Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Microcontroller Tool Suite

LDRA (San Bruno, CA) has announced the integration of its LDRA tool suite and Microchip Technology’s MPLAB PIC18, PIC24, and dsPIC32/33 tool chains. Microchip’s PIC18, PIC24, and dsPIC32/33 families are 8- and 16-bit micro-controllers designed to provide optimal functionality in a low-overhead design. The scalability of LDRA’s components enables LDRA to offer full tool suite functionality with kilobytes of RAM and tens of kilobytes of ROM. By hooking into the PIC serial I/O ports, developers gain identical output across each of the PIC families. Similarly, the LDRA tool suite fully integrates with the PIC tool chains, allowing for compilation, linking, and programming in the PIC tool chain environment. End users gain full use of graphical test planning and automatic test vector generation tools in the target environment, reducing the need for programmers and testers to have an in-depth knowledge of the extensive differences represented by each PIC platform.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

BGA Socket

Ironwood Electronics (Burnsville, MN) now offers a BGA socket for 0.5mm pitch 51 pin BGA. The SG-BGA-7154 socket is designed for 4mm × 4mm × 0.8 mm package size and operates at bandwidths up to 10 GHz with less than 1 dB of insertion loss. The contact resistance is typically 20 milliohms per I/O. The socket connects all pins with 10 GHz bandwidth on all connections. The socket is mounted using supplied hardware on the target PCB with no soldering, and its small footprint allows inductors, resistors, and decoupling capacitors to be placed very close to the device for impedance tuning.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Protocol Analyzer Mid-Bus Probe

Anew mid-bus probe for the Summit™ T3-16 Protocol Analyzer from LeCroy (Chestnut Ridge, NY) can be connected to systems that utilize the Intel® mid-bus probe footprint specification. The probe uses a full-size connector that supports PCle® x8 lanes at 8 GT/s. Two mid-bus probes can be connected to a Summit T3-16 Analyzer and will support x16 lane widths. These probes can be used in conjunction with the unique lane swizzling feature on the Summit T3-16 Analyzer, which allows probe signals to be reorganized logically, to give developers flexibility in PCB layout.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

On-Chip Debug Solutions

Macraigor Systems (Brookline Village, MA) has ported their on-chip debug technology (OCDemon), GNU tools suite, and Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo platform to the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. The Cortex-A8 is ARM’s first superscalar processor featuring technology for enhanced code density and performance, NEON technology for multimedia and signal processing, and Jazelle RCT (Runtime Compilation Target) technology for high-performance, power-efficient mobile devices.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Lightweight Spreader for SBCs

Advanced Digital Logic (San Diego, CA) has introduced the ADL945PC-LTSPREADER, a lightweight spreader for the ADL945PC family of single board computers. The ADL945PC-LTSPREADER is designed for any application where weight is important, such as mass conscious applications, UAV applications, handheld applications, etc. The ADL945PC-LTSPREADER has thermal performance in excess of 98% of the original ADL945PC-SPREADER (293162), but at a mass savings of nearly 45%. Like all of the thermal solutions offered for the PC/104 lines, the flat-plate mounting pattern on the ADL945PC is bolt-up compatible with all other 855 and 945 class thermal interface products.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Widely Tunable Mode-Hop-Free External-Cavity Quantum Cascade Laser

This technology is suitable for spectroscopic applications, multi-species trace-gas detection, and measurements of broadband absorbers.

The external-cavity quantum cascade laser (EC-QCL) system is based on an optical configuration of the Littrow type. It is a room-temperature, continuous-wave, widely tunable, mode-hop-free, mid-infrared, EC-QCL spectroscopic source. It has a single-mode tuning range of 155 cm–1 (≈8% of the center wavelength) with a maximum power of 11.1 mW and 182 cm–1 (≈15% of the center wavelength), and a maximum power of 50 mW as demonstrated for 5.3 micron and 8.4 micron EC-QCLs, respectively. This technology is particularly suitable for high-resolution spectroscopic applications, multi-species trace-gas detection, and spectroscopic measurements of broadband absorbers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Lasers, Lasers

Non-Geiger-Mode Single-Photon Avalanche Detector With Low Excess Noise

Applications include quantum key distribution for the financial industry and photon-starved optical communications needs.

This design constitutes a self-resetting (gain quenching), room-temperature operational semiconductor single-photon-sensitive detector that is sensitive to telecommunications optical wavelengths and is scalable to large areas (millimeter diameter) with high bandwidth and efficiencies.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Telecommunications, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Telecommunications, Semiconductors

Using Whispering-Gallery-Mode Resonators for Refractometry

Refractive and absorptive properties are inferred by correlating predictions with measurements.

A method of determining the refractive and absorptive properties of optically transparent materials involves a combination of theoretical and experimental analysis of electromagnetic responses of whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) resonator disks made of those materials. The method was conceived especially for use in studying transparent photorefractive materials, for which purpose this method affords unprecedented levels of sensitivity and accuracy. The method is expected to be particularly useful for measuring temporally varying refractive and absorptive properties of photorefractive materials at infrared wavelengths. Still more particularly, the method is expected to be useful for measuring drifts in these properties that are so slow that, heretofore, the properties were assumed to be constant.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Analysis methodologies, Optics, Optics, Materials properties

USB CompuScope

GaGe, Lockport, IL, has introduced the USB CompuScope family of high-performance USB digitizers that includes three models featuring up to two input channels, up to 1.1 GS/s maximum sampling per channel, 12- or 14-bit vertical resolution, 128 MS of acquisition memory, and up to 1.2 GHz of input analog bandwidth. The digitizers provide high signal fidelity and feature Effective Number Of Bits (ENOB) performance values of over 10 or 11 at a 70-MHz signal frequency, depending on the model. Each model comes equipped with a USB cable, a 100/220V power cable, and a lightweight carrying case. The digitizers connect to a laptop computer, providing an ultra-portable digitizer solution. Each model operates under the GageScope standalone oscilloscope software, or from any GaGe CompuScope Software Development kit. The devices incorporate SP Devices’ patented interleaving technology.

Posted in: Products

Real-Time Analysis and Reporting of Water-Borne Microorganisms

A company seeks a technology that enables monitoring of the microorganism content of stored potable water in real time, and reporting the water’s status to assure its continued potability even after storage times as long as a year. The apparatus must be small and lightweight, require minimal power, operate at ambient pressures from sea level (14.7 psi) down to 8 psi, require little or no maintenance, and not require extensive specialized training to operate or maintain.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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