DC-DC Converters

VPT (Blacksburg, VA) has introduced the VPT100+ 2800 Series DCDC converter modules that offer up to 100W of output power per unit and parallel operation of up to five units. They are available in single output versions of 3.3V, 5V, 7V, 12V, 15V, and 28V, as well as dual output versions of ±12V and ±15V. They feature low output noise, up to 91% efficiency, and an input voltage range of 16 to 40 volts, meeting MIL-STD-704 requirements for avionics applications. Operating temperature ranges from -55 °C to 100 °C. In a compact, quarter-brick size, the modules include six-sided metal cases for improved EMI and mechanical/environmental performance. They also feature a high-input transient voltage of 50 volts for one second, magnetic feedback, undervoltage lockout, indefinite short circuit protection, and current limit protection.

Posted in: Products

Designing the Next Generation of Military Robots

Many recent blockbuster films and best-selling books depict the robotic apocalypse and have shed a negative light on military robotics. However, not all unmanned system development is aimed toward building autonomous machines that spy on foreign nations or neutralize enemy threats. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) continues to aggressively invest in developing unmanned systems and technologies because robots can perform the tasks that are too dull, dirty, or dangerous to warrant warfighter intervention.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

USB-to-Synchronous Cable Enables IP Data Communications for Tactical Radios

Warfighters can benefit greatly from having radio IP-based data communications at the theater level. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the 750,000 tactical radio systems currently in use do not have the necessary built-in hardware and software to send IP-based data communications. The installed base of tactical radios is comprised of various makes and models that are not interoperable, further making it difficult to achieve theater-level data communications.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Internet, Performance upgrades, Military vehicles and equipment

Improved Interference Rejection Using Multi-Static Radar Signal Processing

In multi-static radar (MSR), the transmit/ receive aperture is divided into a number of sub-apertures that can be placed in various locations relative to each other. These locations can be chosen to optimize the performance of the radar in terms of some specific task. Two multi-static approaches have been investigated:

Posted in: Articles, RFM Catchall, Aerospace, Radar

Analysis of On-Chip Heat Distribution in the Design of RF Power Detectors and Transistor Arrays

The simulation of electromagnetic (EM) and thermal properties of semiconductor and substrate materials has been demonstrated to be particularly helpful in the optimization of the design of Monolithic Micro wave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) power amplifier (PA) modules. Various design challenges, however, have to be dealt with in specific ways, and may require efficient approaches that accommodate reasonable approximations in the development and troubleshooting phases. EM and heat transfer analysis at the semiconductor device structure level allows building accurate models for simulation tools.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Defense, Computer simulation, Amplifiers, Integrated circuits, Materials properties, Semiconductors

Power for Micro Autonomous Systems

The Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) has been initiated to spur basic research in small autonomous robots, particularly in four main areas: Microsystem Mechanics, Autonomous Processing, Micro electronics, and Integration. In order to focus its efforts, the Army proposed multiple scenario missions of increasing difficulty to work towards: small unit building search (flat, straight walls, no wind, etc.), a small unit cave search (potential for wind gusts, no regular surfaces to use as reference points), and perimeter defense (longer required mission time, and range and potentially harsh environments). The size ranges considered were defined as “palm-size” and below, where no lower limit was specified.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Microelectricmechanical device, Robotics

Low-Power Circuit for an Electromagnetic Warning System Sensor

Low-power sensors are important to the Army for monitoring infrastructure of the lifecycle of an operation. Isotope batteries can power and operate compact, low-power sensors for decades. A lowpower circuit has been developed to generate a repetitive radio frequency (RF) impulse, which will be used to indicate that a sensor has detected a target. This sensor circuit has been modeled and built to evaluate several isotope batteries in preparation. A parametric study of components in the circuit has been performed to minimize power consumption as a function of repetition rate and pulse width of the light-emitting diode indicator or RF impulse output.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Batteries, Integrated circuits, Radio equipment, Sensors and actuators, Test equipment and instrumentation

Effects of Differing Carbon Nanotube Field-Effect Transistor Architectures

Understanding the differing methods and materials that can be used for producing carbon nanotube (CNT)- based electronic components means an informed use of materials and architectures can unleash the potential of carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNTFETs) for a wide array of future electronic applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Transistors, Nanomaterials

Silicon Carbide Junction Field-Effect Transistor Devices for Scalable Solid-State Circuit Breakers

Power electronic converters functioning as components in high-power systems, such as those of hybrid military ground vehicles, require fast fault isolation, and in most cases, benefit additionally from bidirectional fault isolation. To prevent converter damage or failure, fault current interrupt speeds in the hundreds of microseconds to few millisecond range are necessary. Presently used mechanical contactors do not provide adequate actuation speeds, and suffer severe degradation during repeated fault isolation. Instead, it is desired to use a large array of semiconductor devices having a collectively low conduction loss to provide large current-handling capability and fast transition speed for current interruption.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Power electronics, Transistors, Semiconductors

Indoor Navigation for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

This research proposed the use of inexpensive, lightweight range sensors for indoor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) navigation. Two potential range sensors were tested for suitability and error characteristics. The SHARP infrared range sensors provide a narrow beam and a higher resolution distance measurement, at the expense of de creased range (approximately 150–180 cm maximum). The MaxBotix® EX1™ ultrasonic range sensors had a longer range (up to 6.45 m) and a wider beam.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Navigation and guidance systems, Sensors and actuators, Flight tests, Unmanned aerial vehicles