October 16, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 39

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Mini-FAKRA cable assemblies for automotive and industrial applications requiring high data transfer rates

Amphenol RF has expanded its AUTOMATE Type A Mini-FAKRA product series with pre-configured cable assemblies. These assemblies feature a straight quad port mini-FAKRA jack on both ends and are designed on low-loss TFC-302LL. AUTOMATE assemblies support data transmission rates up to 20 Gbps, which makes them ideal for automotive and industrial applications that require high data transfer rates to communicate information for safety, performance, and entertainment without lag.
Learn more.


New compact touchless linear position sensors

The TFD Series of touchless linear position sensors from Novotechnik provides wear-free operation in tight spaces. The TFD-4000 Series uses a magnetic position marker to provide a touchless measurement range of 0 to 14, 24, or 50 mm -- depending on model. These sensors make measurements through air and non-magnetic materials. Sensing direction can be either parallel or perpendicular to mounting holes. Applications include textile, packaging, and sheet metal machinery; medical applications; marine; mobile engine management; and construction, agricultural, and forestry machinery.
Learn more.


Top Tech Tip:
2D, 3D, or 2.5D? Choosing a vision system for your automation project

If you're looking at machine vision systems for automation, you will need to decide whether to invest in a 2D, 3D, or 2.5D camera system. That choice will have a major impact on the deployment's cost, complexity, capabilities, and functionality. OnRobot's Kristian Hulgard, General Manager - Americas, explains the differences, benefits, and shortcomings of each system type.
Read this informative OnRobot article.


Next-generation electronic digital comparators

The Millimess 2000 W(i) and 2001 W(i) Digital Comparators from Mahr set new standards in metrology with unique and innovative features such as touch display, inductive measurement system, and integrated wireless connectivity. The systems combine practical and reliable operation with maximum precision using a unique inductive measuring system.
Learn more.


All about slip rings: How they work and their uses

Rotary Systems has put together a really nice basic primer on slip rings -- electrical collectors that carry a current from a stationary wire into a rotating device. Common uses are for power, proximity switches, strain gauges, video, and Ethernet signal transmission. This introduction also covers how to specify, assembly types, and interface requirements. Rotary Systems also manufactures rotary unions for fluid applications.
Read the overview.


Customizable encoders for white goods, automation, controls, more

Elma Electronic now offers the E18 family of price-competitive, robust mechanical incremental encoders that offer a high-quality alternative to system designers struggling to find a drop-in, rugged encoder for harsh environments with a footprint that matches their current PCB design. E18 encoders are available in a variety of configurations, including with or without push buttons and threaded bushings. Their "Swiss Click Indexing System" epitomizes quality turning feel.
Learn more.


Protect battery packs against overcurrent and overcharging

Littelfuse has announced the new ITV4030, a series of 22-A, three-terminal, surface-mountable Li-ion battery protectors ideal for use in a wide range of data communications interfaces for consumer electronics including tablets, robotic appliances, and power tools. These 4- x 3-mm devices protect battery packs against overcurrent and overcharging (overvoltage) conditions. The innovative design uses embedded fuse and heater elements that provide fast response and reliable performance to interrupt the charging or discharging circuit before the battery pack becomes overcharged or overheated.
Learn more.


Raspberry Pi Pico W adds Wi-Fi to popular microcontroller board

Raspberry Pi launched the $4 Pico microcontroller board in January of last year. It has sold almost 2 million units and proven to be a great tool for commercial, industrial, and maker applications, but it still lacks one important element: wireless connectivity. That is about to change.
Read the full article.


Cool Tools: The oscilloscope that feels like a tablet

Tektronix says, "Get ready to change the way you work forever!" Introducing the Tektronix 2 Series Mixed Signal Oscilloscope (MSO) -- the only full-featured bench oscilloscope that works where you work. It weighs less than 4 lb, is just 1.5-in. thick, and can accommodate an optional battery pack for up to 8 hours of unplugged power.
View the video.


Smart contactors with CAN bus

Sensata Technologies has announced the availability of the new GXC and MXC series of Smart-Tactor contactors with CAN bus communication, which provide valuable data for improved system performance, reliability, and diagnostics in military, battery system, energy storage, commercial vehicle, and industrial applications. This new series of CAN bus-enabled contactors are easily integrated and simplify data acquisition, making them ideal for data logging, telematics, and predictive maintenance.
Learn more.


What can you do with touchless magnetic angle sensors?

Novotechnik has put together a really informative video highlighting real-world applications for their RFC, RFE, and RSA Series touchless magnetic angle sensors. You may be surprised at the variety of off-highway, marine, material handling, and industrial uses. You'll learn how they work (using a Hall effect microprocessor to detect position) and their key advantages, including eliminated wear and tear on these non-mechanical components. We love when manufacturers provide such useful examples.
View the video.


Slimmest enclosure air conditioner on the market!

Seifert's SlimLine Series of enclosure air conditioners integrate unique technologies -- maximum power-to-size ratio, mounting of merely 4.5 inches inside-cabinet-depth -- making the SlimLine Series the slimmest air conditioner in the market. Cooling capacity: 1,090 to 5,120 Btu/hr.
Learn more.


Radiation-hardened GaN transistor for space applications

EPC has just introduced the EPC7018 radiation-hardened GaN FET. With higher breakdown strength, lower gate charge, lower switching losses, better thermal conductivity, and very low on-resistance, power devices based on GaN significantly outperform silicon-based devices. They enable higher switching frequencies resulting in higher power densities, higher efficiencies, and more compact and lighter-weight circuitry for critical spaceborne missions, including DC-DC power, motor drives, lidar, deep probes, and ion thrusters.
Learn more.


Low-cost motion control: CLICK PLUS PLCs

Automation-Direct has released the new CLICK PLC programming software version 3.30, which allows any CLICK PLUS CPU to be configured as a 3-axis PTO/PWM motion controller. 100-kHz high-speed inputs and outputs are offered with any DC option slot I/O module placed in slot 0 of the CPU. With this module, CLICK PLUS PLCs can easily perform velocity moves, homing commands, or interpolated positioning. Six CPUs available starting at less than 100 bucks.
Learn more.


EdgeCool cools computer servers in the rack

The new EdgeCool system for rack-mounted computer servers revolutionizes IT cooling by transforming server racks into their own portable, energy-saving server rooms. The patented split system from DENSO Products and Services Americas is made up of a condenser and an evaporator that fit easily into almost any open or sealed server rack. The self-contained equipment eliminates the need for more floor space, a dedicated server room, or disruptive and costly building modifications.
Learn more.


Faster and cheaper semiconductors: Researchers quickly harvest 2D materials, bringing them closer to commercialization

Researchers in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a technique to harvest 2-in.-diameter wafers of 2D material within just a few minutes. [Image: Peng Lin]

 

 

Since the 2003 discovery of the single-atom-thick carbon material known as graphene, there has been significant interest in other types of 2D materials (nanomaterials defined by their property of being merely one or two atoms thick) as well.

These materials could be stacked together like Lego bricks to form a range of devices with different functions, including operating as semiconductors. In this way, they could be used to create ultra-thin, flexible, transparent, and wearable electronic devices.

However, separating a bulk crystal material into 2D flakes for use in electronics has proven difficult to do on a commercial scale.

The existing process, in which individual flakes are split off from the bulk crystals by repeatedly stamping the crystals onto an adhesive tape, is unreliable and time consuming, requiring many hours to harvest enough material and then form a device.

Now researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT have developed a technique to harvest 2-in.-diameter wafers of 2D material within just a few minutes. They can then be stacked together to form an electronic device within an hour.

The technique, which they describe in a paper published in the journal Science, could open up the possibility of commercializing electronic devices based on a variety of 2D materials, according to Jeehwan Kim, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the research.

The paper's co-first authors were Sanghoon Bae, who was involved in flexible device fabrication, and Jaewoo Shim, who worked on the stacking of the 2D-material monolayers. Both are postdocs in Kim's group.

The paper's co-authors also included students and postdocs from within Kim's group, as well as collaborators at Georgia Tech, the University of Texas, Yonsei University in South Korea, and the University of Virginia. Sang-Hoon Bae, Jaewoo Shim, Wei Kong, and Doyoon Lee in Kim's research group equally contributed to this work.

"We have shown that we can do monolayer-by-monolayer isolation of 2D materials at the wafer scale," Kim says. "Secondly, we have demonstrated a way to easily stack up these wafer-scale monolayers of 2D material."

The researchers first grew a thick stack of 2D material on top of a sapphire wafer. They then applied a 600-nanometer-thick nickel film to the top of the stack.

Since 2D materials adhere much more strongly to nickel than to sapphire, lifting off this film allowed the researchers to separate the entire stack from the wafer.

What's more, the adhesion between the nickel and the individual layers of 2D material is also greater than that between each of the layers themselves.

As a result, when a second nickel film was then added to the bottom of the stack, the researchers were able to peel off individual, single-atom thick monolayers of 2D material.

That is because peeling off the first nickel film generates cracks in the material that propagate right through to the bottom of the stack, Kim says.

Once the first monolayer collected by the nickel film has been transferred to a substrate, the process can be repeated for each layer.

"We use very simple mechanics, and by using this controlled crack propagation concept we are able to isolate monolayer 2D material at the wafer scale," he says.

The universal technique can be used with a range of different 2D materials, including hexagonal boron nitride, tungsten disulfide, and molybdenum disulfide.

In this way it can be used to produce different types of monolayer 2D materials, such as semiconductors, metals, and insulators, which can then be stacked together to form the 2D heterostructures needed for an electronic device.

VIDEO: What's so cool about 2D materials? Penn State explains: The study of 2D materials is one of the newest and most exciting areas of Materials Science and Engineering. 2D materials have the potential to revolutionize many electronics applications such as solar cells, transistors, camera sensors, digital screens, and semiconductors.

"If you fabricate electronic and photonic devices using 2D materials, the devices will be just a few monolayers thick," Kim says. "They will be extremely flexible, and can be stamped on to anything," he says.

The process is fast and low cost, making it suitable for commercial operations, he adds.

The researchers have also demonstrated the technique by successfully fabricating arrays of field-effect transistors at the wafer scale, with a thickness of just a few atoms.

"The work has a lot of potential to bring 2D materials and their heterostructures towards real-world applications," says Philip Kim, a professor of physics at Harvard University, who was not involved in the research.

The researchers are now planning to apply the technique to develop a range of electronic devices, including a nonvolatile memory array and flexible devices that can be worn on the skin.

They are also interested in applying the technique to develop devices for use in the "internet of things," Kim says.

"All you need to do is grow these thick 2D materials, then isolate them in monolayers and stack them up. So it is extremely cheap -- much cheaper than the existing semiconductor process. This means it will bring laboratory-level 2D materials into manufacturing for commercialization," Kim says.

"That makes it perfect for IoT networks, because if you were to use conventional semiconductors for the sensing systems it would be expensive."

Sources: MIT, Penn State

Published October 2018

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