Semiconductors & ICs

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on semiconductors & ICs, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Chip Converts Wasted Heat to Usable Energy

Car engines, laptop computers, cellphones, and refrigerators all heat up with overuse. That heat can be captured and turned into energy using a method that produces electricity from heat. The technology uses a silicon chip, also known as a “device,” that converts more thermal radiation into...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps

A set of five tiny fundamental parts can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips
Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips

For decades, microchip transistors have become smaller, faster, and cheaper; however, miniaturization has reached a natural limit, as completely new problems arise when a length scale of only a...

Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips
Briefs : Materials
Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor
Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor

Some organic materials cannot be utilized similarly to silicon semiconductors in optoelectronics. Whether in solar cells, light-emitting diodes, or in transistors, what is important is the bandgap, i.e....

Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors
Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors

Recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) materials with superlative properties have the potential to advance semiconductors but creating 2D devices with both good electrical contacts and...

Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View

The production of precision products depends on robot control systems knowing the location of the adhesive bonding head or welding head to the nearest millimeter at all times. This means the robot...

Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed
Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and École Poly-technique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have reported that they achieved the fastest distance measurement attained so...

Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power

Smart objects are required to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power. Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that...

Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Briefs : Lighting
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a double-sided Si(Ge)/ Sapphire/III-Nitride hybrid structure. This technology uses both sides of a sapphire wafer to build device...

Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Visualizing Motion of Water Molecules for Liquid-Based Electronics

A high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering technique was used to measure the strong bond involving a hydrogen atom sandwiched between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bond is a quantum-mechanical phenomenon responsible for various properties of water, including viscosity, that...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cryogenic Hydraulically Actuated Isolation Valve

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a cryogenic isolation valve that utilizes the upstream line pressure of cryogenic fluids for actuation. Previously, the use of cryogenic fluids for actuation systems had been too difficult to control and resulted in unsafe operating...

Briefs : Energy
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Temperature Dielectric Nanocomposite

A nanocomposite was developed that could be a superior high-temperature dielectric material for flexible electronics, energy storage, and electric devices. The nanocomposite combines one-dimensional polymer nanofibers and two-dimensional boron nitride nano-sheets. The nanofibers reinforce the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles relying on light-based image sensors often struggle to see through blinding conditions such as fog. Sub-terahertz wavelengths, which are between microwave...

System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
Briefs : Materials
Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically
Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically

Researchers have created a fabric that automatically regulates the amount of heat that passes through, depending on conditions; for example, when conditions are warm and moist — such as those of a...

Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically
Briefs : IoMT
Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator
Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator

In 2016, UC Berkeley engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic, neural dust sensors. Now, taking the next step, the smallest-volume wireless nerve stimulator was developed, called StimDust...

Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light
Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light

Polymers are regularly used as thermal insulators and can even be used as thermal conductors to enable efficient heating or cooling. A new type of polymer was created that demonstrates...

Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microscale Electro-Hydrodynamic (EHD) Modular Cartridge Pump

The EHD pump uses electric fields to move a dielectric fluid coolant in a thermal loop to dissipate heat generated by electrical components with a low-power system. The pump has only a few key components and no moving parts, increasing the simplicity and robustness of the system. In...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices
Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices

Researchers have created technology that is 10 times more reliable than current methods of producing unclonable digital fingerprints that can be used to...

Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices
Briefs : Test & Measurement
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality

Accurately measuring semiconductor properties of materials in small volumes helps engineers determine the range of applications for which these materials may be suitable in the...

More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Nanochips via Thermal Lithography
Fabricating Nanochips via Thermal Lithography

A process for fabricating atom-thin processors can be used to produce at the nanoscale for smaller and faster semiconductors.

Fabricating Nanochips via Thermal Lithography
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Hybrid Transformer
Hybrid Transformer

Researchers have developed a hybrid transformer that has the benefit of a full planar transformer design but uses a wire-wound secondary winding to keep the parasitic winding capacitances lower. Alone, planar transformers...

Hybrid Transformer
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
3D Printing of Flexible Circuits

A process was developed for 3D printing that can be used to produce transparent and mechanically flexible electronic circuits. The electronics consist of a mesh of silver nanowires that can be printed in suspension and embedded in various flexible and transparent plastics (polymers). This technology can enable...

Briefs : Automotive
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) allows creation of wire, bar, and tubular extrusions that show significant improvement in material properties; for example, magnesium extrusions have...

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream
Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream

The difficulty in spotting minute amounts of disease circulating in the bloodstream has proven a stumbling block in the detection and treatment of cancers that advance stealthily with few...

Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream
Briefs : Wearables
3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment
3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment

Simon Fraser University and Swiss researchers are developing an eco-friendly, 3D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be...

3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...