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 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 Colin Jeffrey @ gizmag.com:
Swiss scientists have created the first semiconductor laser consisting solely of elements of main group IV (the carbon group) on the periodic table. Simply, this means that the new device is directly compatible with other elements in that group – such as silicon, carbon, and lead – and so can be directly incorporated in a silicon chip as it is manufactured. This presents new possibilities for transmitting data around computer chips using light, which could result in potential transfer speeds exponentially faster than possible with copper wire and using only a fraction of the energy of today’s integrated circuits.
First germanium-tin semiconductor laser directly compatible with silicon chips - [Link]
At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) 2014 held in San Francisco last week the laboratory for advanced research in microelectronics (Imec) announced they had designed an 8-bit RFID transponder chip that used so little power it could run for 20 years on a single AAA battery. If predictions about the interconnectivity of all ‘things’ in the future are to be realized then it will be necessary to optimize the design of sensors and electronics so that they do their job using as little energy as possible.
Ultra Low Power Chips - [Link]
A California-based start-up called NanoLambda have developed a low-cost ($10) spectrometer sensor chip called Apollo which makes possible a wide range of new sensing applications. The sensor is capable of measuring individual wavelengths of light and is accurate to 1 nm with 10 nm resolution.
Optical spectroscopy is a very powerful non-invasive diagnostic technique and has been used for decades in many fields including health care. However the equipment cost using traditional methods of spectrum analysis has limited its area of application to professional use only. Using the company’s nano fusion technology NanoLambda have fabricated a sensor from thin nanofilter arrays which reduces the size and cost to about 1 % compared with traditional sensing equipment. The sensor’s sensitivity bandwidth can be defined in the manufacturing process and even allows detection in the infra-red region. The small physical size of the sensor makes it ideal for use for unobtrusive, wearable health monitoring applications.
Spectrometer-on-a-Chip - [Link]
by Stanford University @ phys.org. For decades, the mantra of electronics has been smaller, faster, cheaper. Today, Stanford engineers add a fourth word – taller.
At a conference in San Francisco, a Stanford team will reveal how to build high-rise chips that could leapfrog the performance of the single-story logic and memory chips on today’s circuit cards.
Those circuit cards are like busy cities in which logic chips compute and memory chips store data. But when the computer gets busy, the wires connecting logic and memory can get jammed.
The Stanford approach would end these jams by building layers of logic atop layers of memory to create a tightly interconnected high-rise chip. Many thousands of nanoscale electronic “elevators” would move data between the layers much faster, using less electricity, than the bottle-neck prone wires connecting single-story logic and memory chips today.
Researchers combine logic, memory to build a ‘high-rise’ chip - [Link]
Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
HRL Laboratories, based in Malibu, CA, recently tested a prototype neuromorphic chip with 576 silicon neurons aboard a tiny drone measuring 6×6×1.5 inches and weighing 93 grams. The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The drone, custom built for the test by AeroVironment of Monrovia, CA, flew between three separate rooms. The aircraft was able to process data from its optical, ultrasound, and infrared sensors and recognize when it was in a new or familiar room.
Smart chip mimics human brain functions - [Link]
by Suzanne Deffree @ edn.com:
Intel announced its 4004 processor and its chipset through an ad in Electronic News on November 15, 1971, making them the first complete CPU on one chip and the first commercially available microprocessor.
The building-block 4004 CPU held 2300 transistors. The microprocessor, the size of a little fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which, in contrast, filled a room. Full technical details for the 4004 can be found in this January 1972 EDN story on the technology: One-Chip CPU available for low-cost dedicated computers.
Intel 4004 is announced, November 15, 1971 - [Link]
Silicon Labs have introduced a tiny 3 mm square hybrid TV tuner chip which supports reception of all worldwide terrestrial and cable TV transmission standards. According to its preliminary data sheet its design eliminates the need for an external balun, LNAs, SAW filters, and inductive power supply filtering. Some competing TV tuner solutions also eliminate the balun but can suffer from degraded NF and second-order distortion, which compromises reception. A fully-integrated 1.8 V LDO power supply regulator enables single supply operation, while a dual supply option offers additional system flexibility. Increased immunity to LTE interference and a harmonic rejection mixer filters out Wi-Fi interference and eliminates the need for external filtering.
Tiny hybrid TV Tuner - [Link]
by Rob Matheson @ phys.org:
Stream video on your smartphone, or use its GPS for an hour or two, and you’ll probably see the battery drain significantly. As data rates climb and smartphones adopt more power-hungry features, battery life has become a concern. Now a technology developed by MIT spinout Eta Devices could help a phone’s battery last perhaps twice as long, and help to conserve energy in cell towers.
Beating battery drain: Power-conserving chip may increase smartphone battery life - [Link]