Test & Measurement

New 3D Designs Double Solar Power

A team of MIT researchers is building cubes or towers that extend solar cells upward in three-dimensional configurations. The results from the structures they’ve tested show power output ranging from double to more than 20 times that of fixed flat panels with the same base area.

Posted in: Computers, Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Test & Measurement, News

Read More >>

PDC Drill Bits Open Up Options for Geothermal Energy

Nearly two-thirds of the oil we use comes from wells drilled using polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits, originally developed 30 years ago to lower the cost of geothermal drilling. Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Navy recently brought the technology full circle, showing how geothermal drillers might use it.

Posted in: Geothermal Power, Renewable Energy, Test & Measurement, Machinery & Automation, News

Read More >>

Automated Lab-on-a-Chip Electrophoresis System

Robotic analysis in defense or security operations that require sample handling or dilution can utilize this technology. Capillary electrophoresis is an analytical technique that can be used to detect and quantify extremely small amounts of various biological molecules. In the search for biochemical traces of life on other planets, part of this search involves an examination of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life on Earth. The most sensitive method for detecting amino acids is the use of laser induced fluorescence. However, since amino acids do not, in general, fluoresce, they first must be reacted with a fluorescent dye label prior to analysis. After this process is completed, the liquid sample then must be transported into the electrophoresis system. If the system is to be reused multiple times, samples must be added and removed each time. In typical laboratories, this process is performed manually by skilled human operators using standard laboratory equipment. This level of human intervention is not possible if this technology is to be implemented on extraterrestrial targets.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs

Read More >>

Voltage Increases Observed in Closely Packed Nanowires

Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25 percent in two barely separated nanowires have been observed at Sandia National Laboratories. Designers of next-generation devices using nanowires to deliver electric currents — including batteries and certain solar arrays — may need to make allowances for such surprise boosts.

Posted in: Batteries, Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, Test & Measurement, News, GDM

Read More >>

An Improved Method for Differential Conductance Measurements

As modern electronics continue to shrink, researchers are increasingly looking to nanotechnology as the basis for the next breakthrough in device size and power consumption. Indeed, as semiconductor structures are made smaller and smaller, the distinction between small silicon geometries and large molecules becomes blurred. Approached from either direction, the consequences are the same. Quantum behavior such as tunneling begins to play an important role in the electrical characteristics. In the macroscopic world, conductors may have obeyed Ohm’s Law (Figure 1a), but in the nanoscale, Ohm’s definition of resistance is no longer relevant (Figure 1b). Because the slope of the I-V curve is no longer a fundamental constant of the material, a detailed measurement of the slope of that I-V curve at every point is needed to study nanodevices. This plot of differential conductance (dG = dI/dV) is the most important measurement made on small scale devices, but presents a unique set of challenges.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

Read More >>

Gearing Up for Parametric Test’s High Voltage Future

Many parametric test engineers are learning to cope with new high voltage process requirements. Not surprisingly, high voltage processes require high voltage parametric testing for process control and reliability monitoring. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that these new high voltage requirements add to the list of parametric tests rather than replacing some portion of it. In many if not most cases, the high voltage transistors are controlled by complex logic that requires low voltage/low current parametric test. Consequently, both high voltage and logic tests have to be addressed within the same test plan while minimizing impact on throughput.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

Read More >>

Rapidly Expanding Array of Test Applications Continues to Drive Source Measurement Unit Instrument Technology

Since their introduction more than two decades ago, source measurement units (SMUs) have evolved into a category of multi-purpose instruments that are regularly called upon to address a rapidly expanding array of electronics industry applications:Semiconductor device fabrication, process development, and product research/design Production verification of electronic products such as portable wireless devices Production and development of new advanced materials for devices such as solar cells and HBLEDs Almost any electronic device test application

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

Read More >>