Electronic Components

Researchers Create Smallest Transistor Ever

A research team led by faculty scientist Ali Javey at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has created a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate — the smallest to date.

Posted in: News, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, PCs/Portable Computers

Noise Analysis in Precision Analog Designs

There are articles explaining component-level noise analysis for amplifiers or for analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), but very few that explain how to budget noise or analyze noise from the system level. This paper reviews the basics of noise analysis in precision designs, relates those calculations to system-level specifications such as sensitivity, dynamic range, and resolution, and answers some of the big questions about low-noise design.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs

Nanotube-Based Device Cooling System

These cooling systems can be used for electronic devices in the computer manufacturing, thermal management, and semiconductor industries.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being studied for use in high-strength/lowweight composites and other applications. Recent research on thermal dissipation materials for high-power electronic devices is generating a lot of interest in various industries. Carbon nano tubes have attracted much attention due to their extraordinary mechanical and unique electronic properties. Computer chips have been subjected to higher and higher thermal loads, and it is challenging to find new ways to perform heat dissipation. As a result, heat dissipation demand for computer systems is increasing dramatically.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Electronic equipment, Electronic equipment, Thermal management, Thermal management, Cooling, Composite materials, Nanomaterials

EADIN Lite Communication Network

DEC is part of the Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) project under the Advanced Aeronautics research program.

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

The distributed engine controls (DEC) task seeks to investigate the capabilities of a distributed network for aircraft engine controls. Traditional aircraft engine control systems use analog systems to communicate with sensors and actuators. The ability to upgrade an engine after manufacture, by swapping out sensors or actuators, is limited due to the analog signal component. Digital signals do not have this limitation, and additionally they do not require dedicated cabling, which may decrease engine weight. To understand the interactions between a new digital network and the engine controller, a representative model of the networks is required.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Engine control systems

Iris DSN-Compatible, CubeSat-Compatible Transponder

RF portions are combined with FPGA processing inherited from prior systems, which opens up a series of new possibilities.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

No CubeSat-compatible, Deep Space Network (DSN)-compatible communications and navigation transponder exists at the time of this reporting. In order for CubeSats and other small spacecraft to go into deep space, a DSN-compatible capability is needed.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Satellite communications, Satellite communications

Cockpit Avionics Upgrade Display Atlas, Generic Display Software, and Electronic Procedure System

This computer training system uses nine screens to mimic avionics controls.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Modern avionics permit user interfaces on spacecraft to be performed on computer screens instead of with physical controls. This saves a great deal of weight; however, it presents challenges with representing all the various controls and gauges as well as flight procedures and data on the limited screen real estate available in a practical cockpit.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Avionics, Avionics, Displays, Displays, Spacecraft

Multi-Frequency, THz Quantum Cascade Laser Source

THz sources are used in receivers for terrestrial commercial applications such as imaging, and space science applications such as sensing and spectroscopy.

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Interest in the use of THz detectors outside the laboratory for space, atmospheric, and terrestrial applications has grown immensely in the past half-century. Of particular interest in recent years is the development of the quantum cascade laser (QCL) as a THz frequency source.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization

Avionics/Electronics Box Rail Mount System

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

There is limited space available to install numerous avionics boxes with the caveat that each box is a line replacement unit (LRU). Access to enable the removal of the boxes is limited, and it is critical that no tools and/or loose parts exist to ensure that no damage is done to aft-located components. Boxes are mounted on pallets and secured by captive screws with a tool. Most installation/removal requires two technicians.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Avionics, Hardware, Mountings

Semiconductor Nanomembrane-Based Flight Sensors and Arrays

These sensor arrays can be used to measure skin friction and pressure.

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida

There are two broad classes of methods for measuring skin friction (or wall shear): indirect and direct. The direct methods generally employ a movable element of the actual surface surrounded by a very small gap and connected to some type of flexure. One then measures the displacement of the movable element or the strain in the flexure to obtain the skin friction force acting on the movable element directly. Some methods of detecting skin friction relied on optical interferometric measurements of the thickness of an oil film applied to a test surface. The motion of the oil due to airflow creates thickness variations that can be associated to the frictional forces acting on the surface. Mapping of the surface over a small area is possible, but practical use of this technique is limited due to contamination of the tunnel by the free-flowing oil.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Nanomaterials, Semiconductors

Automated Break-Out Box for Use with Low-Cost Spacecraft Integration and Test

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Electrical checkout and testing is a critical part of the overall space integration and test flow. Verifying proper harness and connector signal interfaces is key to ensuring component health and overall system functionality. Break-out boxes (BOBs) are used to give test personnel access to electrical signals for probing, voltage injection, isolation checks, safe-to-mate checks, and voltage/current measurements, and comparing to expected results. Currently, this involves manually attaching multimeters and oscilloscopes to banana jacks on the BOB, taking measurements, and comparing to expected results.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Electrical systems, Electrical systems, Spacecraft

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