Power Electronics

Data Points

New Rechargeable Battery Developed

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed and demonstrated a laboratory prototype miniature thin-film fuel cell power source, which provides portable electrical power for a range of consumer electronics. With the LLNL fuel cell, a typical cell phone battery could be projected to extend standby time from four days to two weeks and talk time from six hours to two days.

Using easy-to-store liquid fuels, such as methanol, the fuel cell power module provides an operating time three times greater than present rechargeable batteries.

“The higher energy capacity of such a product will lead to further new classes of personal electronics,” said Jeff Morse of the LLNL Center for Microtechnology Engineering.

The patented design and method combines microelectrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, microcircuit processes, and microfluidic components.

Morse predicts the MEMS-based fuel cell power source will replace rechargeable batteries, such as Li-ion and Li-ion polymer, in a range of portable electronics. It's designed to be 50% of the cost and only 30% of the weight, size, or volume of existing portable power sources.

Current estimates suggest a price of $1.50 to $3 per watt-hour.

VDC Power Supply Market Study

Venture Development Corp. (VDC) recently concluded a study of North American and European markets entitled Merchant Markets and Applications for AC/DC Switching Power Supplies, DC/DC Converters, and Telecom Rectifiers: North America, 9th Edition; Europe, 3rd Edition. The study reflects the uncertain conditions in the North American and European markets, and hopes for renewed growth in the computing, telecom/datacom, industrial/instrumentation, and military aerospace markets.

For ac-dc switching power supplies, dc-dc converters, and telecom type rectifiers, OEMs across all application groups voiced similar product requirements. The increase in efficiency, ranked highly across the board, is a result of multiple point-of-load power supplies along with the new distributed power architectures that are all the rage.

To learn more about this study contact Marc Regberg, Senior Vice President by E-mail: [email protected], Phone: (508) 653-9000, or Fax: (508) 653-9836.

SIA Reports $10.01 Billion in Worldwide Chip Sales for February 2002

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported worldwide sales of semiconductors totaled $10.01 billion in January, essentially unchanged over last month, while sales growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas compensated for a dip in Europe and Japan.

“Strong consumer spending for mobile phones, DVDs, and digital cameras continued to move chip sales slightly upward,” said SIA president, George Scalise. “Our forecast calls for the second quarter to have accelerating growth in the second half of 2002.”

“In February, total sales in the DRAM market rose almost 24% over January, as prices continued to recover from cyclical lows, a trend that was reflected in all regional sales figures,” stated Scalise.

On a month-to-month basis, the sales in the Americas and Asia Pacific market accounted for about 60% of the global semiconductor sales with increases of 2% and 0.3% in February of this year. Markets in Europe and Japan registered a slight dip in February, with sales down 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively.

The SIA's Global Sales Report (GSR) is a three-month moving average of sales activity tabulated by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization.

For more information about the SIA and this report, visit the Web at www.sia-online.org.

APT to Acquire GHz Technology

Advanced Power Technology Inc. recently announced its definitive agreement to acquire GHz Technology Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based supplier of silicon-based radio frequency (RF) power transistors in a merger transaction. The acquisition is part of APT's ongoing strategy to expand its product and technology portfolio in the RF power arena through internal development and acquisitions. The combination will position APT products and technology to serve a broader range of RF applications requiring RF power transistors capable of switching at frequencies from 1 MHz to 3.5 GHz.

IEEE to Develop Standardized Users Guide

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board approved work to begin on IEEE P716.1, Users Guide for the IEEE Standard for Signal Definitions and Test Description. The guide will contain a nonproprietary, test language for programming automatic and semiautomatic equipment independent of the test system or equipment used.

The project will provide a method for describing and propagating signal descriptions, as well as a standard, abbreviated English language for writing units in test programs using various types of test equipment.

The working group developing this standard invites anyone with expertise in the testing and diagnosis of electric systems to join the group. For more information, visit the Web at http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/scc20/ or www.standards.ieee.org.

DC-DC Power Supply Product and Study Report

For industry professionals wanting to achieve a higher level of silicon integration within a dc-dc power supply design and wonder which path to take, the Product and Technology Study Report for dc-dc power supplies is now available. The study covers available IC technologies, products, and services, while providing a strong technical focus within the framework of market and business considerations. Wherever possible, it provides an indication of future directions.

PEI Technologies Inc. and Anagenesis Inc. conducted and prepared the Product and Technology Study Report for the PSMA Silicon Integration Project — with oversight provided by the PSMA Power Semiconductor Committee.

For more information about the Study Report, including the complete table of contents, list of figures and tables, and cost, visit www.psma.com.

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