In a world with a growing population and ever-expanding need for energy, achieving more efficient electrical power conversion is crucial, but presents a number of challenges. GaN technology offers a solution, delivering a number of advantages to ensure availability of reliable electric power.
TI’s latest whitepaper explores the role of GaN in the power supply chain. Read up on its advantages over silicon for power supply switching, and technology advancements required to create complete system-level solutions for GaN-based designs.
Delivering efficient, reliable power through GaN – [Link]
R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imaging chips are becoming the industry’s leader in advanced process technology — instead of the traditional leaders (processors and memory) — thanks to strong demand for CMOS imaging chips in everything from smartphones to tablets to medical equipment and automobiles. Apparently, now the innovation surpasses Moore’s Law, says analyst firm Yole Développement.
Imaging was once done by film, but with the advent of solid-state sensors the technology breakthroughs seem to be growing exponentially, doubling with each new innovation (see slide 1), thus surpassing the traditional interpretation of Moore’s Law, argues Yole Développement (Lyon, France) in a new paper. Yole calls this effect “More than Moore.”
CMOS Image Sensors Surpassing Moore’s Law - [Link]
by Chris Wood @ gizmag.com:
Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a number high-tech cards that aim to slim down your wallet, all offering pretty similar functionality. The Swyp Card is the latest to make a bid for your hard-earned cash, promising to condense your wallet into a single metal card that stores info from debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards.
Swyp holds onto the classic card form factor and allows users to switch between stored cards using physical scroll buttons, with a built-in display showing information for the chosen payment method. New cards are registered by swiping them through a card reader that plugs into the headphone port on a user’s smartphone running a companion iOS/Android app.
Swyp aims to replace all your plastic cards with one that’s electronic - [Link]
by R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:
The world’s first microelectromechanical system (MEMS) spectrometer on-a-chip was shown today at at Photonics West (San Francisco, February 10-12) by Si-Ware Systems (SWS, Cairo, Egypt with offices in La Canada, Calif.) Instead of transporting materials across sometimes great distances to be analyzed with a normal bench-top spectrometer, Si-Ware’s MEMS-powered spectrometer fits in the palm of your hand and thus can be taken to the material to be analyzed.
“Spectrometers are usually bench sized, so your have to take the object to the bench, but now with our MEMS sized you can can take the spectrometer to the object,” said executive vice president, worldwide marketing and business development of Si-Ware, Scott Smyser.
World’s 1st Spectrometer On-a-Chip - [Link]
by By Colin Jeffrey @ gizmag.com:
A new method of processing signals via fiber optic cables could vastly increase the distance at which error-free data is transmitted via submarine cables without additional signal amplification. As the technique is capable of correcting corrupted or distorted data being transmitted, it may also assist in increasing the capacity of all optical fiber communications.
With demand for internet connectivity running at an all time high – and only increasing – the fiber optic cables over which much of the data flows draw ever-closer to reaching capacity. Short of laying more cables, growing demand is being increasingly met by boosting the number of available frequency channels on which the data, in the form of encoded light signals, is transmitted. This is often achieved using a variety of compression and error-correction techniques, as well as employing methods designed to overcome nonlinearity in long lengths of optical fiber.
New electronic technique promises to double optical fiber communications reach - [Link]
by Colin Jeffrey @ gizmag.com:
Researchers from the University of Manchester and University of Sheffield have developed a new prototype semi-transparent, graphene-based LED device that could form the basis of flexible screens for use in the next-generation of mobile phones, tablets and televisions. The incredibly thin display was created using sandwiched “heterostructures”, is only 10-40 atoms thick and emits a sheet of light across its entire surface.
Flexible graphene-based LED clears the way for flexible displays - [Link]
by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:
Researchers at IMEC have produced an 8-bit microprocessor that runs at 2.1 kHz. That is not a typing error for GHz; 2.1 kHz is a breakthrough speed in this instance because the transistors that make up the processor’s logic are entirely fabricated in low-temperature organic materials. Possible areas of application include high-volume printing of RFID tags.
Belgium’s Holst Centre, IMEC and their partner Evonik have fabricated a general-purpose 8-bit microprocessor using complementary thin-film transistors (TFTs) processed at temperatures up to 250 °C, compatible with plastic foil substrates. The “hybrid” technology integrates two types of semiconductors – metal-oxide for n-type TFTs (from materials companies iXsenic and Evonik) and organic molecules for p-type TFTs – in a CMOS microprocessor circuit, operating at a clock frequency unprecedented for TFT technologies of 2.1kHz. The results were published online in Scientific Reports.
by Ransom Stephens @ edn.com:
Moore’s Law, famous for predicting the exponential growth of computing power over 40 years, comes from a simple try-fail/succeed model of incremental improvement. The predictive success of Moore’s Law seems uncanny, so let’s take a closer look to get an idea of where it comes from.
Moore conceived his law for computational power but Moore’s-like growth laws permeate human endeavor—a fact that had never occurred to me until I went to a presentation by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab energy researcher, Robert van Buskirk. He showed several technologies that improve according to Moore’s law, but with different timescales than the original. You can read his paper here, notably co-authored by Nobel Laureate and former Secretary of the Department of Energy, Steven Chu.
Moore’s Law extends to cover human progress - [Link]
by David Nield @ gizmag.com:
The batteries inside our smartphones and laptops are fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping these devices juiced up, but researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered a new type of glass material that could make a major difference: vanadate-borate glass. The glass can be used as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries to almost double the amount of time they last between charges.
A new type of glass could double your smartphone’s battery life - [Link]
Alex Lidow @ edn.com:
For the first time in 60 years, a new higher-performance semiconductor technology is less expensive to produce than the silicon counterpart. Gallium nitride (GaN), has demonstrated both a dramatic improvement in transistor performance and the ability to be produced at a lower cost than silicon. GaN transistors have unleashed new applications as a result of their ability to switch higher voltages and higher currents faster than any transistor before. These extraordinary characteristics have ushered in new applications capable of transforming the future. But this is just the beginning.
GaN field effect transistors (FETs) are now available as discrete transistors and as monolithic half-bridges, with performance 10 times better than the best commercial silicon MOSFET. But what happens when many devices are integrated to create a system on a single chip? What happens when the performance of that chip is 100 times better than silicon?
GaN technology will transform the future - [Link]