Battery Electrolyte Level Detector Apparatus

An apparatus has been developed for checking the electrolyte level in a battery, providing a safer and more efficient means to do so. The result is a non-intrusive apparatus and method of checking the electrolyte level that reduces the need to open the caps on the battery by checking the level externally.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Batteries, Sensors and actuators, Electrolytes

Magnetic Random Access Memory Integrated Passive Components

An embedded magnetic memory technology was developed to be integrated into a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) circuit fabrication process to provide radiation-hard logic elements and small random access memories. The goal was not to provide large scale, bulk memory, but latches and flip-flops that serve as state and data registers for sequential logic, and configuration registers for configurable logic. The benefits include the ability to power down a subsystem while retaining system state, thus saving energy until the subsystem is required. The subsystem can then be powered up and begin operating in milliseconds.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Semiconductor devices, Fabrication

Differential Amplifier Circuits Based on Carbon Nanotube Field Effect Transistors (CNTFETs)

Since their discovery, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been extensively studied for their great potential in a variety of applications. Several desirable properties that CNTs possess include a high thermal conductivity, high electrical mobility, high electrical current capacity, high tensile strength, small size, compatibility with current semiconductor fabrication processes, and ability to be functionalized.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Amplifiers, Transistors, Fabrication, Nanotechnology

AlInGaN Bandgap and Doping Engineering for Visible Laser Diodes

There is a great need to develop chip-scale visible lasers for many applications, including laser sight, environmental monitoring, and compact pumping sources for ultra-short laser pulse generation, high-luminous full-color displays, new-generation solid-state lighting, etc. The realization of chip-scale visible laser diodes (LDs) would provide significant benefits in terms of cost, volume, and the ability of photonic integration with other functional devices. Significant progress in nitride material technology has been achieved, and high-performance visible LEDs and near-UV LDs based on InGaN are now commercially available.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Integrated circuits, Lasers, Materials properties

Photorefractive Polymers for Updatable 3D Displays

Photorefractive (PR) polymer composites developed for 3D display applications contain a copolymer as the hole-transporting host matrix. The copolymer approach is followed to reduce the phase separation typical in guest-host polymer systems with low glass transition temperature (Tg), thus allowing increased loading of functional components such as NLO chromophores. The copolymer consists of a polyacrylate backbone with pendant groups tetraphenyldiaminobiphenyltype (TPD) and carbaldehyde aniline (CAAN) attached through an alkoxy linker (PATPD-CAAN). A fluorinated dicyanostyrene (FDCST) NLO chromophore was added to provide sufficient refractive index change and charge generation at the wavelength of interest (532 nm). The plasticizer Nethyl carbazole (ECZ) was also used to reduce the Tg to room temperature. In some composites, a fullerene derivative [6,6]-Phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) was used to provide improved sensitization.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Displays, Composite materials, Polymers

Membrane Pump for Synthetic Muscle Actuation

A synthetic muscle has been developed that uses inflatable balloons to produce a tensile force from a positive pressurization. Mechanical supply and ducting is used to provide the required pressurization. However, the mechanical supply and ducting that is currently used is limited in several respects. To optimize rate of actuation, it is desirable to minimize the cell volume and to maximize the area through which fluid is forced into the cell. Ideally, a fully closed cell that is inflated through some mass transfer process that takes place through the cell boundary would lead to a maximum cell response rate.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Pumps, Marine vehicles and equipment

Nonlinear, High-Fidelity, Aeroelastic Analysis for Novel Configurations

Efforts to develop morphing air vehicles with multiple mission capabilities have recently been undertaken by several research teams, including NASA’s Aircraft Morphing program and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Morphing Aircraft Structures program. One such morphing wing structure is the folding wing concept. With multiple individually articulated sections, various wing geometries can be achieved in-flight, allowing for multirole missions with the same aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Wings, Vehicle styling, Aircraft, Military aircraft

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

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

RF Antenna Switches

California Eastern Laboratories (Santa Clara, CA) offers two RF antenna switches based on the same chip die: the uPG2413T6M and the uPG2413T6Z. The small, single pole triple throw, SP3T switches, designed by Renesas Electronics Corporation, feature low insertion loss of 0.35 dB at 1GHz and 0.50 dB at 2.5GHz. The design allows the switches to support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices in the same module. The T6Z measures 1.5 × 1.5 mm; the T6M switch measures 2.0 × 2.0 mm and is compatible to a prior generation’s switching, allowing for easier transition.

Posted in: Products, RFM Catchall