David Szondy @ gizmag.com writes:
If it weren’t for the microchip, your smartphone would be size of a building and need its own power plant to work. Thanks to the integrated circuit and its modern incarnation in the microchip, electronics are a bit easier to carry around than that, and this week, Christie’s put one of the very first integrated circuits up for auction. Designed and constructed in 1958 by Texas Instruments, it’s one of the three earliest “chips” ever made and went on the block with an estimated value of up to US$2 million.
One of the world’s first integrated circuits goes up for auction - [Link]
by Matt Mcgowan @ phys.org:
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius – or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the functioning of processors, drivers, controllers and other analog and digital circuits used in power electronics, automobiles and aerospace equipment – all of which must perform at high and often extreme temperatures.
“This ruggedness allows these circuits to be placed in locations where standard silicon-based parts can’t survive,” said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor. “The circuit blocks we designed contributed to superior performance of signal processing, controllers and driver circuitry. We are extremely excited about the results so far.”
Circuits capable of functioning at temperatures greater than 650 degrees fahrenheit - [Link]
Stacking memory is just most obvious application of this ultra-cheap method of stacking 3D circuitry within the metallization layers of standard CMOS chips, but I’m sure that when designers put on their thinking cap they’ll find many more useful applications.: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog
Chips On-the-Cheap Funded by SRC – [Link]
Instructions for Soldering and Desoldering SMDs featuring up-close shots of fine-pitch soldering.
Surface Mount Soldering 101 - [Link]
The era of the MEMS switch may finally be here thanks to the research efforts of GE. Its MEMS chip, as small as 50 microns square, swathes as fast as 3 GHz and can handle up to 5-kiloWatts of power, making it a candidate for everything from industrial power control, to turning on light bulbs to switching antennas inside a smartphone.
MEMS Switch from GE claims fastest/highest Power Crown - [Link]
If you have a simple Arduino project that uses only a few pins, you might be able to shrink it down to a single 8-pin ATtiny chip. In this video, Matt Richardson shows you how, based on a tutorial from MIT Media Lab’s High-Low Tech Group. The best part is you can use the same Arduino code and development environment that you’re already used to.
How-To: Shrinkify Your Arduino Projects - [Link]
Researchers have developed the technology for a catheter-based device that would provide forward-looking, real-time, three-dimensional imaging from inside the heart, coronary arteries and peripheral blood vessels. With its volumetric imaging, the new device could better guide surgeons working in the heart, and potentially allow more of patients’ clogged arteries to be cleared without major surgery.
The device integrates ultrasound transducers with processing electronics on a single 1.4 millimeter silicon chip. On-chip processing of signals allows data from more than a hundred elements on the device to be transmitted using just 13 tiny cables, permitting it to easily travel through circuitous blood vessels. The forward-looking images produced by the device would provide significantly more information than existing cross-sectional ultrasound.
Single Chip Device to Provide Real-Time 3-D Images from Inside the Heart and Blood Vessels - [Link]
A research team from National Taiwan University, National Taipei University of Technology and Chang Gung University have described how they developed a free-swimming remote-controlled bare die at the IEEE International Solid-State circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. The 21.2 mm square die made by TSMC using a 0.35 µm process, is able to travel at 0.3 mm/s submerged in a liquid. A similar device was presented at the ISSCC in 2012, which used Lorentz forces for propulsion. This design however uses electrodes along the four edges of the chip to generate bubbles as a product of electrolysis. [via]
A Free-Swimming Chip - [Link]
In a paper published in Nature Communications researchers at IBM describe how they have built a silicon-based receiver chip incorporating GFETs or Graphene Field Effect Transistors (the purple structure in the photo) into the circuit. The multi-stage receiver integrated circuit consists of 3 graphene transistors, 4 inductors, 2 capacitors, and 2 resistors.
“This is the first time that someone has shown graphene devices and circuits to perform modern wireless communication functions comparable to silicon technology,”
said Supratik Guha, Director of Physical Sciences at IBM Research. In a test the team successfully used the graphene-based receiver to process a digital transmission on 4.3GHz. The binary sequence received was 01001001 01000010 01001101, which represents ASCII coding of the letters IBM.
IBM Chip uses Graphene FETs - [Link]