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NASA Investigates Techniques for Cooling 3-D Integrated Circuits Stacked Like a Skyscraper

Future integrated circuitry is expected to look a lot like skyscrapers: units will be stacked atop one another and interconnects will link each level to its adjacent neighbors, much like how elevators connect one floor to the next. The problem is how do integrated-circuit designers remove heat from these tightly packed 3-D chips? The smaller the space between the chips, the harder it is to remove the heat.

NASA Takes Lasercom a Step Forward

A NASA-developed laser communication (lasercom) system made headlines in 2013 when it demonstrated record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon. Now, a NASA optical physicist says he can match those speeds -- plus provide never-before-achieved, highly precise distance and speed measurements -- all from the same relatively small package.

Interim CEO Jeff McCreary Discusses Recent Changes at Isola

Isola’s Interim President and CEO Jeff McCreary explains to Barry Matties the impetus for the personnel reduction taking place at Isola, the closing of their northern California facility, and why there’s no need to panic. He also shares his view of what the industry may expect from Isola going forward and what the company is looking for in a new CEO, the name of which McCreary expects to announce in the next few months.

Gold Embrittlement Mitigation: Understanding the New J-STD-001 Requirements

With the advent of more information from studies on the behavior of how much gold can impact the mechanical structure of the solder joint, the "washing away" of gold has become more important. This article discusses the significant changes made in the J-STD-001 specification, and their impact in the EMS and OEM industries.

Advanced Airborne Networking Capabilities Sought for Hostile Environments

DARPA solicits proposals to enable manned and unmanned air systems to rapidly, securely, and automatically share information across diverse waveforms and networks despite adversary jamming

The Real Martian Spinoffs Part 3: Harnessing the Power

It will be the most powerful rocket ever built. More powerful than the mighty Saturn V that took humans to the moon, the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA’s newest rocket currently under development, will have the capability to send astronauts deeper into space than ever before. With SLS and the Orion capsule, humans will no longer have to dream of walking on Mars: They finally will do it.

Movies, Mars Missions and Why Murphy Was An Optimist

The old adage that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” has a reputation of being the apogee of pessimism, but think about how much simpler it would make things if it were true. Spaceflight is full of unknown possibilities, and if Murphy’s Law were really true, you’d only have to prepare for the worst of them.

Vanishing Acts: A Call for Disappearing Delivery Vehicles

It sounds like an engineering fantasy: A flock of small, single-use, unpowered delivery vehicles dropped from an aircraft, each of which literally vanishes after landing and delivering food or medical supplies to an isolated village during an epidemic or disaster. It would be nothing more than a fantasy, were it not that the principle behind disappearing materials has already been proven.

The Application of Advanced Ultrasonics in Metal Plating Processes

Most surface modification chemical treatments by their very nature contain hazardous and oxidising chemicals; there is a major concern that these chemicals are used maliciously with the intent to manufacture explosives or formulate poisons to harm the public. Cyanide-based plating solutions and high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide used in current techniques are a significant use of these materials in industry.

Liquid Cooling Moves Onto the Chip for Denser Electronics

Using microfluidic passages cut directly into the backsides of production field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are putting liquid cooling right where it's needed the most - a few hundred microns away from where the transistors are operating.

TALONS System Mimics a Mast as Tall as a Skyscraper

DARPA’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated a prototype of a low-cost, fully automated parafoil system designed to extend maritime vessels’ long-distance communications and improve their domain awareness.

The Reindustrialisation of Europe

With an inquisitive mind and a head for challenges, besides the ability to think outside the box and the courage to dare to be different and strive to be first, Spirit Circuits MD Steve Driver can be relied upon to grab the attention of an audience of PCB professionals. As keynote speaker at the Institute of Circuit Technology Hayling Island Seminar, he lived up to his reputation with a motivational presentation, the two themes of which exemplified his latest entrepreneurial venture.

DoD’s First Pass at Grey Market Regulation

The U.S. government gets a great deal of heat for many things, including fostering the introduction of counterfeit components into the supply chain. But when you really study how their procurement process is setup, when you break down the layers, it’s not hard to see how a counterfeit component or suspect material can find its way in.

ELCOSINT - The Future of High Temperature Interconnect

The increasing need for electronic assemblies to endure high-temperature operating conditions in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas drilling, power management and renewable energy applications, whether those conditions involve high ambient temperatures, high cycle temperatures or high junction temperatures, is driving the development of high temperature interconnection technologies.

Perovskite Photovoltaics Excitement

Ultrathin, flexible, stretchable and lightweight versions have been produced by Johannes Kepler University in Austria powering a miniature aircraft and airship. With 100% yield, exhibiting 12% efficiency they are only 3μm thick and weigh 5.2g m-3. Organolead halide perovskites are promising because they absorb light more efficiently: thinner layers are needed. Researchers suggest it could power EIVs as robotic insects and drones, and its flexibility and stretchability could be useful in bio-electronics.

Sensor Data Fusion Offers Countermeasures Against Small Drones

Airbus Defence and Space has developed a counter-UAV system which detects illicit intrusions of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) over critical areas at long ranges and offers electronic countermeasures minimizing the risk of collateral damage.

Fortifying Computer Chips for Space Travel

Space is cold, dark, and lonely. Deadly, too, if any one of a million things goes wrong on your spaceship. It's certainly no place for a computer chip to fail, which can happen due to the abundance of radiation bombarding a craft. Worse, ever-shrinking components on microprocessors make computers more prone to damage from high-energy radiation like protons from the sun or cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy.

NASA is Laser-focused on Deep Space Communication

Today’s technology has all but eliminated time delays in telecommunication on Earth, but when they do occur they can be frustrating, especially when trying to communicate complex or time sensitive information. The same type of delay could happen when communicating with spacecraft and crew members in deep space on the journey to Mars.

Addressing Quality and Manufacturability Challenges of Mission-Critical Products

Mission-critical military and aerospace PCBAs are based on 100% SMT and optimized for manufacturability from day one of design. But the reality is that many of these products utilize mixed technology. In many cases, these mixed technology designs often violate industry-standard design guidelines, creating manufacturability issues.

Latent Short Circuit Failure in High-Rel PCBs due to Cleanliness of PCB Processes and Base Materials

Latent short circuit failure of power PCBs has been associated with fiber contamination of the dielectric material. Tests and inspections have shown various sources of contamination in laminate, prepreg and on etched innerlayers. It has been demonstrated by IR tests that contamination can cause breach of insulation due to electromigration.

Gary Ferrari Shares His Thoughts on PCB Design and More

Recently, I spoke with Gary Ferrari, director of technical support at Firan Technology Group, about numerous topics related to PCB design. Our conversation ranged from CID training to the need for reaching high school students as a way of introducing more young people to career opportunities in our industry. We also covered strategies for helping customers design and build better product, and keeping designers provided with the most critical part of their supply chain—information.

Agricultural Drones and Flexible Circuits

Agricultural drones are expected to have a significant impact on farming over the next few years. In the article mentioned above, the drone’s ease of use and affordability make this a tool that virtually every farmer could employ. One major complementary technology to the drone is the advances in imaging technology and analysis. Specifically, the agricultural drone gives farmers data analysis capability that they have not had before.

Could 'Windbots' Someday Explore the Skies of Jupiter?

A team of engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who wondered if a probe could be buoyant in the clouds of Earth or a distant gas giant planet, like Jupiter, has recently begun studying their question, thanks to a one-year, $100,000 study, funded by NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.

A Look at the High-Reliability Interconnect Market

In an interview with I-Connect007, Mark Cormier of Miraco Inc. discusses his company's activities and capabilities, the latest trends and drivers in the high-reliability segment, and their strategies when it comes to managing their assembly work as well as their audit processes to find EMS providers.

Changing the Face of Displays…One Button at a Time

Michael Detarando, president and CEO of Incom, and Emilijo Mihatov, business development manager at Fairlight discuss with I-Connect007's Barry Matties how Fairlight is incorporating Incom's technology into their famous products for the recording and broadcast industries, along with other applications such as elevator control panels.

Avoid Overbuilding your RF Printed Circuit Board

Today, many companies are overbuilding and “overmaterializing” their RF printed circuit boards. In this interview, James Hofer of Accurate Circuit Engineering (ACE) shares some strategies to avoid doing both, which will help lower the total cost of your PCB and improve the overall product quality. Hofer also discusses some of the challenges in the laminate supply chain.

EIPC Summer Conference: Day 2

Refreshed after an excellent conference dinner, and for most, a good night’s sleep, delegates returned for the second day of the EIPC Summer Conference in Berlin, continuing the theme of improving profitability through technical leadership and innovation to meet future market requirements, with sessions on materials and processes for high performance PCBs and advanced material testing strategies to meet OEM and ODM needs.

EIPC Summer Conference, Berlin: Day 1

Berlin, capital of Germany and a world city of culture, politics, media and science, was the venue for the 2015 EIPC Summer Conference, which attracted delegates from sixteen countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, USA and Canada, as well as the European Union, to experience a programme of 21 technical presentations over two days. Also included was a visit to the Berlin laboratories of Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

Wearable Technology and Flexible Circuits

Flexible circuits are an ideal fit for wearable technology. Wearable electronics need to be light, dense and bendable. While what is currently considered standard flexible circuit technology is more than adequate for many the wearable products, there are requirements that may be pushing the boundaries a bit.

American Standard Circuits’ Unique Offerings Contribute to Long-term Success

At the recent IMS RF and microwave show in Phoenix, Arizona, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, sat down with I-Connect007's Barry Matties to discuss the current market trends, the company's recent equipment investments, and where American Standard Circuits' growth will likely come from.

Flexible Circuit Materials for High-Temperature Applications

To meet the increasing needs for flexible circuit materials for high-temperature applications, new test methods will need to be developed. These new methods will assign new ratings that are consistent with actual performance.

NEPCON China 2015 a Resounding Success in Shanghai

The three-day event was a complete success, bringing together nearly 22,000 trade visitors and high-quality buyers, as well as 450 leading brand names from 22 countries and regions worldwide. NEPCON China keeps up with market trends and gathers resources from all stakeholders to present a comprehensive event that covers SMT, new electronics materials, soldering, dispensing, electronics automation, measurement and other innovative technologies and products across the world.

Flexible Circuits and UAV Applications

The utility offered by flexible circuits in UAVs mimics the advantages that make it popular in other portable electronic applications: lightweight, thin, highly reliable, flexible during use, and an ability to electrically connect across multiple layers as part of a complete packaging interconnect solution.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

In a preview webinar to introduce the upcoming SMART Group seminar where the latest advances in assembly technology and reliability will be discussed by industry and subject experts, SMART Group Technical Committee members Charles Cawthorne from MBDA and Ian Fox from Controls and Data Services summarized the papers to be presented.

Material Witness: How About that Technical Roadmap!

You may remember the movie "What About Bob?" If you do, you may recall the scene in which Bob (Bill Murray) confronts his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) and emotes, “I need! I need! I need! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” As I thought recently about some of the drivers that IPC and others have incorporated into their technical roadmaps, I feel a bit like that befuddled psychiatrist.

CyberOptics: Honing in on the High-Reliability Market with 3D AOI and SPI Platforms

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and CyberOptics’ Sean Langbridge spent time together in China recently, where they discussed, among other things, the company’s newest product launch, a 3D AOI and SPI platform. Langbridge also discusses the latest requirements for inspection.

Stretchable Inks: Changing the Wearables Market and the Landscape of Manufacturing

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and DuPont’s Steven Willoughby and Michael Burrows spoke recently and discussed new material for wearable electronics: stretchable inks. Wearable electronics is a fast growing sector of the electronics industry that is inspiring new and exciting products, as well as changing the requirements for becoming an electronics manufacturer.

Reliability Assessment of No-clean and Water-soluble Solder Pastes, Part II

Twenty-five years ago, solder paste residues had to be cleaned after reflow due to their corrosive nature: two ways of cleaning were available, either with solvent or by using water, with or without detergent. Now, the assembly world is mainly no-clean: paste formulation is safer in terms of chemical reliability and process costs are reduced without cleaning.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 2

In Part 2 of this multi-part interview series, Verdant Electronics Founder and CEO Joe Fjelstad, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties discuss the future of what’s to come for the electronics industry, which, according to Fjelstad, has a lot to do with where we’ve just been in our quest for lead-free manufacturing. He also offers his view on the natural order of the evolution of personal political persuasions.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 1

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and industry veteran Joe Fjelstad, CEO and founder of Verdant Electronics, met recently to spend a day together enjoying the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose), located in the Oregon community of McMinnville. Their conversation ebbed and flowed between a wide variety of topics, from the electronics industry, to political shenanigans and the “war against failure.” In Part 1 of this multi-part series, Fjelstad introduces his “war against failure” idea, and what went terribly wrong in the advent of lead-free manufacturing.

Zentech: Expanding EMS Solutions and Supporting Innovation

Zentech CEO and President Matt Turpin sat down with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently for a wide-ranging discussion of the state of both domestic and global manufacturing, and Zentech’s recent acquisition that will significantly expand the company’s capabilities. They also focused on supply chain issues, automation, regulations, and the importance of STEM education in the U.S.

Zentech’s John Vaughan on the Mil/Aero Sector: “It’s Headed Up”

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and Zentech’s John Vaughan had a chance to discuss industry concerns within the mil/aero segment at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. The two also shared thoughts on the space industry, and Vaughan detailed Zentech’s involvement with National Manufacturing Day, a nationwide effort focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that simultaneously brought high school students together with 1,600 manufacturing companies from around the U.S.

UTC Aerospace Systems’ Lead PCB Designer Presents at Designer Day

I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack sat down with Stephen V. Chavez, lead electrical designer for UTC Aerospace Systems, at IPC APEX EXPO Designer Day, to discuss Chavez’s presentation at the event. Chavez, who provides leadership to a global team of PCB designers, spoke on the importance of workplace communication with international teams.

Insitu: Moving Mountains in a Mountain Community

Nearly 800 employees build and support Insitu’s UAS line of ScanEagles, Integrators and ground stations. Boeing’s cameras captured the first images inside of Insitu’s new production facility, Eagle Point. Watch the video for a peek inside and learn more about where high-tech meets mountain height.

IPC's 2015 Technology Roadmap for the Electronics Industry

The 2015 edition of IPC's International Technology Roadmap for Electronic Interconnections is newly launched. Jack Fisher and Marc Carter explain what goes into putting it together, and how engineers and managers can use it to give an operational perspective on trends and developments in the next 2-5 years.

Multek CTO Excited About the Challenges of the Fast-Moving Wearables Market

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and recently-appointed Multek CTO Dr. Joan Vrtis sat down at IPC APEX EXPO to discuss the rapidly evolving wearables market, especially for medical, and the myriad questions that must be addressed. Other topics include Multek’s contribution to the wearables industry and what it sees as the main challenges to putting their circuits into various applications.

Quality Assurance Through Testing

The PCB Magazine columnist Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services discusses the challenges related to the electrical testing of high-density PCBs, and what is required to meet IPC and military specifications.

Japan’s Thermosetting Plastics Association Represents at IPC APEX EXPO 2015

At the International Reception, held opening night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey made the rounds and found some visitors from Japan, namely, Kazutaka Masaoka, from Thermosetting Plastics Association (JTPIA). In this brief interview conducted amongst the reception attendees, Masaoka-san and Starkey discuss Japanese vs. North American circuit board quality and business trends.

Ready to Hire! Blackfox Provides IPC Class 3 Training to Veterans

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties caught up with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox Training Institute, for an in-depth discussion on Blackfox's expansion plans for North America (Tempe, Arizona and Guadalajara, Mexico) and Malaysia (Penang). Dill also describes the highly successful veteran’s training program, which is being spearheaded at the Blackfox headquarters in Longmont, Colorado.

Ingredients for Success at All Flex

Dave Becker from All Flex talks with guest editor Kelly Dack about the five Keys for success in PCB manufacturing, It’s not just the technology! You have to spend time on corporate culture. The five key ingredients are…

Drive a Car? You Can Fly a Typhoon!

The EIPC conference delegates see Eurofighter assembly at Airbus Defence and Space. The major attraction was the opportunity to see the final assembly line for Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft destined for the German Air Force. Editor Pete Starkey has a post-show review.

Enhancing Thermal Performance in Embedded Computing for Ruggedized Military and Avionics Applications

Embedded computing systems used in many military and avionics applications are trending toward higher heat fluxes, and as a result performance is being hindered by thermal limitations. This article outlines a series of passive thermal improvements that are easily integrated into legacy systems and can provide a 3-4x increase in dissipated power.

GD Digital Modular Quadruples Navy Network Comm Capacity

Built using open architecture standards, the DMR radios will continue to provide improved functionality and interoperability while accommodating next-generation communications waveforms like MUOS, the Integrated Waveform and future advanced network communications waveforms.

Rockwell Collins’ New RSR Transforms Customer Devices for Military

Rockwell Collins’ new Remote Secure Receiver, which was recently ordered by the Battlefield Airmen Office of the Air Force Special Operations Command, is the first of its kind and features the world’s smallest, lowest power, protected, secure and trusted military Selected Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS solution.

CES 2015: Preview and Predictions

Looking back over the last five years of CES and analyzing predictions and items featured by the large exhibitors, you'd likely assume the 2015 show would feature more advanced 3D TVs, as they were predicted to take over the market...wrong!

A Conversation with Canice Chung, TTM Technologies

We had the opportunity to sit down with Canice Chung, Executive Vice President of TTM Technologies, Inc. to discuss the current trends and challenges of PCB Manufacturing in China.
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