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30 Mar 2015


by Tom Abate @ phys.org:

Computer chips, solar cells and other electronic devices have traditionally been based on silicon, the most famous of the semiconductors, that special class of materials whose unique electronic properties can be manipulated to turn electricity on and off the way faucets control the flow of water.

There are other semiconductors. Gallium arsenide is one such material and it has certain technical advantages over silicon – electrons race through its crystalline structure faster than they can move through silicon.

But silicon has a crushing commercial advantage. It is roughly a thousand times cheaper to make. As a result, gallium arsenide-based devices are only used in niche applications where their special capabilities justify their higher cost.

Cellphones, for instance, typically rely on speedy gallium arsenide chips to process the high-frequency radio signals that arrive faster than silicon can handle.

New process could make gallium arsenide cheaper for computer chips, solar cells – [Link]

30 Mar 2015


by elektor.com:

Quin Etnyre has been into all things Arduino since he was a kid. He already has 28 Instructables published, founded his own company called Qtechknow in 2012 which sells ArduSensors and a line of fun and educational kits and oh, he is still just 14 years old.

His latest Arduino-based design is the Qduino Mini which is the first tiny Arduino compatible board to incorporate a battery charger and fuel gauge to let you know when the battery needs recharging.

The Qduino Mini is 1 inch by 1.5 inches and weighs just 5 grams which makes it ideal for use on airborne projects such as quadcopters, drones or high altitude balloons.

Main features of the Qduino Mini:

ATmega32U4 Processor – Arduino Leonardo compatible
32 KB Flash storage
3.3 V @ 8 MHz
20 digital I/O // 14 dedicated
12 analog Channels // 6 dedicated
7 digital I/O also PWM channels
SPI, I2C, UART available
LED Indicators for: ON, charge status, TX, RX, D13
TPS78233 3.3 V 150 mA regulator
MCP73832 LiPo battery charger
MAX17048 LiPo battery fuel gauge

The Qduino Mini – [Link]

30 Mar 2015


Eco-Inspired 32-bit microcontroller chip for Wearables and the Internet-of-Things.

DREAM-1 is a Next-Generation, Eco-Inspired 32-bit microcontroller chip for Wearables and the Internet-of-Things;
No limitations – powered by Eco-Logic technology: minimal energy, maximum speed, event-driven, instantaneously responsive and energy-performance adaptive;
Fully compatible – DREAM-1 apps can be developed with existing software flows, programming languages and configured wirelessly over Bluetooth;
Exclusive – limited sampling batch only available on Kickstarter to perfect its design.

32-bit Microcontroller Chip – Next-Generation, Eco-Inspired – [Link]

28 Mar 2015

The most often requested video! In this tutorial Dave explains what Operational Amplifiers (OpAmps) are and how they work. The concepts of negative feedback, open loop gain, virtual grounds and opamp action. The comparator, the buffer, the inverting and non-inverting amplifiers, the differential amplifier, and the integrator circuit configurations are also explained.
Then a practical breadboard circuit to demonstrate a virtual ground and the effect of voltage rail limitations.

OpAmps Tutorial – What is an Operational Amplifier? – [Link]

28 Mar 2015

Keithley 2460 Source Measure Unit (SMU) Review, Teardown and Experiments – [Link]

27 Mar 2015


TCS3490 intelligent color sensor’s accurate measurement of color temperature and ambient light intensity enables sophisticated display color management control for smartphones, tablets, notebooks and digital still cameras

ams AG released the TCS3490, a color sensor for portable devices which is ideally suited for light source detection when operating under a wide range of light sources.
Providing accurate color and light intensity measurements, the TCS3490 enables designers of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets to implement more sophisticated display management and brightness control.

This integrated five-channel color sensor has extremely accurate measurements of the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) of light. As sensors continue to proliferate in today’s mobile electronics market, manufacturers of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops can use these measurements to dynamically adapt the display’s color palette to provide the user with a superior viewing experience.

AMS color sensor for mobile devices improves accuracy and offers new light source detection capability – [Link]

27 Mar 2015


To tell the truth, probably no, but we have for you a few hints for relays which are very close to an ideal.

Signal relay is almost an „ideal component“ thanks to a practically zero distortion and a total isolation of a switched signal from a control one. That is naturally one of the main features of all electromechanical relays, but at signal relays it´s especially valued, as we usually require switching of relatively small signals. Favorite and widely used are for example relays Fujitsu series B3 and B4 (miniature SMT and THT relays) and series AxW (miniature only 5mm high relay) – all with bifurcated gold-plated contacts for a high reliability.

A novelty in our portfolio is the series Fujitsu NA representing something like a “golden middle way “. With dimensions 7,4×14,9×9,7 mm it belongs to narrow miniature relay enabling a high density of components on a PCB. Even though relay NA is somewhat bigger than for example series B4, but it´s able to withstand higher AC current – up to 0.5A/125VAC (vs. 0.3A at series B4) and it also provides an extreme mechanical lifetime up to 100×106 , what´s approximately twice that of B4 series. Sensitive coils, with a consumption of 0.1-0.3W at majority of types enable a dense mounting without problems with overheating.

From the point of view of the lowest possible consumption are naturally the best latching relays (with a permanent magnet) controlled only by pulses. Usually they´re easy to recognize by a letter „L“ behind the series marking (for example NAL, JSL). In a Fujitsu signal relays overview and the Fujitsu catalogue can be easily found a comparison among particular types as well as detailed information about them. We try to keep the most favorite types always on stock, what´s also reflected in the substantial increasing of stock.

Does a universal signal relay exist? – [Link]

27 Mar 2015


by R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:

PORTLAND, Oregon — Scientists trying to fulfill the 80-year-old dream of Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner, recently discovered how to place crystalline lattices of pure electrons in the bottom of a silicon-encased quantum well. The resulting material promises electron mobility more than 200 times greater than that of graphene and more than 1,700 times that of crystalline silicon.

So far, the work is still at the level of fundamental physics, but if researchers make the kind of advances they anticipate they could open a door to significant applications in semiconductors.

Scientists Pursue Super-Fast Material – [Link]

27 Mar 2015


Motion sensing is the detection of the change in position of an object relative to its surroundings or vice versa. There are many kinds of motion detector methods: infrared, optics, radio frequency, sound, vibration, and magnetism. These methods differ from each other because each of them uses a different medium and detects different subject (e.g. sound: in Doppler effect, motion is detected by the change in reflected frequency).This project uses PIR (passive infrared) sensor to detect the change in radiation, this can be use on lighting control, temperature control, and motion detection since all objects with temperature above absolute zero emits heat energy in the form of radiation. The term passive refers to the fact that PIR devices do not generate or radiate any energy for detection purposes. It works entirely by detecting the energy given off by other objects.The D204B PIR sensor is used in this project, it contains a material that generates energy when exposed to heat/radiation. The MCP6H94 quad op-amp is used in two stages; amplifier and comparator. The weak signal from the PIR sensor will be amplified by the first two op-amp configured as amplifiers, the amplified signal is then fed to the last two op-amp configured as comparator. The BC548 NPN transistor acting as the switch will be triggered when the comparator’s output gets HIGH, further, switching the transistor will also trigger the relay that is connected to the load (light and/or alarm).

PIR Motion Sensor – [Link]

27 Mar 2015


by Robert Gawron:

Kirlian photography is an interesting photographic technique of capturing corona discharge of objects. The images basically contain only edges in a form of blue glow. Note: one of those photos is visible in “The X files” intro – read the whole article to know why!

In this post I will present my minimalist approach with common materials and without complicated construction. The results aren’t that good as with more complex setups, but I think that they are still really interesting.

Kirlian photography – a simple way of taking it – [Link]





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