Fast, Stretchy Circuits Could Yield New Wearable Electronics

The consumer marketplace is flooded with a lively assortment of smart wearable electronics that do everything from monitor vital signs, fitness or sun exposure to play music, charge other electronics or even purify the air around you — all wirelessly. Now, a team of University of Wisconsin—Madison engineers led by Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, the Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Engineering and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in electrical and computer engineering, has created the world’s fastest stretchable, wearable integrated circuits, an advance that could drive the Internet of Things and a much more connected, high-speed wireless world.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Internet of things, Wireless communication systems, Integrated circuits, Internet of things, Wireless communication systems, Product development, Materials properties
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Integrated Circuit for Radio Astronomy Correlators Supporting Large Arrays of Antennas

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Radio telescopes that employ arrays of many antennas are in operation, and ever-larger ones are being designed and proposed. Signals from the antennas are combined by cross-correlation. While the cost of most components of the telescope is proportional to the number of antennas, N, the cost and power consumption of cross-correlation are proportional to N2, and dominate at sufficiently large N. As radio telescopes get larger, there is a need to provide digital-signal-processing electronics that are smaller and less power-hungry than would be implied by the extrapolation of existing designs.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Antennas, Integrated circuits, Radio equipment, Antennas, Integrated circuits, Radio equipment
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Fabrication of Silicon-Leg Isolated Bi-Cr Thermopiles

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The objective of this innovation was to develop a methodology of fabricating thermopile detectors using standard semiconductor fabrication techniques. The goal was to develop a fabrication process that minimized the roughening of the Si legs during patterning of the metallic couples, and to enable delineation of the Si legs without the use of highly toxic or carcinogenic chemicals. Another key requirement was at least 50% optical absorbance across the spectral band.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Optics, Optics, Fabrication, Semiconductors, Silicon alloys
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Current Source Logic Gate

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

High-temperature electronic integrated circuits have been demonstrated in silicon carbide (SiC) depletion mode MESFETs. This process is only capable of producing depletion mode n-channel MESFET transistors. With only this type of transistor, designing a logic gate is a challenge. A previous logic gate design that can be constructed in the current process has performed well. This invention improves upon the previous design by increasing output voltage range and decreasing the physical layout size of a logic gate. This logic gate circuit consists of depletion mode MESFET/JFET transistors and resistors that can be constructed with SiC depletion mode n-channel MESFETs.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Switches, Transistors, Integrated circuits, Switches, Transistors
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Design of Double Layer Rectenna Array for Fault Isolation of Schottky Diode in Operation Beyond V-Band Frequencies

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Microwave power transmission using rectenna technology has attracted a strong interest in conjunction with wireless electric power delivery to infrastructure and subjects located at a remote place. A typical rectenna, which is a major component of the wireless power transmission technology, consists of an antenna, a Schottky diode, and low-pass filters for low-frequency electromagnetic wave isolation in the device. To obtain high efficiency, an electromagnetic wave is collected through a high-resonance antenna, and the AC mode of coupled wave energy is delivered to a Schottky diode that rectifies AC power into DC power. By connecting rectennas in series or parallel, or in mixed way — as well as enlarging the receiving area — the rectenna array can capture microwave energy into a desirable mode of high power.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Capacitors, Antennas, Capacitors
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High-Bandwidth, Wide Field-of-View, Ultra-Sensitive, Radiation-Hardened, Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Receiver

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Every LiDAR design faces the classic balancing act of signal versus noise. In order to maximize the range of a LiDAR, a receiver must amplify fractions of a micro-amp of photo current into a usable range for signal processing to occur, but without adding significant amounts of noise. Additionally, LiDAR receiver designs must exhibit very wide dynamic ranges because of the uncertainty in return signal amplitude. Meeting all these requirements in a small size, weight, and power form factor while keeping costs low is a major challenge.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Amplifiers, Lidar, Amplifiers, Lidar, Noise, Noise
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Magnetometer for Vectorized Field Sensing via Zero-Field, Spin-Dependent Recombination in Silicon Carbide Microelectronics

This self-calibrating, solid-state-based magnetometer is intended for miniaturized applications in high-temperature and high-radiation environments.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The proposed technology involves the sensitive detection of magnetic fields using the zero-field, spin-dependent recombination (SDR) phenomenon that naturally arises from atomic-scale, deep-level defects intrinsic to silicon carbide (SiC) microelectronics. The SDR phenomenon enables the fabrication of SiC-based magnetic field sensing diodes that are ideal for the development of miniaturized and purely electrical-based magnetometers.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Magnetic materials, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Ethernet-to-HRDL Conversion Design

Dual Ethernet inputs are multiplexed into a single HRDL stream to accommodate Ethernet-based ISS instruments.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The International Space Station (ISS) uses a fiber optic High Rate Data Link (HRDL) standard for transferring data. ISS experiments, however, may prefer an Ethernet interface. This design allows ISS instruments to keep their Ethernet interface by converting the Ethernet data format into a format compatible with the ISS. The Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) incorporated this design on the ISS in 2010. The design was described with VHDL code. It has been implemented with an Actel RTAX Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). This FPGA is part of the Express Logics Carrier (ELC) onboard the ISS.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Data exchange, Fiber optics, Data exchange, Fiber optics, Spacecraft
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Flash LIDAR Emulator

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

The Flash LIDAR Emulator is a computer system designed to be functionally equivalent to a Flash LIDAR sensor camera. The system has the same hardware interfaces as the sensor, and produces images of comparable quality to the flash LIDAR sensor in real time (30 frames per second). The emulator is then used as a substitute for the LIDAR camera during development and testing of the software algorithms and hardware systems that interface with the camera. The emulator software was custom-developed entirely in-house, and integrates tools and techniques from several computer fields, including parallel processing, ray-tracing, geometric optimization, CPU optimization, CameraLink interfaces, lowlevel networking, and GPU-based general computing. The software was designed to run on an 8-processor Dell workstation with an NVIDIA graphics card to support general-purpose GPU computing, and CameraLink and network interfaces to support the hardware interfaces of the Flash LIDAR camera.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer simulation, Lidar, Lidar
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Nanotube-Based Device Cooling System

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
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