Researchers at the University of Cambridge have, for the first time, identified the origin of superconductivity in high-temperature materials, which promises to speed the discovery of new superconductors that operate at higher and higher temperatures.
The researchers achieved this by using 100-T magnetic fields -- rather than temperature -- to suppress superconducting properties in cuprates in order to determine their normal, non-superconducting states and identify the pre-existing conditions responsible for high-temperature superconductivity (see image below). For more, see "Superconducting secrets solved after 30 years."
A map representing a superconducting copper oxide structure
(Source: Nicolle R. Fuller)
Working with silicon carbide, researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed ICs that can survive at temperatures greater than 350°C (660°F), promising improved electrical efficiency and reduced complexity in power electronic and motor drive applications operating in tough environments. The circuits combine SiC with wide-temperature design techniques, and are offered as the first implementation of a number of fundamental analog, digital, and mixed-signal blocks -- such as a PLL -- using a complementary silicon carbide technology. For more, see "Researchers Design Circuits Capable of Functioning at Temperatures Greater than 650 Degrees Fahrenheit."
A report from market research firm IC Insights forecasts that, after two years of decline, the power transistor market will grow 8% in 2014 and reach a new record in 2015 (see chart below). The report -- "2014 O-S-D Report – A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes" -- attributes the expected rebound to easing economic uncertainty and gaining strength in end-equipment sales, and predicts it will be led by low-voltage MOSFETs and high-voltage IGBTs. For more, see "Power Transistors to Rebound After Unprecedented Slump."
After consecutive sales declines in 2012 and 2013, the power transistor market is forecast to climb 8% in 2014 and reach a new record high in 2015.
(Source: IC Insights)
In product news, Maxwell Technologies has expanded its K2 series of ultracapacitor cells to include a 2.85 V, 3,400 F device. The new supercapacitor cell introduces the DuraBlue Shock and Vibration technology, which increases vibration resistance by approximately 300% and shock immunity by 400% when compared with other ultracapacitor-based solutions.
Infineon Technologies has introduced an integrated power stage device that combines two power MOSFETs and a DC/DC driver IC with integrated current and temperature sensing. Available in a 6.6 x 4.5 x 0.6 mm WIQFN-38 package, the DrBlade 2 features a 60 A max average load current and a 4.5 to 16 V input voltage. The company also added to its SiC device line with a fifth-generation 1,200 V thinQ! SiC Schottky diode.
Texas Instruments has introduced single-inductor DC/DC converters in ultra-small CSP packages. The 1 A TPS63050 and 4 A TPS630250 achieve 95% efficiency for personal electronics and industrial applications.
Analog Devices has posted details of a unity-gain-stable, high-speed, current-feedback amplifier capable of delivering 1 A. The ADA4870 features a 2,500 V/µs slew rate and operates from a 10 to 40 V supply.
Jointly developed by Power Integrations and Cree, several reference designs describe simple, reliable drivers for dimmable PAR 30 and PAR 38 LED light bulbs. The various reference designs leverage Power Integrations’ LYTSwitch-4 drivers and Cree’s XLamp CXA1507 and MT-G2 EasyWhite LED arrays.
New 1,200 V IGBTs from STMicroelectronics are claimed to leverage second-generation, trench-gate, field-stop, high-speed technology to boost energy efficiency and ruggedness. The H-Series 1,200 V IGBTs feature a Vce(sat) down to 2.1 V and have up to 15% lower turn-off losses and up to 30% lower turn-on losses.
Teledyne LeCroy has announced an eight-channel oscilloscope tailor-made for power electronics measurement. The HDO8000 features eight analog input channels with 12 bits of vertical resolution, all at a bandwidth of 1 GHz.
Finally, AVX has introduced high-temperature MLCCs rated for 250°C. Available in both C0G and VHT dielectrics, the AT Series is rated to 16 and 25 V at 250°C with values ranging from 2,200 pF to 1 µF with tolerances down to ±5%.