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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Create Precision Optical Components with Inkjet Printing

Researchers have developed an inkjet printing technique that can be used to print optical components such as waveguides. Because the printing approach can also fabricate...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Printing Flexible, Stretchable Silver Nanowire Circuits

Silver nanowires have drawn significant interest in recent years for use in many applications ranging from prosthetic devices to wearable health sensors due to their flexibility,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Material Brings Optical Communication onto Silicon Chips

An increase in computing performance has been achieved by squeezing ever more transistors into a tighter space on microchips. This downsizing has also meant packing the wiring within...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Linear Resonators Make Electronics More Resistant to Damage and Defects

Mobile phones, tablets, and other portable devices are prone to failure caused by small defects in their complex electronics that can result from regular use. An innovation provides robust protection against circuitry damage that affects signal transmission.

Briefs : Materials
Diamond Pellet Grinding Tool

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a numerically controlled grinding tool that eliminates undesirable periodic variations in surface contours in optical and other surfaces — such as mid-spatial...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Built-In Temperature Sensing Method in a Microheater

NASA Ames Research Center has developed an innovative built-in temperature sensing method for micro-heaters. The temperature sensing of chip-based microheaters is conventionally done with...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Modified, 3D-Printable Alloy for Flexible Electronics and Soft Robots

Liquid metal printing is integral to the flexible electronics field. Additive manufacturing enables fast fabrication of intricate designs and circuitry. The field features...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Near-Zero-Power Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor was developed that runs on 113 picowatts of power — about 10 billion times smaller than a Watt. The technology could enable devices that can be powered by harvesting energy from...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Simple, Accurate Method for Contact Angle Measurement

The wetting behavior of a liquid on a solid surface is a phenomenon of significant practical importance. The angle of liquid-to-solid contact is important in areas such as adhesion,...

Briefs : Materials
Precision CNT Cutting Mechanism

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a simple mechanism for the clean cutting of high-strength and high-toughness carbon nanotube/poly-mer fiber composites on demand without high blade wear or...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Transistor Material Provides Additional Computing Degrees of Freedom

For several decades, improvements in conventional transistor materials have been sufficient to sustain Moore’s Law — the historical pattern of microchip manufacturers...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Fabrication Process Produces Nanostructures for Electronic Devices

Demands for improved computer processing power have led researchers to explore both new processes and other materials beyond silicon to produce electronic components....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nano-Sized Actuator Lifts Many Times its Weight

Actuators are used in a wide variety of electromechanical systems and in robotics, in applications such as steerable catheters, aircraft wings that adapt to changing conditions, and wind...

Briefs : Energy
Ultra-Wide-Bandgap Power Electronics

Power electronics used for routing, control, and conversion of electrical power traditionally utilize silicon semiconductors. These systems tend to be bulky, require active cooling, and are inadequate for...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Freeform Fabrication Using Electrically Conductive Filaments

The use of multifunctional composites such as mechanically reinforced, electrically and thermally conductive parts is of interest in a range of application areas. Especially interesting and important is where tailorability of function is achieved by strategic placement of materials...

Briefs : Materials
Fabric Converts Kinetic Energy into Electric Power

A fabric was developed that converts kinetic energy into electric power. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes, the more electricity it generates. The woven fabric generates electricity when it is stretched or exposed to pressure. The fabric can currently generate...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Surface-Field-Enhanced Detection of Deep UV Photons in Silicon Carbide Avalanche Photodetectors

While silicon carbide (SiC) is an ideal material for building ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors, the absorbed photons get recombined in the first few nanometers at the surface due to a large absorption coefficient in the 200- to 250-nm wavelength band....

Briefs : Materials
Novel Radiation Shielding Material for Dramatically Extending the Orbit Life of CubeSats

NASA Langley Research Center has developed an innovative radiation shield made by layering metal materials in the Z-shielding method. It is a new, low-cost, and easy-to-implement method to protect CubeSat electronic circuits from ionizing radiation found in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Technique Measures Temperature of 2D Materials at the Atomic Level

Newly developed two-dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene — which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms — have the potential to replace traditional microprocessing chips based on silicon, which have reached the limit of how small they can get. But engineers have...

Briefs : Materials
Plastic Material Works as a Heat Conductor

Plastics are excellent insulators, meaning they can efficiently trap heat — a quality that can be an advantage in something like a coffee cup sleeve. But this insulating property is less desirable in products such as plastic casings for laptops and mobile phones that overheat, in part, because the...

Briefs : Propulsion
New Methods in Preparing and Purifying Nanomaterials

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have made several breakthroughs in treating hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) nanomaterials, improving their properties to supplant carbon nanotubes in many applications. These inventors have greatly enhanced the processes of intercalation and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Process Enables 3D Printing of Nanoscale Metal Structures

In 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — an object is built layer-by-layer, allowing for the creation of structures that would be impossible to manufacture by...

Briefs : Materials
Technique for Chemically Combining Soft Materials

Every complex human tool has contained multiple materials wedged, tied, screwed, glued, or soldered together. But the next generation of tools, from autonomous squishy robots to flexible...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Ultra-Sensitive Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor with practically no effect at all on the temperature of the object measured has been created in the laboratory by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and is awaiting a patent for commercial production.

Briefs : Medical
Whispering Gallery Optical Resonators

In London's St. Paul's Cathedral, a whisper can be heard far across the circular whispering gallery as the sound curves around the walls. Now, an optical whispering gallery mode resonator developed by...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Near-Zero-Power Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor was developed that runs on 113 picowatts of power — about 10 billion times smaller than a Watt. The technology could enable devices that can be powered by harvesting energy from...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Remote Detection of Electronic Devices

Non-Linear Junction Detection is a well-known technique for detecting electronics that utilize semiconductor (solid-state) junctions. The current state of the art for finding hidden electronics — such as electronic eavesdropping devices — using this technology has a maximum range of about 2 m, and more...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
System and Method for Identifying Electrical Properties of Integrated Circuits

Integrated circuit (IC) design can be divided into three stages: circuitry as specified, circuitry as designed, and circuitry as manufactured. Circuitry as specified is a somewhat abstract circuit design made with knowledge of the latest state-of-the-art integrated...

Briefs : Materials
Ultrafast Magnetic Reversal Method for Computer Memory

Computers use different kinds of memory technologies to store data. Long-term memory — typically a hard disk or flash drive — needs to be dense in order to store as much data as...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flexible Silicon-on-Polymer Chip

A new, flexible, silicon-on-polymer chip was developed to augment new networked realities such as the Internet of Things. Typical silicon-based integrated circuits are brittle, rigid components packaged in a way that protects them. When these devices are put into a flexible form factor, rigidity is a negative...

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