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Rad-Hard FPGAs

The rad-hard and rad-tolerant reprogrammable Virtex®- 5QV FPGA from Xilinx (San Jose, CA) supports specified Total Ionizing Dose (TID) and characterized Single-Event Effects (SEE). The space-grade field programmable gate arrays are also optimized with embedded MPUs, embedded DSP elements, built-in Ethernet MAC blocks, and high-speed serial connectivity.

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

AMD (Sunnyvale, CA) has introduced the AMD Radeon™ E6460 discrete graphics processor. With support for up to four simultaneous displays, the E6460 GPU enables an immersive experience with desktop-level 3D graphics and multimedia features. A 3D graphics engine and programmable shader architecture support Microsoft DirectX® 11 tech nology for graphics rendering. The unified video decoder also provides dual HD decode of H.264, VC-1, MPEG4, and MPEG2 compressed video streams.

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

Integrated Microwave Tech nologies (Mt. Olive, NJ) offers the MobilCMDR two-way COFDM Diversity handheld receiver, a DVBT compliant dual-diversity receiver for airborne downlinks and mobile vehicles. It offers H.264 decoding, and displays received video images on a built-in 9" display. It is available with AES decryption capabilities, and offers Ethernet monitoring for remote control access and IP encapsulation for Internet broadcast.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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RF Components

Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) offers the Sub-1 GHz RF Value Line family of RF components launched with the CC115L transmitter, CC113L receiver, and CC110L transceiver. The line offers a one-way RF link and is based on TI’s Sub-1 GHz CC1101 RF technology. They are pin-, register-, and code-compatible, as well as backwards-compatible with existing sub-1 GHz systems. The CC11xLDK-868-915 and CC11xLEMK-433 development kits provide hardware performance testing and software development platforms for the products. They provide reference designs with a PCB antenna for 433, 868, and 915 MHz. The components support multiple modulation formats with 2-FSK, 4-FSK, GFSK, and OOK, as well as programmable data rates from 0.6 to 600 kbps. They provide up to 27 dBm output power and -120 dBm sensitivity, and up to 20 dBm output power without frequency hopping.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Omnidirectional Antenna

SunCastle Microwave (San Diego, CA) has introduced a 500 MHz to 20 GHz high-gain omnidirectional antenna that measures 4.25" in diameter, 5.5" long, and provides <7 dB return loss. It also features passive gain (transmit and receive) with gain on a ground plane from 5 dB to 18 dB, and gain on a mast from 1 dB to 12 dB. Custom versions of the antenna are available with different gains, covering different frequencies, and with input options.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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RF Module

The RF6555 ZigBee® front-end module from RF Micro Devices (Greensboro, NC) combines a power amplifier, harmonic transmit filtering, and low-noise amplifier with bypass mode in a 5 × 5 × 1mm package. It is suited for battery-operated smart grid and smart energy applications, and for industrial and other wireless sensing and control applications. It operates with Ember’s EM300 Series chips in both system-on-chip and network co-processor nodes, as well as with Ember’s EM250 SoC and EM260 network co-processor.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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High-Voltage Amplifier

The Model PZD700A high-voltage power amplifier from TREK (Medina, NY) is suitable for electro-optics, MEMS, piezoelectric driving, and semiconductor applications. The amplifier provides a large signal bandwidth greater than 125 kHz and a small signal bandwidth greater than 200 kHz. The protected output ensures that the amplifier is safeguarded from incidental short circuits, arcing, or energy return from the load device. The amplifier provides output voltages in the programmable ranges of 0 to ±700V with an output current range of 0 to ±100 mA; 0 to +1.4 kV with ±50 mA; and 0 to -1.4 kV with ±50 mA. It features adjustable DC voltage gain, to 300 V/V, via a front panel potentiometer; controlled AC output signals; and four-quadrant class AB solid-state output stages.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Modern Military Energy Storage Technology

The risk of human casualties associated with fuel convoys, combined with the long-term cost issues of unreliable technologies, has the military exploring greener, more sustainable options with the goal of increasing energy efficiencies, lowering fuel consumption, and lessening the risk of lost lives. Advanced battery technology continues to be validated as a viable solution to lowering fuel demands. For example, today’s advanced energy storage systems can store energy from portable solar arrays to power essential electronic systems at forward operating bases (FOBs) — instead of using a vehicle’s idling engine power or diesel generators — significantly reducing fuel consumption, costs, and risk.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Batteries, Energy storage systems, Military vehicles and equipment
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Choosing a Capacitor for Use as a Switch-Mode Power Supply Filter

Input filter caps need to be able to supply a quick burst of energy and to suppress noise generated in the switch circuit. Important considerations for the input filter cap are ESR, ESL, and ripple current. High CV density is preferred in the input filter caps to reduce board space, although it is more critical for the output filter caps.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Power Management, Power Supplies, Capacitors, Switches, Parts
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Inside the Navy’s Quiet Water Tunnel Facility

When water flows over an acoustic sensor, non-acoustic pressure fluctuations caused by turbulence can decrease the signal-to-noise ratio and make it difficult to sense incoming acoustic waves. The Quiet Water Tunnel Facility at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI is a unique test facility capable of investigating these pressure fluctuations and evaluating new and existing technologies aimed at reducing flow noise and drag due to skin friction. These technologies include modifications to the surface itself, such as riblets or compliant coatings, or modifications to the flow, such as suction or injection of water into the boundary layer.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Water, Acoustics, Test facilities, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Event-Driven Processor Programming

Almost since computers were invented, interrupts have been a common programming method to deal with real-time tasks. An interrupt causes a processor to stop the running task, and to execute an interrupt handler instead. The interrupt handler determines the cause of the interrupt, responds to the interrupt, whereupon control is restored to the original task. A simple example is an interrupt from a UART (a serial port) stating that a character has been received, and the interrupt handler will take the character from the UART and store it in a queue in memory for use by the main task.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Extensible Processing Platforms: Giving Designers the Best of Both Worlds

Creating a new field programmable gate array is no small feat. FPGA vendors spend tens-of-thousands of man-hours simply researching markets to determine the feature set a given device will require and the silicon process that they will use to manufacture the device. This starts years before they embark on the ever more difficult task of actually designing the IC and the software to allow users to program it.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Integrated circuits
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An Advanced Circuit Protection Approach for RF Interfaces

One aspect that sets circuit protection for radio frequency (RF) apart from other types of applications is the range of frequencies in which RF circuits operate. With abbreviated clock cycles, the transition time of the data leaves little room for error. Transitions must be clean and reliable to ensure the integrity of the data and interface. Circuit protection characteristics such as capacitance become important in terms of their effect on these high-frequency signals and it often complicates the design.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics, Electrical systems
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Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics Stop Corrosion

Corrosion of steel, aluminum, and other structural metals erodes the safety and financial stability of industries and countries alike. Fighting corrosion in ships, tanks, planes, and equipment costs the Pentagon $22.9 billion a year. Corrosion costs advanced industrialized nations about 3.5% of GDP to replace damaged material and components, plus a similar amount due to lost production, environmental impact, disrupted transportation, injuries, and fatalities.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Ceramics, Corrosion, Steel
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New Energy Source Powers Single-Use Mil/Aero Equipment

Until recently, single-use high energy devices were typically powered by reserve/thermal batteries using decades-old technology. Recognizing that battery performance limitations could hinder new product development, the U.S. DoD identified a “critical need” for a new generation of high-power, long life batteries.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Batteries, Research and development, Reliability
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Spectrally Compliant Waveforms for Wideband Radar

Modern radars often require the use of wideband waveforms to perform high-resolution target imaging. In microwave systems, the bandwidth can be on the order of 1.5 GHz, while in UHF systems that typically operate between 200 and 500 MHz, the waveform bandwidth might exceed 200 MHz. A major issue in the operation of such systems is that they often overlap the spectrum used by other radars, and even the spectrum allocated for other types of systems such as communications and navigation devices.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RF & Microwave Technology, RF & Microwave Electronics, Radar, Waveguides, Noise
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Software System for Microbial Genome Sequence Annotation

The annotation of genomes from next-generation sequencing platforms needs to be rapid, high-throughput, and fully integrated and automated. Although a few Web-based annotation services have recently become available, they may not be the best solution for researchers that need to annotate a large number of genomes, possibly including proprietary data, and store them locally for further analysis.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Biological sciences, Medical equipment and supplies, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Tunable Infrared Material System

The objective of this work was to lay the groundwork for the development of a new tunable II-VI infrared (IR) material system using mature III-V semiconductors as lattice-matched substrates. Mercury cadmium selenide (HgCdSe) was studied as an alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (HgCdTe) as an IRdetecting material.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Optics, Nanomaterials, Semiconductors
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Nonlinear Acoustic Metamaterials for Sound Attenuation Applications

An acoustic crystal composed of tightly packed spherical particles can exhibit a wide spectrum of acoustic properties with responses varying from linear to highly nonlinear regimes. The physical attractiveness of these crystals resides in the controllability of such acoustic responses by simple manipulation of static pre-compression applied to the material.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Materials properties, Acoustics, Noise
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Transparent Ceramics for High-Energy Laser Systems

When a high-energy laser (HEL) beam transmits through a window material, a part of the laser energy is absorbed by the material and causes optical aberrations. This absorbed energy results in material heating in the local exposed region, changing its refractive index based on the material’s thermo-optic coefficient, thermal expansion coefficient, and stress optic coefficient. These changes result in beam distortion and loss of output power, measured as optical path distortion (OPD), which has a severe impact on system performance.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Windows and windshields, Lasers, Ceramics, Heat resistant materials
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Fabrication of Novel Transparent PMMA Composites for Optical Tagging

The emerging threats caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have drastically increased concerns about soldier survivability. The ability to identify “friend vs. foe” of any approaching vehicles clearly, quickly, and from a distance, is invaluable to ensure a soldier’s safety, as well as critical to providing protection of facilities at strategic locations. The current state-of-the-art uses externally applied coatings or markings onto vehicles that are not seen in the visible light spectrum, yet are detectable with the use of an ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) interrogation device. However, coatings can wear off or wash off, and are susceptible to being counterfeited or tempered.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Optics, Identification, Composite materials, Polymers, Military vehicles and equipment
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Encryption Processor

Enova Technology Corp. (San Jose, CA) has announced its ninth-generation X-Wall DX processor, a real-time hardware encryption device. The processor encrypts all USB mass storage class (MSC) devices at USB 2.0 wire speed with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and CSE (Communication Security Establishment) certified hardware for AES ECB and CBC mode of operation. Entire data-at-rest, including MBR (Master Boot Record) and Boot Sectors, are AES-encrypted. The device features FIPS 140-2 certification numbers 1471 and 1472 for the X-Wall MX-256 and X-Wall MX-256C crypto modules, respectively.

Posted in: Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Sensor Signal Conditioner

The ZSSC3008 signal conditioner integrated circuit (IC) from ZMD AG (Dresden, Germany) features enhanced onboard diagnostics and second-order linearity correction. The calibrated ZSSC3008 and a specific sensor are mated digitally.

Posted in: Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Timing Design & Verification Tool Suite

Symtavision (Braunschweig, Germany) has launched SymTA/S 2.4, a major new version of its tools suite for system-level timing design and timing verification. SymTA/S2.4 incorporates a wealth of new and improved features targeted at the automotive electronics, aerospace, automation and transportation markets including enhanced support for multi-core processors and AUTOSAR.

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

XP Power (Sunnyvale, CA) has announced two additions to its AC-DC power supplies: an encapsulated singleoutput ECE series, and multiple output models of the existing ECL product line.

Posted in: Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Variable Gain Amplifiers

National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced the LMH6522 quad-channel and LMH6521 dual-channel digital variable gain amplifiers for multi-channel wideband wireless radio systems. Applications include intermediate frequency sampling receivers, I/Q digital pre-distortion signal paths, and wide-bandwidth direct-conversion radios used in multicarrier GSM, TD-SCDMA, W-CDMA, and LTE wireless base stations.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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RF Power Generator

MKS Instruments (Andover, MA) offers the elite™ 13.56 MHz, single- phase RF power generator for amorphous Si PV, LED, and MEMS applications. The single PCBA design is air-cooled, lightweight, and easy to install for RF deposition and etch needs. The generator is available in 2U full rack and 3U half rack enclosures for rack mounting, in power levels of 300W, 600W, and 750W. The design eliminates cables and connectors, and patented inductive clamp technology protects the unit from adverse VSWR load conditions.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Signal Generator

Vaunix Technology Corp. (Haverhill, MA) offers the Lab Brick® LMS-203 and LMS-163 mini signal generators that cover frequency ranges from 8 to 20 GHz. The LMS-203 operates from 10 to 20 GHz, and the LMS-163 operates from 8 to 16 GHz. Both feature low phase noise, 100-microsecond switching time, and 100-Hz frequency resolution. They also offer phase-continuous linear frequency sweeping, optional internal/ external pulse modulation, and a selectable internal/external 10- MHz reference.

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Dual-Band Amplifiers

AR RF/Microwave Instrument ation (Souderton, PA) has released dual-band amplifiers that can be used for multiple applications. They are linear, load-tolerant, and offer power from 5 to 80W. They feature bandwidth from 0.8 to 8.0 GHz, 0.8 to 10.6 GHz, or 0.8 to 18 GHz.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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RF Capacitors

AVX Corp. (Greenville, SC) has released the MLOC Series of 0603 case size surface-mount capacitors capable of supporting frequencies form 700 MHz to 5 GHz. The RF capacitors feature high Q and high self-resonance with low ESR values at high frequencies. The polymerbased organic capacitors use high-conductivity copper interconnects in a multilayer design. The capacitors are 50 VDC to 250 VDC rated with capacitance values from 0.1 pF with capacitance tolerance to ±0.02 pF. They feature NPO characteristics with an operating temperature range of -55 to 125 ºC. They are used in RF power and low-noise amplifiers, filter networks, and MRI systems.

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