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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.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Hyperspectral Imaging System

The Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter Near Infrared (AOTF-NIR) Hyperspectral Camera Video Adapters VA210 series from Brimrose (Sparks, MD) provides remote sensing, on-line process monitoring, and waste material sorting capabilities. The imaging system, equipped with radio-frequency driver software, provides narrow bandwidth, rapid wavelength selection, and intensity control. Using the 6.4 × 4.8mm camera sensor area, the AOTF Camera System has a high spatial resolution of up to 2560 × 1840 pixels.

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Preformed Gaskets

PA) has expanded its family of GORE® SKYFLEX® Aerospace Materials to include preformed gaskets for multi-face aircraft applications such as hole liners, flange joints, fastener seals, and galley or restroom hard-mounts. These lightweight, non-hazardous gaskets ensure continuous protection between flat interfaces, around chamfers, and inside a component’s mounting hole. By isolating dissimilar materials completely, these new gaskets significantly reduce the likelihood of galvanic corrosion, thereby increasing the life of the component.

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COTS Transceiver Board

Annapolis Micro Systems (Annapolis, MD) has announced a COTS board capable of capturing and processing multiple 100 Gbit signals in real-time. Made possible by the 11.3 Gbps High-Speed Transceivers in the Stratix IV FPGA from Altera Corp. (San Jose, CA), the Annapolis Dual 40/100Gbit CFP Transceiver Board for IBM BladeCenter integrates two CFP interfaces, allowing the capture, buffering, and processing or transmission of two 100Gbit Ethernet streams per card or six 40Gbit Ethernet streams per card. The board’s CFP transceiver cage interfaces support 100Gbit Ethernet, 40Gbit Ethernet, 100Gbit OTU4, 40Gbit SDH/OTU3, and QDR Infiniband protocols.

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VPX FPGA Boards

Acromag’s (Wixom, MI) new VPX-VLX series of 3U VPX FPGA boards feature a configurable Xilinx® Virtex®-5 FPGA enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers and a high-throughput PCIe interface. Field I/O interfaces to the FPGA via the rear P2 connector and/or with optional front mezzanine plug-in I/O modules. Typical uses include signal intelligence, image processing, hardware simulation, and communications.

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Voltage Controlled SAW Oscillator

The VS-401 voltage controlled SAW Oscillator from Vectron International (Baltimore, MD) offers 12 fsec of rms jitter over an integrated bandwidth. The 13 × 20 mm SMD package provides a high frequency, low phase noise reference source. ADC signal to noise ratio is constrained by the broadband jitter of the reference clock; the constraint grows as frequency of the input signal increases. The reduction in clock jitter allows high performance data converters to meet their SNR and ENOB potential. Output frequencies range from 1.3 GHz to 2.1 GHz. Singleended sinewave output of 5dBm and 5V operation are featured.

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SATA SSD

The rugged S7 Series 2.5" SATA SSD from Emphase (South Burlington, VT) provides high-speed data transfer with TRIM performance support. The SSD has 8 channels and a SATA (3 Gb/sec.) bus interface. The industrial and military-grade flash storage tool processes at 250 MB/sec. read and 200 MB/sec. write rates.

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Five Approaches to Cooling Military Electronics

Seventy-one degrees C is the temperature of a steak done medium-well. It is also the temperature of an oven used to test thermal characteristics of military electronics. Electronic components in the COTS industry often have temperature limits of 85°C, leaving 14°C of thermal potential to move the heat generated by the components away. Among various cooling approaches, the correct solution for your application depends on meeting your requirements at the lowest possible cost and complexity.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation, Thermal testing, Military vehicles and equipment
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Graphics Performance vs. Power Consumption in Embedded Systems Design

The rapid evolution of technology has given embedded developers more options than ever before in designing embedded graphics systems. The consumer electronics market, most notably the video game industry, is driving massive advances in graphics technology, with faster graphical processing units (GPU) being released every year; however, the performance needs for graphics applications being built for military and aerospace are generally lower. They span a wide range: everything from simple 2D graphics using an overlay of lines, simple primitives and text, to more complex, aesthetically appealing 2D graphics, to high-end graphics such as 3D synthetic or augmented vision applications. Power is almost always an overriding concern since power sources must be carried by the vehicle and budgeted among many competing uses. Increased power draw generates additional heat, which must be dissipated in compact, tight spaces like aircraft cockpits. Embedded system designers need to consider many factors when balancing graphics performance against the need to minimize power consumption.

Posted in: Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Energy consumption, Displays
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From Reference Board to Rugged Military SBC

Intel processor reference designs are developed by Intel to assist engineers in the design of Intel processor-based products. The less a design deviates from the reference design, the easier the design is. When developing a commercial product, such as an ATX motherboard, the core design can be left intact — the processor, south bridge, memory, and power supplies — and functionality can be added or removed based on the application’s requirements.

Posted in: Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Computer software / hardware, Military vehicles and equipment
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Prototyping with Multi-Layer Boards

As electronic components continue to move increasingly into surface- mount packages exclusively, prototype manufacturing firms are seeing a shift in the fabrication and assembly work needed to implement engineering prototypes. The shift is subtle but relentless; as new components come to market in SMT packages, QFPs, BGAs and the like, board design and assembly for prototypes must change to accommodate the surface mount components.

Posted in: Articles, Embedded Technology, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Rapid prototyping, Electronic equipment, Assembling, Fabrication
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Using Modeling and Simulation to Assess Antenna Performance During Vehicle Platform Integration

Successful integration of an antenna onto a vehicle platform poses many challenges. Vehicle features impact antenna performance by blocking, reflecting, or reradiating energy, and co-site interference can impair the effectiveness of multi-antenna configurations. Platform motion and environmental factors such as terrain and buildings may reduce system effectiveness in actual operational conditions. Furthermore, radiation hazards may pose risks to nearby personnel. Modeling and simulation provides a powerful tool to aid in understanding these issues and developing solutions.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Antennas, Performance tests
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Gas Turbine Exhaust Recovery Design Improves Propulsion Efficiency

In January, Concepts NREC (CN) was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the Navy to improve the power efficiency of its gas turbine prime movers used for ship propulsion. The eight-month analytical study is in collaboration with the Maine Maritime Academy and its principal consultant, Travis Wallace, President, Thermoelectric Power Systems, LLC. The Navy’s RFP required that the power recovery system improve the power output of the prime mover by at least 20%. However, considerations included the effects that transient power demand from the prime mover has on the waste heat flow rate and temperature, which may consequently affect the fatigue integrity of the heat exchangers and stability of the turbomachinery subsystems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Waste heat utilization, Thermodynamics, Gas turbines, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Realistic Simulation Makes Army Helmets Safer

As materials, ergonomic design, and ballistics protection have evolved, the U.S. Army helmet has improved in form and function, from the M1 of WWII, to the 29-layer Kevlar PASGT (Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops), to finally the lighter Kevlar/Twaron ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) design of today (Figure 1). Helmet liners have progressed too, from compressed paper fibers, plastic, and rayon in the early days to more sophisticated suspension-webbing systems with chin straps constructed from stronger synthetics.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Defense industry, Materials properties, Helmets
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Impact of Materials on Microwave Cable Performance

The environments in which microwave cable assemblies are being used today are becoming more challenging with exposure to such conditions as extreme temperatures, chemicals, abrasion, and flexing. Additional challenges include the need for smaller, lighter packaging for cable systems that last longer and cost less. To ensure signal integrity and product reliability, it is essential to identify the electrical, mechanical, environmental, and application-specific constraints that can affect the cable’s overall performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics, Electric cables, Materials properties, Polymers
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Multifunctional Vehicle Structural Health Monitoring with Piezoelectric Wafer Active Sensors

A novel structural health monitoring (SHM) concept of embedded nondestructive evaluation with piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) has been developed. PWAS can be structurally embedded as both individual probes and phased arrays. They can be placed inside closed cavities during fabrication/ overhaul (such as wing structures), and then be left in place for the life of the structure. The embedded nondestructive evaluation (NDE) concept opens new horizons for performing insitu damage detection and structural health monitoring of a multitude of thin-wall structures.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, On-board diagnostics, Vehicle health management, Product development, Non-destructive tests
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Acoustic Detection Using Reverberation

Acoustic detection of undersea objects is difficult due to the uncertain environment and even more difficult when the objects are buried in the seabed. First, sediments generate high backscattering noise due to heterogeneous scatters within the sediments, clouding the object.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Remote sensing, Soils, Acoustics, Noise, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Evolutionary Data Mining Approach to Creating Digital Logic

When required to reverse-engineer a product, engineers often do not have design specifications for the system, and the machine may not be disassembled or invasively examined. The engineer might attempt to find the correct signal through trial and error, but this would be very time-consuming, and access to experimental resources is very expensive. To deal with this problem, a genetic program (GP)-based data mining (DM) procedure has been invented.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology, Mathematical models, Artificial intelligence, Big data, Systems engineering
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Precision Targeting with a Tracking Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

Adaptive optics (AO) has become increasingly utilized in research ophthalmic diagnostic instruments since their first use nearly ten years ago. Integration of adaptive optics in scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) is a flying-spot technique whereby scattered light in images is blocked by placement of an aperture at a back conjugate focal plane. Adaptive optics systems sense perturbations in the detected wavefront and apply corrections to an optical element that flattens the wavefront and allows near diffraction-limited focus.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Adaptive control, Lasers, Medical equipment and supplies
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Trustworthy Hardware for 3D Circuit-Level Integration

Three-dimensional (3D) integration is a promising technology for designing high-performance, low-power systems by stacking multiple integrated circuit dies and connecting them at the circuit level with conductive posts. Most current efforts are at the electromechanical level of getting 3D to work efficiently and cost effectively.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Connectors and terminals, Integrated circuits, Microelectricmechanical device
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Open Network Architecture for Army Vehicle Electronics

Army vehicle electronics networking is complex and challenging due to vendor-specific devices and interfaces. Military vehicles require 100% network uptime and security. The network must reduce vehicle clutter, focus on saving soldiers’ lives, and provide minimum latency. Battle requirements change frequently, and vehicle electronics are added ad-hoc to the existing network. This work introduces an open-standard architecture approach that offers non-proprietary solutions with good interoperability, security, scalability, performance benefits, and cost savings.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Reliability, Military vehicles and equipment
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Ultra-Wide-Band Radar Imaging for Activity Detection

The continuing advancement of semiconductor manufacturing technology to process high-speed UltraWide-Band (UWB) signals has enabled radar technology to become more versatile and applicable to novel applications. Traditionally, radar technology required power-hungry, bulky, and expensive devices. Through the use of low-power UWB technology, a new market for portable battery-driven radars has emerged.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Technology, RF & Microwave Electronics
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High-Reliability MEMS Switches for Radio Frequency Applications

The RF MEMS switch will be an important building block for a variety of wireless applications including cell phones, smart antennas, tunable filters, automated test equipment (ATE), instrumentation, phase shifters, and electronically scanned antennas for both commercial and military markets. Low insertion loss, high isolation, low power consumption, extreme linearity, and the ability to be integrated with other electronics make MEMS switches an attractive alternative to other mechanical and solid-state switches.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RF & Microwave Technology, RF & Microwave Electronics
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PCI Filter and Amplifier Module

Alligator Technologies (Costa Mesa, CA) has introduced the USBPGF-S1™, a USB controlled single channel programmable signal conditioning instrumentation amplifier and low pass filter. It can configure itself from power-up with changeable but non-volatile configuration and operates independently in both “Turn-Key” and host-computer-controlled scenarios. It is compatible with 12, 16, or 24-bit A/D devices, and allows the user to mix and match filter characteristics and independently select and program each module’s coupling (AC or DC), corner frequency, and gain steps up to x1000 in either single-ended or differential measurements.

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

The Zynq™-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP) devices from Xilinx (San Jose, CA) integrate an ARM® dual-core Cortex®-A9 MPCore™ processing system with NEON and Double Precision Floating Point engine. Each Zynq-7000 EPP includes L1 and L2 caches, memory controllers, and commonly used peripherals. The processing system boots at power-up and can run a variety of operating systems independent of the programmable logic. The processing system then configures the programmable logic on an as-needed basis.

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

MPL AG (Dättwill, Switzerland) announced that it is now offering QNX support for its PIP20 and PIP22 embedded computers with Core 2 Duo processors. Triadem Solutions AG (Biel, Switzerland), the official QNX distributor in Switzerland, has developed QNX 6.4.1 & 6.5.0 board-support packages for MPL’s PIP20 platform boards. QNX Photon provides a graphical user interface. The QNX BSP also supports Ethernet, USB, serial ports, PS/2 ports, as well as IDE and SATA ports for mass storage modules or drives.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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DC-DC Switching Regulator

Aimtec (Montreal, Canada) has expanded its line of DC/DC switching regulators with the launch of two new series: AMSR1.5-78-NZ and AMSR2-78-NZ (AMSRx-78-NZ). Feature rich with pin-to-pin replacements of 78xx linear regulators, the AMSRx-78-NZ switching regulators provide highly regulated (±1%) output voltages ranging as low as 2.5 VDC up to 6 VDC. Maximum output currents of 1.5A or 2A are produced at efficiency rates of up to 93% that remain virtually constant over the entire input range. Low output ripple and noise (45mV p-p) make these robust converters ideal for noise sensitive applications.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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FPGA-Based Prototyping Platform

BEEcube Inc. (Fremont, CA) has announced the availability of BEE4-W™. Specifically designed to address rapid system-level prototyping of wireless and digital communications designs, the BEE4-W is BEEcube’s latest generation FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) Berkeley Emulation Engine (BEE) platform.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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PCI Express Serial Communication Cards

ACCES I/O Products (San Diego, CA) has released a new family of isolated PCI Express serial communication cards — the PCIe-ICM Series. These PCI Express cards feature a selection of 4 or 2-ports of isolated, software selectable, RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 serial protocols. 2kV isolation is provided between channels and between the PC and bus lines on all signals. The cards feature a x1 lane PCI Express connector which can be used in any available ×1, ×2, ×4, ×8, ×12, or ×16 PCI Express expansion slot.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Adapting ATCA Technology to Mil/Aero Applications

The military’s transition to Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) has created an enormous demand for improved networking and performance capabilities for ground mobile command and control applications. Military success now depends on the ability to communicate actionable information among command centers, troops in the field, UAVs and other military assets. Although new technologies are continually being developed to meet military demands, this transition to NCW has created new uses for existing technologies, a few of which have been used for many years in the commercial realm before making the move into military applications.

Posted in: Articles, RFM Catchall, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Telecommunications, Defense industry, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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