Semiconductors & ICs

Multiple Embedded Processors for Fault-Tolerant Computing

Outputs of processors would be compared to detect and correct bit errors.A fault-tolerant computer architecture has been conceived in an effort to reduce vulnerability to single-event upsets (spurious bit flips caused by impingement of energetic ionizing particles or photons). As in some prior fault-tolerant architectures, the redundancy needed for fault tolerance is obtained by use of multiple processors in one computer. Unlike prior architectures, the multiple processors are embedded in a single field-programmable gate array (FPGA). What makes this new approach practical is the recent commercial availability of FPGAs that are capable of having multiple embedded processors.

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Flexible, Carbon-Based Ohmic Contacts for Organic Transistors

These contacts are printed using an inexpensive, low temperature process. A low-temperature process for fabricating flexible, ohmic contacts for use in organic thin-film transistors (OTFTs) has been developed. Typical drainsource contact materials used previously for OTFTs include (1) vacuum deposited noble metal contacts and (2) solution deposited intrinsically conducting molecular or polymeric contacts. Both of these approaches, however, have serious drawbacks.

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N-Type d Doping of High-Purity Silicon Imaging Arrays

Success depends on details of a low-temperature MBE process. A process for n-type (electron-donor) delta (d) doping has shown promise as a means of modifying back-illuminated image detectors made from n-doped high-purity silicon to enable them to detect high-energy photons (ultraviolet and x-rays) and low-energy charged particles (electrons and ions). This process is applicable to imaging detectors of several types, including charge-coupled devices, hybrid devices, and complementary metal oxide/semiconductor detector arrays.

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Faster Evolution of More Multifunctional Logic Circuits

Evolution is driven to find circuits that perform larger numbers of logic functions. A modification in a method of automated evolutionary synthesis of voltage controlled multifunctional logic circuits makes it possible to synthesize more circuits in less time. Prior to the modification, the computations for synthesizing a four-function logic circuit by this method took about 10 hours. Using the method as modified, it is possible to synthesize a six function circuit in less than half an hour.

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Making Wide-IF SIS Mixers With Suspended Metal-Beam Leads

Devices are fabricated on SOI substrates by use of silicon-micromachining techniques. A process that employs silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrates and silicon (Si) micromachining has been devised for fabricating wide intermediate frequency band (wide-IF) superconductor/ insulator/ superconductor (SIS) mixer devices that result in suspended gold beam leads used for radio-frequency grounding. The mixers are formed on 25-µm-thick silicon membranes. They are designed to operate in the 200 to 300 GHz frequency band, wherein wide-IF receivers for tropospheric- chemistry and astrophysical investigations are necessary. The fabrication process can be divided into three sections:

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Making AlNx Tunnel Barriers Using a Low-Energy Nitrogen-Ion Beam

Ion-beam parameters can be controlled to optimize properties of AlNx layers. A technique based on accelerating positive nitrogen ions onto an aluminum layer has been demonstrated to be effective in forming thin (<2 nm thick) layers of aluminum nitride (AlNx) for use as tunnel barriers in Nb/Al-AlNx/Nb superconductor/ insulator/ superconductor (SIS) Josephson junctions. AlNx is the present material of choice for tunnel barriers because, to a degree greater than that of any other suitable material, it offers the required combination of low leakage current at high current density and greater thermal stability.

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Stripline/Microstrip Transition in Multilayer Circuit Board

Transitions like this one could be useful in microwave communication products. A stripline to microstrip transition has been incorporated into a multilayer circuit board that supports a distributed solid-state microwave power amplifier, for the purpose of coupling the microwave signal from a buried-layer stripline to a top-layer microstrip. The design of the transition could be adapted to multilayer circuit boards in such products as cellular telephones (for connecting between circuit-board signal lines and antennas), transmitters for Earth/satellite communication systems, and computer mother boards (if processor speeds increase into the range of tens of gigahertz).

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