Microelectronics world news

Rohde & Schwarz enables Qualcomm to pioneer new frequency ranges for future 5G-Advanced and 6G networks

ELE Times - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 09:24


In the evolving landscape of 5G networks, leveraging frequency ranges FR1 (0.41 to 7.125 GHz) and FR2 (24.25 to 71 GHz) has been pivotal. As the era of 5G-Advanced and 6G unfolds, a third frequency range is being discussed in global regulatory and industry consortiums worldwide. FR3, which is also known as upper-midband, spanning 7.125 to 24.25 GHz, will open a new frontier for mobile communication technology. Rohde & Schwarz technology plays a key role in enabling Qualcomm Technologies to show the readiness and effectiveness of the latest RF modem technology for FR3.

At the most recent World Radio Conference 2023, held in November and December 2023 in Dubai, organized and hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a consensus emerged among regulatory bodies and industry leaders to explore additional spectra for the next generation of mobile communication, officially labeled IMT-2030, also known as 6G. Notably, the 14.8 to 15.35 GHz frequency range has been earmarked for global study. In addition, local agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States are also eyeing the upper 12 GHz band (12.7 to 13.25 GHz) for future wireless applications.

In anticipation of these developments, Rohde & Schwarz, leading supplier of test and measurement solutions to the wireless industry, has enabled Qualcomm Technologies, a trailblazer in wireless system technology, to demonstrate that the Giga-MIMO system for tomorrow’s infrastructure is ready and effective to operate in these frequencies. It promises enhanced data performance while offering coverage comparable to current 5G massive MIMO networks operational at 3.5 GHz.

To validate the performance of this prototype, Qualcomm Technologies utilized the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator and R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz. The setup included specialized firmware for the testing of different subcarrier spacings with wider signal bandwidths compared to today’s 3GPP physical layer specifications. The wider bandwidths will ultimately enable higher data rates and lower latency.

Andreas Pauly, Chief Technology Officer at Rohde & Schwarz, said: “We are thrilled to extend our support of Qualcomm Technologies and explore the new frontier of mobile communications together. Our tailored test solutions are instrumental in advancing research for 5G-Advanced and 6G networks, and exploring the possibilities of the FR3 frequency range lays the foundations for the success of tomorrow’s mobile applications.”

Tingfang Ji, Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm Wireless Research, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., said: “We are committed to pioneering next-generation mobile technologies and are grateful to Rohde & Schwarz for its support in helping to make this a reality. Our efforts to enable Giga-MIMO in upper midband for wide-area coverage help to set the stage for 6G and a transformative leap in wireless communication.”

Demonstration of FR3 signal generation and analysis at MWC Barcelona

At MWC Barcelona, Rohde & Schwarz will demonstrate a high performance signal generation and analysis setup for early FR3 research, featuring the latest vector signal generator and analyzer products. The setup consists of the brand new R&S SMW200A, not only with a new front panel and user interface but also significant improvements in EVM performance. On the analysis side, the R&S FSVA3000 includes special features like IQ noise cancellation to achieve outstanding EVM measurement performance thanks to a noise corrected measurement path. Dedicated 5G signals for FR3 are being generated and analyzed as part of the demonstration.

Rohde & Schwarz will present its comprehensive test solutions for the mobile industry including a setup demonstrating high-performance signal generation and analysis for FR3 signals at the Mobile World Congress 2024. Visitors can find Rohde & Schwarz in hall 5, booth 5A80, at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.

The post Rohde & Schwarz enables Qualcomm to pioneer new frequency ranges for future 5G-Advanced and 6G networks appeared first on ELE Times.

STMicroelectronics and Mobile Physics join forces to create EnviroMeter for accurate air-quality monitoring on smartphones

ELE Times - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 09:15

Time-of-flight optical sensing enables world’s first accurate personal air quality monitor and smoke detector for smartphone

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, and Mobile Physics, a software-development startup specialized in environmental physics, have revealed an exclusive collaboration that enables smartphones and other devices to measure household and ambient air quality with a built-in optical sensor.

Developed exclusively for ST’s multizone ranging sensors, which are widely used for features like camera autofocus and presence detection, this solution measures particulates in the surrounding air. With accuracy comparable to purpose-designed air-quality monitors, Mobile Physics’ EnviroMeter app acts as a personal, portable environment monitor and smoke detector to safeguard health – and enhance fire safety. Manufactured using ST’s low-power technology, it can operate ‘always on’ to provide constant awareness with minimal impact on battery life.

Each year, 3.2 million people die prematurely from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. The combined effects of ambient air pollution and household air pollution are associated with 6.7 million premature deaths annually (1). Monitoring air quality has become a real necessity and a public health issue. Leveraging ST’s market positioning to accelerate integration, the two companies have integrated Mobile Physics’ software and ST’s VL53L8 direct time-of-flight (dToF) sensor on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 smartphone platform. As showcased at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit 2023, this project creates the world’s first smartphone with always-on air-quality sensing and smoke detection.

Personal environment monitoring can give everyone greater control over their own health and safety, using their smartphones. The customer will also have the option to opt in to access wider environmental data covering their local area,” said Erez Weinroth, CEO, Mobile Physics. “ST’s direct ToF sensors enabled us to deliver a solution with accuracy close to that of high-end dedicated environment monitors but at lower cost and in a smaller package.”

The team at Mobile Physics has made ingenious use of the data from our dToF sensor to produce this groundbreaking yet economical and elegant environment monitor,” said Alex Balmefrezol, General Manager, Imaging Sub-Group at STMicroelectronics.  “We are delighted to enable this new, wellness-enhancing feature that complements the established ToF use cases providing even more value to our customers.“

The air-quality sensing solution developed with ST is included in Mobile Physics’ EnviroMeter Software Development Kit (SDK), which also provides data on temperature, wind, precipitation, humidity, light-intensity, UV, and noise-level monitoring. Sensing can detect particles smaller than 2.5 micron and thus empower users to protect their health. The solution does not require any additional equipment; a standard dToF sensor and the Mobile Physics software is all that is needed.

To learn more about this solution, come to the ST booth (7A61) at Mobile World Congress 2024 where we will showcase the air-quality monitoring demonstration.

Technical Notes to Editors:
The VL53L8 is used in diverse electronic products including smart speakers, projectors, laptops, robots and home appliances, and door-entry systems, as well as IoT devices such as occupancy sensors. Any of these products can now deliver extra value by providing air-quality indication and fire protection with no extra hardware components required. The sensor’s small size, measuring just 6.4mm x 3.0mm x 1.75mm, eases integration anywhere a small form factor is required.

Engineers can accelerate projects including proximity and presence detectors using the development ecosystem available from ST. This includes the X-Nucleo-53L8A1 development board, the P-Nucleo-53L8A1 evaluation pack that also contains a microcontroller development board, and SATEL-VL53L8 breakout boards. The VL53L8 is in production now. Pricing information and sample requests are available at local ST sales offices.

About STMicroelectronics
At ST, we are over 50,000 creators and makers of semiconductor technologies mastering the semiconductor supply chain with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. As an integrated device manufacturer, we work with more than 200,000 customers and thousands of partners to design and build products, solutions, and ecosystems that address their challenges and opportunities, and the need to support a more sustainable world. Our technologies enable smarter mobility, more efficient power and energy management, and the wide-scale deployment of cloud-connected autonomous things. We are committed to achieving our goal to become carbon neutral on scope 1 and 2 and partially scope 3 by 2027. Further information can be found at www.st.com.

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Allegro Microsystems Launches High-Bandwidth Current Sensors for EVs

AAC - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 02:00
Both current sensors are designed to improve efficiency in GaN and SiC power converters.

IEEE 1588 grandmaster clock handles 25 Gbps

EDN Network - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 00:30

Microchip’s TimeProvider 4500 (TP4500) is an IEEE 1588 PTP grandmaster clock that furnishes high-speed network interfaces up to 25 Gbps. The hardware timekeeping platform not only offers 1-Gbps, 10-Gbps, and 25-Gbps Ethernet options, but also achieves timing accuracy below 1 ns.

TP4500 gives infrastructure operators a terrestrial alternative for distributing precise time that is not dependent on GNSS. Highly scalable, the platform serves thousands of PTP endpoints for customers deploying C-band gNodeBs. Hardware-assist enhancements, including the latest digital synthesis technology and PolarFire SoC FPGA, allow the system to deliver sub-ns timing accuracy.

Oscillator options for the TP4500 include OCXO, super OCXO, and rubidium. The unit also incorporates a 72-channel GNSS receiver with active thermal compensation. TimePictra synchronization management software allows operators to monitor and track real-time faults and threats with visibility across their entire network.

The TimeProvider 4500 is available now for purchase. Contact a Microchip sales representative or authorized distributor.

TimeProvider 4500 product page

Microchip Technology 

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Platform simulates Wi-Fi 7 devices and traffic

EDN Network - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 00:29

The E7515W UXM wireless test platform from Keysight offers network emulation with Wi-Fi 7 signaling RF and throughput testing of Wi-Fi 7 devices. It performs Wi-Fi to application and Wi-Fi to cellular internetworking testing of both Wi-Fi clients (STAs) and Access Points (APs) from 380 MHz to 7.125 GHz.

As a turnkey system, the E7515W simplifies Wi-Fi 7 testing and provides insights for both the physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layers. The system emulates hundreds of clients at once through traffic simulation without the need for additional equipment. According to Keysight, this capacity exceeds existing market solutions by threefold.

Analysis software for the E7515W provides PHY/MAC level information, such as rate versus range, as well as enhanced Rx sensitivity, Wi-Fi 6/6E/7 radio unit sweep analysis, and full-rate throughput. Based on the same hardware architecture as the E7515B UXM 5G test platform, the E7515W tests more complex devices with 5G and LTE capabilities. It also performs fixed wireless access (FWA) testing for customer premise equipment (CPE).

Request a price quote for the E7515W Wi-Fi 7 test system using the link to the product page below.

E7515W UXM product page

Keysight Technologies 

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Fast SSD improves computer performance

EDN Network - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 00:29

Joining Samsung’s lineup of consumer SSDs, the 990 EVO delivers a sequential read speed of up to 5000 Mbytes/s, 43% faster than the 970 EVO Plus model. The company also reports that the 990 EVO offers up to a 70% improvement in power efficiency compared to its predecessor.

Available with storage capacities of 1 terabyte and 2 terabytes, the internal NVMe SSD enhances everyday computing experiences like gaming and video/photo editing. In addition to its fast sequential read rate, the drive’s sequential write speed reaches 4200 Mbytes/s. Random read and write operations also get a boost, with speeds of up to 700k and 800k input/output operations/s (IOPS), respectively.

Improved power efficiency allows battery-powered PCs to operate longer between charges. The 990 EVO supports Windows Modern Standby, which enables instant on/off with uninterrupted internet connectivity and seamless notification reception, even in low-power states. What’s more, the SSD’s heat spreader label effectively regulates the thermal condition of the NAND chip.

The 990 EVO supports both PCIe 4.0 x4 and PCIe 5.0 x2 interfaces. Samsung’s Magician software is a set of optimization tools to ensure the best SSD performance. It also streamlines the data migration process for SSD upgrades. Magician protects valuable data, monitors drive health, and provides notification of firmware updates.

The 990 EVO SSD will be available in Malaysia starting next month.

990 EVO product page


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Low-power MCUs perform diverse tasks

EDN Network - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 00:29

Built with an Arm Cortex-M33 core, NXP’s MCX A14x and A15x series of general-purpose MCUs operate at 48 MHz and 96 MHz, respectively. The devices target a broad range of applications, including motor control, industrial sensing, smart metering, automation, and smart home devices.

Both series offer high levels of integration with scalable device options. Peripherals include timers that generate three complementary PWM pairs with deadband insertion and a 4-Msample/s, 12-bit ADC with hardware windowing and averaging. Along with UART, SPI, and I2C interfaces, the MCUs provide an I3C communication interface. I3C improves on the performance and power use of I2C, while maintaining backward compatibility for most devices.

MCX A microcontrollers employ a capless LDO power subsystem that operates from 1.7 V to 3.6 V. Devices consume 59 µA/MHz (3 V, 25°C) in active mode running Coremark from internal flash. In deep sleep mode, current consumption drops to 6.5 µA with 10-µs wake-up and full SRAM retention (3 V, 25°C). Deep power down mode trims consumption to less than 400 nA with 2.78-ms wake.

Packaging options for the MCX A parts include 32-pin QFN, 48-pin QFN, and 64-pin LQDP. MCUs are I/O and pin-compatible across package types, simplifying migration and upgrades. MCX A14x/15x devices are available now through NXP’s distributor network.

MCX A14x/15x product page

NXP Semiconductors 

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5G router streamlines industrial operations

EDN Network - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 00:28

Purpose-built for Industry 4.0 use cases, the Digi IX40 router provides global 5G and LTE connectivity with edge intelligence and real-time processing. The IoT cellular router allows enterprises to seamlessly connect multiple wired or wireless machines in demanding environments. It also optimizes the integration of cloud-delivered operational technology with information technology to enable network-wide visibility, monitoring, and control.

The IX40 provides edge intelligence by placing computing power in the device at the edge of the enterprise network where the data is collected. Processing sensor data immediately and closer to where it is generated (instead of sending it to the cloud), reduces latency. The router’s built-in computing power and integrated memory enable rapid machine-to-machine communication and robust real-time data processing.

Other Digi IX40 features include:

  • FIPS 140-2 validation for encryption of sensitive data
  • Ethernet, SFP, serial, I/O, and Modbus bridging
  • Failover options like fiber and 4G LTE for redundancy
  • GNSS receiver supporting GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo
  • License-free enterprise software: VPN, firewall, logging, and authentication
  • Digi Remote Manager for mass configuration and management of remote assets

Typical applications for the Digi IX40 router include advanced robotics, predictive maintenance, asset monitoring, industrial automation, and smart manufacturing. FirstNet-capable models are available for critical applications that require emergency response.

For more information or request a price quote, use the link to the product page below.

Digi IX40 product page

Digi International  

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Introspect Technology Introduces LPDDR5/LPDDR5X Protocol Analyzer

AAC - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 20:00
The analyzer's package-on-package interposer design enables shorter cables and active probing with measurements at 8,533 MT/s or more.

Navitas celebrates tenth anniversary

Semiconductor today - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 15:31
In a series of events during 2024, beginning with the IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference & Exposition (APEC 2024) and ‘GaNFast Blast!’ celebration in Long Beach, CA, USA from 26 February, gallium nitride (GaN) power IC and silicon carbide (SiC) technology firm Navitas Semiconductor Corp of Torrance, CA, USA is marking 10 years of innovation and growth in a broad range of fast-growing markets, from ultra-fast mobile charging to artificial intelligence (AI) data centers, renewable energy and EVs...

Infineon highlights power solutions portfolio at APEC 2024

Semiconductor today - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 15:24
At the IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference & Exposition (APEC 2024) in Long Beach, CA, USA (25–29 February), Infineon Technologies AG of Munich, Germany has detailed its plans to highlight what it claims is the industry’s broadest range of power electronic devices – spanning silicon, silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) materials – including wide-bandgap solutions offering the highest efficiency and power density...

Nuvoton’s New Microprocessors Target Industrial HMI Applications

AAC - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 02:00
The MPU is built on 64/32-bit Arm Cortex-A35 cores, packing a computing punch in modern user interfaces.

Understanding the Significance of Dynamic Range and Spurious-Free Dynamic Range

AAC - Wed, 02/14/2024 - 20:00
In this article, we investigate two metrics used to characterize the performance of RF test and measurement systems.

Hotwire thermostat: Using fine copper wire as integrated sensor and heater for temperature control

EDN Network - Wed, 02/14/2024 - 15:07

Conventional thermostats are based on separate temperature sensor and heater devices with means for feedback between them. But in some recent EDN design ideas (DIs) we’ve seen thermostat designs that meld the functions of sensor and heater into a single active device (usually FET or BJT). The ploy can make a better fit to applications where the intended thermal load is physically small or has some other quirk of geometry that makes it inconvenient to apply the classic separate sensor/heater schema. This DI (see the figure) follows the melded concept but takes it in a somewhat different direction by using fine gauge copper wire (e.g., 40 AWG polyurethane insulated) as an integrated temperature sensor and heater.

Here’s how it works.

Miniature thermostat utilizing the tempco and I2R heating of 40 AWG copper wire as a melded sensor/heater.

Wow the engineering world with your unique design: Design Ideas Submission Guide

The resistance and temperature coefficient of a standard 40 AWG copper wire at 25 oC are generally spec’d at 1.07 Ω/foot and +0.393%/oC, respectively. Therefore, L feet of 40 ga can be expected to have an approximate resistance at a given temperature T of:

R(L,T) = 1.07 L(1 + 0.00393(T – 25))                 (1)
R = 1.07 L + 0.00421 L T – 0.00421 L 25           (2)
T = (R – 1.07 L + 0.00421 L 25) / 0.00421 L      (3)
T = (R – 0.965 L) / 0.00421 L                            (4)

Equation 4 holds well from R/L = 0.965 Ω/ft at 0o up to 1.6 Ω /ft at 155o (the recommended upper temperature limit for solderable polyurethane wire insulation). 

Consider the implications for the use of fine copper wire as a combination temperature sensor and heater.

If a suitable length (between 5 and 15 feet) of wire is placed in a feedback loop driving current through it so as to dissipate enough I2R heating to raise and maintain a temperature that creates a preselected constant wire resistance, then said temperature, and the temperature of any thermal load thermally bonded to it, would likewise be constant! This is exactly what the circuit in the figure does.

Q1’s drain supplies heating; heating current I to the sensor/heater wire (please ignore for a moment the minor contribution from start-up resistor R2). The voltage induced between the terminals of the R wire resistance is then:

V = IR                         (5)

This causes the A1b, Q2 current source to output:

I2 = V/(R4 + R7) = IR/(R4 + R7)           (6)

Which induces a voltage at pin 2 of A1b:

V2 = I2(R5 + R6) = IR(R5 + R6)/(R4 + R7)           (7)

Meanwhile, Q1’s source current (also equal to I) sampling resistor R1 produces:

V3 = IR1                     (8)

FET control amplifer A1a forces FET gate voltage and thereby R drive current such that:

V2 = V3                                           (9)
IR(R5 + R6)/(R4 + R7) = R1I          (10)
R = R1(R4 + R7)/(R5 + R6)             (11)

Thus, heater current, and therefore wire resistance and temperature, are forced to equilibrium values set purely by the resistance ratios listed in Equation 11, with the resultant constant temperature given by Equation 4.

About Q3. The thermostat circuit is intended to be as flexible as possible in regard to wire gauge, length and associated sensor/heater R resistance. To accommodate R < 10 Ω and consequent possibility of potentially damaging peak I values, Q3 removes Q1 gate drive when necessary and limits I to a safe ~1.4 A.

Setup and calibration. In further pursuit of flexibility in accommodating sensor/heater wire length and initial R, this simple calibration procedure is suggested for whenever the wire is replaced.

  1. Before first power up, allow sensor/heater to fully equilibrate to room temperature.
  2. Set R4 and R5 fully CCW.
  3. Push and hold the CAL NC pushbutton.
  4. Turn the power on.
  5. Slowly turn R4 clockwise until LED first flickers on.
  6. Release CAL.

Done. R5 is now “reasonably well” calibrated for a CCW to CW span of zero to 130oC above room temp.

Thermal coupling of the chosen length of sensor/heater wire to the desired thermal load (e.g., thermostated circuit component, test tube, petri dish, etc.) can be done by winding a meander of wire around the load, and securing it with polyimide tape, RTV silicone, or a similar heat tolerant adhesive.

And about R2. Although not significant in the steady state function of the circuit, without R2 the thermostat might be vulnerable to a failure to start when first switched on and might simply sit looking stupid. Indefinitely. Don’t ask how I know this…

Stephen Woodward’s relationship with EDN’s DI column goes back quite a long way. Over 100 submissions have been accepted since his first contribution back in 1974.

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EPC GaN FETs deliver power density and efficiency for computing, industrial and consumer DC/DC converters

Semiconductor today - Wed, 02/14/2024 - 11:45
Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA — which makes enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) and integrated circuits for power management applications — has announced the availability of several reference designs that feature EPC GaN FETs and Analog Devices Inc (ADI) controllers...


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