Semiconductors & ICs

Circuit for Driving Piezoelectric Transducers

Circuits similar to this one could be useful in ultrasonic cleaners. The figure schematically depicts an oscillator circuit for driving a piezoelectric transducer to excite vibrations in a mechanical structure. The circuit was designed and built to satisfy application-specific requirements to drive a selected one of 16 such transducers at a regulated amplitude and frequency chosen to optimize the amount of work performed by the transducer and to compensate for both (1) temporal variations of the resonance frequency and damping time of each transducer and (2) initially unknown differences among the resonance frequencies and damping times of different transducers. In other words, the circuit is designed to adjust itself to optimize the performance of whichever transducer is selected at any given time. The basic design concept may be adaptable to other applications that involve the use of piezoelectric transducers in ultrasonic cleaners and other apparatuses in which high-frequency mechanical drives are utilized.

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Board Saver for Use With Developmental FPGAs

A printed-circuit board is protected against repeated soldering and unsoldering. A device denoted a board saver has been developed as a means of reducing wear and tear of a printed-circuit board onto which an antifuse field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is to be eventually soldered permanently after a number of design iterations. The need for the board saver or a similar device arises because (1) antifuse- FPGA design iterations are common and (2) repeated soldering and unsoldering of FPGAs on the printed-circuit board to accommodate design iterations can wear out the printed-circuit board. The board saver is basically a solderable/unsolderable FPGA receptacle that is installed temporarily on the printed-circuit board.

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Digital Synchronizer Without Metastability

A proposed design for a digital synchronizing circuit would eliminate metastability that plagues flip-flop circuits in digital input/output interfaces. This metastability is associated with sampling, by use of flip-flops, of an external signal that is asynchronous with a clock signal that drives the flip-flops: it is a temporary flip-flop failure that can occur when a rising or falling edge of an asynchronous signal occurs during the setup and/or hold time of a flip-flop.

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Efficient Multiplexer FPGA Block Structures Based on G4FETs

Fewer G4FETs than conventional transistors would be needed to implement multiplexers. Generic structures have been conceived for multiplexer blocks to be implemented in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) based on four-gate field-effect transistors (G4FETs). This concept is a contribution to the continuing development of digital logic circuits based on G4FETs and serves as a further demonstration that logic circuits based on G4FETs could be more efficient (in the sense that they could contain fewer transistors), relative to functionally equivalent logic circuits based on conventional transistors.

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VLSI Microsystem for Rapid Bioinformatic Pattern Recognition

Rapid processing is made possible by a massively parallel neural-computing architecture. A system comprising very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits is being developed as a means of bioinformatics-oriented analysis and recognition of patterns of fluorescence generated in a microarray in an advanced, highly miniaturized, portable genetic-expression- assay instrument. Such an instrument implements an on-chip combination of polymerase chain reactions and electrochemical transduction for amplification and detection of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

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Low-Noise Amplifier for 100 to 180 GHz

Noise temperature is lower than in the prior state of the art. A three-stage monolithic millimeter-wave integrated-circuit (MMIC) amplifier designed to exhibit low noise in operation at frequencies from about 100 to somewhat above 180 GHz has been built and tested. This is a prototype of broadband amplifiers that have potential utility in diverse applications, including measurement of atmospheric temperature and humidity and millimeter-wave imaging for inspecting contents of opaque containers.

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T/R Multi-Chip MMIC Modules for 150 GHz

A transmitting gain of 14 dB at 150 GHz has been demonstrated. Modules containing multiple monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) chips have been built as prototypes of transmitting/receiving (T/R) modules for millimeter-wavelength radar systems, including phased-array radar systems to be used for diverse purposes that could include guidance and avoidance of hazards for landing spacecraft, imaging systems for detecting hidden weapons, and hazard-avoidance systems for automobiles. Whereas prior landing radar systems have operated at frequencies around 35 GHz, the integrated circuits in this module operate in a frequency band centered at about 150 GHz. The higher frequency (and, hence, shorter wavelength), is expected to make it possible to obtain finer spatial resolution while also using smaller antennas and thereby reducing the sizes and masses of the affected systems.

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