March 06, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 09

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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New touchless angle sensors with CANBus interface

Novotechnik, U.S. introduces the RFC4800 Series of touchless angle sensors measuring angular position up to 360°, revolution counter, and speed -- with J1939 CANBus interface in addition to CANopen. Features include programmable zero-point offset, measurement averaging, and sign of rotational direction. RFC4800 Series has a resolution of 14-bits across 360°, repeatability of 0.36°, and independent linearity of +/-0.5% of full scale. J1939 CANBus provides a different feature set than CANopen. It has peer-to-peer or broadcast signaling and fixed messages rather than configurable. There are other differences too.
Learn more.


Inline Code Matcher makes for reliable packaging

The Inline Code Matcher is a stand-alone quality-control system featuring SICK Lector 6xx image-based code readers that reliably read 1D and 2D codes on packages to match packaging with the correct products. The Inline Code Matcher system software uses a 7-in. touch screen with an intuitive user interface for operation and to visualize data. The Inline Code Matcher’s modular design and auto set-up feature allow for easy integration into existing plants. Products can be changed over during a live operation on the basis of an example product or manually with a hand-held scanner.
Click here to learn more.


Minimizing noise in electric linear motion systems

Under most circumstances, electric linear motion systems are quiet. They certainly don’t create the hissing and bang-bang noises associated with pneumatic systems. However, there’s another type of noise that comes with electric systems of all types: electrical noise or interference. The results can be anything from erratic movements to complete system failure. Patrick Hobart from Tolomatic runs through best practices for minimizing noise in these automation systems.
Read this insightful blog.


Sony releasing 0.5-type OLED microdisplay with top-of-class UXGA resolution

Sony Corporation recently announced the upcoming release of the ECX339A OLED Microdisplay featuring UXGA (1,600 x 1,200 resolution), the highest in class for a 0.5-type. This product achieves the world's smallest pixel pitch of 6.3μm by leveraging Sony's OLED display technology and miniaturization technology, enabling a resolution 1.6x higher than the previous model. By employing a new drive circuit design that operates on half the voltage of the previous model, the new product achieves the same level of low-power operation as its predecessor but with much higher resolution.
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Want to make your factory wireless? NIST how-to guide

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the first-ever set of science-based guidelines to help users select the best wireless system for any specific industrial environment, custom-design the setup to make it work, successfully deploy it, and then ensure that the network performs as needed. The publication is called, "Guide to Industrial Wireless Systems Deployments." By eliminating physical connections such as wires and cables from a facility's communication network, wireless technology offers many manufacturing, chemical processing, and utility organizations a means to run their entire operation more efficiently, more productively, and at less cost.
Get the guide. No registration required.


Mike Likes: Fixed-mount infrared cameras help you analyze the heat

For precise research, science, and engineering applications, just seeing heat is not enough -- it needs to be measured and analyzed as well. The new Fluke RSE300 and RSE600 Infrared Cameras are the first fully radiometric, fixed-mount cameras from Fluke with advanced features including MATLAB and LabVIEW software plug-ins to easily analyze thermal data. These cameras continuously stream up to 60 frames of data per sec, allowing for detailed monitoring of temperature patterns and variances. With the included SmartView desktop software, users can remotely focus the camera, auto-capture images, adjust level and span, and analyze infrared videos frame by frame. The software also makes it easy to edit images, generate customized reports, and export images to multiple formats to share thermal data quickly.
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LED controller for automotive lighting designs

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced the first 3-channel high-side linear automotive light-emitting diode (LED) controller without internal MOSFETs, which gives designers greater flexibility for their lighting designs. The TPS92830-Q1's novel architecture enables higher power and better thermal dissipation than conventional LED controllers, and is particularly beneficial for automotive LED lighting applications that require high performance and reliability. The LED controller's flexible on-board features give designers the freedom to select the best MOSFET for their system requirements. With this new approach, designers can optimize their lighting power designs more quickly and efficiently for automotive system requirements and desired dimming features.
Click here to learn more.


New ultra high-brightness LCDs for outdoor viewing

The Tianma Group has introduced two new LCDs: a 10.1-in. WXGA and 15.6-in. WXGA, both with ultra-high luminance. These modules are ideal for industrial applications needing superior viewing in outdoor or other high ambient light environments such as ATMs and payment terminals. The 10.1-in.-wide model has a luminance of 1000 cd/m2, and the 15.6-in.-wide model has a luminance of 1250 cd/m2. The ultra-high luminance of these models results in displays with vivid colors and excellent visibility, even in direct sunlight, and further expand Tianma’s extensive offering of industrial products.
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Mouser Electronics New Product Insider

Mouser Electronics specializes in the rapid introduction of new products and technologies. As the industry leader in New Product Introductions (NPIs), Mouser makes it a priority to stock the newest products and technologies from their 700+ manufacturer partners, giving customers an edge and helping speed time to market. In 2017, Mouser launched a total of 2,326 new products. Last month, Mouser launched more than 270 new products ready for same-day shipment. Latest products include: Linear Technology/Analog Devices DC1962C-KIT Starter Kit step-down DC/DC controller; TE Connectivity AmbiMate Sensor Module MS4 Series that provides motion, light, temperature, and humidity sensors plus optional sound; andON Semiconductor RSL10 Multi-Protocol Bluetooth 5 System-on-Chip.
See the latest from Mouser Electronics.


LED panel-mount indicators are all about flexibility

Visual Communica-tions Company’s (VCC) 90 Series panel-mount indicators are designed for an extended life and quick installation, and they are unique because they deliver enhanced design flexibility through three termination styles: cartridge, bi-pin, and wire leads. They save time during installation and maintenance and require less-frequent replacement. The P80 Series LED panel mount indicator is designed to streamline installation with a snap-in mounting design that requires no additional hardware. It is offered in six single LED colors (red, orange, amber, green, blue, and clear). Five lens colors are also available: red, amber, green, blue, and clear.
Click here to learn more.


Flexible Printed Circuits Design Guide

Tech-Etch manufactures high-reliability flexible printed circuits on polyimide substrates using advanced manufacturing processes to create circuits for today's sophisticated electronic applications. Special processes include the ability to selectively plate a single circuit with two different finishes, contoured circuits with variable metal thickness, semi-additive and subtractive techniques to manufacture trace patterns, BGA pad arrays, and open window or cantilevered contact leads. Surface mount technology (SMT) for component assembly is employed for both prototypes and full production runs. Tech-Etch specializes in flexible circuits for medical device, medical implant, diagnostic ultrasound, telecommunications and patient monitoring applications, in addition to telecommunications, aerospace, semiconductor, industrial, and other high-reliability electronic applications.
Learn more and download the guide (no registration required).


Compact angle sensor for robotics and other applications

See the robotics video demonstrating ease of programming and robotics application of certain angle sensors from Novotechnik. Novotechnik’s Vert-X 1600 Series of angle sensors (shown here) features easy mounting in tight spaces with a 16 mm diameter body. The sensors measure 0 to 360° with linearity ≤ ±0.3%, 14-bit resolution and repeatability to 0.1°. A variety of analog and digital output options are available.
View the video.


M8 12-pin connectors with gold-plated contacts

Binder USA has added the M8 12-pin to their Series 718 & 768 lines of M8 Connectors. The 12 gold-plated contacts allow for more data connections in a small-form connector, making it easy to combine multiple connections into one connector to save panel space. The IP67-rated connectors are typically used with automation-related products including photoelectric, proximity, and temperature sensors. Available in male or female molded cable and panel-mount connectors with cable lengths of 2 m and 5 m and standard single-wire length of 200 mm.
Click here to learn more.


Full line of industrial laser modules

BEA Lasers' full line of ruggedized Industrial Laser modules are now available for use in factories, machine shops, and other harsh environments for alignment and positioning of products, components, and machine parts. The laser diode modules (Series MIL, GPL, SEN, MIC, IND) each include a housing and cable apparatus to alleviate hard wiring for replacements. All are offered with a choice of green or red laser light and include laser dot and line patterns; many available with a crosshair pattern. Most Industrial Laser families are available with 1-, 3-, or 5-mW output power. In addition, BEA’s "Yellow Sub" and "Yellow Torpedo" lasers can be used for leveling. Other laser applications include drilling, event detection, edge detection, security, cutting, vision systems, metrology, bar code readers, education, robotic control, and laboratory or test operations.
Click here to learn more.


Microcontroller for automotive and industrial radar systems

Mouser Electronics is now stocking the S32R274 radar microcontroller from NXP Semicon-ductors. Engineered to meet the high-performance computation demands required by modern beam-forming and fast chirp-modulation radar systems, the S32R274 combines signal-processing acceleration with a multicore architecture to provide up to four times the power performance in industrial and automotive applications, compared to previous generations of products. This device offers a multifaceted solution for general software tasks and car bus interfacing. Combined with radio frequency (RF) front-end technologies (RFCMOS or BiCMOS), the S32R274 provides designers a scalable solution that addresses ultra-short-range, short-range, mid-range, and long-range radar systems.
Click here to learn more.


New way to do solar power: Researchers boost efficiency and stability of optical rectennas

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new higher efficiency rectenna design. Here, the device's ability to convert blue light to electricity is tested. [Credit: Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech]

 

 

By John Toon, Georgia Tech

The research team that announced the first optical rectenna in 2015 is now reporting a two-fold efficiency improvement in the devices -- and a switch to air-stable diode materials. The improvements could allow the rectennas, which convert electromagnetic fields at optical frequencies directly to electrical current, to operate low-power devices such as temperature sensors.

Ultimately, the researchers believe their device design, which is a combination of a carbon nanotube antenna and diode rectifier, could compete with conventional photovoltaic technologies for producing electricity from sunlight and other sources. The same technology used in the rectennas could also directly convert thermal energy to electricity.

"This work takes a significant leap forward in both fundamental understanding and practical efficiency for the optical rectenna device," said Baratunde Cola, an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "It opens up this technology to many more researchers who can join forces with us to advance the optical rectenna technology to help power a range of applications, including space flight."

The research was reported January 26 in the journal Advanced Electronic Materials. The work has been supported by the U.S. Army Research Office under the Young Investigator Program, and by the National Science Foundation.

Optical rectennas operate by coupling the light's electromagnetic field to an antenna, in this case an array of multiwall carbon nanotubes whose ends have been opened. The electromagnetic field creates an oscillation in the antenna, producing an alternating flow of electrons. When the electron flow reaches a peak at one end of the antenna, the diode closes, trapping the electrons, then re-opens to capture the next oscillation, creating a current flow.

Optical rectenna schematic: This schematic shows the components of the optical rectenna developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology. [Credit: Thomas Bougher, Georgia Tech]

 

 

The switching must occur at terahertz frequencies to match the light. The junction between the antenna and diode must provide minimal resistance to electrons flowing through it while open, yet prevent leakage while closed.

"The name of the game is maximizing the number of electrons that get excited in the carbon nanotube, and then having a switch that is fast enough to capture them at their peak," Cola explained. "The faster you switch, the more electrons you can catch on one side of the oscillation."

To provide a low work function (ease of electron flow), the researchers initially used calcium as the metal in their oxide insulator/metal diode junction. But calcium breaks down rapidly in air, meaning the device had to be encapsulated during operation -- and fabricated in a glovebox. That made the optical rectenna both impractical for most applications and difficult to fabricate.

So Cola, NSF Graduate Research Fellow Erik Anderson, and Research Engineer Thomas Bougher replaced the calcium with aluminum and tried a variety of oxide materials on the carbon nanotubes before settling on a bilayer material composed of alumina (Al2O3) and hafnium dioxide (HfO2). The combination coating for the carbon nanotube junction, created through an atomic deposition process, provides the quantum mechanical electron tunneling properties required by engineering the oxide electronic properties instead of the metals, which allows air stable metals with higher work functions than calcium to be used.

Rectennas fabricated with the new combination have remained functional for as long as a year. Other metal oxides could also be used, Cola said.

The researchers also engineered the slope of the hill down which the electrons fall in the tunneling process. That also helped increase the efficiency, and allows the use of a variety of oxide materials. The new design also increased the asymmetry of the diodes, which boosted efficiency.

"By working with the oxide electron affinity, we were able to increase the asymmetry by more than ten-fold, making this diode design more attractive," said Cola. "That's really where we got the efficiency gain in this new version of the device."

Optical rectennas could theoretically compete with photovoltaic materials for converting sunlight into electricity. PV materials operate using a different principle, in which photons knock electrons from the atoms of certain materials. The electrons are collected into electrical current.

In September 2015 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, Cola and Bougher reported the first optical rectenna -- a device that had been proposed theoretically for more than 40 years, but never demonstrated.

The early version reported in the journal produced power at microvolt levels. The rectenna now produces power in the millivolt range, and conversion efficiency has gone from 10-5 to 10-3 -- still very low, but a significant gain.

"Though there still is room for significant improvement, this puts the voltage in the range where you could see optical rectennas operating low-power sensors," Cola said. "There are a lot of device geometry steps you could take to do something useful with the optical rectenna today in voltage-driven devices that don't require significant current."

Cola believes the rectennas could be useful for powering internet of things devices, especially if they can be used to produce electricity from scavenged thermal energy. For converting heat to electricity, the principle is the same as for light-capturing oscillations in a field with the broadband carbon nanotube antenna.

"People have been excited about thermoelectric generators, but there are many limitations on getting a system that works effectively," he said. "We believe that the rectenna technology will be the best approach for harvesting heat economically."

In future work, the research team hopes to optimize the antenna operation and improve their theoretical understanding of how the rectenna works, allowing further optimization. One day, Cola hopes the devices will help accelerate space travel, producing power for electric thrusters that will boost spacecraft.

"Our end game is to see carbon nanotube optical rectennas working on Mars and in the spacecraft that takes us to Mars," he said.

This work was supported by the Army Research Office under the Young Investigator Program agreement W911NF-13-1-0491 and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program under grant DGE-1650044.

Published March 2018

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