The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts


Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs

  1. Robotic work cell conducts high-throughput testing instantly, Sandia National Laboratories, June 11, 2018, PHYS.ORG – Today, it’s possible to make 3D printed objects in a matter of hours. But making sure those parts actually work can take weeks or even months. But now there’s an alternative. Researchers have designed and built a six-sided work cell, with a commercial robot that conducts high-throughput testing to quickly determine the performance and properties of the part. This flexible, modular and scalable system is call Alinstante, Spanish for “in an instant.” The robot sits in the center of a hexagonal work cell with six petal work stations around it. Each work station has a different commercial or custom testing system. The work stations can be swapped out depending on the kind of tests needed. Multiple petals can be combined in a honeycomb-like structure, which allows handoff from petal to petal, providing almost limitless testing scalability. The team also installed safety light curtains so the robot automatically stops if the person and robot interact. The next step is to add a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer to Alinstante. X-ray tomography, corrosion testing and density measurements are just a few examples of the tests that Alinstante could perform. For the full article visit PHYS.ORG.
  2. Scientist Contributes to Significant Advance in Silicon Photonics, Northern Arizona University, June 11, 2018, Wireless Design & Development -- Physicists have discovered an innovative way to manipulate light in silicon. This breakthrough could revolutionize computer chip technology and represents a significant advance in the field of silicon photonics. Currently, researchers can control silicon at the atomic level, make wafers of pure crystal silicon and more. With this control, engineers have created devices on silicon chips that use electricity to perform useful tasks. However, the wires used in these devices send and process information inefficiently due to the heat generated by the electric current. Realizing the full potential of silicon photonics has challenged scientists for decades. It’s extremely difficult to generate laser light in silicon, which is a key ingredient for silicon photonics. Now, the team has demonstrated a new type of laser, the Brillouin laser, that amplifies light with sound waves in a silicon chip. This project has expanded the way light can be manipulated and controlled within silicon. For the full story visit Wireless Design & Development.
  3. A better device for measuring electromagnetic radiation, David Chandler, June 11, 2018, MIT -- A new, improved alternative to bolometers has been created. Bolometers are devices that monitor electromagnetic radiation through heating of an absorbing material and are used by astronomers and homeowners. However, most such devices have limited bandwidth and must be operated at ultralow temperatures. This new device is ultrafast, highly sensitive, cost-effective and can work at room temperature. This discovery could pave the way toward new kinds of astronomical observations for long-wavelength emissions, new heat sensors for buildings and new kinds of quantum sensing and information processing devices. The new system is based on the heating of electrons in a small piece of graphene. The new bolometer can also measure the total energy carried by photons of incoming electromagnetic radiation, whether the radiation is in the form of visible light, radio waves, microwaves or other parts of the spectrum. This new technology opens a new window for bolometers that could improve thermal imaging, observation astronomy, quantum information and more. For the full story visit MIT.
  4. New 28-GHz transceiver paves the way for future 5G devices, Tokyo Institute of Technology, June 11, 2018, EurekAlert -- Scientists have designed and built a transceiver for stable high-speed 5G communications. The new transceiver is better than previous designs, because it takes a new approach for beam steering. The new standard for mobile networks promises data rates and speeds at least one order of magnitude higher than those of 4G, while allowing for smaller antennas and radio frequency (RF) transceivers due to higher frequencies. Most state of the art transceivers designed for 5G employ RF phase shifters. However, using RF phase shifters brings certain complications and does not make the cut for 5G. To overcome this, the team developed a 28-GHz transceiver using a local oscillator (LO) phase shifting approach. This allowed for an improvement of an order of magnitude greater compared with previous designs. This new LO phase shifting approach could bring forth the deployment of 5G mobile networks. For the full article visit EurekAlert.
  5. And lastly, the most popular Tektronix download of the week goes to eGuide to RF Signals. Our eGuide answers your questions and shows you the various signals you can test for and analyze. This easy-to-use guide will give you what you need to quickly identify the signals you’re looking for.

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