Components + Materials


Analog Devices Inc. says its new dual-axis inclinometer makes extremely accurate, easy-to-use tilt sensing affordable and accessible for industrial equipment manufacturers—and that functionally equivalent options are typically 100x larger.

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The MEMS-based ADIS16209 programmable, dual-mode inclinometer promises a fully compensated direct angle output with less than 0.1-degree linear inclination error, making it at least twice as accurate as competitors. That’s thanks to an embedded controller, which uses factory-installed calibration coefficients to dynamically sense the system environment and compensate the direct-digital angular output to account for changes in voltage, temperature, angle, and other variables. This is a big departure from both electrolytic and less integrated MEMS sensors, the company says. “It allows our customers to confidently absorb mid-stream system design changes without losing their time-to-market advantage, and it provides end users with equipment that delivers accurate sensing data that is resistant to in-field environmental changes that can often result in costly, cumbersome recalibration.”

The ADIS16209 targets industrial applications such as surveying equipment, factory machine tools, satellite antenna stabilization systems, motion safety monitors, and automotive wheel alignment.

DuPont’s introduction of Light Stabilizer 210, which uses titanium dioxide nanoparticles to absorb ultraviolet light and protect plastic from the sun’s rays, is more than a simple product release. The company chose the product as a test case for application of the Nano Risk Framework that DuPont and Environmental Defense finalized in June 2007. The framework is a systematic and disciplined process to evaluate and address the potential risks of nanoscale materials.

DuPont’s Light Stabilizer 210 is the first in a family of products based on breakthrough DuPont titanium dioxide process technology, the company says. It is an additive designed for use in plastics to help protect products from cracking, fading, and other types of solar degradation, and it works by absorbing UV rays and changing them into small amounts of heat, which dissipate quickly without damaging the structure of plastic.

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Applications include sporting goods, outdoor furniture, fabrics, and carpet fibers—virtually any plastic product that will be exposed to sunlight. It also can be used in plastic films and sheeting to protect plants in greenhouses or packaged goods from UV light.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. has brought to market what it calls “the industry’s first direct-view MEMS display.” Unlike traditional displays, it is readable even in bright sunlight. Based on a reflective technology, Qualcomm’s MEMS displays require no backlighting and therefore consume significantly less power than standard displays in portable devices, according to company claims.

The displays work by reflecting light so that specific wavelengths interfere with each other to create color. It is the same phenomenon that makes a butterfly’s wings shimmer.

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The Acoustic Research ARWH1 headset from Audiovox Accessories is the first product to feature Qualcomm’s Interfero-metric Modulation (IMOD) display. It is also one of the industry’s first Bluetooth headsets capable of delivering visual information (such as caller ID and battery level) as icons and text on the main screen.

FormFactor’s TrueScale family of MEMS-enabled wafer probe cards was designed to address the rising cost and technology challenges associated with testing system-on-chip (SoC) and wire bond logic devices. Limitations with conventional cantilever probing solutions allow for only a few devices to be tested in parallel. At higher levels of parallelism, these probing solutions require frequent maintenance—in many cases after only a few touchdowns—to ensure the contacts are aligned properly with the test pads on the wafer.

In contrast, the company claims True-Scale cards allow robust contact performance, significantly higher pin counts, and fewer touchdowns per wafer—increasing test throughput and enabling greater test cost reductions.

Microbridge Technologies’ MBW-303 Wheatstone Bridge Offset Conditioning Network comprises four MEMS-based eTC Rejustors (re-adjustable resistors) configured in a bridge. According to company claims, the Rejustor is the world’s first fully analog, passive electronic temperature compensation (eTC) divider.

The MBW-303 single-chip solution compensates for offset errors and offset drift in a Wheatstone bridge, solving the problem at the source. It allows sensor offset calibration and temperature compensation after final assembly, thus negating all cumulative errors associated with the assembly processes. Dynamic adjustment provides cost and labor savings, and the network’s re-adjustability reduces re-work.

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Designed for automotive, healthcare, consumer, and instrumentation applications, it is available in a QFN-16 package and costs $2.67 in quantities of 1,000.