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 : 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 : 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 : RF & Microwave Electronics
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 : Electronics & Computers
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Memristors Enable Quick-Learning Neural Network

Inspired by brains, neural networks are composed of neurons (or nodes) and synapses, which are the connections between nodes. To train a neural network for a task, a neural network takes in a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMA-Art) Shapes

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) have the unique ability to recover large deformations in response to thermal, mechanical, and/or magnetic stimuli. This behavior occurs by virtue of a crystallo-graphically...

Briefs : Materials
Flexible, Water-Repellent Graphene Circuits for Washable Electronics

New graphene printing technology can produce electronic circuits that are low-cost, flexible, highly conductive, and water-repellent. Low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene can be tuned with a laser to make functional materials.

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Ultra-Strong, Lightweight, Elastic, Electrically Conductive Carbon

The configuration of carbon's electrons allows for numerous self-bonding combinations that give rise to a range of materials with varying properties. For example, transparent, super-hard diamonds and opaque graphite, which is used for both pencils and industrial lubricant, are...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Advanced Carbon Aerogels for Energy Applications

Carbon aerogels (CAs) are nano-porous carbons comprising a particularly significant class of carbon nano-materials for a variety of sustainable energy applications. Carbon aerogels are...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
SolidSense: Gas Analyzer on a Chip

The SolidSense sensor platform measures all EPA-regulated gas emissions (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons), in addition to ammonia, with high accuracy and sensitivity. The chip-scale gas...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Conductive, High-Toughness Oxides Deposited by Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD)

Oxide coatings deposited in Glenn Research Center's Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD) facility can be processed to be mechanically tough (erosion-resistant) and electrically conductive at room temperature. The electrically conductive...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Semiconductor Blocks Heat Transfer and Preserves Conductivity

A collective rattling effect in a type of crystalline semiconductor was discovered to block most heat transfer while preserving high electrical conductivity — a rare pairing...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Ultrathin Semiconductor Materials “Rust” to Insulate Circuitry

Silicon has several qualities that have led it to become the bedrock of electronics. One is that it features a very good “native” insulator — silicon dioxide, or...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Novel Techniques Examine Solar Cells with Nanoscale Precision

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have for the first time examined, with nanometer-scale precision, the variations in chemical composition...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Shaper Design in CMOS for High Dynamic Range

Front-end electronics for capacitive sensors typically include a preamplifier followed by a filter. The preamplifier provides low-noise amplification of the signals induced in the sensor...

Briefs : Medical
Space Radiation Detector with Spherical Geometry

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed and patented the Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System (CFIDS), a radiation particle detection system that provides information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of subatomic particles. The integrated package consists of a...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Pyramid Micro-Electrofluidic-Spray Propulsion Thruster with Integrated Attitude and Thrust Vector Control

A micro-electrofluidic-spray propulsion (MEP) system was built on a micro scale, in which arrays of hundreds of nano-thrusters are etched on silicon wafers like ICs, only a centimeter on a side. Many dozens of these thruster chips can be...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Mechanically Induced Nucleation Improves Crystalline Quality During Melt Growth of Semiconductors

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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Resistive, High-Voltage, Differential Input Interface in a 3.3-V BiCMOS 0.5-μm Process for Extreme Environments

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...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Radiation Hard By Design (RHBD) Electronics

Current RHBD electronics are limited to speeds that approximate 250 MHz, regardless of the electronic process. The fact that determines the final speed is based on the nature of the current SEU (single-event upsets) radiation-tolerant latches, and the data flow between the latches through combinational...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Detecting Loss of Configuration Access of Reprogrammable FPGA Without External Circuitry

The configuration of the reprogrammable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) currently on the market is very susceptible to single event upset when it operates in radiation environments. The current state-of-the-art approach is to refresh the configuration...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Micro-Coil Spring Interconnection for Ceramic Grid Array Packaged Integrated Circuits

This method of interconnecting ceramic integrated circuits to organic printed circuit boards (PCBs) is designed to substantially increase the life of the...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Method for Formal Verification of Polymorphic Heterogeneous Multicore Processors

Amethod was developed to model polymorphic heterogeneous multicore processors at a high level of abstraction, and formally verify them. The Bahurupi polymorphic heterogeneous multi-core architecture allows the combination of multiple simple processor cores — which...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
SEE Mitigation Technique for Self-Timed Circuits and Rad-Hard, Self-Timed Configurable Memory

To enable NASA’s next-generation missions, there is a critical need for a reconfigurable field programmable gate array (FPGA) that can withstand the wide temperature ranges and radiation of the space environment while consuming minimal power without...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Modeling for Partitioned and Multicore Flight Software Systems

The current flight software approach is monolithic in nature. Every module has tentacles that reach deep within dozens of other software modules. Because of these interdependencies between modules, functionality is difficult to extract and reuse for other missions.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Sub-Nanosecond, Compact, Low-Power Time-Interval Measurement

This innovation is a sub-nanosecond time-interval measurement that is compact and inexpensive, implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Currently, high-speed count ers or semi-custom or custom ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) are used for time-interval...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
CoolSPICE: SPICE Simulator for Cryogenic Electronics

Accurate assessment of circuits at cold temperatures is extremely difficult due to lack of models and tools that can simulate circuit behavior at cryogenic temperatures. A library of cryogenic temperature models was built, as well as a circuit simulator that can use those models and simulate...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Metal-Assisted Fabrication of Biodegradable Porous Silicon Nanostructures

Porous silicon nanowires are fabricated by two-step, metal-assisted electroless chemical etching of p-type or n-type silicon wafers. This method, in combination with nanolithography or nanopatterning, can be applied to fabricate porous silicon nanostructures of different...

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