According to researchers at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, graphene can increase the sensitivity of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors by up to 100 times due to exteme thinness of graphene films compared to other piezoresistive materials.
Piezoresistive pressure sensors typically integrate silicon piezoresistors into sensor membranes so that strain can be read in terms of resistance. The MEMS version suspends the membrane over a cavity by etching out the underying silicon dioxide. In the KTH version, an extremely thin layer of graphene is suspended over a cavity etched into a silicon dioxide layer on a silicon substrate. The extreme thinness of the graphene membrane – less than a nanometer with a monolayer membrane – increases the sensitivity of the electromechanical effect. [via]
Graphene Beats Silicon in Strain Gauges - [Link]
by Steve Taranovich
The following is a white paper by Silicon Labs with an innovative new process and technology that I believe deserves some level of detail and explanation for informative and educational purposes for EDN readers. Learning about this technology will help all designers give birth to new ideas and architectures as well as help those other designers to effectively integrate this type of product into their systems,
CMEMS® technology is an innovative CMOS + MEMS manufacturing process developed by Silicon Labs, a leading supplier of timing solutions. The term CMEMS is a contraction of the acronyms CMOS and MEMS (microelectromechanical systems). CMEMS technology offers many benefits over traditional oscillator approaches, ranging from scalability, customer-specific programmability and 0-day samples, to long-term reliability and performance. This white paper describes CMEMS process technology, existing hybrid oscillator architectures and the Si501/2/3/4 (Si50x) CMEMS oscillator architecture.
CMEMS oscillator architecture - [Link]
These recent breakthroughs in electrical component technology are likely to have a significant impact on the electronics industry – and on people’s everyday lives.
Your’e probably aware of the superstar conductor of the future, Graphene: “A wonder material that is the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material with the potential to revolutionise diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips”.
New electronic components will change lives in 2014 - [Link]
Battery capacity is doubling every ten years. According to this statement, we may have to wait another ten years to see a functional quadrocopter capable of carrying a human being. The drones of today are very popular and versatile, but the duration of their batteries is limited and cannot carry much weight.
Not willing to wait for decent batteries the three Czechoslovakian companies Duratec, Technodat and Evektor (no, not Elektor) have teamed up to design a flying bicycle that is weighing only 95 kg (without the cyclist or should we say pilot?). We do not understand very well why this has to be in the shape of a bike, because its maneuverability on the ground seems quite debatable.
The Flying Bicycle - [Link]
American Semiconductor has announced the FleX-MCU product family. The new FleX-MCU device is the world’s first physically flexible microcontroller fabricated using the manufacturer’s FleX silicon-on-polymer process. It is an 8-bit RISC device with 8 KB embedded RAM operating at up to 20 MHz, with a 1.2 V core and 2.5 V I/O. It features several serial interface peripherals, including UART, I²C and SPI.
FleX-MCU is the initial product of a family of physically flexible ICs. The FleX IC roadmap includes microcontrollers, analog-to-digital converters, RF wireless communication devices and non-volatile memory. [via]
A Really Flexible Microcontroller - [Link]
Plessey has released samples of their new gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon LEDs. These entry level products, fabricated on 6-inch wafers, are the first LEDs manufactured using GaN on silicon technology to be commercially available anywhere in the world.
Manufactured using Plessy’s proprietary large diameter GaN on silicon process technology, the LEDs are fabricated on a 6-inch line at Plessy’s facility in Plymouth, England. According to Plessey, the combination of standard semiconductor manufacturing processing and the 6-inch fab line provides yields of greater than 95% and fast turnaround , creating significant cost advantage over sapphire and silicon carbide based solutions for LEDs of similar quality. [via]
First GaN on Silicon LEDs Now Available - [Link]
Imec demonstrated a low-power (20µW), intra-cardiac signal processing chip for the detection of ventricular fibrillation at this week’s International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2013) in San Francisco with Olympus. An important step toward next-generation Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy solutions, the new chip delivers innovative signal processing functionalities and consumes only 20µW when all channels are active, enabling the miniaturization of implantable devices. [via]
Robust and accurate heart rate monitoring of the right and left ventricles and the right atrium is essential for implantable devices used in cardiac resynchronization therapy, and accurate motion sensor and thoracic impedance measurements to analyze intrathoracic fluid are critical for improving clinical research and analysis of intracardiac rhythm. Extremely low power consumption is also necessary to reduce the size of cardiac implants and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Carry a Chip in your Heart - [Link]
NFC unifies all contactless and wireless standards, thus enabling an unbelievably simple data transfer or for example a WiFi connection establishment.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology was developed in order to solve the wireless technologies dilemma, which enable even a substantially higher transfer speed but often for the price of a time consuming setup. It can be said, that NFC solves all cases – transfer of a small and even big amount of data. In the first case – at a transfer of small files or a small data amount, the NFC transfer speed is sufficient (up to 424 kbps) and in the second case – at a transfer of a big amount of data, the NFC enables to for example establish WiFi connection in a moment, without a need for any manual setting.
NFC is based on an existing wireless communication standard – RFID (ISO/IEC 14443 A&B and JIS-X 6319-4). Ability of a duplex communication is ideal for an immediate data transfer or for establishment of connection via other wireless technologies by simplicity of a touch (approximation). For an end user it means a simple connection establishment, fast transactions and a comfortable data sharing. Similarly like RFID, even NFC devices exist as active and passive ones. Active devices are for example smartphones, pay terminals and other devices with their own power supply and a small antenna serving for data transfer, as well as for power supply of passive NFC devices, so called tags. Tags can have a miniature dimensions (similarly like at RFID) and they enable read, write but also an implementation of various applications.
NFC is suitable for example for: – bluetooth connection establishment by a simple touch (approximation) of two Bluetooth devices – connection to a WiFi by a touch of a telephone to a router or to other NFC device (tag) containing access settings – contactless payments – intelligent access systems with a central access rights control – data sharing and transfer (for example printing of a picture on a printer) – wide possibilities in healthcare – loyalty program – transportation – consumer electronics – visit-cards, posters, where various information can be written in an NFC tag
NFC technology is open for a free usage without fees. As the first module supporting NFC in our offer, can be found the mini Mifare/NFC modul. An extensive documentation and much useful information about NFC can be found at the NFC forum website – http://www.nfc-forum.org/home/. In case of interest in any NFC products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will the NFC unify all wireless technologies? - [Link]
How Does Silicon Photonics Work? Marcos Hung writes:
Imagine a world where it takes just one second to download a terabyte of data. Well, thanks to Intel, this possibility might seem nearer than you think.
Years of research in silicon photonics have produced the 50G Silicon Photonics Link. The technology uses a combination of lasers and chips to convert data into light signals, send them up a fiber optic cable, then convert the light signals back into its original data form.
The accuracy is also superb: Intel claims that over 27 hours, one petabyte of data was transferred with zero error.Silicon photonics is the study and application of photonic systems which use silicon as an optical medium. Intel’s Silicon Photonics Link prototype is the world’s first silicon-based optical data connection with integrated lasers.
Silicon Photonics: 1 TeraByte of Data in 1 Second - [Link]
Brian Bailey writes:
Moore’s Law may not be running out of steam, but it may be running out of money, as scaling to smaller geometries becomes more cost prohibitive. We also have an insatiable appetite for memory these days, but our tastes are changing from DRAM to nonvolatile memory—a market largely served by flash devices. Whereas DRAM can possibly scale down to 1 nm, we are already encountering floating-gate scaling problems for NAND flash. The answer to the scaling problem appears to be growing devices “up”; the question is how best to do it.
Three-dimensional die stacking uses a silicon interposer and TSVs (through-silicon vias) to connect the stacked dice electrically, allowing the integration of multiple, smaller dice—each processed using an optimal technology—within a package. Many memory manufacturers are already creating 3-D die-stacked chips in production quantities (Figure 1), and the technology’s use for memories paves the way for its use elsewhere.
More-than-Moore memory grows up - [Link]