OSD335x-SM & OSD3358-SM-RED Dev Board

Austin, Texas (September 19, 2017) – Octavo Systems LLC (Octavo) announced the production release and immediate availability of its highly anticipated OSD335x-SM System-In-Package (SiP) device.  The OSD335x-SM, like the entire OSD335x family, integrates the Texas Instruments (TI) Sitara™ AM335x processor with an ARM® Cortex®-A8 core running at 1GHz, DDR3 memory, a TPS65217C power management IC (PMIC), a TL5209 low-dropout (LDO) regulator, and passive components into a single wide pitch (1.27mm) BGA package.  The OSD335x-SM enhances this integration by adding EEPROM as well and reducing the package size by 40%.

The OSD335x-SM comes in a 21mm x 21mm (0.83in x 0.83in) 256 Ball wide pitch (1.27mm) BGA. Occupying 441 square millimeters, the OSD335x-SM uses 60% less space than the equivalent system designed with discrete components.  It is the smallest AM335x processor-based module on the market today that still allows complete access to all the AM335x device I/Os including the PRUs.

“The OSD335x-SM was built to allow system designers to quickly create the smallest possible ARM Cortex®-A8 system and then easily transition into production,” says Bill Heye, President of Octavo Systems.  “By removing the need for DDR routing, power sequencing, complex supply chains and larger PCBs, the OSD335x-SM provides value across the entire life cycle of a design.  We are excited to finally release it to the market and we can’t wait to see the innovative ways people leverage this technology.”

The first 21mm device in the family, the OSD3358-512M-BSM, can be purchased today through Octavo’s distribution partners, Digi-Key Electronics and Mouser Electronics.

The OSD3358-SM-RED Platform

Terahertz Electronics – Way To Bridge The largely-untapped Region Between 100GHz and 10THz

The terahertz (THz) region, which is based on 1THz frequency, separates electronics from photonics and has been difficult to access for ages. Semiconductor electronics cannot handle frequencies equal to or greater than 100GHz due to various transport-time related limitations. In other hand, photonics devices fail to work below 10THz as photon’s energy significantly drops to thermal energy. Terahertz Electronics (TE) is a new technology that extends the range of electronics into the THz-frequency region.

The Terahertz Gap
The Terahertz Gap

The main goal of Terahertz Electronics is to build a bridge between low-frequency “Electronics” and high-frequency “Photonics”. Since these devices use photon-electron particle interactions, as photon energy “hv” decreases below thermal energy “kT”, the device ceases to operate efficiently unless it is cooled down. At the low-frequency end, electronics cannot operate above 100GHz as transport time is dependent on drift and diffusion speeds of electrons/holes. As a result, a large region between 100GHz and 10THz remained inaccessible. Terahertz Electronics solves this problem efficiently by cleverly incorporating electronics with photonics.

Terahertz electronics technology offers practical applications in high-speed data transfer, THz imaging, and highly-integrated radar and communication systems. Surprisingly enough, It does not use semiconductors. Instead, it is based on metal-insulator tunneling structures to form diodes for detectors and ultra-high-speed transistors for oscillator based transmitters.

One drawback of the Terahertz Electronics is, it requires high-frequency radiation sources. Lack of a small, low-cost, moderate-power THz source is one of the main reasons that THz applications have not fully materialized yet. Scientists are trying to find a solution to this problem. They created a compact device that can lead to portable, battery-operated sources of THz radiation. This new solid-state T-ray source uses high-temperature superconducting crystals that contain stacks of Josephson junctions. So, even a small voltage, around two millivolts per junction, can induce frequencies in the THz range.

Mercury arc lamps generate light in terahertz
Mercury arc lamps generate light in terahertz

TE devices are extremely fast and they are made entirely of thin-film materials—metals and insulator. Hence, it is possible to fabricate Terahertz Electronics devices on top of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuitry—a technology for creating integrated-circuits circuitry or on an extensive variety of substrate materials. In TE devices, charge transport through the junction occurs via electron tunneling. Further research and development will make Terahertz Electronics a reality in not-so-distant future.

Digi-Key Releases New Addition of Symbols & Footprints for Vishay Products

New models, available via SnapEDA, streamline the design-in of Vishay optoelectronics parts.

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minnesota, SANTA CLARA, California, and SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA – Digi-Key Electronics, a global electronic components distributor, today announced the addition of symbols, footprints, and 3D models for Vishay’s catalog of optoelectronics products.

The models, made available via online parts library SnapEDA, can be downloaded for free for most major PCB design tools.

Designers spend days creating digital models for each component in their circuit board designs. With this new collaboration, designers can simply drag-and-drop high-quality, auto-verified models into their designs, saving them days of time.

“Each day, thousands of designers use Digi-Key to find components for their designs,” said Natasha Baker, CEO & Founder of SnapEDA. “By adding SnapEDA’s high-quality, ready-to-use digital models to the content solutions available, we’re helping them move from idea to production faster than ever with Vishay products.”

Products supported with this release include a wide variety of Vishay’s optical sensors, optocouplers, solid-state relays, and MOSFET drivers.

LimeSDR Mini – Software-defined-radio card

An open, full-duplex, USB stick radio for femtocells and more.

The LimeSDR and LimeSDR Mini are members of the same family of software-defined radios. One does not replace the other. Rather, they are complementary.

Simply put, the LimeSDR Mini is a smaller, less expensive version of the original LimeSDR. However, it still packs a punch – at its core, the LimeSDR Mini uses the same LMS7002M radio transceiver as its big sibling. The Mini has two channels instead of four, and, by popular demand, SMA connectors instead of micro U.FL connectors. Check out the comparison table below for more details.

LimeSDR Mini – Software-defined-radio card – [Link]

Fennec: LoRa Development Board

An ultra low power LoRa sensor node powered by just one CR2032 batter. By Harm Wouter Snippe:

Do you want to measure temperature, connect a soil humidity sensor in your vegetable garden or monitor the air quality at your street corner? With the Fennec Development Board you are able to connect almost any sensor and create your own amazing ultra low power wireless projects. We have created the most energy efficient Arduino compatible IoT device with LoRa communication in the world. Powered by only a button cell you can send sensor readings every 15 minutes for the next five years over long distances (5-15km).

New Ultrathin Semiconductors Can Make More Efficient and Ten Times Smaller Transistors Than Silicon

The researchers at Stanford University have discovered two ultrathin semiconductors – hafnium diselenide and zirconium diselenide. They share or even exceed some of the very important characteristics of silicon. Silicon has a great property of forming “rust” or silicon dioxide (SiO2) by reacting with oxygen. As the SiO2 acts as an insulator, chip manufacturers implement this property to isolate their circuits on a die. The most interesting fact about these newly discovered semiconductors is, they also form “rust” just like silicon.

enlarged cross-section of an experimental chip made of ultrathin semiconductors
An enlarged cross-section of an experimental chip made of ultrathin semiconductors

The new materials can also be contracted to functional circuits just three atoms thick and they require much less energy than silicon circuits. Hafnium diselenide and zirconium diselenide “rust” even better than silicon and form so-called high-K insulator. The researchers hope to use these materials to design thinner and more energy-efficient chips for satisfying the needs of future devices.

Apart from having the ability to “rust”, the newly discovered ultrathin semiconductors also have the perfect range of energy band gap – a secret feature of silicon. The band gap is the energy needed to switch transistors on and it is a critical factor in computing. Too low band gap causes the circuits to leak and make unreliable. Too high and the chip takes excessive energy to operate and becomes inefficient. Surprisingly, Hafnium diselenide and zirconium diselenide are in the same optimal range of band gap as silicon.

All this and the diselenides can also be used to make circuits which are just three atoms thick, or about two-thirds of a nanometer, something silicon can never do. Eric Pop, an associate professor of electrical engineering, who co-authored with post-doctoral scholar Michal Mleczko in a study paper, said,

Engineers have been unable to make silicon transistors thinner than about five nanometers, before the material properties begin to change in undesirable ways.

If these semiconductors can be integrated with silicon, much longer battery life and much more complex functionality can be achieved in consumer electronics. The combination of thinner circuits and desirable high-K insulation means that these ultrathin semiconductors could be made into transistors 10 times tinier than anything possible with silicon today. As Eric Pop said,

There’s more research to do, but a new path to thinner, smaller circuits – and more energy-efficient electronics – is within reach.

Researchers Developed VO2 Based MEMS Mirror Actuator That Requires Very Low Power

A joint research by the US Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate and Michigan State University have developed micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) actuator based on smart materials, specifically vanadium dioxide (VO2). In the room temperature, Vanadium dioxide exhibits the Mott transition. It is a not-well-understood phenomenon known to occur in transition metal chalcogenides and transition metal oxides.

VO2 Based Mott - MEMS Mirror Actuator
VO2 Based Mott – MEMS Mirror Actuator

The research team was able to use VO2 thin films for making complex mirror support structures to create a programmable tilting mirror. Transition-metal oxides like VO2 require little energy to drive the transition and less than more conventional actuation technologies. This enables implementation of transition-metal oxide based MEMS in battery powered and mobile devices.

When an input voltage of 1.1V is applied, the mirror platform achieves the maximum vertical displacement of 75 microns. The average power consumption per mirror actuator is 6.5mW and the total power consumption is 26.1mW for the entire device. The Mott-MEMS actuator mirror showed vertical movements and tilt angles of 75 micrometers and 5.5 degrees, respectively.

While testing, vanadium dioxide (VO2) displayed hysteric behavior or memory effect. That means the current response to externally applied electrical force is dependent on the previous response. Such behavior will let the researchers predict its response nature for certain electrical signals and they can program the actuators to generate different types of responses.

Nelson Sepulveda, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University, said in a statement issued by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,

The actuation of such devices using smart phase-change materials represents a new operating principle that enables their programming and reduces power consumption.

The study opened a new door in the development of MEMS mirror actuation technology, which could incorporate the use of the hysteresis of smart materials like VO2 for programming tilt angles and vertical displacements in MEMS mirrors. The researchers are focusing on developing programmable MEMs mirrors and improving the design to achieve more precise control and larger movements.

SPI Isolation Board

The isolated SPI module is designed for applications, where SPI signals need to be transferred over longer distances than usually. It is based on Linear’s LTC6820. The board is designed as two layer stack-up, with GND plane on the bottom layer and signal traces and components at the top layer. Signals and power are supplied over standard 100mil (2.54mm) pitch IDC header.


  • Dimension: 40.005 mm x 30.099 mm (1.575″ x 1.185″)
  • 1 Mbps Isolated SPI Data Communication at 10m
  • 500 kbps Isolated SPI Data Communication at 100m
  • Galvanic Isolation Barrier using standard transformer (1500V)
  • Requires no software changes in most SPI systems
  • 3.5V to 15V power supply
  • SPI mode can be adjust via on-board jumpers
  • can act as Master or Slave (adjustable via jumper)
  • screw terminal for twisted pair cable (i.e. as in CAT5 Ethernet cable)

SPI Isolation Board – [Link]

20 Input AND Gate

SyncChannelBlog @ oshpark.com writes:

What to do when you have a partial reel of 74AHCT08 chips burning a hole in your pocket? Design a 20 Input AND gate of course.

20 Input AND Gate – [Link]