Board-Level Electronics
Connecting the World with Tiny Radios
Posted in Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Power Supplies, Electronics, Power Management, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Diagnostics, News, MDB on Wednesday, 17 September 2014
A Stanford University engineering team has built a radio the size of an ant that requires no batteries. The device gathers all the power it needs from the same electromagnetic waves that carry signals to its receiving antenna. Designed to compute, execute, and relay commands, the tiny wireless chip costs pennies to manufacture, making it cheap enough, they say, to become the missing link between the Internet and the connected smart gadgets envisioned in the “Internet of Things.”
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New Circuits Can Function at Temperatures Above 650°F
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Power Management, Aerospace, Transportation, Automotive, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Monday, 11 August 2014
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius — or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the functioning of processors, drivers, controllers and other analog and digital circuits used in power electronics, automobiles and aerospace equipment, all of which must perform at high and often extreme temperatures.
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Engineers Hope to Create Electronics That Stretch at the Molecular Level
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Materials, Sensors, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Monday, 11 August 2014
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego are asking what might be possible if semiconductor materials were flexible and stretchable without sacrificing electronic function?
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Agile Aperture Antenna Tested on Aircraft to Maintain Satellite Connection
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Power Management, Software, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Communications, Wireless, Aerospace, Aviation, RF & Microwave Electronics, Antennas, News on Monday, 21 July 2014
Two of Georgia Tech's software-defined, electronically reconfigurable Agile Aperture Antennas (A3) were demonstrated in an aircraft during flight tests. The low-power devices can change beam directions in a thousandth of a second. One device, looking up, maintained a satellite data connection as the aircraft changed headings, banked and rolled, while the other antenna looked down to track electromagnetic emitters on the ground.
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Nano-Pixels Promise Flexible, High-Res Displays
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Imaging, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Materials, Semiconductors & ICs, Nanotechnology, News on Friday, 11 July 2014
A new discovery will make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometers across. The "nano-pixels" could pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays for applications such as 'smart' glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens.

Oxford University scientists explored the link between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials (materials that can change from an amorphous to a crystalline state). By sandwiching a seven=nanometer-thick layer of a phase change material (GST) between two layers of a transparent electrode, the team found that they could use a tiny current to 'draw' images within the sandwich "stack."

Initially still images were created using an atomic force microscope, but the researchers went on to demonstrate that such tiny "stacks" can be turned into prototype pixel-like devices. These 'nano-pixels' – just 300 by 300 nanometers in size – can be electrically switched 'on and off' at will, creating the colored dots that would form the building blocks of an extremely high-resolution display technology.

Source

Also: Learn about Slot-Sampled Optical PPM Demodulation.
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Researchers Develop Flexible, Energy-Efficient Hybrid Circuit
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Sensors, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Lighting, OLEDs, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have developed a flexible, energy-efficient hybrid circuit combining carbon nanotube thin film transistors with other thin film transistors. The hybrid could take the place of silicon as the traditional transistor material used in electronic chips, since carbon nanotubes are more transparent, flexible, and can be processed at a lower cost.

The hybridization of carbon nanotube thin films and IGZO (indium, gallium and zinc oxide) thin films was achieved by combining their types, p-type and n-type, respectively, to create circuits that can operate complimentarily, reducing power loss and increasing efficiency. The inclusion of IGZO thin film transistors provided power efficiency to increase battery life.

The potential applications for the integrated circuitry are numerous, including Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), digital circuits, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, sensors, wearable electronics, and flash memory devices. Even heads-up displays on vehicle dashboards could soon be a reality.

The new technology also has major medical implications. Currently, memory used in computers and phones is made with silicon substrates, the surface on which memory chips are built. To obtain medical information from a patient such as heart rate or brainwave data, stiff electrode objects are placed on several fixed locations on the patient’s body. With the new hybridized circuit, however, electrodes could be placed all over the patient’s body with just a single large but flexible object.

Source

Also: Learn about an Integral Battery Power Limiting Circuit for Intrinsically Safe Applications.
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Printing Electronic Circuits and Sensors Directly onto 3D Surfaces
Posted in Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Medical, News, MDB on Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Digital printing technologies play an important role in microelectronics, microsystems engineering, and sensor systems. Recently, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen, Germany, have discovered that they can use various printing methods to produce electronic components and sensors. The tiny resistors, transistors, circuit paths, and capacitors are first designed on screen and then printed directly onto 2Dand 3D substrates. Instead of paper inks, they are using “functional inks,” electronic materials in liquid or paste form.
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