Monday, December 31, 2012

Tektronix delivers first automated test solution for MHL CTS 2.0 Spec

USA: Keeping pace with rapidly evolving standards, Tektronix Inc. announced immediate availability of an automated test solution for the latest Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) Compliance Test Specification (CTS) 2.0 covering transmitter (Tx), receiver (Rx) and dongle testing for both physical (PHY) and protocol layers.

The solution features a unique one box solution for PHY and protocol testing coupled with a direct synthesis based solution for Rx testing that reduces errors.

Developed by the MHL Consortium, the MHL specification is an HD video and digital audio interface for connecting mobile phones and portable devices to HDTVs and other home entertainment products. Tektronix announced a comprehensive test solution for MHL 1.2 earlier this year, and as a contributor to the standard, is moving quickly to support the latest specifications as they are released.

MHL CTS 2.0 was released on October 16, 2012 and enables a number of important new innovations including PackedPixel Mode and 3D which will mandate additional testing.

"The MHL specification is evolving rapidly while adding important new capabilities, all of which will increase adoption and importance of the MHL as a mobile industry standard," said Brian Reich, general manager, Performance Oscilloscopes, Tektronix. "As the timing of our support for MHL 2.0 demonstrates, we are closely aligned with the MHL Consortium, while also protecting customer investments by allowing them to use MHL 1.2 test setups for MHL 2.0."

"Tektronix has worked closely with Simplay Labs to provide an MHL 2.0 test system with enhanced value-added features," said Joseph Lias, president of Simplay Labs. "Simplay Labs is dedicated to providing advanced testing solutions for standards-based consumer electronics products and we are looking forward to continuing our successful collaboration with Tektronix to support fully compliant, high-performance MHL 2.0 products in the marketplace."

Tektronix' innovative MHL protocol analyzer software leverages the same Tektronix real-time oscilloscope, such as a DPO/DSA/MSO70000 Series, used for physical layer testing to provide a complete MHL protocol test solution. This one box solution enables a seamless transition between physical and link layers.

Testing efficiency is further enhanced with direct synthesis-based Rx and dongle testing that provides accurate MHL signal generation including all of the impairments necessary to meet MHL CTS 2.0 requirements. The direct synthesis solution provides easier, more repeatable test set-ups and lower cost compared to complex sink-based solutions for generating signal impairments.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Universal Power Group secures $30 million revolving credit agreement and $4 million term loan with Comerica Bank

USA: Universal Power Group Inc., a Texas-based distributor and supplier of batteries and related power accessories, and a third-party logistics provider, announced the signing of a four-year credit agreement and term loan with Comerica Bank.

The $30 million credit facility includes an accordion feature that will allow for a $10 million increase to the credit line if needed. The new credit agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2016, and replaces UPG’s current credit agreement which expires on June 30, 2013.

The interest rate associated with the new credit agreement is based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), plus 1.875 percent for the first year of the agreement. During years two through four of the agreement, the rate will vary based on the ratio of UPG’s total debt to total tangible net worth, and will be set at LIBOR plus a spread of between 1.875 percent and 2.125 percent.

“We are pleased to begin this new relationship with Comerica Bank and are proud to be recognized by such a reputable financial institution for our solid financial performance,” stated Ian Edmonds, UPG’s president and CEO. “This new credit facility will allow us to continue to control our borrowing costs, while providing a readily available source of capital to fund our short- and long-term initiatives for future growth.”

VPG announces on-site bulk metal foil resistor trimming at Digi-Key

USA: Vishay Precision Group Inc. has opened a new Vishay Foil Resistors (VFR) Precision Center within Digi-Key Corp., a global full-service provider of both prototype/design and production-quality electronic components.

Digi-Key can now build and ship VFR surface-mount precision resistors -- with no minimum quantities -- in 24 to 48 hours, including VFR's popular new Bulk Metal® Foil VSMP (Z-Foil Technology) and VSM series resistors. These resistors are supplied to any resistance value in their range, with no standard value restrictions.

Digi-Key is a valued distributor of VFR's most popular precision resistor models used in critical circuits for avionics, military, and space (AMS) applications. They are also used in high-volume automatic test equipment, alternative energy, audio, automotive, medical, and energy-exploration applications. With an on-site Precision Center, Digi-Key now trims these resistors' elements to the exact customer-requested resistance -- specified to six-digits (e.g., 998.995 ohms vs. 1 kilohm) -- while maintaining all the inherent performance characteristics of Bulk Metal Foil technology.

"Typically, resistor manufacturers will supply resistor samples of a few pieces, but only with standard E series values," said Yuval Hernik, senior director for application engineering, Vishay Foil Resistors.

"If a customer requires a slightly higher quantity for prototypes, they usually have to purchase a full reel of resistors for each value. With a Precision Center on site, Digi-Key is helping to set a new standard by shipping the exact number of resistors needed of the precise resistance value and tolerances required; and they can do this in just a few days. For designers, this provides an invaluable source for small-quantity prototype runs and quick changes prior to full production."

With an on-site Precision Center, Digi-Key is able to ship VFR's newer VSMP and VSM wraparound surface-mount chip resistors from its own finishing operations. Based on Bulk Metal Z-Foil and Classic Foil technologies, respectively, both series offer initial tolerances as low as 0.01% with load-life stability from 0.005% (50 ppm) after 2,000 hours with rated power applied at +70 °C, and 0.01% (100 ppm) after 10,000 hours. TCRs as low as 0.05 ppm/°C from 0 °C to +60 °C provide unprecedented thermal stability and assure automatic TCR tracking of any number of resistors, even across separate circuit boards inside electronic equipment. The devices' unique construction permits uniform heat dissipation and minimizes the effects of extreme environments.

The resistors are noise-free and provide ESD protection of 25 kV or more for increased reliability. Prototyping with these highest available stability resistors in exact required values enables designers to take prototype circuits directly to full-scale environmental and life tests instead of the usual two-stage process of initial room temperature evaluation followed by subsequent ordering of more precise parts for full-scale testing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Diodes Inc. to acquire BCD Semiconductor

USA & CHINA: Diodes Inc. and BCD Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd, a leading analog integrated device manufacturer incorporated in the Cayman Islands, announced that Diodes Inc. had entered into an agreement and plan of merger to acquire BCD.

Highlights of the transaction include:
* Combined trailing twelve months reported revenue of approximately $750 million with significant cross-selling opportunities;
* Expected to be immediately accretive to Diodes’ GAAP earnings per share;
* Strengthens Diodes’ analog product portfolio by expanding its standard linear and power management offerings;
* Broadens Diodes’ presence in Asia through BCD’s strong local market position in China;
* Enhances market and margin expansion opportunities by leveraging Diodes’ cost-effective manufacturing and packaging capabilities;
* Expands design and manufacturing capabilities for increased capacity and scale; and
* Expected to result in revenue, operating and cost synergies.

At the effective date of the merger, each American Depository Share, which represents six ordinary shares of BCD, will be converted into the right to receive $8.00 in cash, without interest. The aggregate consideration will be approximately $151 million.

The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which is still subject to approval by BCD’s shareholders, as well as other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close late in the first quarter of 2013 or early in the second quarter.

Dr. Keh-Shew Lu, president and CEO of Diodes, said: “This proposed acquisition underscores Diodes’ strategy to expand our market and growth opportunities through select strategic acquisitions. This transaction will greatly enhance our analog product portfolio by expanding our standard linear and power management offerings, including AC/DC and DC/DC solutions for power adapters and chargers, as well as other electronics products.

"BCD’s established presence in Asia with a particularly strong local market position in China offers Diodes even greater penetration of the consumer, computing and communications markets. Likewise, Diodes can achieve increased market penetration for BCD’s products by leveraging our global customer base and sales channels.

"In addition, BCD has in-house manufacturing capabilities in China, as well as a cost-effective development team that can be deployed across multiple Diodes’ product families. We will also be able to apply Diodes’ packaging capabilities and expertise to BCD’s products in order to improve cost efficiencies, utilization as well as product mix.”

Dr. Lu concluded: “Diodes has a successful track record of combining businesses to achieve revenue expansion, cost reductions and improved profitability. BCD employees are a key asset, and we look forward to integrating them into the Diodes family as we work closely with our customers to familiarize them with our new expanded offerings, while continuing to provide exceptional service and support.”

Chieh Chang, CEO of BCD Semiconductor, said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement because we believe that BCD Semiconductor becoming a part of Diodes represents a compelling opportunity for our customers, employees and shareholders. This transaction provides liquidity at a significant premium for our shareholders and the combined company greatly strengthens the analog offerings and market opportunities for our customers."

Atlas Technology Group LLC and Duff & Phelps LLC acted as financial advisors and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP acted as legal counsel to Diodes Incorporated. RBC Capital Markets LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Covington & Burling LLP acted as legal counsel to BCD Semiconductor.

Toshiba launches highly sensitive 20MP BSI CMOS image sensor

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. will launch a new 20-megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor, the TCM5115CL, as the latest addition to its sensor line-up for digital still cameras. TCM5115CL offers the industry's highest resolution in the 1/2.3 inch optical format, using backside illumination technology (BSI) to improve sensitivity and imaging performance.

Sampling of the new sensor will begin at the end of January 2013 and mass production will follow in August 2013.

Continued advances in the resolution offered by compact digital cameras—now in the range of 10- to 16MP—have brought with them the challenge of improving performance and picture quality with smaller pixels. The TCM5115CL does just this by achieving a 15 percent improvement in full well capacity—the amount of charge an individual pixel can hold before saturating—against Toshiba's previous generation 16MP sensor (pixel size = 1.34μm).

TCM5115CL is designed to meet the demands of high quality, fast frame rate image capture and HD video recording supporting smooth, slow motion playback, and delivers the high frame rates 60fps at 1080p and 100fps at 720p.

CMOS image sensors are the main product of Toshiba's Analog and Imaging System business. The addition of the TCM5115CL to its CMOS sensor line-up for digital cameras will reinforce the business and support the company in securing its target of a 30 percent market share in 2015.

Sigma-Aldrich to form JV with Soulbrain to serve Korean market

USA: SAFC Hitech Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sigma-Aldrich Corp., has signed an agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Korean-based Soulbrain Co. Ltd.

Soulbrain is a publicly traded specialty chemical company serving the flat panel display, semiconductor and electronic materials market.  The joint venture, known as Soulbrain Sigma-Aldrich Ltd., is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized early in the first quarter of 2013.

The newly formed JV will serve the Korean market and will focus on developing and commercializing advanced metal organic precursor technologies used in the semiconductor and LED markets.  Soulbrain will contribute certain electronic material product know-how, intellectual property (IP), and development personnel to the venture.

SAFC Hitech will contribute related manufacturing and product know-how and IP for metal organic compounds used to manufacture semiconductors and will license its technology to the joint venture for products used to manufacture light emitting diodes (LED). The combination is expected to leverage the strong market position and customer intimacy of Soulbrain, and utilize SAFC Hitech's precursor technologies to better serve Korean customers.

Soulbrain will be the exclusive distributor for products manufactured or otherwise acquired by the newly formed joint venture within the Korean market.  With limited exceptions, joint venture-developed products for export outside Korea will be distributed by SAFC Hitech Ltd. or its affiliates.

Soulbrain is a key supplier of specialty electronic materials to manufacturers of semiconductors and flat panel displays. The company has a strong reputation as a technology provider to the Korean electronic materials market, which accounts for more than one-third of the global semiconductor precursor demand. Soulbrain also brings existing customer relationships, research and development (R&D), direct sales, technical marketing, manufacturing and other supply chain components to the venture. SAFC Hitech brings its existing product portfolio and global technological expertise.

Sigma-Aldrich's president and CEO, Rakesh Sachdev, stated: "We continue to grow our presence in the Asia Pacific region, where the majority of electronic products are manufactured today. The creation of this joint venture enables us to extend our capabilities in the region and gain greater customer access through Soulbrain's established technical competencies, infrastructure and customer relationships. We are pleased to partner with Soulbrain to bring new advances to the semiconductor and LED markets."

Ji-Wan Chung , Soulbrain chairman, commented: "Soulbrain's manufacturing capabilities combined with SAFC Hitech's precursor know-how and semiconductor electronic material product pipeline offer the growing Korean market more technologically robust solutions.  SAFC Hitech is a well-known specialty chemical manufacturer with a broad range of technical competencies and is an ideal partner to help better serve the needs of our customers in Korea."

Soulbrain is headquartered in Pangyo, Korea and employs approximately 870 employees in three manufacturing sites in Korea.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Digi-Key announces global distribution agreement with Cicoil

USA: Digi-Key Corp. has signed a global distribution agreement with Cicoil, an industry leader in the manufacture of flexible flat cable used in numerous commercial and military applications.

“Cicoil is very excited about becoming a supplier and partner with Digi-Key,” said Howard Lind, president and CEO of Cicoil. “Due to Digi-Key’s worldwide reach and exposure, Cicoil’s flexible cables will now be readily available to purchase online, for immediate shipment anywhere in the world. Everyone at Cicoil is very excited about the new partnership, and we look forward to a long, successful future with Digi-Key.”

Cicoil’s hyper-flexible cable/wire products can withstand harsh environmental factors such as extreme cold and extreme heat (-65°C to +260°C) and remain soft to the touch. Cicoil cables can also withstand medical or industrial chemicals and meet NASA or ESA outgassing requirements. This will give design engineer’s a new choice when needing a cable for harsh environments that will retain its flexibility. Cicoil cables can also be custom configured to include tubing, power, signal, and video in one jacketed cable.

“The commercial and military aerospace industries are an expanding market, and Cicoil is ideally placed to serve this area of growth,” said Tom Busher, VP, global interconnect, passives, and electromechanical product at Digi-Key. “Cicoil’s rugged product provides a unique dimension to our line card and we are pleased to enter into this partnership.”

Cicoil has extensive engineering experience in specifying and designing cable assemblies. The company's engineers have custom designed thousands of custom cable assemblies, for a wide variety of environments and applications. Cicoil cables are also used in medical equipment, and in automated robotic process equipment, specifically where cables needed to survive tens of millions of flexing, repetitive cycles.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sumitomo Electric receives world’s first Thunderbolt certification

JAPAN: Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd.  has become the first company to receive Thunderbolt certification from Intel Corp. for the optical Thunderbolt cable and has started the mass production.

Based on Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, this new optical Thunderbolt cable enables long-distance data transmission. Sumitomo Electric developed this cable through its expertise in optical fiber and module development and, in April 2012, began shipment of the sample products.

All Thunderbolt products must undergo a certification process to ensure optimal operation and end-user experience. The officially certified products provide highly reliable data transmission at a high speed of 10Gbps.

“Thunderbolt technology continues to bring performance and versatility to Macs and PCs today,” said Jason Ziller, Director, Thunderbolt Planning and Marketing, Intel. “Sumitomo’s new optical Thunderbolt cables add another level of versatility to Thunderbolt, especially for media creators and enthusiasts.”

The optical Thunderbolt cable is an active optical cable that enables long-distance transmission up to 30 meters to connect Thunderbolt devices together. The optical Thunderbolt cable is the same diameter as the conventional metal Thunderbolt cable (4.2 mm), and handles just as easily.

Sumitomo Electric’s special optical fiber makes the cable robust and durable for everyday use. This optical fiber offers high bending performance even when pinched up to 180 degrees or tangled in knots.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tektronix expands distribution channel with Convergent

INDIA: Tektronix has announced a new agreement with Convergent Technologies that will enable them to offer customers the full portfolio of Tektronix products including high performance oscilloscopes, signal generators, real-time spectrum analyzers, logic analyzers, Keithley precision test instruments and the MDO4000 Series – the world’s first and only mixed domain oscilloscope.

The expanded relationship will help provide more resources in India offering customers increased support and advice when choosing a test solution for their application needs.

In announcing plans to increase channel partner support, Kapil Sood, MD, Tektronix India said, “Our expanded relationship with Convergent Technologies, will enable customers to experience better technical and application guidance for their test and measurement product needs.”

Challenges and opportunities of China's LED market

CHINA: The LED market has seen a growing market and policy support, with LED lights becoming trendy products globally, especially in developed regions such as Europe, the USA, Japan, South Korea and beyond.

In China, the application of LED products picked up in the year 2008, including LED street lights, solar LEDs, LED full-color displays, consumer electronic LED lights and so on. During 2009 and 2010, China's LED industry had a prosperous development, with certain technological breakthroughs.

Meanwhile, the development of LED lighting will drive the progress of LED driver power supplies and other LED related industries. According to relevant departments' predictions, China's LED driver power supply will reach over RMB7 million, and the market scale will expand to RMB1.75 billion.

Relevant data shows that the number of LED patent applications in China increased significantly in recent years. According to the "Analysis Report on Semiconductor Lighting Patent Risk" by the Development Research Center of the State Intellectual Property Office, patent applications for LEDs in China cover 22 countries and regions, with Japan, South Korea, the USA, Germany and the Netherlands ranking as the top five.

From the view of SeekIC, a subsidiary of Hangzhou Weiku Information & Technology Co., China's LED development plays an indispensable role in the international LED market with thriving development potential, though the core LED technologies and patents are under the monopoly of other countries.

Since there is a growing tendency of rational development in the domestic LED market, more and more foreign enterprises are turning to it. At present, China has become the world's biggest lighting appliances producer and the second largest lighting appliance exporter.

By the end of 2011, there were over 3,000 LED enterprises, of which only 140 enterprises had an annual output value of tens of millions of yuan. In general, the development of the Chinese LED industry is faced with great opportunities and unprecedented challenges.

SeekIC is devoted to the promotion of the development of the LED industry. YXS Technology Ltd is a electronics company with a large number of electronic components in stock for military level, industrial level, rare and civil use. With the promotion of the SeekIC platform, the company has been able to develop a series of LED products, such as CL-L230-C10L.

Xin Xing Long (HK) Co. Ltd is an electronic components company with a professional LED factory and thousands of related products. Actually, there are many more partnership LED manufacturers with SeekIC. SeekIC has been committed to helping these enterprises adapt to the development of various electronics industries, not limited to the IC industry.

With the aid of its functions and influence, SeekIC is effective in helping customers with an in-depth understanding of the global market and in guiding domestic suppliers into the development of new products and technology in order to have a characterized product brand. It also provides one-on-one service to help customers establish effective, targeted social marketing networks.

The future trend of lighting energy lies in LED combined with solar energy. Except for common household lighting, LEDs are being applied in many different areas, such as automobile headlights and daytime running lights. SeekIC will make further developments and increase market shares in the LED field. For SeekIC and LED manufacturers, policy effects can create great opportunities as well as great challenges.

Smart Home Labs unveils Bluetooth smart wireless intelligent LED light bulb

USA: Smart Home Labs introduced the RoboSmart wireless LED lighting system that enables smart lighting control via your smartphone, tablet or computer over Bluetooth Smart wireless. The wireless LED light bulb is available for pre-orders on the world’s largest open-funding platform IndieGoGo.

RoboSmart Light Bulb is an energy efficient Bluetooth Smart enabled LED light bulb, which can be simply controlled from any Bluetooth Smart enabled Mobile device, with customizable apps for both iOS and Android.

The unique combination of energy efficient LED design and Bluetooth communications allows anyone the freedom to fully customize control of their home lighting, not previously possible with standard LED bulbs.

Harnessing the company’s RoboSmartTM technology allows for total control over the brightness, timer functionality and proximity modes. The key to this unique control is the marriage of smart electronics within the LED light bulb.

Every RoboSmart Light Bulb utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 4.0) as the wireless connection to the on board processor, real time clocks and memory.

Installing the RoboSmart Light Bulb is as easy as screwing in a light bulb and installing the Smart Lights App on your smartphone.

The control of the RoboSmart Light Bulb can be as easy as programming a timer and letting the processor do the rest (leave it and forget it) for fully automatic time based on and off times, scene lighting and proximity detection.

Each mode lends the RoboSmart Light Bulb to multiple locations within your home. Control options can be enabled, such as having your lights slowly turn off after departing the garage, to unique proximity lighting where the Smart Lights App can tell when you’re near-by and turn on and off one or more RoboSmart Light Bulb as you move within range, a typical scenario for your porch or driveway light.

Users can utilize their standard light switches to turn on the RoboSmart Light Bulb with a pre-set brightness settings. The RoboSmart Light Bulb can also be controlled from multiple Bluetooth enabled smartphones, providing custom features to each user.

The highly energy efficient Robolight easily pays for itself many times over in energy savings, looks just like a traditional incandescent bulb, provides high power LED illumination, along with the flexibility of wireless home automation from your smart phone.

Siano debuts Meron mobile wireless accessory

2013 International CES, ISRAEL: Siano, the world’s leading supplier of mobile broadcast DTV solutions, launched its new wireless accessory, Meron, for Europe, Australia, Latin America and Japan.

Meron is a compact and lightweight wireless accessory that delivers free high-quality broadcast TV to Android or Apple (iOS) smartphones or tablets, via WiFi. Siano is targeting the Meron to consumer electronics retailers and distributors, as well as OEMs and service providers interested in branding the product in their region.

Meron delivers a true live TV experience, free-of-charge, with no payment required for cellular data (air-time) or TV provider subscriptions. There are no mobile data charges and no Internet connection is needed to view broadcast TV.

Best recognized for its exceptional mobile TV receiver offering, Meron marks a new addition to Siano’s product family initiated earlier this year with the “Carmel”, a (30-pin) accessory (dongle) for Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. These Siano products are aimed at adding an enjoyable live mobile TV experience to the world’s most popular smartphones and tablets.

Compared to similar solutions on the market, Meron exhibits a minimalistic, CPU-less architecture, designed to provide the accessory at a comparably low price. The Meron is the most efficiently-designed product of its kind in the world, including only Siano’s battery-friendly, yet powerful mobile DTV receiver chip, and a WiFi transceiver. The Meron is powered by SianoTV, a high-quality DTV Apple/Android application, customized for Siano by Elgato, a world leader in multimedia applications.

The SianoTV application is available on the App Store and Google Play, free of charge. Battery-powered for ultimate flexibility, Meron supports more than three hours of TV viewing time, and offers exceptional WiFi range both indoors and outdoors. Meron provides global support for DVB-T, ISDB-T 1-Seg and Full-Seg (up to SD resolution), thanks to Siano’s family of exceptional multi-standard IC’s.

“With so many smartphones and tablets delivered worldwide every day, all with high-resolution displays and enormous processing power, the Meron, in conjunction with the SianoTV application, is the ideal tool to equip all of these devices with an exceptional TV on-the-go experience,” said Alon Ironi, CEO of Siano.

“You can put it on the table in a café, place it on a window ledge at home, or conveniently leave it in your pocket when you’re taking a walk in the park… Meron will deliver crystal clear TV to your personal smartphone or tablet. Given its affordable price, we believe that the Meron is transforming the conventional habits of TV viewing, making them more suitable to our era of smartphones and tablets,” added Ironi. A flavor of the Meron designed specifically for North America will be debuted next month as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alpha and Omega Semiconductor intros 80V and 100V MOSFETs

USA: Alpha and Omega Semiconductor Ltd (AOS) has released the AON7280 and AON7290, the newest additions to its new 80V and 100V AlphaMOS medium voltage portfolio.

These new products are well suited for a wide range of applications that include secondary side synchronous rectification in DC/DC and AC/DC converters, POL modules for telecom systems, and POE networking applications.

Built using AOS proprietary AlphaMOS technology, the 80V AON7280 and 100V AON7290 offer ultra-low RDS (ON) that are 27 percent and 10 percent better than the leading competitors, respectively. The low on-resistance minimizes conduction losses and allows the device to operate at lower temperatures.

This was achieved without compromising switching performance as both devices offer the lowest RDS (ON) * COSS in the industry. These solutions are packaged in a green DFN3.3x3.3 package, giving circuit designers flexibility in board-space critical applications.

Tektronix expands distribution channel with Convergent

INDIA: Tektronix announced a new agreement with Convergent Technologies that will enable them to offer customers the full portfolio of Tektronix products.

These include high performance oscilloscopes, signal generators, real-time spectrum analyzers, logic analyzers, Keithley precision test instruments and the MDO4000 series – the world’s first and only mixed domain oscilloscope.

The expanded relationship will help provide more resources in India offering customers increased support and advice when choosing a test solution for their application needs.

In announcing plans to increase channel partner support, Kapil Sood, GM, Tektronix India, said, “Our expanded relationship with Convergent Technologies, will enable customers to experience better technical and application guidance for their test and measurement product needs.”

“With expanded access to the Tektronix portfolio, we can be sure of meeting the most sophisticated testing demands,” said Nitin S. Shetty, Convergent Technologies.

Renesas intros lithium-ion battery charge controller IC with support for large-current rapid charging

JAPAN: Renesas Electronics Corp. announced the development of the R2A20057BM lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery charge controller IC for mobile devices employing one cell Li-ion batteries, such as digital still cameras and smartphones.

The R2A20057BM integrates a step-down DC-DC converter and supports 2 A large-current charging in very small package in the world’s smallest class. As digital still cameras, smartphones and other mobile devices gain higher levels of functionality, their current usage increases, requiring bigger capacity of Li-ion batteries, and larger currents for charging these batteries.

However, systems for large-current charging employ multiple power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and discrete passive components, and large-scale heat emission structure under large-current handling, while they need mounting area compactness especially for mobile devices.

To solve these problems, the new R2A20057BM substantially reduces the mounting area by integrating multiple power MOSFETs and charging circuits in a single chip, using a wafer-level package, a packaging technology that can also supply large amounts of current due to reduced package resistance.

In addition, it incorporates a highly efficient on-chip step-down DC-DC converter to realize large-current charging while keeping heat generation to a minimum.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First SEMI HB-LED standard published

USA: The SEMI HB-LED Standards Committee has approved its first standard, SEMI HB1: Specifications for Sapphire Wafers Intended for Use for Manufacturing High Brightness-Light Emitting Diode Devices.

Developed by the HB-LED Wafer Task Force, SEMI HB1 defines and specifies the physical geometry of 150 mm diameter sapphire wafers used in HB-LED manufacturing. HB1 covers dimensional, wafer preparation, and crystallographic orientation characteristics, as well as the appropriate measurement methods.

The document was approved by the HB-LED Committee during the North America Fall 2012 meetings, recently completed procedural review and will be published in January 2013.

Sapphire wafers are widely used in producing HB-LED devices for multiple applications such as LCD backlights, signage and solid-state lighting.  Improving manufacturing efficiency and reducing cost are critical to enabling high-volume manufacturing, and 150 mm sapphire wafers represent a key inflection point. Five categories of of single-crystal single-side polished sapphire wafers are covered in HB1, including:

* Flatted 100 mm diameter, 650 μm thick, polished c-axis sapphire wafers,
* Flatted 150 mm diameter, 1,000 μm thick, polished c-axis sapphire wafers,
* Flatted 150 mm diameter, 1,300 μm thick, polished c-axis sapphire wafers,
* Notched 150 mm diameter, 1,000 μm thick, polished c-axis sapphire wafers, and
* Notched 150 mm diameter, 1,300 μm thick, polished c-axis sapphire wafers.

As critical semiconductor technologies for energy efficiency, safety and next generation displays, HB-LEDs promise huge opportunities in solid state lighting, display backlighting and other high-brightness applications. Improvements in cost per lumen and lighting quality of high-brightness light emitting diodes (HB-LEDs) parallel those of Moore’s Law, but reaching the full potential of LEDs requires the global LED manufacturing supply chain to collaborate on industry standards to eliminate unnecessary costs, and better enable equipment and process innovation.

With this in mind, key industry stakeholders created the SEMI HB-LED Standards Committee in late 2010. The Committee and Task Forces are comprised of industry leaders in HB-LED devices, sapphire wafers, MOCVD wafer processing, and key equipment and materials suppliers to the LED industry. Since formation, the HB-LED Committee has initiated Task Forces on wafers, carriers, assembly and automation. Committee co-chairs are: Iain Black (Philips Lumileds), Chris Moore (Semilab), David Reid (Silian), and Bill Quinn (WEQ).

-- James Amano and Paul Trio, SEMI, USA.

Global ATE market to reach $4.36 billion in 2018

USA: According to a new report published by Transparency Market Research "Automated Test Equipment (ATE) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2012 - 2018", the Automated Test Equipment (ATE) market was valued at $3.54 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $4.36 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 2.88 percent from 2012 to 2018.

The Asia Pacific ATE market accounted for over 75 percent of the global ATE market in 2011 and will remain a majority shareholder till the end of the forecast period as well.

The last few years have seen a considerable growth in the volume of electronics and telecom equipment manufactured. Integrated circuits on a wafer have to be tested prior to die preparation and this makes automated test equipment extremely vital for semiconductor manufacturing. Post the packaging of the integrated circuit, the packaged chips need to be tested again using a variety of special test patterns.

Across the globe, semiconductor manufacturers use ATE to test the devices they manufacture and which are then incorporated in a variety of products ranging from televisions, personal computers, digital cameras, music players and mobile phones to mobile internet equipment and power management in automotive and portable electronics.

Toshiba to start sales of white LED packages

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. will start sales of white light-emitting diode (LED) packages that offer makers of general purpose and industrial LED lighting solutions a cost-competitive alternative to current LED packages. Mass production will start this month.

Production of LED chips is typically done on 2- to 4-inch wafers with an expensive sapphire substrate. Toshiba and Bridgelux, Inc. have developed a process for manufacturing gallium nitride LEDs on 200mm silicon wafers, which Toshiba has brought to a new production line at Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corp., a discrete products manufacturing facility in northern Japan. Mass production of packages using the new line's output starts this month.

Deployment of Toshiba and Bridgelux's new gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology to produce LED chips has allowed Toshiba to replace sapphire substrates and to produce the chips on a much more cost-competitive silicon substrate.

The low power consumption and long life of the white LED lighting is winning wide adoption in general purpose lighting, TV backlighting and other areas of application. In FY2011 the global market stood at 700 billion yen (approximately $8.5 billion) and it is expected to almost double to 1,250 billion yen ($15.2 billion) in FY2016.

Going forward, Toshiba will promote product development and global sales toward securing a 10 percent share of the world market in FY2016.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GreenPeak facilitates Green Power

THE NETHERLANDS: GreenPeak Technologies has announced its support for the ZigBee PRO Green Power feature, which adds support for energy harvesting and battery-free applications as part of the ZigBee 2012 standard. GreenPeak also announces achieving ZigBee Certified and Golden Unit status for its Green Power product.

Green Power is the newest feature for the ZigBee PRO feature set. Green Power gives battery-free, energy-harvesting devices the ability to join ZigBee PRO 2012 networks. Without requiring batteries, these self-supporting devices typically generate (harvest) just enough power themselves to communicate a brief command.

For example, a light switch without a battery harvests energy from flipping the switch on or off. This energy is captured to send the “on” or “off” command to the network to switch on or off the appropriate light. Hence, the light switch is a self-powered device.

“GreenPeak is very enthusiastic about the ZigBee Alliance announcing the ZigBee PRO Green Power feature for battery-free devices. Battery-free has been in GreenPeak’s charter since its foundation. Today, Green Power creates autonomous sensors: install them and forget them.” says Cees Links, founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies.

“Standardizing the elimination of batteries is the next step needed to enable the Smart Home where light switches and sensors in and around the house are interconnected, but without the burden of keeping batteries charged. We are looking forward to contribute to making this maintenance-free and environmentally friendly initiative a success.”

Anritsu intros handheld spectrum analyzers with performance up to 43 GHz

USA: Anritsu Co. has introduced the Spectrum Master MS2720T series, the highest performance handheld spectrum analyzers available in the world.

Providing field technicians and engineers with performance that rivals a benchtop spectrum analyzer, the MS2720T features a touchscreen, full-band tracking generators to 20 GHz, and best-in-class performance for dynamic range, DANL, phase noise, and sweep speed, providing unprecedented levels of spectrum monitoring, hidden signal detection, RF/microwave measurements, and testing of microwave backhauls and cellular signals.

Continuous frequency coverage from 9 kHz to 43 GHz is provided by the Spectrum Master MS2720T. It features an improved sweep mode that allows users to set resolution bandwidth from 30 kHz to 10 MHz with minimal effect on sweep speed. Because the sweep speed with a 30 kHz bandwidth is nearly the same as a 10 MHz RBW, sensitivity can be selected without the need for long sweep times.

For maximum flexibility, sweep triggering can be set to free run or a single sweep. In zero span, sweeps can be free run, set to trigger when a signal meets or exceeds a designated power level, or it can be externally triggered. Spans can be set from 10 Hz to 9, 13, 20, 32, or 43 GHz, in addition to zero span.

The MS2720T has dynamic range of > 106 dB in 1 Hz RBW, DANL of -163 dBm in 1 Hz RBW, and Phase Noise of -112 dBm @ 10 kHz offset at 1 GHz. These best-in-class specifications are complemented by unprecedented measurement capabilities. A burst detect sweep mode function allows emitters as short as 200 us to be captured every time, allowing the MS2720T to detect bursty signals that can lead to finding intermittent or bursty emitters. A Burst Detect Sweep Mode increases sweep speed more than 1,000 times in a 15 MHz span.

A full-band tracking generator that covers 100 kHz to 9, 13, or 20 GHz is available. The tracking generator provides state-of-the-art features not available on competitive handheld analyzers, including 0.1 dB power step size, wide dynamic range up to 100 dB, and power output flatness of +/-0.5 dB. The tracking generator includes a Continuous Wave (CW) generator for measuring fixed frequency components, as well.

An advanced 8.4-inch touchscreen user interface is incorporated into the Spectrum Master MS2720T. With the new touchscreen, users can add shortcut buttons for any menu button or file, making it possible for a setup file to be recalled with a single press of the touchscreen.

The MS2720T has extensive interference measurement capability, including Spectrograms that show events over time, making it simple to locate intermittent interferers. Signal strength measurements, coupled with a directional antenna, make it easier to find rogue transmitters. Like all Spectrum Master handheld spectrum analyzers, the MS2720T has dedicated routines for one-button measurements of field strength, channel power, occupied bandwidth, Adjacent Channel Power Ratio (ACPR) and Carrier to Interference (C/I).

The MS2720T offers six options for measuring the major wireless standards around the world, such as LTE FDD/TDD, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, W-CDMA/HSPA+, TD-SCDMA/HSPA+, CDMA/EV-DO, and WiMAX Fixed/Mobile. Other capabilities include measurements for Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) that when combined with Anritsu's EMI probe kit allows engineers to troubleshoot EMI issues and provide an inexpensive way to "pre-screen" for problems, improving time-to-market.

Designed for field use, the Spectrum Master MS2720T has a durable housing that can withstand the extreme temperatures and environments associated with field use. Depending on the model, weight is between 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs.) to 4.9 kg (10.7 lbs.), and all models measure 315 x 211 x 94 mm (12.4 x 8.3 x 3.7 in).

The Spectrum Master MS2720T delivery is four to six weeks ARO.

Power Integrations' LED-lighting driver design delivers long lifetime and high efficiency

USA: Power Integrations  announced a new long-lifetime LED-driver reference design. DER-340 describes a wide-range (90 VAC to 308 VAC), high-power-factor LED-driver power supply that is suitable for high-bay, exterior and street-lighting applications.

The LED driver detailed in DER-340 uses Power Integrations’ LinkSwitch-PH family of power conversion ICs which combine single-stage PFC and accurate CC output control. Single-stage LED driver architectures typically yield up to 5% higher efficiency than two-stage designs, which combine losses from separate PFC and constant-current circuits.

High-voltage aluminum electrolytic bulk capacitors - the least reliable component in traditional lighting power supply circuits - are not required in the single-stage approach, making 50,000-hour lifetimes attainable. In addition to providing a very effective solution for standard lighting applications in benign environments, DER-340 copes with conditions of poor ventilation and high temperatures in industrial applications through the use of ceramic output capacitors and an accurate hysteretic thermal shutdown feature included in the LinkSwitch-PH IC.

Andrew Smith, product marketing manager for Power Integrations, said: “Power supplies are often the weak link in LED lamps. This is especially true for industrial and infrastructure lighting applications where difficult operating conditions can quickly cause traditional power supplies to fail. This reduces the cost-effectiveness of solid-state lighting and conflicts with fixture lifetime expectations built on the basis of the longevity of LEDs alone. With high power conversion efficiency and no high-voltage aluminum electrolytic bulk capacitors, DER-340 provides an architecture that avoids this problem and delivers on the long-lifetime promise.”

The single-stage topology also reduces component count, allowing developers to use single-sided boards and smaller enclosures. DER-340 is highly energy-efficient – above 88% at 230 VAC and over 87% at 120 VAC. Output current tolerance is less than 5% across line, load and temperature.

Power Integrations’ LinkSwitch-PH ICs feature comprehensive integrated protection and reliability features including: output open circuit / output short-circuit protection with auto-recovery; line input overvoltage shutdown which extends voltage withstand during line faults; and auto-recovering thermal shutdown with large hysteresis that protects both components and the PCB. DER-340 LED-driver power supplies meet all applicable international standards including IEC 61000-4-5, IEC 61000-3-2 Class C, and EN55015 B.

Future prospects of next-generation lithium-ion battery

TAIWAN: Safe and stable products have been produced throughout the decade of Li-Iron battery industry’s establishment. In cases such as the lawsuit between Hydro Quebec and University of Texas and how controversial issues arise after A123 Systems Inc filed for bankruptcy protection, we could tell the differences between difficulty levels in the development of consumer LFPO/LFP battery.

Taiwan’s Li-iron industry has developed for a long period of time and is considered as one of the mature markets other than the U.S. and China. Back in the early expansion stage when there was a lack of economic of scale in lithium battery, Taiwan quickly adopted the LFPO battery development roadmap that make use of materials such as lithium iron phosphate and LFPO battery to produce more than 2500 tons of shipments a year, leading the world in both scale and quality.  

Lithium battery cell and battery pack are two vital applications that each plays a critical role in the renewable energy supply chain, Chang Hong is a Lithium-Iron battery cell manufacturer that has insightful experience and unique perspectives about the industry. The company has its business developed mainly based on battery cell production, which comprises of lithium polymer batteries that came in both 16.8Ah and 50Ah.

LFPO (lithium iron phosphorous oxide) was adopted as the cathode material throughout the water-based manufacturing process, which is safe and environmental benign. The selection of cathode material thus plays a critical role and places a direct impact over the manufacturing security, equipment investment, and product yields.
In terms of discharge performance, Chang Hong’s LFPO battery delivers a maximum current of 500A (10c, pulse 30 seconds) with power density also surpasses 1413w/kg, exhibiting outstanding results with LFP/LFPO battery’s compact size and high capacity.

Broad applications
The company has strengthened ties with fellow module makers for a full-extent use of its high-capacity 50Ah battery cell, which has been successfully deployed into power system for use in various applications such as lamp, vehicle, bicycle and ferry, taking Taiwan made Lithium-iron battery to the world stage.

Manufactured by the ship maker, Chia Sheng Yu enterprise, supported by Lung-Ye enterprise to construct the catamaran base, designed by Ship and Ocean Industries R&D center with Hung-Chang Corporation’s carefully developed electrical control technology and battery design,the first solar-power mission ship, Shihmen Number One, installed with Taiwan made key components, has begun its water-inspection service in September.
The R&D team that is composited by several key vendors, has taken full advantages of LFP/LFPO battery to meet its service mission. The ship’s design has optimized battery used for addressing the following conditions: environmental (water- and shock-resistance in high humidity environment), motor voltage, emergency power system, electric-control system, solar-power introduction, battery selection/composition and power management, power system and water-tightening design.

The Northern Region Water Resources Office of MOEA (Ministry of Economics Affairs) indicated that the boat carries the mission to promote clean energy with 16 routine inspection tasks being assigned, said authority director Chang Ting-Hua. The authority will strengthen its collaboration with volunteers for the clean-energy education concept.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cree reaches LED industry milestone with 200 Lumen-per-watt LED

USA: Two years after breaking the 200 lumens-per-watt (LPW) R&D efficacy barrier, Cree Inc. delivers another industry first with the introduction of the Cree XLamp MK-R LEDs.

The new MK-R LEDs leverage the SC³ technology next generation LED platform to deliver up to 200 lumen-per-watt (at 1W, 25°C) LEDs.

The new MK-R LEDs make the next generation of 100+ lumens-per-watt system possible for high lumen applications, including outdoor and indoor directional applications, such as halogen replacement lamps. MK-R LEDs are available in EasyWhite color temperatures, providing the LED industry’s best color consistency for designs that use only one LED.

For systems that use multiple LEDs, MK-R enables manufacturers to use fewer LEDs while still maintaining light output and quality, which translates to lower system cost.

“It’s amazing that Cree is able to achieve a 200 lumens-per-watt LED so quickly,” said Nicola Vendrame, CEO, Linea Light group. “The high efficacy of the MK-R LED means that we can drive the LED harder for more light output without creating heat issues. In addition, the MK-R LED has the right combination of size, color consistency and optical control to enable the next generation of performance in our indoor directional luminaires.”

“Cree’s relentless innovation continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with LED lighting,” said John Edmond, Cree co-founder and director of advanced optoelectronics. “The MK-R LED is another game changer for the industry. An LED with this level of performance can accelerate the development of high output lighting applications and could enable applications we haven’t even thought of yet.”

The MK-R LED features a 7mm x 7mm footprint with a 6mm optical source and delivers up to 1600 lumens at 15W, 85°C. Characterized at 85°C, the MK-R component is available in 2700K to 7000K color temperatures and offers minimum CRI options of 70, 80 and 90 (at selected color temperatures).

The MK-R LED is the ninth product built on Cree’s SC³ technology platform. The innovative platform leverages Cree’s advanced silicon carbide technology, features advancements in LED chip architecture and phosphor and boasts a new package design to deliver the most advanced LED components in the industry.

Cree XLamp MK-R LED samples are available now and production quantities are available with standard lead times.

Toshiba develops compact MOS-varactor simulation model

2012 Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference, JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. has announced the development of a compact MOS-Varactor simulation model that delivers high level accuracy from DC to the millimeter wave (60 GHz) region. The new model was developed in co-operation with Professor Nobuyuki Itoh of Okayama Prefectural University.

The new compact MOS-Varctor model introduces an original algorithm to express scaling effects and can capture the impacts of parasitic effects that dominate in the 60 GHz region. Measurement parameters from 1MHz to 60 GHz for samples with different cell sizes were used for modeling. In general, it is difficult to express MOS-Varactor with a single model, but this newly developed model fully succeeds.

The new model's accurate capture of parasitic effects supports realization of low power consumption in RF-CMOS products, and Toshiba will use it a basic technology for developing such chips, key devices of the company's Analog and Imaging IC Division. Building on the work done so far, Toshiba expects to secure accurate simulation of CMOS millimeter wave circuits in the future.

The new model has been verified with samples with cell lengths ranging from 0.26 um to 2.0 um formed with Toshiba's 65nm RF-CMOS technology. Very good accuracy for all cell sizes was achieved from DC to 67 GHz.

Verification of this model was made on a 60GHz circuit. Phase noise level dependency on the control voltage of the 60 GHz VCO was measured and compared with a circuit simulation, with this model used in the frequency tuning block. Measurement accuracy was found to be 8 dB better than with the conventional model2.

These development results were presented at APMC, the Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference, held in Taiwan from December 4 to 7.

1. MOS (Metal oxide Semiconductor)-Varactor is a planar device, conventionally fabricated in CMOS technology. Generally, it is widely used in the frequency tuning block of the CMOS VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) circuits.

2. BSIM (Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model) is the conventional model generally utilized in simulating MOS-Varactor. It was developed by the University of California, Berkeley.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Vishay extends IHLP family of low-profile, high-current inductors

USA: Vishay Intertechnology Inc. announced a new IHLP low-profile, high-current inductor in the 8787 case size with industry-high rated current from 9.7 A to 180 A and a high operating temperature to + 155 °C. The IHLP-8787MZ-5A offers high efficiency with maximum DCR from 0.17 to 28.30 milliohms and a wide range of inductance values from 0.22 to 100 microhenries.

With a frequency range up to 1 MHz, the device released today serves as a high-performing, space- and power-saving solution for voltage regulator module (VRM) and DC/DC converter applications. With AEC-Q200 qualification pending and expected for January 2013, the IHLP-8787MZ-5A is designed for high-temperature automotive applications, including engine and transmission control units, diesel injection drivers, entertainment and navigation systems, noise suppression for motors, and power seats and mirrors.

The new inductor handles high transient current spikes without hard saturation. Packaged in an RoHS-compliant, 100 % lead (Pb)-free shielded, composite construction that reduces buzz noise to ultra-low levels, the device is specified for an operating temperature range of - 55 °C to + 155 °C, with high resistance to thermal shock, moisture, mechanical shock, and vibration.

Samples of the IHLP-8787MZ-5A are available now. Production quantities will be available in Q1 2013, with lead times of 10 weeks for large orders.

Emerson announces triple-output 45W power supplies

HONG KONG: Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson and the global leader in enabling Business-Critical Continuity,  announced two new triple-output open-frame ac-dc power supplies, the NPT43-M and the NPT44-M.

Extending Emerson’s successful NPT40-M series, these new models are suitable for a wide range of IT equipment, medical, light industrial, instrumentation and process systems, as well as low-power dental and laboratory equipment.

NPT40-M series power supplies are rated for 45 watts power output with convection cooling and up to 55 watts with forced air cooling. The NPT43-M offers 5, 15 and -15Vdc regulated outputs while the NPT44-M offers 5, 12 and 24 Vdc regulated outputs.

The expanded NPT40-M series carries a comprehensive set of worldwide IT equipment (ITE) and non-patient contact and non-patient critical medical safety approvals. These power supplies can accommodate operating temperatures from minus 20 to 50 degrees Celsius at full power and as high as 80 degrees Celsius with de-rating. They feature an industry standard 2 x 4 inch (51 x 102 mm) footprint, and a height of less than 1 inch (25 mm), making them ideal for 1U high portable and rack-mounting equipment.

Emerson Network Power’s NPT40-M series has a wide-range universal input capable of accommodating any ac voltage in the range 90 to 264 Vac. It can also operate from any dc input in the range 127 to 300 Vdc, enabling it to be used virtually anywhere in the world. The NPT42-M power supply requires less than 74 W of input power, and inrush current is less than 50 A peak at 230 Vac input.

Emerson Network Power’s NPT40-M series power supplies fully comply with the international EN 61000-3-2 standard for harmonic emissions. They feature built-in EMI filters (CISPR 22 Class B) and meet rigorous international EMC standards, including FCC Class B, EN 55022 class B and VDE 0878PT3 Class B for conducted noise. Key safety design aspects include fuses in both the line and neutral connections, and a safety-ground leakage current which does not exceed 275 µA. Safety approvals include TUV/UL/CSA 60950 and 60601-1, CB certificate, CE mark (LVD) and CQC mark.

All three outputs on Emerson Network Power’s NPT40-M series power supplies are fully protected against short-circuit conditions. The main output is also protected against overvoltage conditions, and primary-side total power monitoring protects the overall power supply against overload. The power supply delivers a very high demonstrated mean time between failures (MTBF) of 550,000 hours at full load and under 25 degrees Celsius ambient operating conditions.

An optional LPX50 enclosure kit is available for applications that require the power supplies to have maximum component protection. Emerson Network Power’s NPT40-M series triple-output power supplies are available now.

Vishay releases MPMA resistor networks in compact surface-mount SOT-23

USA: Vishay Intertechnology Inc. released the new MPMA series of precision matched-pair resistors. MPMA resistor networks are AEC-Q200-qualified and packaged in a compact molded surface-mount SOT-23.

Each MPMA network is constructed using moisture-resistant thin film tantalum nitride resistor film with enhanced passivation on a high purity alumina substrate. The MPMA device is resistant to moisture at + 85 °C, 85 percent relative humidity, and 10 percent rated power per MIL-STD-202, method 202.

Offering higher precision matching capability than discrete SMT chips, the AEC-Q200-qualified dividers provide low TCR tracking of 2 ppm/°C and tight ratio tolerance to 0.05 percent, with excellent long-term ratio stability over time and temperature.

The MPMA series provides a resistance range from 250 ohms to 50 kilohms with divider ratios from 1:1 to 50:1. With their standard SOT-23 package and wide range of common standard divider ratios, the devices are ideal for precision voltage divider, operational amplifier, and battery signal management applications in automotive, industrial, telecommunications, process control, and medical instrumentation equipment.

Offering a rugged molded case construction, the MPMA networks offer power ratings of 100 mW at + 70 °C per resistor, extremely low noise of less than - 30 dB, low voltage coefficients of less than 0.1 ppm/V, and a operating temperature range of - 55 °C to + 155 °C.

Available with lead (Pb)-free terminations, the resistor networks are RoHS-compliant. Samples of the MPMA series are available now, with lead times of eight to 10 weeks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Toshiba to start sales of white LED packages

JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. announced that the company will start sales of white light-emitting diode (LED) packages that offer makers of general purpose and industrial LED lighting solutions a cost-competitive alternative to current LED packages. Mass production will start this month.

Production of LED chips is typically done on 2- to 4-inch wafers with an expensive sapphire substrate. Toshiba and Bridgelux, Inc. have developed a process for manufacturing gallium nitride LEDs on 200mm silicon wafers, which Toshiba has brought to a new production line at Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corporation, a discrete products manufacturing facility in northern Japan. Mass production of packages using the new line's output starts this month.

Deployment of Toshiba and Bridgelux's new gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology to produce LED chips has allowed Toshiba to replace sapphire substrates and to produce the chips on a much more cost-competitive silicon substrate.

The low power consumption and long life of the white LED lighting is winning wide adoption in general purpose lighting, TV backlighting and other areas of application. In FY2011 the global market stood at 700 billion yen (approximately $8.5 billion) and it is expected to almost double to 1,250 billion yen ($15.2 billion) in FY2016.

Going forward, Toshiba will promote product development and global sales toward securing a 10 percent share of the world market in FY2016.

MagnaChip and INELTEK sign European distribution agreement

KOREA & GERMANY: MagnaChip Semiconductor Corp., a Korea-based designer and manufacturer of analog and mixed-signal semiconductor products, has entered into a sales distribution agreement with INELTEK GmbH, a Germany-based distributor of advanced semiconductor products and services in Europe.

INELTEK, a leading European distributor, offers an extensive range of semiconductor products with a tradition of exceptional technical support and engineering services. INELTEK's wide distribution network includes sales and support offices in eight countries as well as individualized on-site customer assistance.

Under the terms of the agreement, INELTEK will distribute MagnaChip's power semiconductor products throughout Europe providing MagnaChip with access to new high growth markets and customers.

"This relationship is an excellent opportunity for both companies to increase their market share of semiconductor products in Europe and to gain access to new markets. Furthermore, we are able to provide additional products in the category of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors to our blue chip customer base," said Bernhard Sonnentag , INELTEK`s MD.

"We are very pleased to add INELTEK GmbH to our distribution network in Europe," said Brent Rowe, MagnaChip's executive VP of worldwide sales. "INELTEK's extensive customer network and application expertise is very complementary to MagnaChip's growing portfolio of power semiconductor solutions."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Smart grids will use $6.1 billion in electrical storage products in 2018

USA:  Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets has published a new report titled, "Batteries and Supercapacitors for the Smart Grid-2013."  This report claims the grid-storage market will reach $6.1 billion by 2018 making energy storage one of the fastest growing opportunities in the smart grid industry.

The default option for grid batteries today is lead-acid, accounting for more than 55 percent of revenues from grid batteries currently. By 2018, this share will decline to around 30 percent as new grid battery technologies become commercialized. The lead-acid battery will itself get an upgrade; carbon electrodes, promising a 4x performance improvement. In addition, the ultrabattery, with combination lead/carbon electrodes will compete for grid-storage markets. In 2018, lead-carbon batteries/ultrabatteries will generate around $300 million in revenues.

Grid storage for remote locations, microgrids and cell phone towers are already economically viable. This is driving demand for lead-acid and Zebra (sodium-nickel-chloride) batteries. Another wave of storage deployment is about to occur on the customer side of the meter for power-quality, peak-shaving and grid-stability applications creating demand for flow and lithium-ion batteries.

During this second wave the penetration of renewables will rise above 20 percent, making grid storage necessary to stabilize the grid because of intermittent generation. A final wave of grid storage is expected for retail peak shifting applications.

Although lithium-ion batteries are receiving considerable attention, it is immature and high cost and its current growth relies on government subsidies. When subsidies disappear, sodium-sulfur and Zebra batteries will be a better deal for power companies and large end users than lithium-ion.

The best hope for lithium batteries is where a supplier who is committed to lithium sells it as part of a comprehensive solution such as for smart buildings.  Jonson Controls and SAFT are doing this.  Revenues from lithium batteries are expected to reach $775 million by 2018.

Supercapacitors will become integral to grid storage, as costs go down and capacities increase. By 2018, supercaps will generate $1.1 billion in revenues from grid-storage, especially regenerative braking on grid-attached light rail and frequency regulation. Here, supercaps can result in a 30 percent reduction in electrical costs.

The long lifetimes and near-zero maintenance for supercapacitors make them attractive for such applications. Supercaps will improve performance with new materials; including nano-structured metal oxides, perovoskites, nanotubes and graphene increasing capacity 5-10 times compared to activated-carbon supercapacitors.

DC/DC converter boosts light load efficiency

USA: Diodes Inc. has introduced the AP65200 synchronous DC-DC buck converter.

Designed to help meet energy efficiency standards under light load and standby conditions, the AP65200 achieves efficiency as high as 96 percent for a light load of 200mA and maintains efficiency above 70 percent down to 20mA. Its high level of integration and minimal external component count is well suited for distributed power architectures in consumer electronics products, including TVs, monitors and set-top boxes.

Offering an input voltage range from 4.75V to 18V, the AP65200 provides a single device solution for both 5V and 12V bus systems, and delivers up to 2A continuous output current with a 3A peak. Using a simple external resistor divider, the converter output voltage can be set from as low as 0.925V up to a maximum of 16V.

With its integrated low on-resistance high- and low-side MOSFETs, the SO-8 packaged AP65200 reduces board space and optimizes trace layouts. In addition, externally programmable soft-start and on-chip over-current and thermal shutdown protection features ensure system stability and long-term reliability.

Pulse Electronics intros higher gain LTE NMO and direct mount antennas

USA: Pulse Electronics Corp.  introduced a new line of Shadow Low Profile Transit (SLPT) NMO and direct mount antennas to support public safety, WLAN, smart grid/smart metering, 3G, and 4G applications including long term evolution (LTE).

These high-performance, rugged, IP-67 rated antennas are provided in a slim, low profile radome of only 2.5” to 3” (63.5mm to 76.2mm) tall with a 1.5” (38.1mm) diameter base and high gains of 4 to 5.6 dBi.

"Pulse Electronics' new SLPT antenna family offers customers wider bandwidth solutions to cover more applications, including LTE, in a very compact aerodynamic package," commented Steve Bruegger, sales manager, Pulse Electronics Wireless Device Antenna Division. "These IP-67-rated SLPT antennas are both a mobile antenna for vehicular use and an M2M antenna for kiosk and other network devices."

The SLPT family offers a range of frequencies in both a standard NMO mount option for ease of installation and as a direct mount, tamper-proof version for 3G/4G, public safety, and WLAN applications. This range is wider than currently available in the marketplace and extends the multiple frequency options to include LTE.

Component replacements to potentially give rise to lower-than-$150 tablet PCs

TAIWAN: Tablets, which rank high on many consumers’ shopping lists, have become an undisputed highlight for this year's peak season, with cheap, under-$200 devices such as Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD poised to gain major attention within the market.

Considering how Google and Amazon are able to resort to advertising costs and other means to make up for their tablets' low prices, the PC vendors who traditionally rely on hardware sales for profit will be in for some serious competition.

TrendForce's research has indicated that as far as hardware costs go, the 7-inch tablet retail prices are unlikely to drop any lower than the current pricing mark. The replacement of key component parts, at the moment, serves as the only viable option for PC-branded manufacturers who are seeking to reclaim their market positions through low-pricing strategies.

Up to $25 saved by changing display and touch module components
Given that the display panel and touch module both account for approximately 35~40 percent of a tablet's total material cost, they are, naturally, major targets when it comes to controlling manufacturing costs.
With the price drops associated with the 7-inch FFS panels halting due to production yield issues, 7-inch TN panels have now become one of the cheapest display alternatives available. One point worth noting, though, is that the TN LCD's viewing angle is vastly inferior to the FFS's.

In order to allow consumers to move their tablet freely and without experiencing visual-based constraints, TN display panels are generally accompanied by Additional wide view angle compensation film. When the TN panel is applied in place of an FFS panel, the total saved cost is estimated to be over 50 percent.

For the touch screen, the current modules utilized by mainstream 7-inch tablets have either a G/G or OGS structure, both of which are over $20 USD and are burdens for cost-conscious manufacturers. A new touch screen alternative currently gaining a lot of attention is the G/F/F solution.

While G/F/F loses to the glass-based structures in terms of Transmittance and touch sensitivity, the G/F/F structure's cost is about 70 percent cheaper than the latter's. Through the replacement of TN panel and the G/F/F touch module, a tablet will be able to trim off an estimated $25 from the overall cost.

Alternative memory components to help save 60 percent memory cost
When it comes to minimizing memory component costs, commodity DRAM is perceived as an ideal option. Compared to 1GB mobile DRAM, which is around $10, 1GB commodity DRAM costs only around $3.5, approximately 65 percent less than its mobile counterpart.

Using low priced, $100 tablets as the basis of calculation, the proportion of production costs accounted by mobile and commodity DRAM translates directly into 10 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. Given that the type of DRAM used affects only the standby time as far as user experience is concerned, in order to lower the cost of future tablets, more and more manufacturers are likely to turn to using commodity DRAM in the future.

With regards to NAND Flash, as mainstream tablets tend to use the eMMC solution, eMMC pricing and densities have become two crucial factors that affect manufacturing cost. The density used by many branded tablets usually begins at 8GB, whereas for the higher-end tablets, the densities can be as high as 32GB or 64GB. With 8GB and 4GB eMMC costing at $6 and $4, respectively, the 4GB version is likely to be preferred choice for many manufacturers, in particular those hoping to keep BOM under $99. Given factors such as pricing and consumer expectations, the momentum of the 4GB eMMC is expected to continue into 2013.

In the CPU department, provided that the low-priced tablets utilize processor components from China-based manufacturers, Trendforce estimates that the cost per chip will only be around $12, which is approximately half the amount of the high-end tablets' $24-range processors. Whether the potential low cost tablets will indeed become a major hit remains to be seen, as much of their quality and specs will likely be affected by the costs of the materials used.

Nonetheless, should PC branded manufacturers release tablets that cost less than $150, this will certainly put a lot pressure on China's white-box tablets makers, and in turn intensify the pricing competition within the 2013 tablet market.

KYOCERA develops temperature characteristics-free Etalon filter

JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Kyocera Crystal Device Corp., in charge of development and manufacturing of crystal devices, has succeeded in developing a temperature characteristics-free etalon filter, a crystal device, which has applied the atomic diffusion bonding technique for the first time in the industry.

An etalon filter is a component which detects deviations in multiple light wavelengths in high-capacity optical communication transmissions systems. For this new product, Kyocera Crystal Device has realized a temperature characteristics-free etalon filter with high-accuracy, high-reliability and smaller size due to its success in developing a crystal device applying the atomic diffusion bonding technique. The product will be available on a sample basis starting January 2013.

The new product has achieved an industry-leading level of temperature characteristics of ±0.15pm/°C. This was achieved by applying a design technique combining positive temperature characteristic crystals with negative temperature characteristic crystals and an advanced crystal processing technique, along with industry's first application of the atomic diffusion bonding technique.

Furthermore, since the temperature characteristics-free etalon filter does not require a Peltier device for temperature adjustment, it can contribute to downsizing and energy conservation in tunable laser modules.

The atomic diffusion bonding technique is a direct bonding technique developed by Tohoku University's Prof. Takehito Shimatsu. It entails bonding the wafer and substrate together without applying heat, pressure or voltage, nor using organic adhesives. Through the joint-development with Prof. Shimatsu's research group, Kyocera Crystal Device has succeeded in bonding a crystal wafer in an extremely thin metal film thickness of several atomic layers to several dozen nanometers with high strength by applying the atomic diffusion bonding technique for crystal devices.

This method has solved the problems of optical contact, a conventional bonding method with lower bonding strength, and that of bonding using organic adhesive, for which the management of bonding thickness is difficult. It has also improved accuracy and reliability while reducing the size of the etalon filter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fairchild intros high-voltage MOSFETs

USA: High-end, AC-DC switch-mode power supply (SMPS) applications such as servers, telecom, computing, and industrial power applications require high power density, and to be successful, designers need cost-effective solutions that take up less board space and improve reliability.

Fairchild Semiconductor helps designers with these challenges by introducing the 600V N-channel SuperFET II MOSFET series.

Offered in two product families, the SuperFET II and SuperFET II Easy Drive, these MOSFETs offer a smaller stored energy in output capacitance (Eoss) for higher efficiency in light-load conditions and best-in-class robust body diode for increased system reliability in resonant converters.

Utilizing an advanced charge balance technology, these MOSFETs provide a significantly low on-resistance and a lower gate charge (Qg) performance for a lower figure of merit (FOM). The devices are comprised of several integrated features to assist in a simplified design that reduces component count for a more efficient, cost-effective design including a gate resistor (Rg) that greatly reduces gate oscillation and improves overall system performance.

Overcapacity and low LED substrate prices constrain sapphire players; hope floats with emerging apps

USA: A shortage of sapphire material between 2010 and 2011 created a window of opportunity for new entrants. In just the last two years, more than 80 companies announced their intention to enter the industry.

This trend coupled with slow demand from LED makers in 2012, has manifested a challenging environment with cores and wafers often selling at prices at or below manufacturing cost. These difficult market conditions will trigger an industry rationalization through consolidation and attrition that should take place in 2013 and 2014. The industry is expected to shift toward a more vertically integrated model in order to limit margin stacking.

This report provides a detailed analysis of the sapphire industry, including revenue, volume and price trends for all major substrate applications. It also includes an extensive list of manufacturers with current and planned capacity, and an analysis of established and emerging manufacturing technologies. The drivers and dynamics of the LED and SoS markets are analyzed, and a preliminary view and plausible scenario are provided on emerging non-substrate applications in cell phones.

The report is comprised of three major sections: the first presents historical and future price trends for material and finished wafers, as well as a detailed supply/demand analysis. Volume forecasts are presented for material, standard and PSS wafers, along with a revenue forecast for finished wafers. Section two presents an in-depth analysis of the requisite conditions for the success of LED-on-Si, and reveals how GaN could capture some niche markets thanks to higher performance and competitive system-level cost of ownership.

A third section analyzes the most recent trends and potential SoS-related upsides, and provides a revenue forecast. Also, the pros and cons of using sapphire in cell phone cover applications are discussed, and various scenarios are presented to illustrate the potential impact in terms of global sapphire demand.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chinese vendors picking up optical assets

Karen Liu, Principal Analyst, Components, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: PLC technology is used in splitters for the very large Chinese FTTx market. This year has seen Chinese companies advancing from optical module assembly to manufacturing of chips for optical communication in pursuit of competitive advantage. (Reportedly, 85 splitter vendors responded to China Telecom’s request for quote this year.)

However, as has happened before in China, the swing from shortage to over competition seemed instantaneous.  Several PLC chip companies have suddenly sprung up in China. Wafer prices reportedly have declined 40 percent in a single year. Accelink has the size and public company status to stand above the crowd, but the PLC market is tough.

We like that Accelink chose to reuse existing industry assets rather than add to the global glut of PLC wafers by jumping in like the other new entrants.

An established history of successful process can be a valuable differentiator for chip fabs. By buying Ignis Photonyx, Accelink has entered the fray with a proven global supplier that has had relationships with global leaders Oclaro (which was formed by the merger of Bookham and Avanex – Ignis Photonyx’s parent company Ignis ASA was formed from a Bookham subsidiary), NeoPhotonics (which previously had supply agreements and an ownership stake in Ignis ASA), and Finisar (which acquired parent Ignis ASA in 2011 and whose relationship to this deal is unclear.)”

Advanced lasers are still missing a piece
Historically, China has been fast to pick up passives technology. This pattern continues. Recently, II-VI picked up Oclaro’s US-based thin-film filter business to put into its Chinese OC subsidiary Photop.

We are particularly interested to see if Chinese vendors will also acquire actives technology.   There will be a shake-out in market share as technology transitions create openings at 100G.  Component vendors must invest if they want to be competitive in the future.

DRM Fusion for DTCP provides all the DLNA-required advanced cryptographic security functions, including authentication, digital signature algorithms and key storage and management in accordance with standards specified by the DLNA, which mandates the use of DTCP, defines interoperability guidelines to enable the sharing of digital media devices, and has more than 240 multi-industry companies responsible for nearly 20,000 different DLNA devices.

DRM Fusion for DTCP can be implemented either in software running in a trusted execution environment such as ARM TrustZone, or in applications without a trusted execution environment by integrating INSIDE Secure’s hardware security semiconductor IP.

Monday, December 10, 2012

O2Micro granted US patent for over-voltage controller

USA: O2Micro International Ltd, a global leader in the design, development and marketing of high-performance integrated circuits and solutions, was issued seven claims under United States patent number 8,232,773 for its Over-voltage Transient Controller; a continuation of the invention issued September 2009 under United States patent number 7,589,499.

Pre-charging (charging battery cells with a very low current) is required when a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack is too cold or deeply discharged. O2Micro's patented controller architecture enables lower cost pre-charging, without increasing the board size.

The patented architecture enables "adaptive" pre-charge to increase the charging current as the cell voltage increases, until finally reaching the full charging current level. Prior art utilized a fixed charging current, taking a longer time to charge the battery pack.

"Rechargeable battery applications include laptop computers, PDAs, cell phones, and any portable electronic device," said Bill Densham, strategic marketing director, O2Micro.

Mattson receives order for multiple paradigmE etch systems

USA: Mattson Technology Inc. has received a follow-on order for multiple paradigmE etch systems from a major CMOS image sensor (CIS) manufacturer. The systems will support a volume production ramp of CIS devices produced at this customer's fabrication facility.

"As consumer demand for higher-performance digital cameras, smartphones, and other mobile devices continue to grow, CIS manufacturers continue to push the performance of imaging sensors to new heights," said Rene George, VP and GM of the Plasma Products Group for Mattson Technology.

"To achieve the high levels of image quality at competitive cost structures for volume production, these manufacturers require high-performance, reliable manufacturing equipment that maximizes productivity. Our paradigmE was selected for its ability to deliver the leading-edge etch technology while providing the manufacturing flexibility and cost-of-ownership advantages that enable our customer to boost its production capacity to meet the brisk demand for image sensors in the growing consumer electronics markets. Winning these repeat orders validates our customer's confidence in our technology and demonstrates that we continue to expand and strengthen our etch position."

OSRAM SYLVANIA helps retailers develop custom designed LED solutions

USA: Lighting can play a crucial role in winning over savvy consumers beyond just illuminating product for sale. It can create an inviting environment to draw people into and throughout the store, showcase the vibrant colors in a blouse to create purchasing desire, focus attention on an important profit-driving item for sale and serve as a creative way finding technique that enhances the shopper's experience.

Recognizing the impact lighting can have on forward thinking retailers, North American lighting leader OSRAM SYLVANIA unveiled the U DESIGN Lighting Experience Center at its Winchester, Kentucky manufacturing plant, where retail lighting designers can customize an LED lighting solution that meets their unique design requirements and helps increase sales and profits.

At the U DESIGN Center, retailers can vary beam spread, color temperature, color rendering, optics and drivers and review the ROI for their specific application, comparing LED versus traditional lighting technologies. Depending on their specific requirements, building blocks of components are selected to create a unique lamp for their ambient or accent lighting needs.

After selection of components, OSRAM SYLVANIA will build the specified product at the Winchester plant and ship directly to the retailer for evaluation in their installation. Retail lighting designers can also see how the LED solutions are assembled and quality tested to ensure reliable performance at the Winchester plant, which has been in operation since 1953 and has a current staff with over 363 years of combined engineering experience.

Ellen Sizemore, product group marketing manager, OSRAM SYLVANIA, said: "At the U DESIGN Lighting Experience Center, retailers can custom design lamps with us that meet the performance criteria, such as provide a specific color temperature or beam pattern, while balancing energy and maintenance challenges at the same time. We are proud to work with retailers to help them maximize the impact of their locations."

"There has been a lot of noise about LED lighting for the retail industry, and it can be a little overwhelming," said Chris Trinckler, director of store design. "Visiting the Winchester plant with other members of my purchasing team was invaluable as it helped demonstrate the real-world benefit of LEDs. The tour also helped educate the group on the intricacies of selecting the best lighting for a retail installation and the importance of working with a partner like OSRAM SYLVANIA who is able to provide a customized solution that meets our particular need."

Key features & benefits of OSRAM SYLVANIA LED PAR Lamps include:

* Assembled in USA.
* Typical 89 CRI.
* Excellent color quality with a 2-step MacAdam ellipse.
* No warm up time, instant on with full light output and stable color.
* Last up to 20 times longer than comparable PAR lamps.
* Reduces energy consumption up to 80 percent.
* UV and IR free.
* RoHS compliant.
* Dimmable to 10 percent.
* Mercury and lead free.
* Long life - up to 50,000 hours (L70).
* Suitable for damp locations.

OSRAM SYLVANIA also created the U DESIGN mobile unit that can travel to retail locations to compare LED versus traditional lighting technologies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

ISSI's innovative FxLED driver drives 144 RGB LEDs for informational lighting displays

USA: Integrated Silicon Solution Inc., a leader in advanced memory and analog IC solutions, has announced the IS31FL3731 a high performance dot matrix LED driver for intelligent displays used in mobile phones, white good appliances, toys and personal electronics.

The IS31FL3731 is a compact LED driver with pre-programmed animation and color-effect lighting functions accessed via an I2C compatible interface.  These pre-programmed functions free-up the microcontroller to do other system functions resulting in increased performance and battery life. These devices can also be used in non-battery applications such as displays in home appliances, thermostats, indoor informational displays and in industrial applications such as displays in smart meters. They are also used in various automotive applications including dashboard and decorative display applications.

The IS31FL3731 supports two arrays of 72 LEDs for a total of 144 LEDs which can be individually dimmed in 256 steps (8-bit) with 1/9 cycle rate. The required signals to drive all 144 LEDs have been reduced to 18 by using a multiplexing feature that requires fewer traces resulting in an optimized PCB space.

The IS31FL3731 integrates 8 frames of memory which can be displayed with programmable time delays between frames to play small LED matrix animations.  The flexible architecture allows multiple IS31FL3731's to be cascaded for driving much larger arrays of RGB LEDs. For an added dimension of animation, an analog input such as an audio signal can be used to modulate the LED display intensity.

"ISSI has been known traditionally as a high quality, advanced memory supplier", said Ven Shan, ISSI VP of Analog products."Many don't know that we have embarked on a fast track strategy to become a go-to supplier of audio amplifiers, HB LED and RGB LED drivers for the automotive, white good appliances and consumer electronics markets.  The IS31FL3731 is the industry leading matrix LED driver with the most functions packed into a small QFN-28 package."

In addition to the small QFN-28 (4mm × 4mm), the IS31FL3731 matrix LED driver is also available in a gull winged SSOP-28 package for easier handling in applications that are not space sensitive. The device's operating voltage of 2.7V to 5.5V over the industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C makes it ideal for portable battery applications.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mouser delivers NXP LPC800 LPCXpresso board for use with NXP LPC800 32-Bit Cortex-M0+ MCUs

TAIWAN: Mouser Electronics Inc. is stocking and shipping the NXP Semiconductors’ LPC800 LPCXpresso Board, based on the new 32-bit LPC800 microcontroller family designed for the 8-bit microcontroller market.

NXP LPCXpresso, the full-featured IDE-based software development tool, supports the complete product design cycle for the LPC800, easing the transition to 32-bit architectures. Based on an ultra-low-power 30-MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, LPC800 MCUs are designed specifically for the 8-bit world and offer deterministic, real-time performance.

Featuring easy-to-use, innovative peripherals such as a flexible switch matrix and a state configurable timer, the LPC800 introduces a new level of flexibility without adding complexity.

“Mouser is excited to introduce this much-anticipated new development tool to our customers across the globe,” said Mike Scott, Mouser VP of Semiconductors. “NXP has earned a strong reputation as an innovator for developing their LPC-families of ARM-based microcontrollers, as well as mixed signal, and standard product solutions, targeting a wide range of markets and applications. The embedded design engineers have been eagerly awaiting this new board."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

OPEL announces new laser by ODIS subsidiary

CANADA & USA: OPEL Technologies Inc. announced that its U.S. affiliate, ODIS Inc. has successfully produced an integrated laser device, thereby achieving a key milestone in its Planar Optoelectronic Technology ("POET") process, that enables high-performance devices fusing optical and electronic devices together on a single chip.

By allowing the production of components with increased speed, density, reliability, and lower costs, POET offers the semiconductor industry the ability to push Moore's Law to the next cadence level, overcoming current silicon-based bottlenecks, and potentially changing the roadmap for a broad range of applications, such as smartphones, tablet and wearable computers.

After years of increasingly successful development, the fabrication of the first Vertical Cavity Laser (VCL) utilizing ODIS's patented POET GaAs III-V technology is a significant success. Incremental progress over the years has led to what many consider to be the next phase of semiconductor development which is to surpass the capabilities of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology for the next generation of high speed low power applications. It is now widely believed that CMOS technology advances have reached a saturation point.

The new laser serves as the basis for chip-to-chip interconnection, and complements numerous other optoelectronic devices already demonstrated by ODIS - including heterostructure field effect transistors (HFETs), optical thyristors, pulsed lasers, and super-radiant light emitting devices - all able to be monolithically fabricated via the POET process.

"Rarely can one be part of a development that truly has the potential to change the way the things work on so many different levels and platforms. We believe that this is 'the key milestone' and indeed this is one of those moments. Dr. Taylor and the ODIS team have chosen to achieve the most difficult laser first and have done so under extreme duress. This is not just an endorsement of the ODIS Team but also of the POET process itself," summarized Peter Copetti, Executive Director of the Board of OPEL.

The essence of the POET advantage is the merging of optical devices into the growth and fabrication that supports complementary HFET analog and digital functions. The n-channel and p-channel FETs take advantage of the high mobilities inherent to strained quantum wells. Simultaneously, the quantum wells provide the active emitter for lasers and amplifiers and the active absorber for detectors and modulators.

The intimate connections between diverse device types enables novel gate designs which dramatically reduce the power consumed in the opto-electronic (OE) and electro-optic (EO) conversions. The VCL has the small footprint required for dense circuit layout and enables vertical connections from anywhere in the circuit plane to fiber or to other stacked chips. Further, the same VCL structure enables in-plane and edge emitting operation based upon proprietary OE designs. The availability of the integrated VCL will change the architecture and design for future complementary integrated circuits.

Going forward, technology development will lower the threshold current, increase the output power and optimize the in-plane version of the VCL. In addition, the complementary transistor circuit capability will be enhanced by reducing the feature size to the 100-nm scale incorporating ODIS' new self-aligned contact technology. With transistor cutoff frequencies around 38-GHz for a 0.7-um gate, the scaling is expected to produce 260-GHz transistors with commensurate improvements in circuit speed.

POET's short-term industry solution is expected to include an optical interface as a single chip to connect existing CMOS processors. The optical interface chip integrates the laser, modulator, modulator driver, detector, receiver amplifiers, serializer/deserializer, clock and data recovery, and phase-locked-loop circuits monolithically.

The longer-term solution would look to replacing CMOS gates with POET complementary HFET gates. POET processors would provide their own optical output and also perform the optical receive function and therefore the need for a separate interface chip would no longer be required.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Enpirion partners with Future Electronics to offer world’s lowest-cost power-SoC DC-DC converters

CANADA & USA: Enpirion, the leader of integrated power IC solutions, and Future Electronics, a global leading distributor of electronic components announced the availability of products based on the world’s first wafer level magnetics (WLM) technology.

In partnering with Future Electronics, Enpirion has made available these devices worldwide, which are the lowest cost PowerSoC DC-DC converters in the world enabled by bringing the economics of silicon wafers in place of traditional discrete bulk magnetics.

The newly released EL700 family is a low power fully-integrated PowerSoC family based on electroplated wafer level magnetics. The EL700 family delivers low cost, low power point-of-load DC-DC conversion at a record-breaking 18 MHz switching frequency for ultra-low ripple. Compared to an LDO, the EL711 and EL712 improve power conversion efficiency up to 40 points, with efficiency of up to 90 percent. The 1A and 1.5A switch-mode DC-DC converters support an input voltage range of 2.65V to 5.5V and are true Enpirion PowerSoCs:

In a form factor of only 42mm², they monolithically integrate MOSFET switches, controller circuits, compensation, and a tiny silicon inductor. With an ultra-fast transient response, the EL711 meets the demand of high performance digital ASICs, DSPs, and FPGA cores found in a broad range of applications.”

“Besides enjoying the fastest time to market, customers benefit from a combination of low cost and highest density not possible with any other alternative integrated power management solution,” says Mark Cieri, VP of Sales and Corporate Marketing at Enpirion.

“We are happy to partner with Enpirion to offer the EL700 family to the market,” say Dan Casey, executive VP at Future Electronics. “Future prides itself of offering its customer a complete breadth of electronics components while focused on enabling fastest time to market solutions such as Enpirion’s PowerSoC DC-DC converter solutions.”

The EL711 PowerSoC comes in a 3 x 4.5 x 0.9 mm DFN package. It is pin-compatible to the 1.5A switch-mode DC-DC converter EL712. Both devices can be used as an economical replacement of low drop-out regulators.

The EL711 and EL712 are available exclusively from Future Electronics. The EL711 is priced at $0.57 in volumes of 1k units. The EL712 will be available in Q1-13. Future Electronics also offers evaluation boards for Enpirion products.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

LightPath in supply contract with leading digital camera manufacturer

USA: LightPath Technologies Inc., manufacturer and integrator of precision molded glass aspheric optics, Black Diamond infrared aspheres, GRADIUM glass products and high performance fiber-optic beam delivery systems, announced that it has entered into a supply agreement with a leading global manufacturer of high-end, digital video recording and playback equipment with an initial stocking order of approximately $1.1 million.

Under the terms of this agreement, LightPath will begin deliveries of lenses to this new customer beginning in the first calendar quarter of 2013.

"The investments we made in designing optics for the digital imaging and projection market have resulted in an outstanding product line that is now being adopted by top players in this market," said Jim Gaynor, CEO of LightPath Technologies.

"Digital imaging applications with capabilities that enable digital resolution in excess of 4X HD quality are just now beginning to proliferate through the video production market, and our products and technology are well-positioned to participate in this area of rapid growth. These high tech optics are a critical element in high performance camera and digital projection systems and our ability to win new business like this validates the price, performance and quality of our optics in a competitive and highly technical marketplace.

"Expanding into new areas is one key element of our growth plan and shows the continued progress we've made in our strategy to become a leading global supplier of molded glass optics and assemblies that serve a diverse group of end-markets and applications. Our goal is to lead both the technology and price-to-performance curves, and I believe this is a good indication of our successful penetration of a market that is expected to grow to $770 million by 2018."