January 08, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 01

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

Designfax weekly eMagazine

Subscribe Today!
image of Designfax newsletter

Archives

View Archives

Partners

Manufacturing Center
Product Spotlight

Modern Applications News
Metalworking Ideas For
Today's Job Shops

Tooling and Production
Strategies for large
metalworking plants

New programmable angle sensors

Novotechnik U.S. has just introduced the Vert-X 37E Series of programmable touchless rotary sensors that use a magnetic pick-up secured to the rotating object, so there is no direct mechanical linkage between the shaft and the measuring system -- and therefore no wear. The hermetically sealed Vert-X 37E Series can be programmed by customers or at the factory, so customers can order angle sensors optimized for their specific application. These sensors can help achieve time and cost savings by eliminating the need for other components to specify the angle end points, choose an intermediate plateau, sense of rotation function, CW or CCW, or create V-output.
Learn more.


Guard against Li-ion battery overcurrent and overcharging

The ITV Series from Littelfuse is a three-terminal, surface-mountable Li-ion battery protector designed to guard against the damage caused by both overcurrent and overcharging. It's a good solution for protecting power tools, robotic appliances, e-bikes and e-scooters, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), emergency radios, and more. The innovative design provides fast response and reliable performance to interrupt the charging or discharging circuit before the battery pack becomes overcharged or overheated. Five packages available with current ratings from 12 A to 45 A.
Learn more.


Remote access VPN router for machines and systems

Automation-Direct StrideLinx VPN routers provide an outgoing, secure connection from remote machines or systems to the StrideLinx platform. Routers are easily configured and have a built-in firewall to isolate company and control networks. These easy-to-use, IT-friendly industrial VPN routers minimize costly field support by providing remote programming, monitoring, and troubleshooting. Multiple router connection options are available including wired (gigabit), WiFi, and AT&T or T-Mobile 4G cellular where Internet connections are not readily available.
Learn more.


Electrical components for medical equipment

SCHURTER's high-performance AC connectors, circuit protection, switches, and EMC products safely and reliably optimize performance for critically needed COVID-19 medical equipment including ventilators, respirators, diagnostic, therapeutic, and medical laboratory equipment. Examples include the compact and versatile DG12 series power entry modules that integrate an IEC inlet, EMC filter, and rocker-style circuit breaker with optional IP67 protection, making them suitable for use in environments exposed to splashing water. The TA35 series of miniature circuit breakers, filtered Power Entry Modules, and metal line switches resistant to harsh cleaning processes are other offerings. Many more solutions available.
Learn more.


High-speed camera for manufacturing analysis

High-speed video capture can help engineers troubleshoot manufacturing processes and researchers analyze fast-acting events, but traditional large-format, high-speed cameras can quickly run out of storage. Mikrotron has solved this problem with its MotionBLITZ CVR recording system that combines an EoSens 4MP CoaXPress color camera remotely connected to an industrial-grade DVR. The MotionBLITZ CVR is capable of recording video sequences of up to 12 sec at 560 fps and 2,336 x 1,728-pixel resolution directly into RAM, then quickly downloaded to the 2-TB RAID drive. It also can be configured to record up to 35,000 fps in smaller image formats. The detachable camera easily fits into tight spaces.
Learn more.


Cabinet coolers with digital control resist heat and corrosion

EXAIR's new Dual 316 Stainless Steel Cabinet Cooler® Systems with ETC (Electronic Temperature Control) are a low-cost and reliable way to keep electrical enclosures cool with 20°F (-7°C) air while maintaining the NEMA 4X rating of the enclosure and removing the heat that could adversely affect the internal components. The wear, corrosion, and oxidation resistance of Type 316 stainless steel assures long life and maintenance-free operation within food, medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, and other harsh environments. Cooling capacities up to 5,600 Btu/hr are ideal for larger enclosures and heat loads.
Learn more.


New ultra-bright miniature bayonet-based LED bulbs

LEDtronics' miniature solid-state bulbs are used for critical applications in industries such as defense and aerospace, transportation, and power plants. The BSD-1118/1318/1319 series directly replaces similar Ba9s bayonet-base incandescent lamps. These LEDs offer up to 90 percent energy savings, higher intensity, more even lighting, and reduced heat and relamping costs in critical status-indication applications such as indicator lights for instrumentation, panel-mount pilot lights, accent lighting, automotive indicators, and more.
Learn more.


New low-noise, solid-state relays

Instead of using moving components as mechanical power relays do, solid-state relays (SSRs) from Sensata Technologies rely on silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR) technology that allows SSRs to provide quieter operation (no clicking), longer life, and more precise switching control. The new LN series SSRs from Sensata's Crydom brand conform with IEC 60947-4-3 Environment B and CISPR 11 standards for low-voltage domestic, commercial, and light industrial locations and installations, and are compliant with C-UL-US and TUV certifications. The LN Series of panel-mounted solid-state relays offers reliable back-to-back SCR switching up to 75 A at 528 VAC.
Learn more.
Read the Sensata application note: SSRs for Professional Food Equipment.


Innovative resettable pin puller for advanced aerospace and weapons platforms

Marotta Controls has just introduced its newly patented Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) pin puller -- a non-pyrotechnic resettable locking device. Initially developed for missile fin locks, the SMA pin puller is suited for any critical separate-and-deploy mechanism where precision timing and confidence in performance are high priorities. Replacing a single-use pyrotechnic solution with the SMA pin puller enables customers to fully vet a lock's functionality during the all-up test stage, resulting in a more reliable solution. The SMA pin puller is also significantly smaller than a traditional pyrotechnic puller, which requires additional components to safely disengage the locking pin without firing the device.
Learn more.


Smart thermal sensor for industrial monitoring and elevated skin temp screening

The new FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming fixed camera solutions are aimed at monitoring equipment, production lines, critical infrastructure, and screening for elevated skin temperatures. These just-released, highly configurable smart camera systems provide accurate, non-contact temperature monitoring across a wide range of disciplines: manufacturing process control, product development, emissions monitoring, waste management, facilities maintenance, and Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) improvements. The FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor solution is initially being prioritized for those responding to COVID-19.
Learn more.


Swept elbow backshells: Cable termination

TE Connectivity has introduced its new swept elbow backshells for electrical and fiber cables in a wide range of military and aerospace applications. They can provide strain relief and cable support to help reduce bending or overflexing, while also offering up to 20 percent weight savings. The backshells are designed to allow for uncoupling during repairs, which helps reduce damage to the boot, resulting in a simple and fast termination option. They are available in a band strap (BT) termination style, with more options to follow.
Learn more.


Top 5 reasons for solder joint failure

Solder joint reliability is often a pain point in the design of an electronic system. According to Tyler Ferris at ANSYS, a wide variety of factors affect solder joint reliability, and any one of them can drastically reduce joint lifetime. Properly identifying and mitigating potential causes of solder joint failure during the design and manufacturing process can prevent costly and difficult-to-solve problems later in a product lifecycle.
Read this informative ANSYS blog.


New electronic coil AC/DC contactors from NOARK Electric

The new Ex9C F-type IEC contactors from NOARK Electric provide increased protection and stable performance on any AC or DC system. Featuring an electronic coil, the Ex9C F-Type Contactor compensates for changes in voltage fluctuations, which eliminates noisy, contact-damaging chatter conditions. With a more efficient design, this contactor offers valuable integral surge protection and less energy is required to operate the coil, which translates to lower operational costs. Three frame sizes with rated current up to 100 A. Coil control voltage 24~60 VAC/DC, 48~130 VAC/DC and 100~250 VAC/DC.
Find your circuit breaker solution at NOARK.


Isolating and dissipating the impact of lightning strikes on composite wings

Aircraft with an aluminum fuselage and wings can readily conduct the charge from a lightning strike, allowing the current to move along the skin and pass back into the atmosphere. But composites are significantly less conductive than aluminum. Composite wings need isolating and dissipating tubes to slowly dispel the static charge from a lightning strike, thereby preventing arcing in the system.
Read this informative Parker blog.


Tiny Osram LED enables ultra-slim headlight designs

Smaller and brighter light sources are leading to more compact and versatile headlamps, and headlight designs can often be key product differentiators these days -- particularly in the premium segment. The powerful Osram Oslon Boost HM LED enables ultra-slim designs full of possibilities in next-gen vehicles.
Read the full article.


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

Rate this article

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

Very interesting, with information I can use
Interesting, with information I may use
Interesting, but not applicable to my operation
Not interesting or inaccurate

E-mail Address (required):

Comments:

Copyright © 2019 by Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction Prohibited.
View our terms of use and privacy policy