This blog described electronic components that can be used to support or interface to nanodevices.

EE240: Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits

morreale Wednesday 29 of January, 2014
UC Berkeley has posted the Spring 2010 version of the couse EE240: Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits on YouTube. The course is taught by professor Elad Alon. The lecture notes are also available from the course website. The following references are listed for background reading for the course and include:
  • Analysis and Design of Integrated Circuits by Paul R. Gray, Paul J. Hurst, Stephen H. Lewis, Robert G. Meyer, 4th Ed., Wiley, 2001.
  • Design of Analog CMOS Integrated Circuits by Behzad Razavi, McGraw-Hill, 2000.
  • The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits by Thomas H. Lee, 2nd Ed., Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • The Designers Guide to SPICE & SPECTRE by K. S. Kundert, Kluwer Academic Press, 1995.
  • Operation and Modeling of the MOS Transistor by Y. Tsividis, McGraw-Hill, 2nd Edition, 1999.
  • Analog Integrated Circuit Design by D. Johns and K.Martin, Wiley, 1997.

Inkjet printed circuit boards

morreale Saturday 16 of November, 2013
There are several articles on how to hack an inkjet printer for printing circuit boards. The secret ingredient is silver nanoparticle based inks and conductive tape. The articles include:


Introduction to Analog electronics

morreale Sunday 27 of October, 2013
PyroElectro has posted an Introduction to analog electronics course on their website. The course consists of 10 lessons, does not require texts books, but a parts kit is needed to do the lessons. The kit cost less than $40 and they recommend that you have a DMM but it is not required.


morreale Sunday 27 of October, 2013
BITalino is small computer platform that contains physiological sensors. These sensors include:
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Electrodermal Activity (EDA)
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Accelerometry (ACC)
  • Light (LUX)
  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
  • Bluetooth
  • Micro-Controller Unit with up to 1000Hz sampling rate, 6 analog inputs (4@10-bit + 2@6-bit), 4 digital inputs, and 4 digital outputs.
There are APIs for Python, Android, LabView, and Java. The board can be purchased in three different kits for €149 to €169.


A simple Forth development board

morreale Wednesday 16 of October, 2013
Hack a Day has posted an article on A simple Forth development board. Leon Nathaniel Maurer created the board and a floating point extension to Forth. The board is available for purchase and the components cost under $15. Forth is an interpreted threaded linked list language and really great for debugging hardware as you can build words in real time to test hardware.


100G communications papers

morreale Wednesday 02 of October, 2013
The IEEE Communications Society has made 30-40 papers on 100 Gb/s communications available open source. Some of the topics include:
  • 100G QPSK
  • FEC
  • Optical transport
  • Coherent signal processing
  • Undersea communications
  • Low power PHY at 400G

SPICE made easy

morreale Monday 16 of September, 2013
Planet Analog has posted the article SPICE made easy which reviews the book "The LTspice IV Simulator - Manual, Methods and Applications" by Gilles Brocard. LT SPICE is a free SPICE simulator that does not have any limitations on component count or node count. There is a graphical schematic capture tool now too. It is very popular but isn't well documented until now. The book is available from the publisher for €49 plus VAT.


Free circuit simulator tools

morreale Tuesday 20 of August, 2013
EE Times has enlisted its readers to say which free circuit simulators they use. I saw that a number of people like PSPICE which is not free. LTspice was another favorite. The number one complaint was the lack of device models. PSPICE is a great tool with plenty of models. It would be cool if was open source. It would seem that online circuit simulators like CircuitLab is being used by students at hundreds of universities around the world so programs like PSPICE, LTspices, and Multisim are likely to fad away.



morreale Tuesday 13 of August, 2013
DoCircuits is a web based circuit simulator and acts like a virtual electronics lab. It has freemium model so there is a free plan, pro plan, enterprise plans ranging from $0/month, $4/month, and an unspecified rate for the enterprise plan. The pro plan allows offline usage too. It has many sponsors like the IEEE and Intel. It easy to use, fun, and nicely done.


Function Generator

Home supercomputers

morreale Tuesday 30 of July, 2013
I predict that cheap parallel processors/clusters will be common in the future and I would be able to build an array of such processors for my home network (Network Attached Cluster perhaps). Adaptava is shipping the Parallella supercomputer platform now (Kickstarter project). It has 16 processor and can do 100 GFLOPs at 2W all for around $100. Future versions are expected to offer 64 to 16k cores and reach 20 TFLOPs. It would be fun to pair such devices with Mathematica. Maybe you could do some real time imagine processing of video from a quadcopter this way to control the copter, for example. It would be neat.


Custome IC development

morreale Monday 17 of June, 2013
Analog planet has posted a short summary of The REAL Cost for a Custom IC and describes the team typically needed to produce a custom IC. NRE costs can range from $350,000 to $2,000,000 which is a significant investment. Of course you can go the DIY garage approach and design a chip on the cheap for $3000 for a hobby project.

Beaglebone Black

morreale Friday 26 of April, 2013
Beaglebone black is the new community-driven development board from Beagleboard.org. It costs $45 and offers the following features:
  • AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
  • 3D graphics accelerator
  • NEON floating-point accelerator
  • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers
  • USB client for power & debug
  • USB host
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • 2x 46 pin headers
and supports the following operating systems:
  • Ångström Linux
  • Android
  • Ubuntu
  • Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library


Opamp application note

morreale Wednesday 27 of February, 2013
Philbrick's one page application note is just so elegant.

Typical Applications
Source: Philbrick archive

The first opamp

morreale Wednesday 27 of February, 2013
George A Philbrick Researches launched the first commercial Operational Amplifier in 1952. The K2-W opamp was based on vacuum tubes and was part of the first analog computer. The Phibrick Archive contains historical accounts of the company, the first opamps, applications notes, and photos. The Philbrick company is the foundation the present analog semiconductor industry including companies like Analog Devices, Linear Technology, and National Semiconductor.

K2 W Later 1
Source: Philbrick archive

Analog parts kit

morreale Monday 04 of February, 2013
Embedded.com has posted a short article about an analog parts kit from Digilent Inc. The kit contains op-amps, voltage regulators, instrumentation amps, current monitor, accelerometer, magnetic sensor, temperature sensors, voltage reference, resistors, capacitors, transistors, and FETs for around $60.


Electronic stuffed toys

morreale Saturday 29 of December, 2012
Adafruit has introduced a new line of playground circuit plushies dolls to teach kids about electronics. The line includes
  • Cappy the capacitor
  • Connie the transistor
  • Hans to 555 timer IC
  • Billie the Blue LED
  • Gus the Green LED
  • Mho the Resistor
  • Ruby the Red LED
Each doll is about $10. They are so cute!