Electronic Design

From The Labs

As part of an effort to verify the viability of small-scale geothermal power plants, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will award $13 million in R&D funds to five energy companies: Milgro Newcastle Inc., ORMAT International Inc., Empire Energy LLC, Exergy Inc., and Vulcan Power Company. These companies will work to increase the amount of usable electric and heat energy generated from the earth's heat. The NREL grants come out of the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Energy program. Plants supported by the NREL funding are expected to be online in two years.

CRL Opto is working with several customers to replace CRTs with LCDs in thermal-imaging systems. CRT package sizes in this application are approximately 4 by 4 in. (height by width) and between 6 and 10 in. deep. By switching to LCD panels, designers will be able to configure smaller systems without bulky, high-voltage power supplies. The CRL Opto display and backlight is less than 0.5 in. deep. The interface board, including the drive circuits for the backlight, is 5 by 2.5 by 1 in.

IMEC and International SEMATECH are partnering to develop new equipment, materials, and processes for the gate stacks required by sub-100-nm semiconductor devices. The intent is to cut two years off the time required to meet goals set in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). Semiconductor makers will investigate processes for depositing high-k dielectric materials, such as interface preparation and high-k deposition using atomic-layer chemical-vapor deposition. Other areas for study include physical and chemical characterization of deposited dielectrics, characterization of electrical properties and defects, and the reliability of gate-stack structures. Some other topics include research on electrode materials and transistor structures.

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