Electronics & Computers

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

Broadband 1.2- and 2.4-mm Gallium Nitride (GaN) Power Amplifier Designs

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has been working with Raytheon to design efficient, broadband, linear, high-power amplifiers and robust, broadband, low-noise amplifiers for future adaptive, multimodal radar systems. Raytheon has a high-performance, W-band, gallium nitride (GaN) fabrication process and a process design kit (PDK) that ARL used to design low-noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, and other circuits for future radar, communications, and sensor systems. After the first set of ARL and Raytheon designs was submitted for fabrication, test designs of broadband Class A/B power amplifiers were developed. While these designs did not get fabricated in the initial effort, they serve to demonstrate the performance, bandwidth, and capability of this GaN process and could potentially be fabricated in the future.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic Components, Power Management, Power Supplies, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs

Underwater Drone Technology

Finding ways to overcome physical limitations so that humans can dive deeper and stay underwater longer has been an ongoing quest. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci drew sketches of a submarine and a robot. Had he thought to combine the two concepts, he would have created a prototype of an unmanned underwater vehicle, or underwater drone. Instead, the world had to wait another five hundred years.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power, Robotics, Sensors, Instrumentation, Transportation

Thermoplastic Composites to Play Enhanced Role in Next-Generation Aerospace Applications

Advanced thermoplastic composites-and their emergence as prominent materials for future aerospace applications–are sparking a flurry of activity from aerospace manufacturers, designers, component producers and formatters.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composites, Materials, Plastics, Mechanical Components

Understanding the “Black Art” of RF and Microwave Switching

Understanding RF, especially microwave switching, can be a challenge. In many cases, test systems have been compromised because a test engineer did not consider all the components of their test system: instruments, switching, cabling, Mass Interconnect (test fixture interface), fixture design, and so on. Each component has its own set of characteristics. With RF and microwave components, effects including insertion loss, VSWR, bandwidth, and so on all need to be considered as well.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

A New Approach to Satellite Communications

In the Heinrich Hertz satellite mission, which will be launched in 2020, the DLR Space Administration (German Aerospace Center) plans to develop and operate a German communications satellite. The chief objective of the mission is the scientific validation and testing of payload technologies in space.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Antennas

An Introduction to PCM Heat Sinks

With the exception of thermal storage heat sinks, the term heat sink is a misnomer. Standard heat sinks for electronics cooling are actually heat exchangers, taking the heat from the electronics, and transferring it to a fluid, either air or coolant. Phase Change Material (PCM) heat sinks are the only heat sinks that actually act as a (temporary) sink for heat. They are emerging in the thermal management realm to solve thermal problems in systems where active solutions cannot be used. When there is no place to dissipate the heat generated by electric components, a PCM heat sink is capable of absorbing the generated waste heat [1] .

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials

Using RISC-V to Simplify Data Logging in Space

Worldwide demand for low Earth orbit satellites is increasing at an unprecedented pace, driven by diverse needs such as faster and more affordable Internet access, and faster revisit rates with finer resolution for imaging data. The satellite payload instruments performing communications or imaging functions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable and require the collection of increasing amounts of telemetry data to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the satellite.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Power Management, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Semiconductors & ICs, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement