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]
The UltraCMOS® PE42020 Integrates RF, Digital and Analog Functions in a Monolithic Die to Preserve Signal Integrity From DC to 8 GHz
Peregrine Semiconductor announces the availability of the UltraCMOS® PE42020, the industry’s first and only RF integrated switch to operate at true DC, zero Hz. This True DC RF switch features high power handling and maintains excellent RF performance and linearity from DC through 8000 MHz. A reliable alternative to problematic mechanical relays and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), the PE42020 is ideal for test-and-measurement (T&M) and automated-test-equipment (ATE) applications.
“For the first time, an integrated RF switch can operate at DC and truly cover the signal over the entire frequency spectrum,” says Kinana Hussain, Peregrine’s senior manager of marketing. “Until now, only mechanical relays and MEMS switches allowed DC pass through, and these products are plagued with reliability issues and lack of integration. Today’s release of the UltraCMOS PE42020 is another example of Peregrine solving the RF industry’s biggest challenges.”
Peregrine Semiconductor Ships Industry’s First True DC Switch - [Link]
by R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Any embedded device can made to recognize 3D gestures in mid-air, with the addition of the new GestIC from Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Arizona). Microchip supplies all the chips, development software and know-how, it claims, to enable engineers to quickly make any embedded device smart enough to respond to commands drawn in mid-air with your bare hands.
Microchip believes its newest GestIC chip is the most cost-effective gesture detection system available today. “We not only provide the lowest-cost entry point for easy-to-use yet advanced 3D hand gesture recognition,” Fanie Duvenhage, director of Microchip’s Human Machine Interface Division told EE Times, “but by focusing our newest family member, the MGC3030, on the core gesture detection function, we make the software engineers job quick and easy too — using our free, downloadable Aurea graphical user interface (GUI) and Colibri Gesture Suite.”
3-D Gesture Control For Just $2 Per Device - [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]
by Steve Taranovich @ edn.com:
The BME680 from Bosch Sensortec is the world’s first environmental sensor combining pressure, humidity, temperature, and indoor air quality in a single 3×3mm2 package.
The new IC enables mobile devices and wearables to monitor indoor air quality measurement in a low power, small footprint package. The level of integration is what makes this solution so attractive as well as Bosch’s capabilities with software algorithms for a full solution.
The IC will enable multiple new capabilities for portable and mobile devices such as air quality measurement, personalized weather stations, indoor navigation, fitness monitoring, home automation, and other applications for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Combo MEMS sensor solution with integrated gas sensor - [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]
by Stephen Evanczuk @ digikey.com:
For rapidly growing markets such as wearables or the Internet of Things (IoT), energy harvesting can significantly enhance battery life—or even enable battery-free designs. At the same time, however, engineers designing wearables and IoT devices face significant constraints in total design size and footprint. To meet growing demands for miniaturized systems, designers can turn to an array of highly integrated energy-harvesting ICs and wireless MCUs from silicon vendors including Atmel, CSR, Freescale Semiconductor, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated, NXP Semiconductor, Silicon Laboratories, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments, among others.
Energy harvesting offers tremendous benefits for applications able to take advantage of ambient-energy sources. Designers have employed energy-harvesting techniques to power applications ranging from motor and engine monitors to railway trackside electronics. Typically, these applications are based on wireless-sensor designs built to transmit sampled data about the environment or events of interest to a controller, aggregator, or other host (Figure 1).
Specialized ICs Squeeze Large Capabilities into Tiny Energy-Harvesting Solutions - [Link]
Diodes Incorporated introduced a pair of compact 40 V, 1 A-rated gate drivers specifically designed to control the high-current power MOSFETs used in onboard and embedded power supplies and motor drive circuits. Enabling the MOSFETs to be more rapidly and fully switched on and off, the ZXGD3009E6 (SOT26 package) and ZXGD3009DY (SOT363 package) help minimize switching losses, improve power density and increase overall conversion efficiency.
Acting as a high-gain buffer stage for low-power control ICs, the devices can provide a typical drive current of 500 mA from an input current of only 10 mA, ensuring the desirable fast charging and discharging of the power MOSFET’s capacitive load. The drivers’ switching capability is ultra-fast, with a propagation delay time of less than 5 ns, and rise and fall times of less than 20 ns.
MOSFET Gate Drivers from Diodes Incorporated Boosts Conversion Efficiency - [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]