Super Efficient Nano-LED

For the exponentially growing data traffic worldwide, the data connections within and between microchips are increasingly becoming a bottleneck. Optical connections are an obvious successor, but that requires an adequate nano-sized light source – and this has now been found. Researchers from the TU Eindhoven have succeeded in making a nano-LED with an efficiency 1000 times greater than its predecessors, and which can operate at a data rate of gigabits per second.


The data connections between microchips (the so-called interconnects) are responsible for the majority of the energy consumption of these chips – one of the reasons why there is a worldwide search for optical (photonic) interconnects. The problem here is the light source: it has to be small enough to fit in the microscopic structure of the microchips. The output power and efficiency also have to be high enough – and especially the latter was a challenge.

The LED that was developed at the TU Eindhoven has a size of only a few hundred nanometers and has a integrated light channel (wave guide) for transporting the light signal. The increase in the efficiency of this new LED was mostly due to the quality of the coupling of the LED to that light channel.

The research is described in the paper ‘Waveguide-coupled nanopillar metal-cavity light-emitting diodes on silicon’ that appeared in Nature Communications; it can be viewed here.
Source: Elektor

RFM69 output power

Bob @ electrobob.com tipped us with his latest article about RFM69 module.

As I was mentioning in my 1000.1000 Hardware selection, I have opted for the cool RFM69HW radio module. Weirdly enough, in quite a few sources (big distributor and ebay) the higher power HW module is cheaper. So there ie no reason not to get the higher power module, given quantity discounts. But I want it to operate at lower power most of times. The datasheet does not show any differences at lower power, so I had no reason not to go for the higher power module. It even says so on the features list on the front page, I can turn the power down to -18dBm.

RFM69 output power – [Link]

Teardown and review of the new MHS5200A

Craig writes:

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on the blog about the new version of the MHS5200A function generators available on eBay. Viewer Tolga was kind enough to send one in to me to review and tear down. Although some improvements have been made over the older models, there are some concerning issues with these new models too!

Teardown and review of the new MHS5200A – [Link]

Pease on Analog Volume 2 is a free download

via elektormagazine.com:

New in the Electronics Design Library is Volume 2 of FOCUS ON: Bob Pease on Analog. With very few exceptions Bob Pease is remembered fondly all over the globe for his analog design expertise as well as his sense of humor. Our esteemed competitors Electronics Design (magazine) shared and spread his wit and knowledge with the electronics community for years with his special column “Pease Porridge.”

Pease on Analog Volume 2 is a free download – [Link]

Arduino Interrupts Tutorial

In this video educ8s.tv is going to show us how to use interrupts with Arduino, an advanced but extremely useful feature of the Arduino.

But what is an interrupt? Most microprocessors have interrupts. Interrupts let you respond to external events while doing something else. Suppose you are sitting at home waiting for the new ESP32 board, you have ordered a few days ago, to arrive at your mailbox. You are very excited so you check your mailbox every ten minutes to see if the board has arrived. This procedure is called polling, and we were using this technique a lot in our projects. But what if we had told the mailman to ring the doorbell at his arrival? This way, we are free to do anything we want and at the time the board arrives at the mailbox we get notified and we can use it at once. This example explains exactly how an interrupt causes a processor to act.

Arduino Interrupts Tutorial [Link]

RELATED POSTS

Accessible Microfluidics Devices With Ultimaker

Researchers at Cardiff University use 3D printing to create small devices that move small volumes of fluid and are used in various areas of research. 3D printing makes it possible to share the devices with other researchers, making the study of microfluidics more accessible to a wider audience. The 3D printed devices offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional ones, which are expensive and require specialized skills and equipment. As technology advances and more materials become available, the application of 3D printing in microfluidics research continues to grow.

Microfluidics research

Microfluidic devices are small-scale circuits that are used to study the behavior of fluids in small volumes. The devices consist of small tubes that deliver small volumes of fluid to different sensors and other actuators in the circuit. Conceptually, they can be compared to plumbing systems that are reduced in size, onto a chip. The techniques used to create these microfluidic devices largely coincide with techniques used in the microelectronics industry to make the electronic chips in our computers and phones.

Microfluidic devices are used to make, for example, artificial cells for pharmaceuticals development, nuclear fusion targets for fusion energy production, and alginate capsules with neuronal stem cells inside to transplant into people with damaged spinal cords.

Traditionally, making these microfluidic devices was an expensive, lengthy and sophisticated process, requiring different types of expertise and using specialized equipment. The adoption of 3D printing significantly sped up this process, made it a lot cheaper, and allowed for the devices to be made on the spot in the research lab.

Microfluidics research studies the behavior of small volumes of fluid – Source: Ultimaker

3D printing microfluidic devices

Using their Ultimakers, researchers at Cardiff University now 3D print the microfluidic devices they use in their studies. The 3D printed devices are based on a modular system that consists of standard building blocks that are assembled together. Starting off with a number of standard components (tubings, junctions, etc.), the research team developed different types of microfluidic systems and used those designs to make a modular system that any other researcher can use to make their own microfluidic devices.

3D printing gives rise to significant cost savings over the traditional methods and allows for rapid iterations on the design of the microfluidic devices. Since the designs can easily be shared with researchers in different locations, microfluidics research becomes accessible to other researchers as well. As David Barrow, Research Professor at Cardiff University, explains:

The simple purchase of a 3D printer means that as long as one is able to draw out an object in a suitable file format, using a wide range of available software tools, it is a relatively easy thing to print the object, and indeed make many revisions, relatively rapidly.
Alex Morgan, Research Associate at Cardiff University, points out that other researchers previously discounted the use of 3D printing to create microfluidic devices as they were non-transparent and often leaked. By optimizing the print settings, however, Alex found that by printing in 50-micron layers and at a print speed of 30mm a minute, devices can be printed that are both transparent and water-tight. The research group’s recent publication explains how to do this.
After printing, the different parts of the microfluidic device are assembled – Source: Ultimaker

3D printing in research

3D printing makes it possible to share the designs of microfluidic devices with other researchers so that they can print them out in their own lab, perform their tests and report back the results. In this way, microfluidics becomes accessible for other researchers that otherwise may not be using it.

As the 3D printing industry evolves, applications of 3D printing in research continue to grow. As Oliver Castell, Group leader for Membrane Biophysics and Engineering explains, as the diversity of available materials increases and the precision of the machines improves, it becomes possible to incorporate not only microfluidics but also optical and electronic components in one device. This will yield multi-functional devices made from different materials.

The role of 3D printing in research is expanding with these technological advancements. Take a look at Ultimaker’s explore pages for more applications of 3D printing in research.

Source: Ultimaker

Esp8266 WebServer farm

An Esp8266 WebServer farm project by Eldon Brown’s (a.k.a WA0UWH)

After several long months, I have reactivated my Esp8266 WebServer Farm.
Currently, one of my WebServers can be accessed as: esp.wa0uwh.com:8154

Esp8266 WebServer farm – [Link]

Wafer-scale-packaged integrated FET switches handle 1 – 4A

by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

Silego Technology has developed a series of integrated power switches for use in mobile and battery powered products, to carry out power gating of functional blocks within a design; the devices come in sub-mm-size chip scale packages, handle currents from 1 to 4 A, and integrate functions such as in-rush current limiting and over-current or thermal protection.

Wafer-scale-packaged integrated FET switches handle 1 – 4A – [Link]

Jump Over The Limits of ARM With ExaGear Desktop

While the most of Linux programs are compiled to run on Intel x86 processors, the virtualization softwares appear to give the ability to run Intel x86 application on ARM-based Mini PC such as Raspberry Pi.

In this way, Eltechs, a high-tech startup company, had produced a new binary translator called “ExaGear Desktop”. It runs applications for the conventional desktop and server x86 processors on energy-efficient ARM CPU without recompilation.

ExaGear Desktop creates a second system known as the ‘guest’ system. Once installed, you can switch between the guest and your regular (‘host’) system using the ExaGear and exit commands. Inside the guest system, apt-get and dpkg are used to install Intel x86 software. The guest system is a transparent operation so there is no difference between running x86 applications on x86-based or ARM-based platform. It also gives you the ability to run Windows applications by installing Wine.

ExaGear is compatible with many of ARM-based Mini PCs such as Raspberry Pi 1, Raspberry Pi 2, ODROID, CubieBoard, CuBox, Utilite, Jetson TK1, Wandboard, Banana Pi etc. It also can run on Chromebook with Linux.

Compared with QEMU, another open-source virtualization software, ExaGear is  5 time faster and has  much better performance with CPU and memory as the benchmark results shown when running on Raspberry Pi 2. You can see the benchmarking details and results here.

ExaGear is available for ordering through the official website with a price range between $16.45 and $56.45 according to the hardware used. You can find more information at the product page. And it may be useful to take a look at this review.