Electrical/Electronics

An All-Solid-State, Room-Temperature, Heterodyne Receiver for Atmospheric Spectroscopy at 1.2 THz

This receiver enables terahertz heterodyne spectroscopy of outer planet atmospheres without cryogenic cooling. Heterodyne receivers at submillimeter wavelengths have played a major role in astrophysics as well as Earth and planetary remote sensing. All-solid-state heterodyne receivers using both MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) Schottky-diode-based LO (local oscillator) sources and mixers are uniquely suited for long-term planetary missions or Earth climate monitoring missions as they can operate for decades without the need for any active cryogenic cooling. However, the main concern in using Schottky-diode-based mixers at frequencies beyond 1 THz has been the lack of enough LO power to drive the devices because 1 to 3 mW are required to properly pump Schottky diode mixers. Recent progress in HEMT- (high-electron-mobility-transistor) based power amplifier technology, with output power levels in excess of 1 W recently demonstrated at W-band, as well as advances in MMIC Schottky diode circuit technology, have led to measured output powers up to 1.4 mW at 0.9 THz.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs, TSP

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Stacked Transformer for Driver Gain and Receive Signal Splitting

In a high-speed signal transmission system that uses transformer coupling, there is a need to provide increased transmitted signal strength without adding active components. This invention uses additional transformers to achieve the needed gain. The prior art uses stronger drivers (which require an IC redesign and a higher power supply voltage), or the addition of another active component (which can decrease reliability, increase power consumption, reduce the beneficial effect of serializer/deserializer preemphasis or deemphasis, and/or interfere with fault containment mechanisms), or uses a different transformer winding ratio (which requires redesign of the transformer and may not be feasible with high-speed signals that require a 1:1 winding ratio).

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Millimeter-Wave Localizers for Aircraft-to-Aircraft Approach Navigation

Beyond aircraft refueling, this system can be used in automotive navigation and unmanned aerial vehicle refueling. Aerial refueling technology for both manned and unmanned aircraft is critical for operations where extended aircraft flight time is required. Existing refueling assets are typically manned aircraft, which couple to a second aircraft through the use of a refueling boom. Alignment and mating of the two aircraft continues to rely on human control with use of high-resolution cameras. With the recent advances in unmanned aircraft, it would be highly advantageous to remove/reduce human control from the refueling process, simplifying the amount of remote mission management and enabling new operational scenarios.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Electron Beam Writer Enables Microfabrication

Integrated electronics could activate prosthetics. The new electron beam writer housed in the cleanroom facility at the Qualcomm Institute, previously the UCSD division of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology, is important for two major areas of research by Shadi Dayeh, PhD, an electrical and computer engineering professor. He is developing next-generation, nanoscale transistors for integrated electronics. At the same time, he is working to develop neural probes that can extract electrical signals from brain cells and transmit the information to a prosthetic device or computer. To achieve this level of signal extraction or manipulation requires tiny sensors spaced very closely together for the highest resolution and signal acquisition. Enter the new electron beam writer. (See Figure 1)

Posted in: Biosensors, Electronics, Implants & Prosthetics, Optics/Photonics, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Electronics, Implants & Prosthetics, Patient Monitoring

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Heart Pump with Behind-the-Ear Power Connector

One-third of patients with heart pumps develop infection at abdominal connection. Cardiac surgeons and cardiologists at the University of Maryland Heart Center are part of a multi-center clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of powering heart pumps through a skull-based connector behind the ear. The pumps, called left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), support the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. LVADs are implanted in the chest and powered with external batteries. Typically, these devices, which are used for patients with severe heart failure, are powered through an electrical cord connected at the abdomen, where potentially deadly infections can develop.

Posted in: Drug Delivery & Dispensing, Electronics, Implants & Prosthetics, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics, Power Management, Power Supplies, Implants & Prosthetics, Patient Monitoring, Fluid Handling, Power Transmission

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Robotic Exoskeleton Vastly Improves Quality of Life

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility impairment get back on their feet— the Rex Bionics robotic exoskeleton. Its integrated maxon motors help to ensure smooth limb movement.

Posted in: Biosensors, Implants & Prosthetics, Mechanical Components, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Features, Articles, Electronics, Power Management, Power Supplies, Implants & Prosthetics, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Motors & Drives, Positioning Equipment, Power Transmission

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Key Considerations for Integrating Wireless Technology in Medical Devices

Significant opportunities exist to incorporate wireless technology into medical devices. Wireless technology increases the effectiveness of countless every day functions. While some simply are about the convenience factor, like being able to quickly transmit patient records from one hospital to another via email, others have the power to be lifesaving. Medical device manufacturers know that there is significant opportunity to incorporate wireless technology into medical devices. However, design engineers who are extremely knowledgeable about the design of medical devices face a number of challenges in marrying off-the-shelf wireless chipsets with proprietary medical devices in development.

Posted in: Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics

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