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Point-of-Load Power Management

The requirements for smaller size, lower weight, and reduced cost in space and defense systems are driving demands for improved power-management solutions. Integrated DCto- DC converters that are designed for hi-rel applications, such as POL buck regulators, offer considerably smaller size and lighter weight than similar multi-chip technologies. The use of a single chip improves reliability issues related to assembly and, with these single- chip POL buck regulators, system designers benefit from improved efficiency and design flexibility.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Voltage regulators, Semiconductors
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Beam Irradiance on Target System (BITS)

The Beam Irradiance on Target System (BITS) is a high energy laser (HEL) sensor array that directly measures the beam irradiance profile of HEL weapons. The BITS is a sensor array composed of 105 sensors arranged in a hexagonal pattern over a circular area and it is designed to withstand direct exposure to continuous wave (CW) lasers at threat irradiance levels. The sensor array spatially and temporally samples HEL beam profiles and is the only reusable and direct (on target) measurement system of its type. The BITS represents the state-of-the-art in directed energy test and evaluation HEL sensors.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Military vehicles and equipment
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Phoning It In: Making Smartphones Secure Enough for Tactical Communications

You suddenly find yourself pinned down by enemy gunfire. What do you do? Whip out your smartphone and call for an airstrike? Yes, if the U.S. Marine Corps has its way.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Cryptography, Cyber security, Wireless communication systems, Military vehicles and equipment
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Designing Rugged, Standards-Based Embedded Solutions

It can be argued that small form factor design trends are paradoxical. As form factor size decreases, functionality requirements increase; as processing power requirements heighten, lower power consumption and thermal output is expected. Add to that the requirement for ruggedness to accommodate for the shock, vibration, humidity, and temperature extremes and variance inherent in mobile and outdoor applications, and designers are faced with a very complex soup.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Thermal management, Vibration, Reliability
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Tips for Selecting or Designing a Membrane Switch

Membrane switches are known for standing up to tough environmental conditions. Flexible and durable, the membrane switch can be customized with embossing, backlighting, sealing, and electrostatic discharge (ESD) shielding. Membrane switches can be made with either tactile or non-tactile feedback and they can be integrated with LEDs and other components. To get the switch that works for your application, follow these simple guidelines.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Switches
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Pursuing Agile Signals in a Crowded Spectral Environment

For the capable RF engineer, continuous- wave (CW) and predictably repeating signals are no great challenge. However, design and troubleshooting become difficult when dealing with agile signals, and the challenges grow when these signals exist in an environment densely populated with similarly agile signals. Examples include applications such as radar, electronic warfare, wireless connectivity, and wireless communications. Indeed, some engineering jobs must be performed where two or more of these technologies intersect — sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Radar, Wireless communication systems, Systems engineering, Noise
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Developing an Efficient RF Cable Test Suite for the Eurofighter Aircraft

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a state-of-the-art combat aircraft. BAE Systems has been working with other leading aerospace companies to make sure the Eurofighter Typhoon is unparalleled in design and performance.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RF & Microwave Electronics, Electronic equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation, Military aircraft
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Optionally-Piloted Aircraft (OPA)

The Centaur Optionally-Piloted Aircraft (OPA) from Aurora Flight Sciences recently flew from Virginia’s Manassas Regional Airport to the Emmen Military Airfield in Switzerland, piloted by an onboard crew.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Missile Defense System Signal Processor

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system’s recently upgraded signal processor, designed and developed by Mercury Systems, enables the U.S. Navy to defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threats and improve target identification capabilities. The technology includes an open architecture BMD computing suite that supports future insertion of off-the-shelf products and third-party components. Mercury’s application-ready subsystems (ARS) are integrated as core technologies in the second-generation Aegis BMD system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Satellite communications, Missiles
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Body-Worn Radio

The Nett Warrior Radio from Thales Communi cations provides soldiers with access to the government’s classified networks at the “Secret” or “Sensitive But Unclassified” level.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Radio equipment, Defense industry
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Geomagnetic Motion Tracking Products

Any compass incorporated into a host system requires calibration so that the compass properly compensates for ferrous and magnetic components. If this is not done correctly, heading readings can be very inaccurate.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Calibration, Navigation and guidance systems, Magnetic materials
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Three-Dimensional Plastic Part Extrusion and Conductive Ink Printing for Flexible Electronics

Structural electronics, or structronics, seeks to build wiring and electrical interconnects directly into component structures to diminish the need for structural fasteners. A MakerBot Cupcake Computer Numerical Control (CNC) was used to investigate the fabrication of plastic structures by printing, and a Fujifilm Dimatix Materials Printer (DMP) was used to create flexible Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). After developing processes to make these machines easier to use, others will be able to utilize them to develop structures with integrated electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Electronic equipment, Additive manufacturing, Plastics, Parts
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Micro-Composite Fabrication via Field-Aided Laminar Composite Processing

Much work has been accomplished since the discovery that particles in a dielectric fluid experience forces when placed in an electric field, including mathematical descriptions of the forces and resulting motion of particles of differing shapes, particle separation and segregation for use in drug delivery, and even the manipulation of long-chain molecules of certain polymers.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Composite materials, Polymers
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Tin-Based IV-IV Heterostructures Fabricated Using Molecular Beam Epitaxy

The indirect nature of the fundamental energy gap in the elemental semiconductors Si and Ge prevents the use of these materials and their alloys in laser devices. The objective of this work is to fabricate Sn-based IV-IV compounds for finding direct bandgap material. This work focuses on the material system GeSn/Ge, from the growth, characterization, and optical measurement. Experimental evidences on pseudomorphic growth of thick Ge1-xSnx film for Sn composition up to 10% and the direct optical transition are presented.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers, Fabrication, Alloys, Semiconductors
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Stencil Mask Methodology for Parallelized Production of Microscale Mechanical Test Samples

Over the past decade, there has been considerable progress in the development of new mechanical testing methods to characterize the properties of materials at the micro and nano scales. One common application of these testing methodologies is the measurement of mechanical properties of structures that are physically small in scale, such as the strength of nanowhiskers and MEMS devices. Another common application is the use of small sample testing to gain insight into plastic deformation processes through systematic alteration of the sample dimensions in order to help isolate selected aspects of material behavior. Examples of these studies include the exploration of size-scale strengthening effects, the quantitative measurement and analysis of dislocation avalanches, and the measurement of local property variations in engineering alloys.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials properties, Nanotechnology, Test procedures
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PCIe RAID Controller Cards

StarTech.com (Lockbourne, OH) has released two new PCI Express RAID Controller Cards (SKUs: PEXSAT34RH, PEXSAT34SFF). The new PCIe RAID cards feature Marvell™ HyperDuo SSD Auto-Tiering Technology, an embedded technology for 6Gbps SATA controllers that allows users to combine SATA SSD and HDD drives into a single volume (up to 3 SSD + 1 HDD), while built-in HyperDuo technology discreetly identifies and moves frequently accessed files to the faster SSD drive(s). While providing the improved speed and data throughput (up to 80% SSD performance), the cards still enable all data to be safely stored on a larger capacity HDD. The HyperDuo feature can be configured either at the boot level (no software required) or at the OS level through an intuitive administration GUI console in Windows.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Microcontrollers

LAPIS Semiconductor (San Jose, CA), a ROHM Group Company, recently introduced the ML610Q100 series of low-cost, low-power microcontrollers. The Mini LP Micros’ peripherals around the processing core and non-volatile memory and RAM include: GPIO, PWMs, counter/timer blocks, ADCs and comparators. The devices exhibit very low power consumption in both sleep (1uA typical) and operating modes (3.7mA typical), while executing one instruction per clock cycle at up to 8 MHz clock rates. The microcontrollers are unique in having their timing reference circuit completely integrated within the devices, meaning no external crystal or any other component is required. Some of the devices in the Mini LP Micro series have internal writable Flash RAM, which eliminates the need for external EEPROM for data storage. Their wide supply voltage range (2.7V dc to 5.5Vdc) and temperature range (-40°C to 85°C) allow the Mini LP Micros to be used in battery-powered and energy-harvesting applications located in harsh environments.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Avionics Compliance Management Tools

LDRA (Merseyside, UK) has released the LDRA Compliance Management System (LCMS) to help companies develop the infrastructure to become DO-178B/C, DO- 278A, and DO-254 compliant. LDRA Certification Services (LCS) experts, fully accredited across all aviation disciplines, walk customers through the fully compliant plans, standards and other lifecycle documents, process checklists, and problem reports to help customers manage certification planning, development, verification, and regulatory activities. To provide additional flexibility and security for customers, LDRA has adapted and licensed LCMS to work in cloud-based or locally hosted environments. Both options include a two-day quick start training and LCS Level A DER ongoing support to ensure full compliance to the standards.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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PIC32 Wireless Products

Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, AZ) announced a major expansion of its embedded-wireless portfolio with Bluetooth® additions that include the PIC32 Bluetooth Audio Development Kit, featuring modules, stacks and CODECs, and XBee® footprint-compatible socket modules with integrated stacks. The new Wi-Fi® offerings comprise IEEE 802.11b/g Wi-Fi modules with Microchip’s feature-rich and free source-code TCP/IP stack running on a PIC® microcontroller for greater configurability, as well as XBee footprint- compatible socket modules with integrated stacks for ease of use. Microchip is also adding a low-power 2.4 GHz radio that supports—for the first time in one chip—both the IEEE 802.15.4 and proprietary data rates (from 125 kbps to 2 Mbps), including the ZigBee®, MiWi™ and other proprietary protocols.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Multi-Phase Power Analyzer

Tektronix, Inc. (Beaverton, OR) recently announced its new precision multi- phase power analyzer. Featuring the industry’s first Spiral Shunt™ design (patent application submitted), the Tektronix PA4000 power analyzer gives power electronics engineers stable, precise current measurements even on highly distorted power waveforms common in many applications. The PA4000 uses two Spiral Shunts on each channel – one for current measurements up to 1 A, for precise low-current measurements, and one for current measurements up to 30A, for higher-current measurements. This state-of-the-art shunt design is then combined with unique high-speed digital signal processing algorithms, allowing the PA4000 to track power cycles accurately, even in the presence of transients and noise.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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PWM Controllers

iWatt Inc. (Campbell, CA) has expanded its PrimAccurate(TM) pulse width modulation (PWM) controller platform to include two new power adapter chipsets that offer the company’s fastest standby recovery. The iW1766 + iW628 and iW1767 + iW628 chipsets provide ultra-low,

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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SMT Top Actuated Switch

C&K Components (Newton, MA) has developed the new PTS 530 Series ultra-low- profile top actuated SMT switch. Utilizing C&K’s unique symbol line identification system, design engineers can quickly and easily identify actuation force ratings. The marking system defines the model number and actuation force on the switch itself, which eliminates the need for designers to rely on confusing schematics. The PTS 530 Series SMT switch is only 4.5mm x 4.5mm with a 0.55mm thickness (0.65 mm for high force versions) and features a lifespan of up to 1,000,000 operations. The momentary action, top actuated SMT switch features a gullwing or J-type terminal and can be soldered via infrared reflow in accordance with the IEC61760-1 standard. The PTS 530 Series switches are available in six different varieties, dependent on actuation force. The PTS 530 Series SMT switch has a maximum voltage of 12VDC. The operating temperature range is -40°C to +85°C.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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10-bit DAC (25 GS/s)

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) (Ashburn, VA) announced that it will bring the unmatched data conversion performance of Tektronix Component Solutions’ newly introduced TDAC-25, the industry’s first 10-bit 25 GS/s digital-to-analog converter (DAC) ASIC to the defense, aerospace, telecom, commercial, and medical markets on its new CHAMP-WB family of rugged OpenVPX(TM) modules. The TDAC-25, which delivers up to -60 dBc of dynamic range and enables direct-generation of wideband signals. Curtiss-Wright will first deliver the TDAC-25 on the recently announced CHAMP-WB-DRFM card set featuring the Tektronix 12.5 GS ADC/DAC-based TADF-4300 module. The TADF-4300 was jointly developed by Curtiss-Wright and Tektronix for use with the CHAMP-WB Xilinx(R) Virtex(R)-7 based 6U VPX card. The first announced member of the CHAMP-WB family, the CHAMP-WB-DRFM card set deploys the TDAC-25 as part of an ADC/DAC combination with maximum module speed rated at 12.5 GS/s.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Small Form Factor Computers Go Ultra-low Power

Agrowing number of mobile, space constrained or harsh environment applications are being designed for the military, industrial automation/HMI, digital signage and medical markets that are driving the need for ever-lower power consumption. These embedded systems have been underserved by existing SFF platforms that have not been able to offer ultra-low power operation, many times below 3 Watts, in a slim profile design. OEM developers have also been challenged to find computing platforms that deliver a flexible and scalable solution in terms of performance and rugged reliability with state-of-the-art interface and graphics support that mimics the same functionality as today’s smart consumer devices.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Human machine interface (HMI)
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Carbon Nanotube Technology Promises a Revolution in Electrical Cabling

While carbon nanotube technology (CNT) has generated widespread interest for applications ranging from semiconductors to medical, one area that is a focus of research at TE Connectivity is high-performance electrical cables. TE has been actively researching CNT for wire and cable, including cooperative efforts with universities and industry leaders, and has prototype samples for evaluation. While there is still much progress to be made before CNT cables become main stream, we believe the technology is sufficiently advanced to meet specific niche applications such as satellites.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electric cables, Conductivity, Nanomaterials, Satellites
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Improving Signal to Noise Ratios in Defense Electronics

As a vertical market, “defense electronics” encompasses a huge range of systems, from portable communications to transportation, avionics, and shipborne radar. While the power architectures are as diverse as they could be, all have common operational demands — they must be robust (shock, vibration, temperature extremes), highly reliable, able to power up after periods of dormancy, and based on components with minimal obsolescence.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, Avionics, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Electromagnetic Simulation Accelerates Design of Microwave Amplifiers

An automated simulation-based design cycle has become a fundamental part of the success of one of today’s leading designers of traveling wave tube (TWT) microwave amplifiers.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics, Computer simulation, Amplifiers
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Intelligence Analysis System

Air Force intelligence analysts must assess an adversary’s capability to achieve their objectives, including their offensive and defensive systems, state of readiness, training, and conditions such as weather. To effectively assess these capabilities, analysts must integrate a tremendous amount of data from a number of sources. An automated decision support system can help analysts manage and process the information.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Artificial intelligence, Human machine interface (HMI), Data management, Defense industry
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One-Shot Sniper System

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Cubic Defense Applications, the defense systems business of Cubic Corporation, a $6 million contract to develop the next generation (XG) of the One Shot crosswind and range measurement system. The technology will provide ballistic aim point offsets in the shooter’s riflescope sight. The fielddeployable system is compact enough to have the option of mounting on the rifle or the spotter-scope, enabling military snipers to rapidly hit their targets at maximum effective ranges and under crosswind conditions.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Calibration, Weather and climate, Tools and equipment, Suppliers, Military vehicles and equipment
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Armed Scout Helicopter Upgrades

Officials from the Armed Scout Helicopter Project Office, together with the US Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s Prototype Integration Facility, announced that the first OH-58F Kiowa Warrior helicopter completed production and will be officially released to the Army to begin test and evaluation.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Performance upgrades, Military aircraft, Rotary-wing aircraft
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