MP3 Audio DSP Microcontroller

VLSI Solution (Tampere, Finland) has introduced the VS1010 MP3 Audio DSP Microcontroller, a highly integrated all-in-one MP3 player system-on-a-chip. VS1010's I/O system includes support for Hi-speed USB (both host and device operations are supported), SD/SDHC cards, 2xSPI, MEMS microphones, S/PDIF, I2S, 2xUART, RTC clock, SAR inputs, a PWM output, GPIOs. It also contains a 24-bit stereo DAC and an integrated earphone amplifier with a dynamic range of 100 dB(A). VS1010 runs VLSI Solution's VSOS operating system. For those who want to program the VS1010, VLSI Solution's Integrated Development Environment VSIDE is available for free.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs
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Novel Computer Chips Could Bridge Gap Between Computation and Storage

Computer chips in development at the University of Wisconsin–Madison could make future computers more efficient and powerful by combining tasks usually kept separate by design. Jing Li, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UW–Madison, is creating computer chips that can be configured to perform complex calculations and store massive amounts of information within the same integrated unit — and communicate efficiently with other chips. She calls them “liquid silicon.”

Posted in: News, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs
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Supersonic Spray Yields New Nanomaterial for Bendable, Wearable Electronics

A new, ultrathin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current has been produced by a cheap and simple method devised by an international team of nanomaterials researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University. The film is also bendable and stretchable, offering potential applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells and electronic skin.

Posted in: News, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Materials, Sensors, Transducers
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SWaP-C and Why Your Component Partner Matters

The military is continually pushing to decrease the size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) of its electronics, particularly for items carried by the troops. To meet these goals, everyone involved in designing and manufacturing the device needs to work together closely to ensure maximum efficiency of every component. This makes choosing the right partner crucial. Our white paper explores why SWaP-C is so important and includes information on:

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Carbon Nanofibers Synthesized on Selective Substrates for Nonvolatile Memory and 3D Electronics Applications

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed a nano-electro-mechanical resonator (NEMR) based on vertically aligned carbon nanofibers (CNFs) that is suitable for applications requiring high sensitivity, broad tenability, low loss (high Q), low power consumption, and small size. Other nanoscale resonators have been demonstrated using top-down fabrication approaches, but these generally involve complicated and expensive electron beam lithography. JPL’s bottom-up fabrication approach yields robust, vertically oriented CNFs that can be used to form high-Q, high-frequency NEMRs. In addition, the resonant frequency of these NEMRs can be tuned by selecting the length and diameter of the CNFs. This allows for a highly integrated, ultra-low-power, high-data-rate, and wide-bandwidth NEMR-based transceiver architecture.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Nanomaterials
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A Nanotube Film Electrode and Electroactive Device Fabricated with the Nanotube Film Electrode and Methods for Making the Same

Applications include optical devices, electromechanical energy conversion, medical devices, sonar, and transducers.

NASA’s Langley Research Center offers an all-organic electroactive device system fabricated with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT). The enhanced design offers higher electroactive performance in comparison with conventional electroactive device systems fabricated with metal electrodes or other conducting polymers. The new structure allows for significant improvement of the electroactive strain due to relief of the constraint on the electroactive layer. It exhibits superb actuation properties and can withstand high temperatures with improved mechanical integrity and chemical stability. In addition, the electroactive device can be made transparent, allowing for use in optical devices. NASA is seeking development partners and potential licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Optics, Electronic equipment, Optics, Nanomaterials
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Superconducting Transition Edge Sensors and Methods for Design and Manufacture Thereof

Superconducting Transition Edge Sensors and Methods for Design and Manufacture Thereof

NASA technologists have developed a novel, superconducting transition edge sensor (TES). Such TES devices are thermometers that are widely used for particle detection, e.g. X-rays, infrared photons, atoms, molecules, etc. Energy resolution is chiefly important in superconducting transition edge sensors to function as imaging spectrometers. For optimal energy resolution, it is necessary to control the superconducting transition temperature for the device.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication
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Chalcogenide Nanoionic-Based Radio Frequency Switch

The electrochemical switch is non-volatile, lacks moving parts that can fail, and is easy to fabricate.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed nanoionic-based radio frequency (RF) switches for use in devices that rely on low-power RF transmissions, such as automotive systems, RFID technology, and smartphones. These groundbreaking nanoionic switches operate at speeds of semiconductor switches, and are more reliable than microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches while retaining the superior RF performance and low power consumption found in MEMS, all without the need for higher electrical voltages. In this new process, metals are photo-dissolved into a chalcogenide glass and packaged with electrodes and a substrate to form a switch. Since the nanoionic-based switch is electrochemical in nature, it has certain advantages over switches that are mechanically based, including nonvolatility, lack of moving parts that can fail, ease and efficiency of activation, and ease of fabrication. This innovative device has the potential to replace MEMS and semiconductors in a wide range of switching systems, including rectifying antennas (rectennas) and other RF antenna arrays.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, RF & Microwave Electronics, Radio equipment, Switches, Radio equipment, Switches, Radio-frequency identification, Nanotechnology
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X-ray Diffraction (XRD) Characterization Methods for Sigma=3 Twin Defects in Cubic Semiconductor (100) Wafers

This technology is especially relevant in high-end, high-speed electronics.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method of using x-ray diffraction (XRD) to detect defects in cubic semiconductor (100) wafers. The technology allows non-destructive evaluation of wafer quality in a simple, fast, inexpensive process that can be easily incorporated into an existing fab line. The invention adds value throughout the semiconductor industry, but is especially relevant in high-end, high-speed electronics where wafer quality has a more significant effect on yields.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors, X-ray inspections
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System for Configuring Modular Telemetry Transponders

Possible applications include weather monitoring and forecasting, Earth observation, and ionospheric studies.

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed software-defined radio (SDR) telemetry transceiver technology to collect and transmit data to and from small satellites and microsatellites. The SDR concept uses a minimal number of traditional analog radio-frequency components to convert RF signals to a digital format. Digital signal processing replaces bulky radio-frequency components, and enables reduced cost as well as size, weight, and power requirements (SWaP). The NASA technology enables software and firmware updates that increase the lifespan and efficacy of satellites, supporting a wide variety of changing radio protocols as they are developed. A modular design enables inclusion of multiple band frequency transmitters and receivers (S-band, X-band, Ka-band, etc.). The NASA SDR can find use in satellite applications in which cost savings, upgradability, and reliability are essential. A first-generation SDR has been flight tested on NASA’s FASTSAT mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Satellite communications, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Satellite communications, Satellites
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