Electronics & Computers

Digitally Controlled, 12-V Precision Current Source for Extreme-Temperature Operation

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Many control applications require precision, high-voltage-capable stimulus current drivers for sensor excitation. In particular, a requirement for a stimulus driver that can be primarily integrated into a motor feedback signal conditioning ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) for Martian environments is satisfied by this development.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs, TSP

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Scandate Cathode for High-Power, Long-Life Electric Space Propulsion

Applications include electron beam-stimulated lasers for high-power video projection systems and new-generation CT-scan x-ray imaging systems. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Scandate cathodes are able to produce about 20 times the emission of conventional all-tungsten cathodes at the same temperature. Conversely, they operate at about 200 °C lower temperature for the same emission. Scandate cathodes have been studied since at least the 1960s. Between then and 2002, numerous approaches were investigated. All cathodes either did not work or degraded within a few thousand hours. The current nanoparticle approach appears to have overcome previous shortcomings.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs, TSP

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Hybrid Force/Stress Amplified Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Transducer System

This design converts mechanical energy in the environment to electrical energy to power a device. Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA This innovation uses an active materials-based force-amplified mechanism and advanced piezoelectric materials for more efficient energy harvesting from mechanical shock and vibration. The harvested energy is stored in rechargeable batteries. The hybrid force/stress amplified transducer/actuator offers tens to hundreds of times higher electrical power output, up to ten times higher electromechanical energy conversion efficiency, and several orders of magnitude higher energy storage efficiency than conventional flex-tensional or multilayer stack transducers at the stress less than the fracture stress of the materials used in each element.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Improved Battery Health Monitoring

Applications include electric vehicles, medical devices, robotics, power systems, and underwater unmanned vehicles. Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Battery health monitoring is an emerging technology field that seeks to predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of battery systems before they run out of charge. Such predictive measures require interpretation of large amounts of battery status data within a Bayesian prognostic framework.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs, TSP

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Space Modem GMSK Modulator

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A high-rate GMSK (Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying) modulator was developed for space operation. Currently, multi-user modems are under development, and the GMSK modulator provides a way of packing more users within a space environment, especially for Mars exploration.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Eliminate Risk of Contention and Data Corruption in RS-485 Communications

The RS-485 communications standard was introduced in 1983 by the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) as a two-wire, half-duplex, multi-drop alternative to the point-to-point RS-232 interface. (Note: RS-485 can also be wired using 4-wires to enable full-duplex communication). RS-485 uses differential signaling to allow up to 32 devices to communicate peer-to-peer at distances up to 4000 feet. In most RS-485 configurations two signals, a positive and a negative, are run as a twisted pair. Since these signals are compared to one another rather than a ground reference like RS-232, RS-485 communication is less susceptible to external noise injected on the wiring and performs more reliably in industrial environments.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, RF & Microwave Electronics, White Papers

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Scientist Creates Three-Atom-Wide Nanowire

Junhao Lin, a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student and visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has found a way to use a finely focused beam of electrons to create some of the smallest wires ever made. The flexible metallic wires are only three atoms wide: One thousandth the width of the microscopic wires used to connect the transistors in today’s integrated circuits.The technique represents an exciting new way to manipulate matter at the nanoscale and should give a boost to efforts to create electronic circuits out of atomic monolayers, the thinnest possible form factor for solid objects.“This will likely stimulate a huge research interest in monolayer circuit design,” Lin said. “Because this technique uses electron irradiation, it can in principle be applicable to any kind of electron-based instrument, such as electron-beam lithography.”One of the intriguing properties of monolayer circuitry is its toughness and flexibility.“If you let your imagination go, you can envision tablets and television displays that are as thin as a sheet of paper that you can roll up and stuff in your pocket or purse,” said University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering at Vanderbilt University, Sokrates Pantelides.SourceAlso: Learn about a Zinc Oxide Nanowire Interphase.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Materials, Metals, Semiconductors & ICs, Nanotechnology, News

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