Semiconductors & ICs

Self-Powered Intelligent Keyboard Could Provide Additional Security

By analyzing such parameters as the force applied by key presses and the time interval between them, a new self-powered, non-mechanical, intelligent keyboard could provide a stronger layer of security for computer users. The self-powered device generates electricity when a user’s fingertips contact the multi-layer plastic materials that make up the device.

Posted in: Articles, News, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Semiconductors & ICs
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Zinc Oxide Materials Power Tiny Energy Harvesting Devices

Many types of smart devices are readily available and convenient to use. The goal now is to make wearable electronics that are flexible, sustainable, and powered by ambient renewable energy. This last goal inspired researchers to explore how the attractive physical features of zinc oxide (ZnO) materials could be used to tap into abundant mechanical energy sources to power micro devices.

They discovered that inserting aluminum nitride insulating layers into ZnO-based energy harvesting devices led to a significant improvement of the devices’ performance. The group’s findings are expected to provide an effective approach for realizing “nanogenerators” for self-powered electronic systems such as portable communication devices, healthcare monitoring devices, environmental monitoring devices, and implantable medical devices.

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Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Materials, Metals, Nanotechnology, Semiconductors & ICs
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Glass as Electrode Makes Batteries More Efficient

Today’s batteries provide a reliable power supply for our smartphones, electric cars and laptops, but are unable to keep up with the growing demands placed on them. Researchers have discovered a material that may have the potential to double battery capacity: vanadate-borate glass. The glass is being used as a cathode material, which is made of vanadium oxide (V2O5) and lithium-borate (LiBO2) precursors, and was coated with reduced graphite oxide (RGO) to enhance the electrode properties of the material.

The vanadate-borate glass powder was used for battery cathodes, which were placed in prototypes for coin cell batteries to undergo numerous charge/discharge cycles. In tests, the glass electrodes demonstrated a vast improvement in these batteries’ capacity and energy density.

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Posted in: News, Batteries, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Materials, Semiconductors & ICs
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Mechanically Induced Nucleation Improves Crystalline Quality During Melt Growth of Semiconductors

Significantly lower supercooling results in the ideal growth condition of single crystal nucleation.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

For certain semiconductors with important applications, the existing bulk crystal growth technique from the melt usually results in poor-quality multi-crystalline ingots that cause the typically low yield of the commercial growth process. The low-quality, multi-grained crystal growth is mainly caused by the large supercool of the melt, which prohibits the ideal growth condition that a small, single-crystal nucleus forms at the very tip and grows into a large single crystal. For instance, semi-insulating cadmium zinc telluride (CdZnTe) crystal is a highly promising material for room-temperature x-ray and gamma ray detectors. However, the major hurdle in using the CdZnTe crystals is its cost. The ability to pack many data acquisition channels (hundreds) with the stopping power for high-energy radiation requires large single crystals of CdZnTe.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Semiconductors & ICs, Semiconductors, Data acquisition, Data acquisition (obsolete)
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A Resistive, High-Voltage, Differential Input Interface in a 3.3-V BiCMOS 0.5-μm Process for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Semiconductors & ICs, Sensors, Electronic equipment, Electronic equipment
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Motor Driver ICs

Toshiba America Electronic Components (San Jose, CA) offers four motor driver ICs, ranging from precision stepper motor drivers to sensorless brushless DC motor drivers. The TB67S269FTG bipolar stepping motor driver has a maximum rating of 50V and 2.0A. Three brushless DC motor drivers — the TB67B001FTG, TB67B008FTG, and TB67B008FNG — feature maximum rating of 25V and 3.0A. The TB67S269FTG targets applications requiring high-speed, high-precision motor drives. The driver’s high-resolution, 1/32-step motor driving technology lowers noise and vibration, while heat generation is reduced via low ON resistance (0.8Ω or less, upper + lower) MOSFET H-bridges and featuring Toshiba’s Advanced Mixed Decay (ADMD) technology that optimizes the drive capability of complex motor currents.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Semiconductors & ICs
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Wearable Nanowire Sensors Monitor Electrophysiological Signals

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new, wearable sensor that uses silver nanowires to monitor electrophysiological signals, such as electrocardiography (EKG) or electromyography (EMG). The new sensor is as accurate as the “wet electrode” sensors used in hospitals, but can be used for long-term monitoring and when a patient is moving.

Posted in: News, News, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Nanotechnology, Semiconductors & ICs, Sensors
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Technology Diagnoses Brain Damage from Concussions, Strokes, and Dementia

New optical diagnostic technology developed at Tufts University School of Engineering promises new ways to identify and monitor brain damage resulting from traumatic injury, stroke, or vascular dementia in real time and without invasive procedures.

Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Diagnostics, Medical, Fiber Optics, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Researchers Develop a Way to Control Material with Voltage

A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the beginning of a new family of materials with a variety of switchable properties. The technique could ultimately be used to control properties other than magnetism, including reflectivity or thermal conductivity. The first application of the new finding is likely to be a new kind of memory chip that requires no power to maintain data once it’s written, drastically lowering its overall power needs. This could be especially useful for mobile devices, where battery life is often a major limitation.

Posted in: News, Batteries, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Materials, Metals, Semiconductors & ICs
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Garnet Ceramics Could Be the Key to High-Energy Lithium Batteries

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs. The ORNL-led team used scanning transmission electron microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO. The researchers found the material to be highly stable in a range of aqueous environments, making the compound a promising component in new battery configurations.

Posted in: News, Batteries, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Ceramics, Materials, Semiconductors & ICs
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