Categories
Future

Harnessing Light: How New Solar Technology is Changing the Game

Recent progress in solar power technology has led to the development of new photovoltaic cells that can utilise a range of light sources beyond just sunlight. The new solar cell, named Powerfoyle, was created by Swedish company Exeger. The product could have numerous uses in the electronics industry, especially with smaller or wearable devices like headphones and wireless speakers.

The Development of New Solar Technology

Exeger, based in Stockholm, Sweden, has made significant strides in solar cell technology. The company developed these cells based on earlier research into dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC). This new technology incorporates a highly conductive electrode material, which enhances the efficiency of the cells compared to previous DSSC products.

Characteristics of the New Solar Cells

Light Source Versatility: These cells can generate electricity from various light sources, not just direct sunlight. This makes them suitable for indoor and low-light environments.

Durability: The cells are less affected by partial shading or protective covers, unlike traditional solar panels.

Aesthetic Adaptability: The technology can emulate different surfaces, such as leather, carbon fibre, wood, and brushed steel, allowing for diverse applications.

Production and Applications

Exeger’s facility in Stockholm, operational since 2021, has a production capacity of 2.5 million square metres of solar cells annually. These cells are already integrated into several commercially available products, including headphones, wireless speakers, computer accessories, and bike helmets.

From DSSC to the New Solar Technology

DSSC technology involves a semiconductor material coated with a light-absorbing dye, placed between two electrodes. This setup allows for the conversion of light into electrical energy.

The new solar technology builds on older DSSC technology with some improvements:

  • Broad spectrum absorption: The dye in these cells absorbs a wide range of light frequencies, including visible and non-visible light.
  • Increased conductivity: The newly developed electrode material provides significantly better conductivity than earlier versions.

How Does it Compare?

Traditional Solar Cells

Traditional solar cells, typically made from crystalline silicon, are known for their efficiency and robustness. They usually achieve efficiency rates between 20%-23%. However, they require direct sunlight and are sensitive to shading. They also lack flexibility and must be large in surface area.

Flexible Solar Panels

The key features of flexible solar panels include:

  • Lower efficiency: Ranges from 7%-15%, lower than traditional solar panels.
  • Reduced power output: More suitable for small-scale applications.
  • Durability issues: The flexibility of these panels can lead to increased susceptibility to damage.

The New Solar Technology vs. Flexible Solar Panels

This innovative solar technology presents several advantages over other flexible solar panels:

  • Enhanced light absorption: The new cells can capture a broader spectrum of light, including artificial lighting and, reportedly, candlelight.
  • Improved durability: The materials and design used in these cells offer greater durability.
  • Wider application range: The technology can be integrated into various products and surfaces, providing more versatile use cases.

Potential for Indoor Applications

One of the notable strengths of this new technology is its reported capability to function effectively with many different light sources, including indoor lighting or low light settings. This characteristic is particularly relevant in regions with limited sunlight, such as Sweden where the product is manufactured. By generating power from indoor light sources, the technology expands the potential for solar energy use in everyday environments.

Conclusion

The development of these advanced solar cells by Exeger marks a significant advancement in solar power technology. By utilising a wide range of light sources, these cells offer new opportunities for integrating solar power into everyday products. As research and development continue, such technologies could play a crucial role in the broader adoption of renewable energy solutions.

At Cyclops Electronics, we know the importance of both new and old technology to keep the world turning. With a global network, local offices, and distribution hubs around the world, we are well positioned to support your supply chain with high-quality electronic components.

Our expert Account Managers are ready to assist with any requirement. Explore our large inventory of over 1 billion in-stock electronic components ready to ship today.

Categories
Electronic Components

Understanding Microchips: The Building Blocks of Modern Electronics

Welcome to another exploration of the fascinating world of electronics. Today, we dive into the heart of every modern device — the microchip.

Also known as an integrated circuit (IC), this tiny component plays an essential role in the functioning of everything from smartphones to satellites.

Let’s break down what makes microchips so vital and complex.

What is a Microchip?

The Basics

A microchip, or integrated circuit, is a set of electronic circuits on a small flat wafer of semiconductor material (usually silicon) called a “chip.” This compact unit forms the core of all digital devices, performing operations through electrical signals.

Silicon: The Star Player

At the base of most microchips is silicon, derived from silica sand. This sand is processed, melted, and recast into ingots which are then sliced into thin wafers to serve as the foundation for microchips.

The choice of silicon is due to its semiconductor properties, which can be changed or enhanced by adding materials like boron or phosphorus, allowing for precise control over electrical currents.

The Evolution of Microchip Technology

Shrinking Sizes

Microchips have been on a remarkable journey of miniaturisation. Currently measured in nanometres (a millionth of a millimetre), the features of chips are now so small they are soon expected to be measured in angstroms — a unit of measurement used for atoms and wavelengths of light. This continuous reduction in size allows more components to fit onto a single chip, enabling them to perform increasingly complex functions.

The Cost of Complexity

As microchips have evolved, so too has the technology required to manufacture them. Advanced and costly equipment is now necessary to produce the minute features of modern chips, reflecting a significant investment in pursuit of higher performance and efficiency.

Types of Microchips

Microchips can be categorised based on the type of signal they handle:

  • Digital chips process binary signals (ones and zeroes) and include processors and memory chips.
  • Analog chips use continuous signals, performing tasks in devices that require a range of values, like sound equipment.
  •  Mixed-signal chips combine both digital and analog functionalities, useful in complex applications like communication devices.

Specialised Chips: ASICs and SoCs

ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) are designed for specific tasks, such as processing digital signals in mobile phones.

SoCs (System on a Chip) integrate multiple chip functions onto a single microchip, which is crucial for the efficiency and performance of small, portable devices like smartwatches.

The Future of Microchips and Moore's Law

Proposed by Gordon Moore in 1965, Moore’s Law theorises that the number of transistors on a microchip will double approximately every two years.

This prediction has held true for decades, mirroring continued growth in computational power and miniaturisation. However, we are now approaching physical limits where transistors are nearing the size of atoms, suggesting we may soon see an end to this trend.

Microchips and the Tech Boom

This miniaturisation and power boost from microchips has enabled groundbreaking advancements like virtual reality, on-device artificial intelligence (AI), and high-speed data transfer through 5G networks. Microchip technology is also the foundation for complex algorithms used in deep learning, a cornerstone of AI development.

How Cyclops Electronics Can Help

At Cyclops Electronics, we specialise in sourcing hard-to-find electronic components and the reliable supply everyday parts that keep your operations running smoothly. Whether you are tackling a challenging project or looking to maintain steady production with high quality components, our team of dedicated experts is here to assist you.

Discover how we can help you navigate the complexities of electronic sourcing and ensure you have the parts you need when you need them.

We are your partners in procurement, ready to support your projects with our expertise and vast network.

Categories
Future

The Frontlines of Innovation: Electronic Components in Emerging Defence Applications

The global defence industry is experiencing a period of significant transformation. Driven by rising global tensions, a focus on national security, and growing investor confidence, the sector is expecting significant growth in the next few years.

A Surge in Spending

Global defence spend have seen a significant rise, global spending increasing to a record $2.2 trillion last year. This growth is concentrated amongst a number of nations, with the US, China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia accounting for 63% of global military spending.

In response to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Germany has also committed to a substantial defence budget increase, signalling significant growth prospects for the defence industry in Europe.

Emerging Technologies on the Horizon

Innovation is at the forefront of modern defence strategies. Here are some of the developments poised to impact the defence sector in 2024:

  • Counter-Drone Systems: With the growing abundance of aerial drones, there is a definite need for robust counter-drone solutions. Autonomous counter-drone systems are expected to see operational deployment in 2024, with the market for these systems reaching a projected value of $5.2 billion by 2028.
  • Electrification of Military Vehicles: Concerns about environmental impact and fuel security are driving the development of electric and hybrid military vehicles. This shift means advancements in battery technology are also needed, power management systems, and robust electronic components that can withstand harsh operating environments.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Investment in AI for defence applications is on the rise. AI is being explored for a range of applications, including image recognition for target identification, threat analysis, and autonomous weapon systems.
  • Soldier-Assisting Quadruped Robots: These agile robots offer logistical and combat support to soldiers. Advancements in motor control systems, sensors, and AI are crucial for the successful deployment of these technologies.
  • The Rise of Military IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) is making its way into the defence sector. From interconnected sensors on the battlefield to networked logistics systems, the use of military IoT devices is on the rise. This necessitates reliable and secure communication protocols, along with miniaturised and low-power electronic components.

Partnering with Excellence in Defence Innovation

As the defence sector continues to evolve and expand, the demand for high-quality electronic components that can endure the rigorous demands of military applications is more crucial than ever. Cyclops Electronics, with its extensive experience as a global distributor specialising in daily requirements, hard-to-find, and obsolete electronic components, is strategically positioned to meet these challenges head-on.

This is underscored by our JOSCAR registration since 2016. This accreditation, a testament to our commitment to quality, reliability and integrity, ensures we meet the stringent standards required by manufacturers in the defence, aerospace, and security industries.

For purchasing professionals, partnering with Cyclops Electronics means having a reliable ally in your supply chain. As the defence industry continues to grow, rely on us to provide the components that power your innovations, keeping your projects on schedule and to specification.

Categories
Electronic Components

Counterfeit electronic component detection

When you work in the electronic components industry, it is inevitable at some point you will come face-to-face with counterfeit electronic components. It is a veritable stone in the shoe of the electronic component industry, worth hundreds of billions of dollars.  

With over 30 years of experience in the electronics industry, specialising in hard to find and obsolete components, at Cyclops Electronics we have a lot of knowledge when it comes to identifying and avoiding counterfeit electronic components. Our team of highly qualified inspectors have accumulated almost a century of experience between them, and we take pride in how vigilantly we deal with this supply chain havoc-wreaker. 

In this post we would like to share some of our know-how on how to detect counterfeit electronics and our testing and processes for electronic components counterfeit mitigation. It will arm you with the information you need to make informed, wise decisions about which brokers to work with and who works to the highest standards. 

What are counterfeit electronic components?

To make sure we are all on the same page, it is probably best that we define what a counterfeit electronic component is.

Counterfeit components are unauthorised copies of an electronic component in which the material characteristics and quality of performance have been deliberately altered.There is a chance that the counterfeit components would work with the same function as their original counterpart. 

The issue arises when they do not have the longevity, or integrity, of the original. Buyers can end up spending a fortune on parts that will not work or will damage their circuitry, and there will be no one to hold to account. This is why it is so vital to have trusted brokers in your supply chain, so the risk to you is minimised.  

There are countries that are more infamous for the amount of counterfeit electronics produced there, but they can come from anywhere. Professionals at every stage of the supply chain have to be vigilant to mitigate the risk of counterfeit components to their customers.  

As long as there has been chip shortages, there has been a counterfeit industry, with new prolific methods accompanying each decade. In the 90s, among other things, it was counterfeit SRAM during the shortage. Then the 2000s began with counterfeit tantalum capacitors during the component’s allocation period.  

What do counterfeit electronic parts look like?

Most of the inspections undertaken within Cyclops Electronics facilities – or in vetted test houses we work with – are undertaken with highly specialised equipment.  

Here are some relatively common electronics counterfeit giveaways to look out for when you are inspecting electronic components: 

Evidence of packaging tampering

If you receive your components and the packaging looks damaged, this is the first sign to suspect they are counterfeit electronics. The packaging may look damaged beyond reasonable transportation wear and tear, or the tape may look tampered with.  

Key indicators of this include: 

  • Water damage 
  • Puncture marks 
  • Packaging does not match previous deliveries 

If this is the case, there is a chance that the electronic components have been tampered with or switched. It is worth notifying the vendor and the courier to make them aware of this issue, whether counterfeit is detected or not. 

An industry example of goods that have been repackaged

Verify all included information

A white box with 'Vishay General Semiconductor written across it, however 'general' has been misspelled with an 'I' instead of an 'L'
An industry example of counterfeit packaging with spelling errors

All electronic components should come with packaging documentation and product datasheets are available online.  

Check the following information: 

  • Date code 
  • Part number 
  • Sealing date 
  • All other displayed information 
  • Packing date was after the date of manufacture.  
  • Spelling mistakes. Just like with spam emails, this is sometimes the easiest way to detect a counterfeit electronic component. 

The importance of the ‘golden sample’ 

In electronic component counterfeit detection, the ‘golden sample’ is an electronic component, reel or tray that has come directly from the manufacturer or from a franchised distributor. It is good practice to compare all, or at least any suspect incoming goods, to a golden sample. If there are discrepancies, it is a good indicator of potential counterfeit. 

Something unique and specialist that Cyclops can offer above its competitors is our cross-database checks. Thanks to our years of experience in the industry we have built a huge database of electronic component images. We can compare incoming goods to these industry standards where other providers don’t have the same resource.

Count and consistency

Usually when you buy electronic components they will be in trays, reels or cut tap. You may even get bags of components delivered to you. So, count them. There will often be partial factory quantity, so make sure you have the correct count ordered. 

More than just the outer packaging of the components, the quality of the inner packaging can be indicative too. If a reel is discoloured or warped, it can indicate damage or tampering, and the same applies to the orientation of parts on a tray or reel. Parts may have been removed and replaced if they are not all oriented in the same direction.  

Electronic Counterfeit Detection Technology

A lot of the ways to detect counterfeit electronic components mentioned above are included under the banner of visual inspection. It is often the first line of defence when avoiding counterfeit electronic parts. There are more advanced, accurate tests that often need to be used to minimise the risk of counterfeit components 

Decapsulation and delidding

Decapsulation involves the corrosion of the top layer of a component to check the internal die wafer and wafer bonds. Cyclops uses an acid-free DPA System, instead of the traditional wet chemical process. This method is much cleaner than the wet chemical alternative, and means our staff are not at risk of inhaling any harmful chemicals. 

Decapping is commonly used for devices with plastic packaging. Once the package cavity is exposed the internal die wafer can be checked. It should match the golden sample in layout and structure. It is a form of destructive testing – once this test is performed, the part cannot be used.  

X-ray testing and XRF

X-ray testing shows defects through the electronic component without having to damage the die wafer inside. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) testing takes this a step further and can tell you the material composition of the component.  

In XRF an x-ray beam is directed at the component’s surface, then the atoms in the component produce a fluorescent x-ray beam that is processed by a detector. The differences between the energy of the original and x-ray beam correspond to different elements, which shows the elements used in manufacturing. Usually counterfeit components will have a slightly different material composition to parts directly from the manufacturer. 

Resurfacing, acetone and scrape testing

There are other effective forms of testing for avoiding counterfeit electronic components. 

Similar to decapping, remarking and resurfacing testing use solvents to corrode the top layers of a component. This, however, isn’t trying to get all the way to the wafer inside. It instead detects if the identification information on the component has been altered or remarked. It is not a destructive test since the wafer inside is left undamaged. 

The process counterfeiters often use is called ‘blacktopping’. The original chip markings are sanded off and a polymer coating is painted over to cover up the sanding markings 

Scrape testing is a similar, manual way of removing the top layers of a component. This shows if a component has had a clear coat applied to it, which is acetone-resistant and lowers the chances of counterfeit being revealed by remarking or decapsulation testing. 

The datasheet shows the discrepancies between the original and counterfeit component

The process counterfeiters often use is called ‘blacktopping’. The original chip markings are sanded off and a polymer coating is painted over to cover up the sanding markings 

Scrape testing is a similar, manual way of removing the top layers of a component. This shows if a component has had a clear coat applied to it, which is acetone-resistant and lowers the chances of counterfeit being revealed by remarking or decapsulation testing. 

Electrical testing/Curve trace testing

A relatively simple method is to test the component. Curve trace machines can test current, voltages, diode resistivity and silicon connectivity. This will detect any physical damage caused by heat, electrical overstress or electrostatic discharge damage.  

Choose Cyclops Electronics to avoid electronic counterfeit components

Nonfranchise distribution channels are a vital and legitimate part of any supply chain, particularly in the case of legacy products where parts may no longer be in production. The electronics industry has realised that, as counterfeiters become more and more proficient, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ measure that can be used to combat fraudulent parts entering the supply chain. 

At Cyclops Electronics, quality is at the core of everything we do. From our industry-leading component testing program to our commitment to continuous improvement, the quality of our components and service is our key tool to drive the highest customer satisfaction year after year. 

When it comes to counterfeit mitigation, component analysis is a crucial element to protect our customers’ supply chain.  

At Cyclops Electronics we continuously and thoroughly vet and monitor our supply chain. Since we also have a presence in China, we have the advantage of controlling our incoming goods from Asia in real time on a local level. A large proportion of counterfeit goods often come from China, but because of our presence there we can be much more vigilant than other brokers.  

The Cyclops counterfeit inspection process

Goods coming into the Cyclops warehouse go through a vigorous inspection process on arrival before they are even booked in. All components are photographed and undergo inspection based on the type of part, age, supply chain and specific customer requirements. Basic checks are performed, such as checking the quantity, part numbers and RoHS compliance. 

Our experienced inspectors have the training and technical expertise to ensure quality product reaches the end customer. Parts are then tracked through a barcode system, from supplier delivery note right though to customer despatch.  

Following this, if the parts are still factory sealed, we perform visual checks. If the components are not factory sealed, we are very diligent in our need for further testing. High resolution and secondary checks are undertaken, and testing continues depending on whether the part passes. 

We have very strict protocols in place for testing, and it always follows our process flow. For destructive tests like decapsulation, these are only undertaken in very specific circumstances and need to be requested by the customer. Thankfully, our combination of specialised testing facilities and our team of dedicated inspection staff mean these tests are not often required. 

At Cyclops Electronics we have several optical magnifiers that we use in-house. This includes, but is not limited to, Opticron Hand magnifiers, the vision engineering mantis and the Amscope microscope. We also perform acetone testing, black top testing, reel counters and decapsulation testing. 

Categories
Component Shortage

How are semiconductor companies dealing with current industry challenges

There are many challenges facing the chip industry, despite
the semiconductor supply chain no longer being in crisis.

Semiconductor industry challenges

Focusing on high-demand products

The semiconductor shortages are much more under control than they were between 2020 and 2022, but the effects can still be felt. There are various components that are in more demand, like surface mount devices (SMDs), multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) and SMD resistors. There are also whole industries taking a big hit, like the automotive
industry
and consumer market.

Many companies have switched to manufacturing these higher-demand products to optimise production and profit during these shortages.

Capacity expansion

Some fabs are still dealing with manufacturing delays due
to closures and lockdowns. Although most of these facilities have reopened this year, but since lockdowns began several manufacturers have expanded their operations
in other countries.

There have also been several new initiatives to increase
domestic production and reshoring introduced recently. These include the US CHIPS Act, and the European
Chips Act
, both of which aim to bolster their countries’ places in the global semiconductor market. With these expansion plans manufacturers’ capacity and ability to cater for customers has also increased.

New technologies and Industry 4.0

Advancements in robotics, AI, and digitalisation have greatly
improved the efficiency of the industry. As semiconductors and microchips have gotten more powerful but smaller, it has given rise to a new generation of technology. This, if implemented in a fab setting, can increase output and
improve speed without the need for more facility space.

Optimisation of current facilities might be expensive, but will benefit companies with a more immediate effect than building new fabs, which would take years.

There are many other initiatives that companies that can adopt to optimise in the wake of the supply chain chaos, including expanding their customer base and collaboration with other companies.

We’ve got you covered

Throughout the semiconductor shortages Cyclops has been
ensuring that its customers get the electronic components they need with the shortest lead times possible. 

No matter what the circumstances, our impeccable customer support will never change. To see our expertise first-hand, contact us at sales@cyclops-electronics.com or call us today on +44 (0) 1904 415 415. 

Categories
Electronic Components Technology

Edible batteries

Researchers in Italy have made a rechargeable battery from edible materials like almonds and capers.

What’s the recipe?

The Milan-based researchers made the rechargeable prototype’s anode from riboflavin, a vitamin found in almonds. The cathode of the battery was made from quercetin, found in capers and is also sold as a food supplement.

The researchers, from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, mixed activated charcoal into the electrode materials to increase electrical conductivity.

Nori seaweed was used for the separator, while a mixture of sodium hydrogen sulphate and water made up the electrolyte. Two food-grade gold foil contacts were on a cellulose-derived support, and the device was covered in beeswax.

Cooking time

Previously, research has shown the feasibility of edible circuits and sensors, but there is more research needed into power sources.

The battery operated at 0.65V, and sustained a current of 48µA for 12 minutes.

When further developed, the device could be used for medical diagnostics and treatments, and food quality monitoring. Regular batteries like Li-ion types cannot be used in edible devices because of the toxic chemicals contained in them.

Au naturale

The research team states in their report that they drew inspiration from living organisms for their battery.

In a previous study, a different team of researchers made a non-rechargeable battery from melanin and manganese oxide. While the battery operated, manganese oxide decreased and the melanin oxidised. Unfortunately manganese oxide can only be consumed in very small amounts, so the battery’s charge is pretty limited.

Aside from the melanin battery’s charge having limitations, the fact that it is not rechargeable also mitigates its effectiveness.

As edible electronics is still a relatively new field, it’s not surprising that many designs are still in their infancy. But, with the potential uses in the medical and food safety fields, one day they could be life-saving.

Food for thought

Although Cyclops Electronics doesn’t have a huge stock of edible components, we do have a massive inventory of other hard-to-find and everyday electronic components. We can stock or source almost anything you want, staying ahead of other distributors out there. Contact Cyclops Electronics today at sales@cyclops-electronics.com, or call us on +44 (0) 1904 415 415.

 

Disclaimer: this blog is purely for informational purposes, please do not eat batteries!

Categories
Electronic Components

Managing component obsolescence

Electronic component obsolescence can have a ripple effect in the industry. If a component reaches the end of its lifecycle it can impact any products made with the component, affecting the end user.

Obsolescence happening faster

Components now are becoming obsolete much faster than 50 years ago. In the 70s the complete lifecycle of an electronic component was around 30 years. By the 2010s this was closer to 10 years, a huge decrease.

While this might not be a problem for consumers, it does have a considerable impact on manufacturers. If machinery is specialised to a certain type of component, the cost to adjust or replace these machines can be high.

Especially in very specialised fields like aerospace, defence and medical, faster component obsolescence has a serious effect. The process of redesigning these circuits and testing can be hugely time-consuming.

Advancements in technology play a part in these accelerated lifecycles, but there is still a big need for legacy parts.

End-of-life

Component manufacturers usually let their customer base know if a part is becoming obsolete with a Last Time Buy notice or a Product Change Notification (PCN). These can be issued up to about a year in advance to give companies time to make alternative arrangements.

Some companies will decide to stockpile these components once they receive the notification. The alternative is reworking any products featuring the components or finding alternative components.

Of course, any of these options will be costly. A number of companies will be trying to stock the same components so the price will increase. This will increase further once the components become scarce.

Can it be managed?

·         Monitor end-of-life notifications: Even if a PCN does not directly affect you, it may affect other manufacturers in your supply chain. Keeping track of these and being aware of what others in your supply chain use might make all the difference.

·         Consider buying strategies: Depending on how and when you buy components, you may end up with shortages or obsolete excess components. If manufacturers put a supply and buying strategy in place, they can not only minimise the obsolescence impact, but can save time and warehouse space.

·         Component lifecycle management: Staying on top of the component lifecycles can be endlessly useful. If manufacturers can keep track of their components lifecycle changes, they can forecast and prepare for the potential phasing out of the part.

Excellent management

Cyclops Electronics provides a range of services for its customers, including scheduled ordering. If you lack warehouse space but want to buy a surplus of components, whether they’re facing obsolescence or you want to secure a price, Cyclops Electronics can hold these for you and deliver as and when you need them. To learn more or hear about our other services, contact us today on +44 (0) 1904 415 415, or email us at sales@cyclops-electronics.com.

Categories
Supply Chain

Korea Japan trade relations

Chipmaker material suppliers in Korea have been earning
more from domestic semiconductor companies who have been looking for local suppliers.

Domestic supply

Since export restrictions were put in place by their
neighbours, Korean chipmakers like Samsung Electronics have been using local suppliers. This has led to suppliers in Korea more than doubling their earnings in the last four years.

Japan’s restrictions affected areas including photoresist
chemicals and hydrogen fluoride used in chip manufacture. Fluorinated polyamide for organic light-emitting displays was also affected.

The restrictions were first changed back in mid-2019, and
since then 16 Korean materials companies saw combined sales grow by approximately $15 billion between 2018 and 2022.

The affect

Korea Semiconductor Industry Association VP and COO, Ahn Ki-hyun, said Korean companies weren’t damaged by the restrictions. He said, however, the restrictions may have impacted Japanese companies attempting to export to South Korea.

One of the toughest materials to re-source was hydrogen
fluoride gas, used for etching in display production. Much of this has been replaced since 2018 to lower-purity gas produced in Korea.

Despite some of the restrictions now being lifted, the
domestic suppliers that have been adopted may stay for good.

Recent relations

Just last month the two countries came together and agreed
to lift many of the restrictions. Korea has continued to promote using domestic suppliers even if restrictions are eased.

In general the chip industry has not changed much, other
supplies and exports between the countries have stayed the same. In light of the changes it will be interesting to see how the Asian chip market now develops.

The US Chips Act will also affect these new business
relationships. Market shares might change, and only time will tell how the industry will shift as a whole.

Global presence

 

Cyclops Electronics supplies to countries and partners all
over the world. We pride ourselves on our accessibility and level of customer service. If you’re struggling to find electronic components or reliable distributors, contact Cyclops today and see first-hand how a good business
partnership can benefit you. Email us at sales@cyclops-electronics.com, or call us on +44 (0) 1904 415 415. 

Categories
Electronic Components

The Life of Gordon Moore

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and creator of Moore’s
Law, has passed away at the age of 94.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced on March 24
that Moore had passed away at his home in Hawaii.

Humble beginnings

As a child, Moore was more interested in chemistry
than electronics. After completing his bachelor’s, Moore achieved a doctorate
in physical chemistry in at the California Institute of Technology in 1954.

After working at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns
Hopkins University in Maryland, Moore wanted more. He was given the opportunity
in 1956 to work at the recently formed Shockley Semiconductor. This company is
thought to be responsible for creating California’s Silicon Valley.

Less than a year later, Moore and a group of scientists and
engineers formed their own company, Fairchild Semiconductor. He rose through
the company to become the director of research and development. During his time
there, Fairchild developed the planar process, the base process needed to
produce an IC. Moore also greatly contributed to the development of the MOSFET
during his time at Fairchild.

Moore’s Law

One of the things Moore is renowned for is the initial
prediction of Moore’s Law. Moore
predicted all the way back in 1965 that the number of transistors fitting on a
given area would double each year. 10 years later he adjusted his hypothesis to
every two years. This prediction still rings mostly true today.

Just a few years after the initial prediction, Moore and
long-time colleague Robert Noyce decided to found a new business. Thus, Intel
Corporation was created. After initially being the executive vice president,
Moore eventually became CEO and chairman of the board.

After Intel

Moore became stepped down as CEO in 1987, and worked as the
chairman and chairman emeritus before stepping down completely in 2006. Following
his retirement and beforehand in the early 2000s, Moore established a
charitable foundation with his wife Betty. Since its founding, The Gordon and
Betty Moore Foundation has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes. 

Categories
Supply Chain

What is computational lithography?

Computational lithography is a process that could speed up the chip design time.

There are many things that need to be considered when designing or manufacturing a semiconductor. In the early stages the chip’s design will have to be developed – a process that could take considerable time.

As chips get smaller and more powerful, the complexity increases. This means more advanced manufacturing methods have to be considered, sooner rather than later.

Photo lithography

The photo lithography process is when the semiconductor design is etched onto the wafer. It uses a series of light and radiation exposures to etch the semiconductor design onto the substrate wafer. During this process the wafer can be deformed because of the physical and chemical effects.

There’s more and more need for high accuracy in the etching process. There also ideally should be a way to predict or negate any errors caused in the etching. The errors can come from diffraction, the resist used, and a number of other things.

Computational lithography

Computational lithography is a method of simulating chip lithography. It uses algorithms representing the manufacturing process, gathered from test wafers and machines. By running chip designs through a computer the resolution of the pattern can be increased.

This is becoming more essential as chip designs become smaller and higher resolution designs are needed.

The models used in in the simulations plan ahead for the potential physical and chemical effects of the photolithography, deforming them purposely to demonstrate the final effect.

Further developments

A big name in the industry has recently released a software library which will further speed up the design process. This could apparently enable the creation of new lithography solutions and faster turnaround times.

Computational lithography has only been around since the mid-2000s. Following the term’s first use it quickly got adopted industry wide.

A clear picture

 

Cyclops stock a range of different components with a variety of node sizes. Whatever electronic component you’re looking for, Cyclops can help. With our global contacts and huge stocklist, we can ensure competitive lead times and prices. Call us today on +44 (0) 1904 415 415, or email us at sales@cyclops-electronics.com