Monday, April 21, 2008

Graphene Used To Create World's Smallest Transistor

Dr Ponomarenko, who carried out this work, shows his research sample: graphene quantum dots on a chip. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester)

Reporting their peer-reviewed findings in the journal Science, Dr Kostya Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester show that graphene can be carved into tiny electronic circuits with individual transistors having a size not much larger than that of a molecule.

The smaller the size of their transistors the better they perform, say the Manchester researchers.

In recent decades, manufacturers have crammed more and more components onto integrated circuits. As a result, the number of transistors and the power of these circuits have roughly doubled every two years. This has become known as Moore's Law.

But the speed of cramming is now noticeably decreasing, and further miniaturisation of electronics is to experience its most fundamental challenge in the next 10 to 20 years, according to the semiconductor industry roadmap.

At the heart of the problem is the poor stability of materials if shaped in elements smaller than 10 nanometres*  in size. At this spatial scale, all semiconductors -- including silicon -- oxidise, decompose and uncontrollably migrate along surfaces like water droplets on a hot plate.

Four years ago, Geim and his colleagues discovered graphene, the first known one-atom-thick material which can be viewed as a plane of atoms pulled out from graphite. Graphene has rapidly become the hottest topic in physics and materials science.

Now the Manchester team has shown that it is possible to carve out nanometre-scale transistors from a single graphene crystal. Unlike all other known materials, graphene remains highly stable and conductive even when it is cut into devices one nanometre wide.

Graphene transistors start showing advantages and good performance at sizes below 10 nanometres - the miniaturization limit at which the Silicon technology is predicted to fail.

"Previously, researchers tried to use large molecules as individual transistors to create a new kind of electronic circuits. It is like a bit of chemistry added to computer engineering", says Novoselov. "Now one can think of designer molecules acting as transistors connected into designer computer architecture on the basis of the same material (graphene), and use the same fabrication approach that is currently used by semiconductor industry".

"It is too early to promise graphene supercomputers," adds Geim. "In our work, we relied on chance when making such small transistors. Unfortunately, no existing technology allows the cutting materials with true nanometre precision. But this is exactly the same challenge that all post-silicon electronics has to face. At least we now have a material that can meet such a challenge."

"Graphene is an exciting new material with unusual properties that are promising for nanoelectronics", comments Bob Westervelt, professor at Harvard University. "The future should be very interesting".

*One nanometre is one-millionth of a millimetre and a single human hair is around 100,000 nanometres in width.

A paper entitled "Chaotic Dirac Billiard in Graphene Quantum Dots" is published in April 17 issue of Science. It is accompanied by a Perspective article entitled "Graphene Nanoelectronics" by Westervelt. 

Adapted from materials provided by University of Manchester.

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Ramtron introduces first 2MB Serial F-RAM

Ramtron International Corporation, a developer and supplier of nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (F-RAM) and integrated semiconductor products, has unveiled the industry's first 2-megabit (Mb) serial F-RAM memory in an 8-lead TDFN (5.0 x 6.0 mm) package. 

Manufactured on an advanced 130 nanometer CMOS process, the FM25H20 is a high-density nonvolatile F-RAM memory that operates at low power and features a high-speed serial peripheral interface (SPI).  The 3-volt, 2Mb serial F-RAM writes at maximum bus speed with virtually unlimited endurance for greater data collection capacity in a tiny package, enabling system designers to reduce costs and board space in a range of advanced applications including meters and printers.

The FM25H20 is an ideal replacement for serial Flash in sophisticated electronic systems that require low power and minimal board space.  These include portable medical devices such as hearing aids, which are essentially mini data processors with limited space and low power budgets.  F-RAM benefits over Flash include significantly lower operating currents, faster writes, and write endurance that is orders of magnitude greater than Flash. 

"The 2Mb serial F-RAM is a natural extension for our metering and printer customers who want to increase data collection capacity in their next-generation applications without increasing board space.  The FM25H20 offers our half megabit serial F-RAM customers quadruple the memory in the same small footprint," explains Duncan Bennett, Ramtron Strategic Manager.  "In addition to enhancing existing systems, this technological development moves F-RAM into a range of new markets that require a low-power memory in a very constrained space, such as portable medical devices."

Product Features

The FM25H20 is organized as a 256K x 8 bit nonvolatile memory that reads and writes at bus speed up to 40MHz, with essentially unlimited endurance, 10-year data retention, and low operating currents.  The device incorporates an industry-standard SPI interface that optimizes F-RAM's high-speed write capability.  A hardware and software write protection feature is also included on the FM25H20 to prevent inadvertent writes and data corruption. 

The 2Mb serial F-RAM operates at low power, drawing less than 10 milliamps for reads/writes at 40MHz, 80 microamps (typical) in standby, and 3 microamps (typical) in ultra-low-current sleep mode.  Pin-compatible with equivalent serial Flash devices, but far superior because of its fast access time, high endurance and low operating current, the 2Mb F-RAM operates from 2.7 to 3.6 volts over the entire industrial temperature range (-40 degrees C to +85 degrees C). For more product information, visit '100">'

About the Advanced 130 Nanometer Process

The FM25H20 is based on Texas Instruments' proven 130 nanometer (nm) CMOS manufacturing process.  Only two additional mask steps have been used to embed the nonvolatile F-RAM module within the standard CMOS 130nm logic process.

Pricing and Availability

Samples of the FM25H20 are available in an 8-pin TDFN package that is RoHS-compliant and footprint-compatible with 8-pin SOICs.  Pricing starts at $10.20 for quantities of 10,000 units.

Further information

For more details, contact Ramtron International on +1 514 871 2447 or

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Tektronix Wave Inspector in mid-range priced digital phosphor oscilloscope

Tektronix has decided to offer its Wave Inspector trace analysis and manipulation capability in a truly mid-range priced digital phosphor oscilloscope.

The DPO3000 also provides triggering and decode support for I2C, SPI and CAN serial buses so this scope is aimed squarely at the development of embedded designs where the use of high speed serial interfaces is creating particular types of debug challenge. 

Wave Inspector, which Tektronix is now offering for the first time on a £2,500 scope, provides front panel control of zooming and panning and a play/pause feature with adjustable speed allows users to scroll the waveform across the screen while they look for the event of interest.

Users can also search through an acquisition and automatically mark all occurrences of user-specified events, and navigate between them. 

The family consists of six models, ranging from 100MHz to 500MHz. Sampling is not scaled and all models provide a full 2.5GS/s sampling capability. As a result there is greater than x5 oversampling on all channels. A 5M record length is standard on all channels and all models.

Another feature of the 5.4in. slimline scope is the 9in. WVGA display. There is also a USB drive on the front panel for the transfer of screenshots, setups and waveform data to a PC.

LabVIEW SignalExpress Tektronix Edition LE base version is included free of charge and users can upgrade to the LabVIEW SignalExpress Tektronix Edition for £567 which includes more than 200 measurement acquisition, analysis, and reporting features for use with the DPO3000. 


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Maxim launches white LED driver

Maxim Integrated Products introduces the MAX8822, the white-LED (WLED) driver to combine a highly efficient negative charge pump with two independent, low-dropout (LDO) regulators. Available in a tiny, 3mm x 3mm x 0.8mm TQFN package, this single-chip solution for driving up to four WLEDs is 50% smaller than the standard two-chip solution.

To achieve the industry's highest efficiency, the MAX8822 features a negative-charge-pump architecture that completely eliminates high-side in-line resistance, delaying 1x mode to 2x mode transition during battery discharge. It utilizes independent, adaptive-mode switching for each LED to further extend battery life, even with large LED forward-voltage (VF) mismatch. These innovative features enable the MAX8822 to be 12% more efficient than competing solutions, thus making it ideal for use in cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, and other handheld devices in which space and battery life are precious.

The LDO regulators provide a low 45 microVrms noise and high 60dB PSRR output for noise-sensitive applications, such as RF, LCD panels, and cameras. Output voltages are programmable in 16 different combinations using a simple, serial-pulse control interface.

The MAX8822 is fully specified over the -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius extended temperature range. Prices start at $1.55 (2500-up, FOB USA). An evaluation kit is available to speed designs.

Maxim Integrated Products, a two billion dollar company, designs and manufactures ICs for analog and mixed-signal applications. The company has designed over 5400 products, more than any other analog semiconductor company, in the 25 years since its founding.

Further information

For more details, contact Maxim Integrated Products on 1 800 998 8800.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Retailers fined for digital TV offenses

Federal regulators on Thursday fined Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best Buy Co., and other retailers $3.9 million combined for failing to properly label that analog-only televisions will need to be retrofitted after the switch to digital TV next year.

The Federal Communications Commission also handed down $2.7 million in fines to other companies for violating other digital TV rules that involve shipping analog equipment and blocking technologies such as the V-chip.

An FCC rule, adopted last May, requires retailers to display or affix "consumer alert" labels to analog-only TV equipment - including TVs, DVDs, videocassette recorders and digital video recorders - that says it will not receive signals after the nationwide digital transition without a special converter box.

The rule is to keep consumers from buying TV equipment that will not work after the digital switch by Feb. 17, 2009. After that, if the TV doesn't get cable or satellite service or isn't hooked up to the converter box that translates over-the-air digital broadcasts, it won't work.

The FCC, which conducted numerous inspections last June, said it initially issued warnings to companies, whose stores and Web sites across the country were in violation of the rule. The agency said it gave each company "a reasonable opportunity" to respond.

Sears Holdings Corp., which operates Sears and Kmart retail stores, was fined nearly $1.1 million for the labeling violation, while Wal-Mart was given a $992,000 fine and Circuit City Stores Inc. was handed a $712,000 fine. Target Corp., Best Buy, Fry's Electronics Inc. and CompUSA Inc., which has since been acquired by Systemax Inc., were assessed fines between $168,000 to $384,000.

Sears - fined for 15 of its stores, its Web site and 20 Kmart stores - said in an e-mail statement that it was "surprised" by the FCC's action and had eliminated analog inventory from its stores last fall and will soon offer converter boxes.

The company said it hasn't decided whether to appeal or pay the fine.

Best Buy, which was fined for 18 stores selling various models of analog-only equipment, said it was "extremely disappointed" by the FCC's action to what it called a "relatively small number of instances."

"Best Buy voluntarily pulled all analog-only tuner products from our stores on Oct. 1, 2007, in a proactive effort to prevent confusion and to help jump start consumer awareness," the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The company said it did not believe it violated the FCC rule "in any willful or repeated manner."

Wal-Mart spokeswoman E.R. Anderson said in a statement that all the products sold by the company comply with FCC regulations. Wal-Mart has "voluntarily invested millions of dollars in new technology, training, new product and consumer education" for the transition, she said.

The FCC says that after inspecting 2,272 retail stores and 36 Web sites, it issued 349 citations, or warnings, to retailers for failing to comply with the labeling requirement.

The FCC also fined two companies - Syntax-Brillian Corp. and Precor Inc. - a combined $1.6 million for violating another digital TV rule for manufacturing, importing or shipping any device that only contains an analog tuner. The agency mandated that all new TVs must include digital tuners as of March 1, 2007.

Additionally, the agency fined Polaroid Corp. and Proview Technology Inc. nearly $1.1 million combined for failing to ensure their equipment with a V-chip technology can "respond to changes in the content advisory rating system."

All the companies have 30 days to appeal the fines.

The Consumer Electronics Association, a trade group whose members include Circuit City and Best Buy, said late last year that more than 50 percent of U.S. households now own a digital TV and expect nearly 32 million digital TVs will be shipped this year.

The federal government this year launched a $1.5 billion coupon program to help defray cost of converter boxes for viewers of analog sets that rely on antennas to watch TV. Each U.S. household is entitled to get two $40 coupons.

As of April 7, the government has accepted more than 5.2 million household requests for nearly 9.9 million coupons. So far, more than 280,000 coupons have been used to purchase converter boxes.

Source : Click here

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Transparent Computer Monitors? Engineers Make First 'Active Matrix' Display Using Nanowires

Purdue postdoctoral research associate Sanghyun Ju, sitting, and professor David B. Janes work at a "micro-manipulation probe station" in research using nanotechnology to create transparent transistors and circuits. The innovation represents a step that promises a broad range of applications, from e-paper and flexible color screens for consumer electronics to "smart cards" and "heads-up" displays in auto windshields. The transistors are made of single "nanowires," or tiny cylindrical structures that were assembled on glass or thin films of flexible plastic. Some of the research is being conducted at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center at the university's Discovery Park. (Credit: Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

The transistors are made of "nanowires," tiny cylindrical structures that are assembled on glass or thin films of flexible plastic. The researchers used nanowires as small as 20 nanometers - a thousand times thinner than a human hair - to create a display containing organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDS. The OLEDS are devices that rival the brightness of conventional pixels in flat-panel television sets, computer monitors and displays in consumer electronics.

"This is a step toward demonstrating the practical potential of nanowire transistors in displays and for other applications," said David Janes, a researcher at Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center and a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The nanowires were used to create a proof-of-concept active-matrix display similar to those in television sets and computer monitors. An active-matrix display is able to precisely direct the flow of electricity to produce video because each picture element, or pixel, possesses its own control circuitry.

Findings will be detailed in a research paper featured on the cover of the April issue of the journal Nano Letters. The paper was written by researchers at Purdue, Northwestern University and the University of Southern California.

"We've shown how to fabricate nanowire electronics at room temperature in a simple process that might be practical for commercial manufacturing," said Tobin J. Marks, the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor in Chemistry in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of materials science and engineering.

OLEDS are now used in cell phones and MP3 displays and prototype television sets, but their production requires a complex process, and it is difficult to manufacture OLEDs that are small enough for high-resolution displays.

"Nanowire-transistor electronics could solve this problem," said Marks, who received a 2005 National Medal of Science. "We think our fabrication method is scalable, possibly providing a low-cost way to produce high-resolution displays for many applications."

Unlike conventional computer chips - called CMOS, for complementary metal oxide semiconductor chips - the nanowire thin-film transistors could be produced less expensively under low temperatures, making them ideal to incorporate into flexible plastics that would melt under high-temperature processing.

Conventional liquid crystal displays in flat-panel televisions and monitors are backlit by a white light, and each pixel acts as a filter that turns on and off to create images. OLEDS, however, emit light directly, eliminating the need to backlight the screen and making it possible to create more vivid displays that are thin and flexible.

The technology also could be used to create antennas that aim microwave and radio signals more precisely than current antennas. Such antennas might improve cell phone reception and make it more difficult to eavesdrop on military transmissions on the battlefield.

Electronic displays like television screens contain millions of pixels located at the intersections of rows and columns that crisscross each other. In the new findings, the researchers showed that they were able to selectively illuminate a specific row of active-matrix OLEDS in a display about the size of a fingernail.

"Displays in television sets are able to illuminate a particular pixel located, say, in the 10th row, fifth column," Janes said. "We aren't able to do that yet. We've shown that we can select a whole row at a time, not a single OLED, but we're getting close."

Future research is expected to include work to design displays that can control individual OLEDs to generate images, Janes said.

"A unique aspect of these displays is that they are transparent," he said. "Until the pixels are activated, the display area looks like lightly tinted glass."

The nanowire transistors are made of a transparent semiconductor called indium oxide, a potential replacement for silicon in future transparent circuits. The OLEDS consist of the transistors, electrodes made of a material called indium tin oxide and plastic capacitors that store electricity. All of the materials are transparent until activated to emit light.

"This could enable applications such as GPS navigational displays right on the windshield of your car," Janes said. "Imagine having a local map displayed on your windshield so that you didn't have to take your eyes off the road."

The new OLEDs have a brightness nearly comparable to that of the pixels in commercial flat-panel television sets. The OLEDS have an average brightness of more than 300 candelas per square meter, compared with 400-500 candelas per square meter for commercially available liquid-crystal display televisions.

"Even in this first demonstration, we are fairly close to the brightness you'd see in an LCD television," Janes said.

The researchers also demonstrated they could create OLEDS of the proper size for commercial displays, about 176 by 54 microns, or millionths of a meter. OLEDS that size would be ideal for small displays in cell phones, personal digital assistants and other portable electronics.

The research has been funded by NASA through the Institute for Nanoelectronics and Computing, based at Purdue's Discovery Park.

The Nano Letters paper was authored by Sanghyun Ju, a postdoctoral research associate in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; doctoral students Jianfeng Li and Jun Liu at Northwestern; doctoral students Po-Chiang Chen, Hsiaokang Chang and Fumiaki Ishikawa at the University of Southern California; graduate student Young-geun Ha at Northwestern; Chongwu Zhou, an associate professor of electrical engineering at USC; Antonio Facchetti, a research associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University; and Marks and Janes.

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TDK thin-film common-mode TCM0605 filter

TDK claims to have one of the smallest thin-film common-mode filters for the EMI filtering of high-speed data transmission.

The TCM0605 filter employs thin-film magnetic-head technologies, fine-pattern-conductor-formation and film-formation technologies. A target application is in video streaming or high-quality image downloads, which require compact noise countermeasures that have an adverse affect on the signal quality of differential transmission lines.

The filter measures 0.65×0.50×0.30mm, achieving about a 50 per cent reduction in volume and 35 per cent decrease in mounting area compared to the company's TCM1005 product.

Samples of the 0605-type filter will be shipping in April 2008, available with a rated voltage of 10Vdc and rated currents from 50mA dc to 100mA dc.


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A scalable, efficient multichannel diversity receive

Constructing a communication system with a diversity receiver creates multiple options in device count, power, board space, and signal routing. To reduce the amount of RF components, a direct conversion architecture using a quadrature demodulator can be used.

Constructing the receiver for high performance is difficult due to I/Q mismatch. The architecture requires several components between the RF input and the baseband digital outputs that consume space.

While a super-heterodyne receiver requires only one analog-to-digital converter (ADC), the quadrature demodulator requires a dual ADC to process the real and imaginary analog. This may be acceptable for single carrier systems, but can diversity and a direct conversion receiver be employed efficiently with a multichannel system? Does such a solution scale to more than one or two channels effectively? With new levels of integration in RF and ADC components, a multichannel direct-conversion diversity receiver can be created that is efficient and high performance.

Why diversity?

In communication systems, receiver specifications are set to accommodate a small received input power. Systems such as cellular base transceiver stations (BTS) receive signals from handsets that could be located in environments that greatly attenuate the signal, such as parking garage structures, multifloor buildings or crowded urban areas.

The signal transmitted from the handset will arrive at the BTS many times, having taken many different reflected paths. With only one antenna and receiver, many versions of the same signal will be present at the receive antenna, each with different phase and amplitude.

The signals could add constructively or destructively due to the instantaneous phase relationship. In a mobile phone, for example, the mobile transmitter is not perfectly fixed in space, so the summation at the antenna is continually changing. This is referred to as fast fading and could cause lost reception.

Using diversity antennas increases the chances that a signal with sufficient receive strength will be found, as the antennas are physically separated. While one antenna may be experiencing destructive interference, the other may not. This is diversity.

To demodulate the signal, the communication link is built with a minimum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) required to demodulate the signal. Diversity allows for a higher probability that a signal will arrive at the BTS above the minimum SNR.

To build a diversity receiver, at least one extra receive path is added for every channel. This may double the cost of the electronics and antenna. However, the cost is justified if it extends the range and quality of the BTS. It can reduce the number of base stations required, reducing the overall network capital cost.

Why ZIF?

A zero intermediate frequency (ZIF) receiver performs a direct conversion from the radio frequency to baseband. There are no intermediate frequencies (IF) that one finds with a superheterodyne receiver.

The advantage here is that RF components are minimized, filtering is made easier and sample rates can be reduced. With diversity, the needed components are now multiplied by two, adding component costs, board space and power. A ZIF receiver saves power and space in the RF section by requiring fewer components.

Why an integrated quadrature receiver?

Constructing a ZIF receiver out of individual components is difficult to do and consumes board space. After the signal is converted to quadrature, there are two baseband analog paths between the mixer outputs and the dual ADC inputs, including separate gain amplifiers and filters.

Mismatches in gain and phase between components along the real and imaginary signal paths create in-band noise as the images normally cancelled in the ideal complex math are now present in the same location as the signal of interest. The in-band, low-level images degrade the in-band SNR and error vector magnitude (EVM), resulting in a high bit error rate (BER)for the communication channel.

However, a highly integrated ZIF receiver can minimize path mismatch issues. The I and Q analog paths are now on the same chip.

The paths will be very well matched as there will be little process, temperature or voltage differences between them. The device includes a complex mixer, a 24-dB programmable gain amplifier (PGA), a programmable eigth order low pass anti-aliasing ADC input filter and a driver amplifier that connects directly to the dual ADC.

It also includes a dc-offset correction block, useful for minimizing the dc offset component of the analog outputs. By integrating all of the necessary functions, the ZIF architecture is made simple for the user, the I and Q paths are matched and good EVM is maintained. By integrating a large portion of the signal chain into a small package, diversity receive paths now can be considered without sacrificing board space or performance.

Fig. 1. For a two-channel ZIF receiver with diversity, eight ADCs are required.

Why an octal ADC?

For a two-channel ZIF receiver with diversity, eight ADCs are required (see Fig. 1). If four 12-bit dual ADCs were used, with parallel data out of each channel, almost 100 data lines would need to be routed and interfaced to the field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

Four clocks would need to be routed for the ADCs. Four 9 x 9mm 12-bit dual ADCs consume over 320 mm2 of board space simply from the packaging. In addition, the routing of nearly 100 data lines easily could double the space needed and require as many data inputs at the FPGA. An octal ADC is an obvious recommendation, but what about power and data lines of eight ADCs in a single package?

Why a serialized octal ADC?

With a new ADC from Texas Instruments, the ADS5282, many of these problems are resolved. At 75 mW per channel and a 9 x 9-mm package, a low power option exists in only 81 mm2, or one-fourth the board space of four duals. Even more importantly, by utilizing a serial LVDS data interface, only one LVDS pair is required per ADC channel. Add an LVDS frame and bit clock, and with 20 physical lines (10 LVDS pairs), the data from eight ADCs can be processed in an FPGA with minimal board space.

Common in ADCs designed for low power in CMOS, 1/f noise is present at baseband. This limits the effective SNR at baseband, which is where a ZIF architecture will use the ADC. The ADC has a selectable mode which suppresses the 1/f noise at baseband (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Notice the 1/f noise (near baseband) is shifted to be at Nyquist once the mode is enabled and the SNR from 0 to 1 MHz is noted in both cases.

The SNR of the ADS5282 at 65MSPS measured to Nyquist (32.5 MHz) is 70.4 dBFS. If the noise floor is assumed flat over Nyquist, then the noise power in the 0 to 1-MHz band would be 85.5 dBFS, due to 15.1 dB of processing gain: 10log10 (32.5 M/1 M).

With an ideal filter that passes the signal and noise up to 1 MHz, 85.5 dBFS would be the expected SNR at the output of the digital filter. However, the measured SNR is 81.9 dBFS in a 1-MHz band, due to the 1/f noise present at baseband. Once the noise suppression mode is enabled, the measured SNR improves to 86.1 dBFS in that band.

The fact that the measured value in the 1-MHz bandwidth (86.1 dBFS) exceeds the expected (70.4 + 15.1 = 85.5 dBFS) is misleading, since it is calculated from a measured Nyquist SNR (70.4 dBFS) that includes high order harmonics (above the ninth) that are counted as noise. This suggests the true Nyquist SNR excluding all harmonics is actually 0.6 dB better, or 71 dBFS.

The ADC also provides decimation by two within each channel to remove the frequency-shifted 1/f noise (still present near Fclk/2), improve the in-band SNR with processing gain and to reduce the high-speed serial LVDS data rate. The included digital filter is kept to a small number of taps to save power, therefore, the processing gain is ~2 dB when the decimation filter is used. Lowering the LVDS rate by using decimation may provide less expensive FPGA options to be considered and provides for an easier timing budget between the ADC and FPGA.

For more on diversity receivers, visit

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

LG unveils sexy new LG Black Label Series Mobile Phone

LG unveils sexy new LG Black Label Series Mobile Phone Hi-Res Photo Gallery LG Electronics introduces a new Black Label Series phone that follows the LG Chocolate and LG Shine and promises to be as successful or even more.

LG only released photos and some highlights of the new Black Label handset. They did not even reveal the name of the new very thin looking slider style phone.
The new LG Black Label Series handset features a 5MP camera and a case design that utilizes materials such as carbon fiber and tempered glass.

My guess for the name of the new LG phone is LG Carbon - sounds good and highlights the carbon fiber in the case.

LG will fully launch the new LG Black Label Series handset on April 24th in Europe and the rest of the world.
See hi-res photos in the story's gallery.
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12-bit DAC offers high dynamic performance

The 12-bit 4.0-Gsample/s MAX19693 D/A converter achieves an SFDR of greater than 70 dBc for output frequencies less than 800 MHz, and 62 dBc at an output frequency of 1,500 MHz. At a 4.0-Gsample/s update rate and 200-MHz output frequency, the device offers a wideband-noise spectral density of −164 dBm/Hz.

The DAC operates from 3.3- and 1.8-V supplies, and consumes 1,180 mW at 4.0 Gsamples/s. Fully specified over the -40° to 85°C extended temperature range, it is available in a 169-ball CSBGA package. (Call company for pricing and availability.)

Maxim Integrated Products, Sunnyvale, CA
Customer Service 888-629-4642
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Monday, April 07, 2008

Toshiba tech support for next-generation SoC and SiP custom chips

Toshiba has announced technical support for its next generation TC320 high-density, low power system-on-chip (SoC) and system-in-package (SiP) custom chips.

Fabricated on a 65nm process, the TC320 Asic family combines a low-k dielectric with up to eight levels of copper and one level of aluminium interconnect.

Analogue and application-specific digital IP cores can be mixed on the same chip, while memory options include embedded DRAM (eDRAM), tightly stacked semi-embedded DRAM, and single- and multi-port SRAM.

Two types of I/O cells support requirements for high pin count and core limited designs respectively.

A range of mixed-signal and digital IP cores include ADCs, DACs, ARM and MIPS processors and options for Ethernet, HDMI, ATA, PCI and USB connectivity.
Packaging options include flip-chip BGA, PBGAs, WCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package) and QFN.


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CML evaluation kits for CMX990 RF transceiver with GMSK modem

CML Microcircuits has introduced a couple of evaluation kits for its CMX990 RF transceiver with integrated GMSK modem.

The EV9900A board-based evaluation kit will support frequency bands and its initial configuration is for 410-430MHz operation with 25kHz channel spacing at 9600bps.

The second kit, the EV9902, provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for the EV9900A kit. The kit is supplied as a Hyperstone hyBoard-XS evaluation board plus interface PCB, together with GUI software for a PC.

It connects to a Windows-based PC via a standard USB cable. The interface to the EV9900A is also supplied. The GUI software allows users to directly write to and read from the CMX990 registers and perform real-time tasks for Mobitex or free-format frame transfers live over a RF link.

The GUI software will calculate the CMX990 register values required to generate the user's desired PLL frequencies and bit rates. The hyBoard-XS evaluation board is supplied pre-loaded with firmware, allowing real-time operations to be performed.

The CMX990 is a low-power, single-chip wireless M2M (machine to machine) GMSK modem in a 'no-leads' 64-pin VQFN package.


See also: - For the latest news, reviews, and demos of development kits, evaluation boards, reference designs, and analysis tools for DSPs, FPGAs, microcontrollers, microprocessors, and analog components.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Macroblock DC-DC converter for high power LED lighting apps

Macroblock has a DC-DC converter for high power LED lighting applications. It is a 1.2A constant current buck DC-DC converter with a constant current mode hysteretic PFM design.

This has the advantage of powering LED design with a current source.

By combining the features of adaptive output switching frequency and an audio frequency skip, both higher current and frequency can be reached as well as reducing risk from noise interruption when the converter is activated.

The MBI6650 is configured with four external components. The design will allow operation from an input of 9 to 36V for high power LED applications. With full protection, the MBI6650 enhances power dissipation with a thermal pad in a TO-252-5L package.

Samples and demo boards are available from Plus Opto.


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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

4180 Series Precision Infrared Calibrator Heats Up For Fast and Easy High-Quality Thermometer Calibration

Easy enough to use in the field and accurate enough to use in the lab

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Hart Scientific, a division of Fluke Corporation and a world leader in temperature calibration products and services, today announced the 4180 Series Precision Infrared Calibrators. The two new models, 4180 and 4181, utilize the same size targets used and recommended by thermometer manufacturers and special design technology that assists in productively performing high-quality infrared thermometer calibrations without requiring a background in physics.

The 4180 calibrator has a temperature range of –15 °C to 120 °C, with radiometric (non-contact infrared) display accuracy as good as ± 0.40 °C; and the 4181 calibrator measures from 35 °C to 500 °C, with radiometric display accuracy also as good as ±0.35 °C.

The 4180 series calibrators have features that allow users to address quality issues commonly not covered by other calibrators in the same class, including emissivity and size of source effect. Additional features including target stability, target uniformity, six-inch target diameter, traceable radiometric calibration, and compensation for the emissivity settings of the radiation thermometer being tested overcome some of the other most common limitations. In addition, sample calibration procedures for Fluke thermometers are built into the instrument to get users up and running with a minimum of training.

More information about infrared calibration issues can be found in "Infrared Temperature Calibration 101," a technical note available from Hart Scientific and in the Hart Scientific Guide to Infrared Thermometer Calibration.

To contact Hart Scientific, call 800-GET-HART (801-763-1600 internationally), visit their website at, or email

Fluke's Hart Scientific Division designs, manufactures, and markets temperature and humidity measurement and calibration equipment. The Hart Scientific product line includes primary standards, thermometer readouts and temperature sensors, temperature baths, industrial calibrators, humidity chambers, humidity readouts, and software. Primary and secondary laboratories, as well as a growing number of manufacturing companies who rely on precise temperature controls for manufacturing processes, use the equipment. These industries include pharmaceuticals, petrochemical, semiconductor, aerospace, and food products.

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ARJ45 connector with 5GHz signalling frequency

Millions of users are connected to the Internet through copper cables and over a billion RJ45 connectors are employed in this global network. The Internet data rate is limited to about 1Gbit/s (100 to 250 MHz signalling frequency).

The RJ45 connector was never intended to transmit these high frequency signals and so members of IEC/ISO committees, facing the limits of RJ45 connectors, have identified the need for new connector interfaces.

The ARJ45, developed by Stewart Connector, combines the standard interface (IEC 61076-3-110) with performance up to 5GHz signalling frequency. The supplier says it outperforms the IEC standard requirements for transmission parameters such as NEXT, insertion and return loss. Its form factor is almost identical to the RJ45.

The most common category 5e RJ45 connector has NEXT of 43dB at 100MHz, the ARJ45 demonstrated a x40 improvement in crosstalk attenuation between differential pairs compared to existing category 5e RJ45 connectors, said the supplier.


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Altera, Bitec video dev kit for Cyclone III FPGAs

Altera has teamed with Bitec to offer a video development kit based on Cyclone III FPGAs.

For video applications the attraction will be the device's large parallel processing capabilities with up to 288 multipliers and 4Mbit embedded memory blocks. The kit will support multiple video I/O formats.

The development has been developed with applications such as video surveillance, video conferencing and industrial imaging in mind.

The video development kit features a Cyclone III development board with two high-speed mezzanine connector (HSMC)-based video interface daughtercards developed by Bitec. The kit supports composite, S-Video, DVI and RGB video.

As well as the Quartus II Web Edition software, there is access to Altera OpenCore Plus evaluation IP megafunctions including the Video and Image Processing suite.

A CD-ROM with a video mosaic reference design developed by Bitec.


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