Electronics & Computers

Solid-State Microwave Power Module

Historically, the term microwave power module (MPM) has been associated with a small, fully integrated, self-contained radio frequency (RF) amplifier that combines both solid-state and microwave vacuum electronics technologies. Typically, the output power of these MPMs is on the order of about 100 Watts CW over an octave bandwidth. Because of their smaller size and lower mass compared to conventional traveling-wave tube amplifiers, these MPMs may have applications in electronic warfare systems.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, RF & Microwave Electronics

Defeating Commercial Drone Threats with Open-Source SDR

It’s nearly impossible to look at technology news without seeing an article about drones. Whether detailing how Amazon wants to use drones to deliver packages or revealing amazing aerial video of drones following Olympic snow-boarders, commercial drones are ubiquitous. Drone emergence has benefited many applications including sports broadcasting and wildlife preservation wilderness surveys. Offering powerful, intelligent software, drones are becoming less expensive and easier to use, with substantial operating range.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, RF & Microwave Electronics, Software, Test & Measurement

Defining an Open System Architecture Standard for Defense Systems

For many years now, there have been efforts within the US defense community to adopt “Open System Architecture” principles (or OSA) for defense computing platforms. Stretching back to the mid-2000’s there have been numerous efforts by all service branches to define sets of OSA principles or requirements on the embedded computing systems they procure and deploy. While these efforts have resulted in widespread adoption of POSIX functions for common tasks and a gradual shift in the use of common form factors and technologies such as VPX and Ethernet, there are still wide disparities between products from different suppliers, which creates difficulties for integrators. Product variations also make technology insertions or system configuration changes expensive, time consuming, and often locked to a particular vendor.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Supplies, Data Acquisition, Sensors

Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Vehicles

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) based machine learning technologies in autonomous vehicles is on the rise. Helping to drive this trend is the availability of a new class of embedded AI processors. A good example is NVIDIA’s Jetson family, which includes small form factor system on modules (SoMs) that provide GPU-accelerated parallel processing. These high-performance, low-power devices are designed to support the deep learning and computer vision capabilities needed to build software-defined autonomous machines. They derive massive computing capabilities from the use of a parallel processing GPU device with many cores, enabling next-gen computing devices to take on many of the tasks that were historically handled by humans or multiple, traditional computers.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, AR/AI, Artificial Intelligence, Defense, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Industrial Controls & Automation

Shape-Shifting Origami Could Help Antenna Systems Adapt On-the-Fly

Conventional reconfigurable electrical and radio frequency (RF) structures commonly used in applications involving real-time reconfigurability in response to fast varying operational scenarios require specialized substrates or complex electrical circuits. Origami-based RF reconfigurable components and modules offer a solution with unique properties. First, they enable re-configurability over continuous-state ranges (as opposed to discrete states). Second, they do not require specialized mechanical support for multilayer frequency-selective surface structures. Moreover, deployable origami-based RF structures can achieve large surface re-configurability ratios from folded to unfolded states. Finally, these structures allow for independent control of multiple figures of merit: bandwidth, frequency of operation, and angle of incidence.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Harvesting, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Sensors

Acceleration Resistant HiK Heat Spreader

As electronic technologies advance in defense and aerospace applications, heat fluxes are becoming larger and more centralized[1,2]. In order to meet the performance specifications of new technologies, thermal solutions must also advance. The push for more capable thermal technologies is evident with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) signing an agreement with private companies and contractors for the development of innovative vapor cooling technologies capable of handling high heat fluxes[2].

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Materials, Metals, Power, Semiconductors & ICs

Understanding Fiber Optic Transceiver Design and Test Rules

The design of avionics systems must balance several factors. First, engineers want to increase the performance of the systems installed in aircraft or spacecraft. Second, they want to reduce the size and weight of the equipment that must be carried. Third, they want to maximize the safety of the in-flight systems and maintain communication between the aircraft or spacecraft and other flight vessels and the command center, regardless of the circumstances.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Fiber Optics, Optical Components, Optics, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Microturbine Propulsion for UAVs

Seventy years ago, military aviation moved from reciprocating engines to vastly more reliable turbo jets and turboprops. Shortly after, the commercial air transport industry followed suit, enabling modern air transport. Today, virtually all large aircraft rely on turbine propulsion, yet small aircraft, both manned and unmanned, have not exploited the advantages of turbines for propulsion.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Power Supplies, Mechanical Components, Power, Power Transmission, Propulsion

Pathfinder Radar ISR and SAR Systems: Tactical Eyes for the Warfighter

Sandia National Laboratories’ (Albuquerque, NM) Radar Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems enable a new product paradigm in radar capabilities and modalities. With the ability to shrink sensor size, increase resolution, raise image quality, and advance realtime onboard processing, Sandia has been producing next-generation systems for nearly three decades. Sandia specializes in the full system design of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI), target recognition, and other sensor systems for the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and industry partners.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition

Preventing Ice Buildup on Electric Aircraft

Fuel economy is one of the biggest challenges facing the aviation industry. To overcome these challenges, researchers are working on next generation aviation systems.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Power Management, Thermal Management, Cameras, Imaging, Composites, Materials, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, MEMs, Power, Power Transmission