable as a transmitter, and a low-noise digitally programmable VGA, which is useable as a receiver, combined in a 5 mm x 5 mm chip-scale package. The receiver section consists of a single-ended input preamplifier and linear-in-dB, differential-output VGA. The differential output facilitates the interface to modern low-voltage, high-speed ADCs (analogue-to-digital converters).

Versatile single- and dual-supply operation allow gain control of negative-going pulses, such as generated by photodiodes or photo-multiplier tubes, and allows for the processing of band-pass signals on a single supply. The AD8260 preamplifier is user-configurable with external resistors for gains greater than 6 dB.

The driver is set-up to be driven by modern current output DACs, like the high-speed AD9742 12 bit, 3.3 V supply DAC.

Pricing and Availability

The AD8260 is sampling now, with full volume production scheduled for March 2008. The AD8260 is available in a 32-Lead LFCSP (lead-frame chip-scale package) over the extended industrial temperature range -40C to 105C and is priced at $3.79 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Read more ...

Linear step-down DC/DC converter in 3mm x 3mm DFN

Linear Technology Corporation announces the LT1913, a 3.5A, 25V step-down switching regulator packaged in a 3mm x 3mm DFN.

The LT1913 operates within a VIN range of 3.6V to 25V, making it suitable for regulating power from a wide variety of sources, including protected automotive batteries, industrial supplies and unregulated wall adapters. Its 4.6A internal switch can deliver up to 3.5A of continuous output current at voltages as low as 0.79V.

The LT1913's switching frequency is user programmable from 200kHz to 2.4MHz, enabling designers to optimize efficiency while avoiding critical noise-sensitive frequency bands and keeping externals small. The combination of its high switching frequency and tiny 3mm x 3mm DFN package ensure a very compact solution foot print.

The LT1913 utilizes a high efficiency 4.6A, 95mOhm switch which can deliver up to 90% efficiency. The necessary boost diode, oscillator, control and logic circuitry are integrated into a single chip. Special design techniques used in the LT1913 enable high efficiency over a wide input voltage range, and the device's current mode topology enables fast transient response and excellent loop stability. Other features include external synchronization (from 250kHz to 2MHz), a power good flag and soft-start capability.

Pricing for the LT1913EDD starts at $3.65 each for 1,000-piece quantities. The LT1913IDD is tested and guaranteed to operate from a -40°C to 125°C operating junction temperature and is priced at $4.38 each in 1,000-piece quantities. Both versions are available from stock.

Summary of Features: LT1913 

  • Wide Input Range: 3.6V to 25V
  • 3.5A Maximum Output Current
  • Adjustable Switching Frequency: 200kHz to 2.4MHz
  • Low Shutdown Current: IQ < 1uA
  • Integrated Boost Diode
  • Synchronizable Between 250kHz to 2MHz
  • Power Good Flag
  • Saturating Switch Design: 95mOhm On-Resistance
  • 0.790V Feedback Reference Voltage
  • Output Voltage: 0.79V to 25V
  • Thermal Protection
  • Soft-Start Capability
  • Small 10-Pin Thermally Enhanced 3mm × 3mm DFN Package
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Organic Solar Cells: Electricity From A Thin Film

The flexible solar module is as small as the page of a book. (Credit: Copyright Fraunhofer ISE)

Established printing technologies should be employed for their production of the future. In order to achieve this goal of suitable solar cell architecture as well a coating materials and substrates have to be developed. "This method permits a high throughput, so the greatest cost is that of materials," says Michael Niggemann, a researcher at ISE.

Nevertheless, organic solar cells are not intended to compete with classic silicon cells – they are not nearly efficient enough to do that just yet. Because they are flexible, however, they can open up new fields of application: Plastic solar cells could supply the power for small mobile devices such as MP3 players or electronic ski passes. Another possibility would be to combine solar cells, sensors and electronic circuits on a small strip of plastic to form a self-sufficient power microsystem.

At nano tech in Tokyo, the Fraunhofer experts will be presenting a flexible solar module that is as small as the page of a book. It was produced by a method that can easily be transferred to roll-to-roll technology – a vital step en route to mass production.

A new design principle helps to save costs, too: Until now, the front electrode, the one that faces the sun, has usually been made of expensive indium tin oxide because this material is transparent. But now there is an alternative: The Fraunhofer crew has interconnected a poorly conductive transparent polymer electrode with a highly conductive metal layer on the rear side of the solar cell. This connection is done trough numerous tiny holes in the solar cell .This has the advantage that a low-priced material can be used. The idea has already been patented.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg is presenting avenues towards industrial mass production at the world's largest trade fair for nanotechnology, the nano tech 2008 from February 21 through 23 in Tokyo.

Adapted from materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, via AlphaGalileo.

Source : Click here

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Mic listens for airbag deployment

The model 106M160 high-intensity piezoelectric pressure microphone is designed for measuring airbag deployment noise and total impulse of an inflation event inside an automobile. It survives high-intensity signals, up to 216 dB, that would damage most condenser microphones.

The unit has a frequency response of 0.05 Hz to 20 kHz, a 189-dB measurement range, 96-dB resolution, and 79.8-mV/kPa sensitivity. It is hermetically sealed and features an ICP output. (Contact Andrea Mohn for pricing and availability.)

PCB Piezotronics, Depew, NY
Andrea Mohn 716-684-0002, ext. 2216
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PCS duplexer achieves best Tx/Rx insertion loss

Device is 40% smaller to accommodate CDMA, UMTS, modem, and femtocell applications

Constructed using the company's film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) technology, the ACMD-7403 PCS duplexer offers a 2.7-dB Tx insertion loss and 3.2-dB Rx band insertion loss—presented as the industry's best—to provide lowering power consumption and improved receiver sensitivity over competing solutions. The 3.0 x 3.0 x 1.2-mm duplexer is about 40% smaller than previous generation products to suit applications such as CDMA and UMTS mobile phone, data card, modem, and femtocell applications.

The device offers more than 52 dB attenuation of the transmitted signal at the receiver input and more than 44 dB rejection of transmit-generated noise in the receive band. The RoHS-compliant duplexer also achieves a power rating of 33 dBm absolute maximum Tx power. (From $2.13 ea/10,000—available now.)

Avago Technologies, San Jose, CA
Information 800-235-0312
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Denistron advances display evaluation kit

Densitron has upgraded it OLED display evaluation kit.  Based on the firm's USB OLED (DUO) demo kit and this latest version offers improved graphic display management.

The kit will drive OLED displays from the USB port of a desktop or laptop PC. It is hot pluggable and does not require extra power supply to run, allowing quick download of pictures and creation of slide shows.

The kit comprises an OLED display, a USB controller card, a mini USB cable, an interchangeable OLED display card, and a CD with software applications and drivers.

The upgrade kit can automatically detect the connected display and customise the initialisation to suit.  Users can also send register commands to the driver IC, either using a command line interface or sending a script file containing all the commands and then executing the script.

It incorporates brightness and slide time controls.  Several Kits can also be connected to a PC at the same time, each one running from its own USB port.

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Microchip 8-bit flash PIC microcontroller launched

Microchip is offering new Baseline 8-bit flash PIC microcontrollers with non-volatile flash data memory (FDM) in 8- and 14-pin packages.

The MCUs incorporate 64 bytes of non-volatile data memory, an 8 MHz internal oscillator, a device reset timer (DRT), up to three channels of 8-bit analogue-to-digital conversion and up to two comparators.

Example applications include standby power control, power-sequencing infrared receivers, handheld products, smart switches and mode selectors, electric pumps and compressors, light switching and dimming, thermostats, security systems, blenders, toasters, coffee machines and electric toothbrushes.

The firm's suite of MPLAB development tools supports these microcontrollers, including the PICkit 2 series of starter kits.

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National Semi expands hi-fi audio amplifier range

National Semiconductor has added to its LME hi-fi audio amplifier family with a pair of 200V mono audio power amplifier input stages designed to deliver low distortion.

The LME49811 and LME49830 offer scalable output power based on supply voltage and output device count. With these devices, designers can use the same base circuit design to create multiple power-level solutions up to 1 kW amplifiers, just by scaling the output stage devices to accommodate for more power dissipation and current drive.

When implemented in a complete power amplifier design, the LME49811's total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) is a remarkably low 0.00035 per cent, while the LME49830's THD+N is 0.0006 per cent.

The LME49811 drives Darlington or bipolar power transistors in an amplifier's output stage. It is a mono version of the LM4702 stereo driver.

It is capable of driving an output stage to deliver in excess of 500W single-ended into an 8ohm load. 

The LME49830 can drive an output stage in excess of 500W single-ended into an 8ohm load. The device's 60mA output current can increase design flexibility when selecting output stage configurations. The LME49830 provides slew rates of 40V/[micro]s, PSRR of 115dB, output voltage noise of 41[micro]V and an operating voltage range of +/-20V to +/-100V.

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Knitter-switch launches new switch series

Knitter-switch announces a new tact switch series that will find wide application in industry, in medical systems, consumer electronics and the automotive sector.

Switches in the TSS 650 series are small, surface mount tact switches that provide an extra long travel of 1.3mm, compared to the industry "norm" of just 0.25mm. Because the switch incorporates a silicone dome, there is no audible click during operation but there is nevertheless excellent tactile feedback for the user. This can be very useful in broadcast and medical environments.

The new switch has a body which measures just 6 x 6mm with a height off the board of 5mm. Designed to be lead-free reflow solderable at up to 260ºC, the use of J hooks saves further board space. Operating temperature range is very wide, at –40 to +85ºC.

The switches have a long mechanical life with a minimum of 30000 cycles, contact ratings of 12VDC, 50mA and a low contact resistance of 100mΩ.

According to knitter-switch, applications of the new tact switches include industrial front panels, home entertainment products, medical systems and automotive electronics.

Knitter-switch TSS 650 tact switches are available from stock and from a number of distributors throughout Europe. Samples are usually available on next day delivery.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Energy-efficient Microchip Could Result In Cell Phones Staying Charged 10 Times As Long, Self-charging Electronics

Three electrical engineering graduate students (from left) Yogesh Ramadass, Naveen Verma, and Joyce Kwong, seated, are members of Professor Anantha Chandrasakan's team that has developed a microchip that is 10 times more energy efficient than others. (Credit: MIT photo by Donna Coveney)

The innovative design will be presented Feb. 5 at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco by Joyce Kwong, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).*

The key to the improvement in energy efficiency was to find ways of making the circuits on the chip work at a voltage level much lower than usual, Anantha Chandrakasan of MIT explains. While most current chips operate at around one volt, the new design works at just 0.3 volts.

Reducing the operating voltage, however, is not as simple as it might sound, because existing microchips have been optimized for many years to operate at the higher standard-voltage level. "Memory and logic circuits have to be redesigned to operate at very low power supply voltages," Chandrakasan says.

One key to the new design, he says, was to build a high-efficiency DC-to-DC converter-which reduces the voltage to the lower level-right on the same chip, reducing the number of separate components. The redesigned memory and logic, along with the DC-to-DC converter, are all integrated to realize a complete system-on-a-chip solution.

One of the biggest problems the team had to overcome was the variability that occurs in typical chip manufacturing. At lower voltage levels, variations and imperfections in the silicon chip become more problematic. "Designing the chip to minimize its vulnerability to such variations is a big part of our strategy," Chandrakasan says.

So far the new chip is a proof of concept. Commercial applications could become available "in five years, maybe even sooner, in a number of exciting areas," Chandrakasan says. For example, portable and implantable medical devices, portable communications devices and networking devices could be based on such chips, and thus have greatly increased operating times. There may also be a variety of military applications in the production of tiny, self-contained sensor networks that could be dispersed in a battlefield.

In some applications, such as implantable medical devices, the goal is to make the power requirements so low that they could be powered by "ambient energy," Chandrakasan says-using the body's own heat or movement to provide all the needed power. In addition, the technology could be suitable for body area networks or wirelessly enabled body sensor networks.

"Together, TI and MIT have pioneered many advances that lower power in electronic devices, and we are proud to be part of this revolutionary, world-class university research," said Dr. Dennis Buss, chief scientist at Texas Instruments. "These design techniques show great potential for TI future low-power integrated circuit products and applications including wireless terminals, battery-operated instrumentation, sensor networks and medical electronics."

*Kwong carried out the project with MIT colleagues Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering, and EECS graduate students Yogesh Ramadass and Naveen Verma. Their Texas Instruments (TI) collaborators are Markus Koesler, Korbinian Huber and Hans Moormann. The team demonstrated the ultra-low-power design techniques on TI's MSP430, a widely used microcontroller. The work was conducted at the MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories, which Chandrakasan directs.

The research was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Source : Click here

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