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Electronic Components Semiconductor Technology

NXP Announces i.MX 9 and i.MX 8 processor line for Intelligent Multi-sensor Applications

NXP Semiconductors has announced a new line of edge processors that deliver a giant leap in performance and security at the edge.

As edge computing rapidly evolves around us and demand for edge computing soars, performance demands are increasing at an exponential rate. This requires a new approach to security, power consumption and performance. Existing edge processors offer a solution now but are not ready for the next generation of real-time data.

Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving and next-gen wireless infrastructure all depend on the edge. NXP Semiconductors is meeting the challenge with new i.MX 9 and i.MX 8 processor lines.

i.MX 8ULP and i.MX 8ULP-CS

The ultra-low power i.MX 8ULP and i.MX 8ULP-CS (cloud secured) Microsoft Azure Sphere-certified processors have the EdgeLock secure enclave, a pre-configured security subsystem that simplifies complex security technologies and helps designers avoid costly errors. It automates the following security functions:

  • Root of trust
  • Run-time attestation
  • Trust provisioning
  • Secure boot
  • Key management
  • Cryptographic services

The i.MX 8ULP-CS is Microsoft Azure Sphere-certified with Microsoft Pluton enabled on EdgeLock for highly secure hardware. With Azure Sphere, it has chip-to-cloud security built in, enabling use in a wide range of applications.

Both i.MX processors utilise Energy Flex architecture, which delivers as much as 75% improved energy efficiency compared to previous generations.

They have heterogeneous domain processing and 28nm FD-SOI process technology, making them among the most advanced edge chips in the world. The processors have one or two 1GHz Arm Cortex-A35 processors, a 216MHz Cortex-M33 real-time processor and a 200MHz Fusion DSP for low-power voice and sensor hub processing.

Every Azure Sphere-certified i.MX 8ULP-CS device also gets ongoing OS and security improvements for over ten years.

i.MX 9

The i.MX 9 series is NXP Semiconductors’ range-topping high-performance edge processor for intelligent multi-sensor applications.

The i.MX 9 debuts a new generation of processors that have an independent MCU-like real-time domain and dedicated multi-sensory data processing engines for graphics, image, display, audio, and voice. The i.MX 9 series also features EdgeLock secure enclave, Energy Flex architecture, and hardware neural processing.

The i.MX 9 is for the next generation of edge computing applications including machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s the first NXP line to use the Arm Ethos U-65 microNPU which enables low-power machine learning.

Importantly, Azure Sphere chip-to-cloud security is enabled within the i.MX 9 line, providing a clear upgrade path from the i.MX 8 series.

EdgeLock secure enclave is the big ticket item of the new processor lines, combining complex security technologies into a single pre-configured platform. With device-wide security intelligence, it provides a simplified path to certification, enabling non-stop trusted management services and applications.

So what?

With the release of these new processors, organisations of any size can now pursue IoT development and real-time technologies with the confidence that NXP and Microsoft have laid out a foundation of security via Microsoft Azure. The low-power requirements and chip-to-cloud security deliver innovation in the right areas.

You can find out more about the processors here.

If you are looking for NXP parts contact us today! sales@cyclops-electronics.com 

Categories
Electronic Components Future Technology

What does the future hold for the electronic component industry?

The future of the electronic component industry looks very healthy indeed thanks to tailwinds from 5G, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, edge computing and several other emerging technologies.

A few of the companies destined to benefit from the advancement of these technologies include Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Würth Elektronik, Eaton Corp, Micron, MaxLinear, Hitachi and Qualcomm. There are hundreds more who are operating foundries and factories at maximum capacity to meet demand already.

Key to meeting the demand is an increase in manufacturing capability, which many companies will have to build through capital expenditure. We are already seeing an increase in investment from many of the aforementioned companies.

As for electronic component distributors, the phrase “a rising tide raises all ships” is a perfect expression. Component distributors like us will see an increase in demand in the future as our world becomes more technology-focussed.

These are the technologies that we see fuelling electronic component growth in the near future (we already mentioned a few in our opening paragraph):

  • 5G
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Big data
  • Edge computing
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Batteries and power
  • Displays
  • Semiconductors and GPUs
  • Automated driving
  • Consumer electronics: VR, AR, smartphones, tablets

Every infrastructure, and every product, will need a unique set of electronic components in its design. Factories and foundries will make the components, and electric component distributors will help manufacturers source them.

Meeting the uptick in demand

There’s one certainty in the electronics industry: demand on components increases as technologies become more complex. We see this with semiconductors, which are getting smaller (2nm), with 5G, which requires more components than 4G, and in robotics, which require powerful Lidar guidance systems.

To meet this uptick in demand, there are companies that specialise in making specific components and machines.

For example, Axcelis Technologies, headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, makes ion implant equipment vital to semiconductor fabrication. Then we have Micron, who recently announced high-density 3D NAND flash memory.

The innovation and investment in new technologies from leading companies is a clear sign that the electronic component industry is not just healthy, but thriving, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The role of electronic component distributors

Our place in all this as an electronic component distributor is to help our customers (who include OEMs, foundries, factories and assemblers) to source the components they need to operate their business.

We are crucial to our customers because we are a global distributor. We enable industry players to buy electronic components with confidence at competitive prices, and our links in the industry allow our customers to gain a competitive edge.

As demand has increased for electronic components, competition has intensified, and it really isn’t uncommon for companies to have to bid for components. This is the result of a market that doesn’t produce enough components for certain applications. We exist to help all companies source the components they need.

With us, you get a fast response to your enquiries and reliable on time delivery. There’s no better partner to have on your side.

Click Here and visit our site today to use our fast component search tool and enquire with us today!

Categories
Transistors

The multimodal transistor (MMT) is a new design philosophy for electronics

Researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Rennes have developed a technology called the multimodal transistor (MMT), which could revolutionise electronics by simplifying circuits and increasing design freedom.

The multimodal transistor is a thin-film transistor that performs the same job as more complex circuits. The MMT sandwiches metals, insulators and semiconductors together in a package that’s considerably thinner than a normal circuit.

However, the key breakthrough with the MMT is its immunity to parasitic effects (unwanted oscillations). The MMT allows consistent, repeatable signals, increasing a transistor’s performance. This is necessary for precision circuits to function as intended and is especially useful for next-gen tech like AI and robotics.

How it works

In the image below, we can see the design of the MMT. CG1 provides the means to control the quantity of charge, while CG2 is the channel control gate. CG1 controls the current level and CG2 controls the on/off state.

This is a massive shift in transistor design because it enables far greater engineering freedom. It is a simple and elegant design, yet it is so useful. It has numerous applications in analogue computation and hardware learning.

Digital-to-analogue conversion

MOSFET transistors are one of the building blocks of modern electronics, but they are non-linear and inefficient.

In a conventional circuit, gate electrodes are used to control a transistor’s ability to pass current. The MMT works differently. Instead of using gate electrodes, it controls on/off switching independently from the amount of current that passes through. This allows the MMT to operate at a higher speed with a linear dependence between input and output. This is useful for digital-to-analogue conversion.

The breakthrough in all its glory

The MMT transforms the humble transistor into a linear device that delivers a linear dependence between input and output. It separates charge injection from conduction, a new design that achieves independent current on/off switching.

There is a profound increase in switching speed as a result of this technology, enabling engineers to develop faster electronics. Researchers estimate that the switching speed is as much as 10 times faster. Also, fewer transistors are needed, increasing the yield rate and reducing the cost to manufacture the circuit.  

Just how revolutionary the MMT will be remains to be seen. After all, this is a technology without commercialisation. It could find its way into the electronics we use on a daily basis, like our phones. The potential is for the MMT to be printable, allowing for mass production and integration into billions of electrical devices.

With devices getting smarter and digital transformation advancing at a rapid rate, the electronics industry is booming. Semiconductor foundries are at peek capacity and more electrical devices are being sold than ever. The MMT is a unique solution to a problem, and it could make manufacturing electronics cheaper.   

With this, comes a great opportunity for the MMT to replace MOSFET transistors. We can think of few other design philosophies with such wicked potential.

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