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Crystal orientation a breakthrough for solar tech
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Northwestern University and Rice University have tweaked their crystal production method and developed a type of two-dimensional layered perovskite with outstanding stability and more than triple the material’s previous power conversion efficiency, in a step that could bring perovskite crystals closer to use in the burgeoning solar power industry...
World's highest output RF power transistor replaces vacuum tubes in industrial systems
The latest advances in LDMOS technology have allowed RF power transistors to be employed in systems that were formerly the exclusive domain of vacuum tubes, while also expanding their use in new applications. The new NXP MRF1K50H RF power transistor further extends the capabilities of LDMOS, as it delivers 1500 W at 50 V between 1.8 and 500 MHz in either pulsed or CW operation, making it the highest power transistor available in any technology and any frequency...
When to use an amplifier with rail-to-rail inputs - and what to watch out for
Early in my graduate school education, I was working on a project that needed a unity-gain operational-amplifier buffer for a monitoring circuit in our thin film deposition system. As soon as the new module was plugged in, I discovered that all of the signals close to the positive supply were clipped...
Circuit Enhancement Enables Digital Setting of Voltage Reference
Adjustable voltage references offer great flexibility to circuit designers because the reference isn’t limited to the manufacturer’s preset values. The adjustable output is typically configured with a voltage divider from the output to the feedback pin. To regulate the output, the circuit compares the voltage at the feedback pin to an internal reference...
Electrical engineering in the 1960s: The transistor changed everything
The late 1950s and early 1960s saw perhaps the most dramatic change ever to hit electrical engineering. When transistors came along, many engineers needed to quickly learn how they worked and how to use them. Engineering managers had to convince upper management that transistors were the future of electronics. Herbert Pollack was one of those engineering managers...
Where Is Top 10 IoT Processor List?
If we assume that the IoT market is picking up momentum, can we add the corollary that IoT processors are keeping pace and the semiconductor industry is hitting the jackpot? If so, where are these IoT processors?...
Prototype to production: Arduino for the professional
Despite its popularity among hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts, the Arduino has become infamous among professional embedded systems developers. I must admit that for the longest time I also viewed the Arduino as so simple it was nearly useless for professional developers. But I have changed my mind. I’ve found that on a number of occasions over the last few years, rapid prototyping using Arduinos and Arduino shields has proven invaluable in moving a project forward...
Tracing a transistor's curves
There was a time when it wasn't so rare to discover an unusual, scope-like object in an electronics lab. This was the curve tracer, able to display detailed characteristic curves of many components. Early models displayed vacuum tube curves; later ones were of course aimed at measuring transistors, diodes, and other solid-state devices...
Hands-on with the BBC micro:bit
It’s been a long wait, but our latest single board computer for review is finally here! The BBC micro:bit, given free to every seventh-grade British child, has landed at Hackaday courtesy of a friend in the world of education. It’s been a year of false starts and delays for the project, but schools started receiving shipments just before the Easter holidays, pupils should begin lessons with them any time now, and you might even be able to buy one for yourself by the time this article goes to press...
Paralleling power supplies: Many viable options, but know the tradeoffs
There are a variety of reasons why a system designer may want to consider paralleling of DC power supplies. Some of these are related to the bill of materials and logistics issues, others are focused on satisfying system current, performance or reliability objectives. On the non-design side, the ability to parallel supplies may allow a single supply model to be used singly or in combinations across a broad product line...
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