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Deciphering the New SUMIT™ Specification

The new SUMIT specification is managed by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG). SFF-SIG is a newly formed, non-profit industry group that develops, promotes, and supports small form factor circuit board specifications and related technologies. The group embraces the latest technologies, but also has a philosophy of maintaining legacy compatibility and enabling smooth transitions to next-generation interfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, People and personalities, Terminology
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Applying Cognitive Memory to Pattern Recognition

Whether you are involved in robotics or other domains, pattern recognition is essential to progress. A new device, called the CogniMem chip, offers a hardware solution to this problem. CogniMem can be considered a true Artificial Intelligence device because it has been designed specifically for the purpose of learning, memorizing and recognizing.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Artificial intelligence, Electronic equipment, Neural networks
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Direct Spray Liquid Cooling Systems

For decades military platforms have included electronics for avionics, vehicle controls, radios, radar, sonar and fire control. From a computational standpoint most of these systems could be accomplished with relatively low power devices. There have always been higher performance electronics for applications such as radar processing, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Re - connaissance (ISR) processing, and mission computing; however, high performance electronics were relegated to stationary, benign environments. Due to bandwidth limitations of secure communications between command centers and front line troops, trends to include these computationally intense applications on vehicles and aircraft exist. From airborne platforms such as U-2 Dragon Lady and Global Hawk operating up to 70,000 feet and -65°C, to a surface-to-air missile launcher mounted on a 5-ton truck called Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in a scorching +60°C desert, the military is deploying incredible performance in harsh environments. To fit on these military vehicles, the size, weight and power (SWaP) of the electronic systems are minimized to extend the range of airborne platforms or allow ground vehicle transport with a wider range of operation. Direct spray cooling systems are enabling these programs with minimal SWaP budgets and harsh environmental requirements to use lower cost, high performance embedded electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Cooling, Durability, Reliability
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Nanostructured Ferromagnetic-Wire/Insulator Composites

A research and development effort now in progress is focused on nano-structured ferromagnetic- wire/insulator composite materials to be used as the magnetic-core materials of sensors for measuring weak magnetic fields. Figure 1 schematically depicts an example of such a sensor — a flux-gate magnetometer that resembles a traditional orthogonal flux-gate magnetometer except that, instead of a single cylindrical ferromagnetic core, there are multiple parallel ferromagnetic wire cores packed together with insulating material between them. An overriding consideration in the design, fabrication, and operation of such a magnetometer is that high effective magnetic permeability of the core is necessary as one of the prerequisites for obtaining high sensitivity.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences
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Barium Ferrite Materials for Microwave Circulators

Barium ferrite thick disks have been fabricated for incorporation in self-biased microwave devices. The process uses barium ferrite nanopowder mixed with epoxy. The mix is placed on alumina substrates to fabricate 500 μm thick disks of BaM to achieve good magnetic properties such as magnetic saturations from 2,000 to 2,500 G and coercivities fom 3800 to 4000 Oe. In addition, the barium ferrite thick disks have been incorporated into microwave devices and successfully deposited into copper contact lines for testing and use.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Lubrication Considerations for Military Equipment

Military equipment is subject to increasingly harsh environmental conditions and performance requirements. Simultaneously, engineers and equipment operators are demanding longer service life and less maintenance. The proper approach to lubrication is critical to minimizing equipment failures and meeting rigorous performance specifications. While a multitude of environmental and technical variables may affect lubricant selection and use, the following considerations are important to address whenever a new lubricant is selected:

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Thermal Characterization of Thin Films for MEMS Applications

Dielectric thin films play a very important role in the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). These dielectric materials often are used as insulating layers in devices, major components in MEMS structures, or even as materials strictly used for fabrication processes in a clean-room environment. In these applications, heat is often a crucial factor. Whether it be heat transfer through a device to stimulate operation, a device being exposed to certain temperatures during fabrication, or any other manner of heat transfer, these thermal processes are critical to device operation in MEMS. As such, thermal properties of these thin film dielectrics, especially thermal conductivity, are very important parameters to insure proper device operation.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Microelectricmechanical device, Heat transfer, Insulation, Materials properties
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Optical Microwave-Signal-Channelization Technique Analyzed

In a recent study, a proposed technique for optical frequency-band channelization of a microwave signal or other wide-band radio signal in a receiver was analyzed and compared with prior electronic and acousto-optical techniques. In frequency-band channelization, which is commonly used in wide-band radio receivers, a received signal is divided into narrow frequency bands (channels) and the signal in each channel is detected by a relatively narrow-band sub-receiver. In principle, frequency-band channelization offers benefits of reduced noise bandwidth and processing gain in the narrowband sub-receivers, leading to increased sensitivity, such that the wide-receiver could have a sensitivity approaching that of a narrow-band receiver. The quality of the channelization ultimately determines the performance of the receiver.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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High-Cycle Life Testing of RF MEMS Switches

The electromechanical, RF, and charging properties of an "air-gap" capacitive switch enable it to be utilized in high-cycle life testing. Monitoring both high-speed and low-speed switching characteristics provides insight into quantifying the lifetime properties of the switch, and enable estimation of switching lifetime under a variety of operating conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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Reduced Power Laser Designation Systems

This work contributes to the Micropulse Laser Designation (MPLD) project to develop a six-pound eye-safe micro-pulse laser system to locate, identify, range, mark, and designate stationary and moving targets. MPLD uses laser pulses of much lower energy and higher repetition rates than in existing laser designation systems. Because of this, MPLD presents a range of new circuit design and signal processing problems.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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