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Shape Memory Polymer Process Development

This work introduces a simple technique of separately fabricating electrospun short fibers. This technique employs a paper mesh, which is placed between the needle tip and counter electrode of the electrospinning unit. Usability of this technique was examined by fabricating fine fibers consisting of different kinds of polymers.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Fibers, Polymers, Smart materials
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Surface-Plasmon-Enhanced Organic Thin-Film Solar Cells

Fabrication of two-dimensional metal nanoparticle arrays was achieved both by thermal annealing and nanosphere lithography techniques, which are both very fast and economic. The surface plasmon resonance of the fabricated nanostructure was analyzed experimentally by optical absorption spectroscopy and theoretically by three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculation. The surface plasmon resonance frequency of the metal nanos- tructure can be modified to match the solar spectrum by adjusting several processing parameters. These results will provide a database of the surface plasmon resonance of different metal nanoparticle arrays with different sizes and shapes.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Finite element analysis, Data acquisition and handling, Spectroscopy, Fabrication, Nanomaterials
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High-Density Rad-Hard Reconfigurable FPGA

Xilinx, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has launched the industry’s first high-density, rad-hard reconfigurable FPGA. The new devices are built on the second-generation ASMBL™ column-based architecture of the Virtex-5 family with support in Xilinx’s ISE® Design Suite. Virtex-5QV devices integrate many of the same hard-IP system level blocks, such as flexible 36-Kbit/18-Kbit block RAM/FIFOs, second generation 25x18 DSP slices, power-optimized high-speed serial transceiver blocks for enhanced serial connectivity, and PCI Express™ compliant integrated Endpoint blocks. The Virtex-5QV device offers 130,000 logic cells, 320 DSP Slices supporting fixed and floating point operations, and 836 user I/Os programmable to more than 30 different standards for applications and ease of interfacing to a wide variety of system components. The Virtex-5QV family also provides the industry’s first integrated high-speed connectivity solution for space with 18 channels of 3Gbps Multi-gigabit Serial Transceivers for chip-to-chip, board-to-board and box-to-box communication.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Video Frame Grabber

The PIXCI® SI2 frame grabber from EPIX (Buffalo Grove, IL) supports two high-resolution SILICON VIDEO® cameras with resolutions from 0.3 to 10 megapixels on the x1 PCI Express bus. With 64 MB of onboard memory and XCAP-Lite software, it allows image capture at rates up to 280 MB/sec and capture of short bursts of high-resolution images from two cameras. Both free-run and async capture modes are provided. TTL trigger and strobe connectors allow async capture and strobe control. Two cameras can be synchronized for simultaneous or stereo image capture. It is available with a standard height or low-profile bracket.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Multi-Touch Controller Chip

STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) has introduced the STM32TS60, a single-chip multi-touch “resistive” touchscreen controller that detects up to 10 simultaneous touches with fingers, nails, or stylus, enabling designers to replace complex sequences with user controls. The controller combines STM32 microcontroller architecture with PMatrix™ multitouch technology from Stantum. The STM32TS60’s high EMI immunity makes it suitable for use in multi-function wireless products such as cellphones, notebook PCs, netbooks, and mobile Internet devices. Moreover, its low power consumption helps to maximize operating times and recharge intervals, and is a direct benefit of the STM32’s energy-saving design features and ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor. In addition, very-low-power idle mode with ‘wake-up on touch only’ helps further extend mobile battery life. It is housed in a 7mm x 7mm, 144-pin UFBGA package.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Electrical Test and Measurement CD

Keithley Instruments (Cleveland, OH) has released a free tutorial CD that offers practical and helpful techniques for obtaining the most accurate and precise measurements possible using advanced electrical test instruments and systems. The A Guide to Understanding Electrical Test and Measurement CD covers aspects of measurement performance such as how to troubleshoot, how to connect, how to select instruments, and more. It also contains a large number of application notes, white papers, and webcasts on a variety of test and measurement topics. Instrument options cover digital multimeters, source and measure instruments, and function/pulse/arbitrary/pattern generators. Application examples range from accelerated stress testing to wireless device testing.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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16-Bit Microcontroller

The MAXQ622® microcontroller with integrated USB transceiver from Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, CA) features an ultra-low stop-mode current (300nA, typ.) and intelligent supply switching to extend battery life in portable consumer and medical applications. Designed for low-power applications, this microcontroller operates from either an external supply (1.7V to 3.6V) or directly from USB power.

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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6U OpenVPX Radar System Upgrade

Available in both air- and conduction-cooled configurations, the Ensemble™ 6000 Series OpenVPX HCD6410 High Compute Density Module from Mercury Computer Systems (Chelmsford, MA) combines eight high-performance Power Architecture processor cores with various I/O capabilities and the scalable serial RapidIO interconnect. The HCD6410 also features the MultiCore Plus® software infrastructure, which allows ease of portability in an open software development environment.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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OpenVPX/VITA-65 Serial RapidIO® GEN-2 Switch

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) has introduced the OpenVPX™/VITA-65 compliant VPX6-6902 Serial RapidIO® (SRIO) switch card. This rugged 6U VPX board, available in both air- and conduction-cooled versions, combines Ethernet and SRIO switching in a single slot for management, control, and dataplane switching in high performance embedded military systems. Supporting both Gen-1 SRIO (1.25, 2.5, 3.125 Gbaud) and Gen-2 SRIO 6902 enables systems integrators to quickly and easily architect small to large high-performance systems that adhere to the VITA-65 OpenVPX™ systems specification.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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6U OpenVPX Rugged Single Board Computer

GE Intelligent Platforms (Charlottesville, VA) has announced the SBC622 rugged 6U OpenVPX-compliant single board computer. At 2.53GHz, the SBC622’s Intel Core i7 processor is 30% faster than its predecessor, with up to 8 GBytes of soldered DDR3 SDRAM with ECC and a high bandwidth 10 Gigabit Ethernet I/O fabric subsystem. Customer flexibility to configure the SBC622 according to the precise requirements of the application is delivered via two onboard PCI-X® PMC/XMC mezzanine expansion sites. Provision for a higher degree of failsafe operation is delivered through the SBC622’s onboard BIOS flash which can be

optionally backed with a second flash device.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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6U VPX Load Board

Elma Bustronic Corporation (Fremont, CA) has introduced a new 6U VPX Load Board that helps confirm the chassis meets the VITA 46/48 power specifications for VPX and aids in locating hot spots within the enclosure. The 6U VPX load card features a microcontroller-based stepped load control to 100W maximum. Go-No-Go indicators are present for 3.3V, 5V, 12V, +12V_Aux, -12V_Aux and 3.3V_Aux. The rotary switch selects the voltage setting while pushing the ON switch will cycle between different power levels shown on the LED display. The set load power levels are saved in EEPROM. Other features include a power reset button (to minimum level) and a SYSRESET signal on the two test point outputs.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Forced Air-Cooled Enclosure

Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) (Middleton, WI) is now shipping the XPand4200, a sub-1⁄2 ATR, forced air-cooled enclosure for conduction-cooled modules. The system measures 4.88" (W) × 6.0" (H) × 13.5" (D) and weighs 8.8 pounds. The XPand4200 has an optional removable memory module attachment that supports the XPort6191 Solid State Disk (SSD) removable storage module, with 64 GB of storage capacity. With the memory module attachment the height increases to 7.62" and the weight to 11.1 pounds. Up to six conduction-cooled, 0.8" pitch 3U VPX, 3U cPCI, or power supply modules can be configured into the XPand4200. Additionally, the XPand4200 can be configured to meet custom I/O requirements with conduction-cooled PMC / XMC modules available from X-ES or third parties.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Two-Slot OpenVPX Development Platform

Elma Electronic Systems Division (Fremont, CA) has released a new two-slot VPX/OpenVPX test and development platform that accommodates both 3U and 6U boards via a shelf divider. The new E-Frame Series enables developers to power up one or more VPX blades under test and interconnect the J1 fabric connections to emulate the user’s application. The use of a standard VPX RTM (rear transition module) plugged into the back provides access to the J0, J2, J3, J4, J5 and J6 connectors, while simultaneously accessing high-speed signals in the J1 connector, routed out the side of the backplane. Each slot’s J1 “A” channel is broken out into 16 SMA connectors and the “B”, “C” and “D” channels into four SATA2 cable headers (12 total per slot).

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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IPv4/IPv6 Gigabit Ethernet Switch

The new Kontron (Poway, CA) Gigabit Ethernet Switch VX3910 offers 3U VPX (VITA 46.x) and OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) platforms enterprise-class switching functionality with a total of 28 Gigabit Ethernet ports and advanced management features. The non-blocking fully managed L2/L3 Gigabit switch, Kontron VX3910, with its 20x Gigabit ports to the backplane, offers the highest port density for the implementation of various network topologies in 3U appliances. Four additional 2.5-Gigabit ports to the backplane simplify a redundant system architecture with multiple switches with no single point of failure. The four 1000 Base-T uplinks on the front panel, one dedicated for out-of-band management, expand the range to a total of 28 ports. The new Kontron Gigabit Ethernet Switch VX3910 is available in an air-cooled version for ambient temperatures from 0°C to +55°C and in a rugged conduction-cooled version for the extended temperature range from -40°C to + 85°C.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Using the Intel® Architecture in High-Performance Military Embedded DSP Applications

Historically, processors from the PowerPC® family, now known as Power Architecture® processors, have been the dominant choice for implementing Digital Signal Processing (DSP) in high-performance embedded military applications that take advantage of open-system commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. These applications include radar, signal intelligence, sonar, and image processing. Today, however, beginning with the dual-core Intel Core™ i7 processors, the low-power, high-performance advantages of the Intel architecture processor technology can be used for the first time to design DSP engines for the rugged deployed COTS signal processing space.

In the early 1990s, systems were implemented largely with specialized processors such as the Intel® i860 processor, the Texas Instruments 320C40, and the Analog Devices SHARC®. These processors were popular because of their floating-point performance.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Military aircraft, Military vehicles and equipment
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Protecting COTS Military Electronics From Shock and Vibration

Military systems represent extreme environments for COTS electronic equipment. Many systems involve multiple enclosures, often from different suppliers. Equipment layout, the selection of racks, whether isolation is used, and how the electronics are “housed” can vary widely. There are no standards regarding maximum allowable shock and vibration levels. Design factors are often based on estimates of equipment fragility and expected loads, both of which can be uncertain.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Defense industry, Vibration, Mountings, Durability, Military vehicles and equipment
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Let the Show Begin

VPX is like a three act play. Act one was the launching of a new high density platform for critical embedded computing applications. Leveraging the wildly popular VMEbus in 3U and 6U Eurocard formats, VPX added the capability of using high speed serial switch fabric technologies such as Ethernet, PCI Express, serial RapidIO, and others, that can be configured in various backplane topologies. VPX also greatly increased the number of backplane pins to handle more data traffic and user I/O making it more effective for today’s applications.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Switches, Defense industry
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OpenVPX — From Concept to Specification

The OpenVPX Industry Working Group, a 28-company team founded by Mercury Computer Systems, collaborated with a common goal and accelerated the completion of a system architecture specification for open system COTS suppliers and integrators to specify, design, and build multi-vendor interoperable solutions.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Transitioning to OpenVPX for Next-Generation C4ISR Systems

VPX systems offer tremendous performance for the Mil/Aero market, including naval, airborne, and ground-based computing systems. The architecture provides an unprecedented combination of bandwidth, user IO, and rugged design, in both a 3U and 6U Eurocard format. The new OpenVPX initiative has opened up new definitions for VPX system interoperability, including defined module profiles, slot profiles, backplane & chassis configurations, secondary expansion fabrics and control planes, and higher speed fabric options.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Defense industry
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Putting OpenVPX To Work

Before the advent of OpenVPX, designers of embedded systems took advantage of the extreme connectivity offered by VPX (VITA 46), but were faced with a virtually unlimited number of possible implementations. Specific choices for the control and data channel assignments for each slot, the backplane connectivity, and serial fabrics were often made somewhat arbitrarily to suit the particular needs of the current system. Although following the general framework of VITA 46, each system tended to be so unique that the boards and backplanes designed for one system were seldom usable in other systems, even from the same vendor.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Radio equipment, Switches
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Moving From System Specification to Software Development

Systems engineering is not about developing electronics, mechanical, or software designs. Systems engineering is really about four things:

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Product development, Systems engineering
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Testing DC Power Systems

DC is not always DC. When systems are developed to operate on DC power, the DC electrical environment will have noise and may experience other disturbances. This article will explore considerations for generating low frequency disturbances (glitches, sags, surges, spikes) that occur in the 100 microsecond and longer region with bandwidths of 10 kHz or less. In contrast, noise, which is outside of the scope of this article, can be low frequency (like 50/60 Hz hum) but becomes a challenge to generate in range from kHz, to MHz or up to the GHz range.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electric power, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures
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Frequency Synthesizer

Phase Matrix (San Jose, CA) offers the 20 GHz QuickSynTM microwave synthesizer that covers the 0.5- to 20-GHz frequency range (extendable down to 0.2 GHz) with 0.001-Hz resolution. The product provides major modulation capabilities (AM, FM, phase, and pulse), power leveling and control, frequency and power sweep, list mode, and other functions.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Optical Wire and Grids

Dontech (Doylestown, PA) offers optical fine wire (OFW) and micro EMI-mesh (MEM100) conductive optical grids that provide EMI/RFI shielding of electronic displays, instrumentation, and enclosures. The OFW mesh is constructed of woven and conductively plated fine-wire stainless steel and copper; the MEM100 series is made of etched and blackened copper. The optical grids are suitable for use in military and aircraft applications, medical and industrial displays, rugged computers, communication systems, and test equipment. Grid counts typically range from 50 to 255 openings per inch (opi). Standard unplated wire width/diameter for most mesh counts is 0.0011" and 0.0022" for woven, and 0.0005" for etched mesh. The grids are typically embedded in glass or plastic substrates such as acrylic, polycarbonate, polyester (PET), or triacetate (TAC).

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

RF Monolithics (Dallas, TX) has introduced the XDM2510H, an RF module built on the Dust Networks® IA-510(H)™ WirelessHART® system. The module provides a UART serial port for connection to sensors and an RF connector for antenna connection. With module certifications in the USA, Canada, and pending in Europe, no type acceptance testing is required of the OEMs' end products. The module allows connection either locally or anywhere across the Internet.

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

The Model KMS2010 solid-state power amplifier module from AR Modular RF (Bothell, WA) covers the 1.75 to 1.85 GHz frequency range with 150 Watts of power, and is suitable for the wireless broadband network. This 52-dBm linear power amplifier offers a scalable gain of 57 dB and is designed to meet most communication protocols, including various types of OFDM. The module comprises a printed circuit board housed in a machined aluminum enclosure. The amplifier is protected from thermal overload, over-power, over-voltage, or wrong voltage polarity, and includes an internal isolator.

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

Crystek (Fort Myers, FL) has introduced the RF Pocket Reference Oscillator (RFPRO Series), a frequency control product that integrates a complete True SineWave SAW (surface acoustic wave) oscillator in a rugged SMA housing. Connecting the device’s female SMA side to 3.3 Vdc will output a -135 dBc/Hz phase noise signal at 10 Khz offset. The oscillator offers a frequency stability of ±150 ppm over -20 to 70 °C (operating temperature ranges from -40 to 85 °C). It is available in 500 MHz and 1 GHz output frequencies.

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

Spectrum Advanced Specialty Products (Fairview, PA) offers Switch Mode Power (SMP) Supply capacitors with MIL-PRF-49470

approval for military QPL offerings. Designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -55 to 125 °C, the capacitors function with capacitance of up to 70 μF, with tolerances of 5, 10, or 20%, and are offered in through-hole or surface-mount leaded configurations of N, J, or L. BP, BX, BR, or BQ ceramics are available and able to withstand voltages ranging from 50 to 500 VDC.

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

The OM series of gain antennas from Antenna Factor (Merlin, OR) is designed to increase the range and reliability of wireless links, while maintaining omnidirectional pattern around the circumference of the antenna. The antennas feature rugged, weatherized construction for both indoor and outdoor applications. Complete mounting hardware is included for standard masts. The standard antenna features 7 dBi gain; higher-gain versions are available.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Technology, RFM Catchall, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Amplifier Filter Design Software

Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) has introduced the FilterProTM v3.0 design tool with an improved user interface and a more accurate and robust filter design engine. It can adjust passive element tolerances and view response variations, scale passive component values, and view and export filter performance data to Excel. The tool allows designers to create and edit designs using the Filter Design Wizard. Users can design multiple feedback (MFB), Sallen-Key, low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and bandstop filters using voltage feedback op amps. The software supports Bessell, Butterworth, Chebychev, Gaussian, and linear phase filter response types, and can be used to design filters from one to ten poles.

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