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www.us-tech.com VOLUME 27 - NUMBER 3


Product Preview: IPC/APEX


THE NATION’S LEADING HI-TECH ELECTRONICS PUBLICATION March, 2012


Electronic Paper Display Getting Much Closer


Flying Probe Tester from SPEA is one of many new products be- ing shown at IPC/APEX in San Diego. See Product Preview starting on . . .


Page 68


Growing Customer Base and Disabled Workers


Aimtron is expanding opera- tions both in the U.S. and in In- dia in response to fast-growing client base, while PRIDE keeps up with high-quality medical systems needs with a work force largely comprised of peo- ple with disabilities


Page 18 This Month's Focus: Assembly & Packaging


Manual handling of delicate parts, managing PCBs from of- ten questionable offshore opera- tions, effective process control for SMT assembly, automated laser soldering and inspection, selective soldering systems, and catching problems earlier in the prototyping process are covered in this month's Special Focus section.


Page 56


Phoenix, AZ — Which is the best dis- play for our data, entertainment, of- fice work, movies on the go? The three major technologies — LED, backlight- ed LCD, and plasma all have their pros and cons. Now another player is anxious to get into the mix —electron- ic paper or electrofluidic display (EF) — a technology that has some serious advantages, not the least of which is near-zero power operation. The display is like paper — flexible, rollable, foldable, and provides superior opti- cal contrast in direct sun- light. Further, it can offer panel integration with PV power sources. The electronic paper


has a spectacular intro- duction at January’s Con- sumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But in spite of all of the hype, there’s still a lot of work to be done be- fore EF becomes a truly vi- able, marketable product. Chief player right now is Gamma Dynamics Corp. in Phoenix in partnership with the University of Cincinnati (Ohio). This new entry into


the race for full-color elec- tronic paper can potentially


Electronic paper can be a great way to get the news, complete with streaming video (mockup photo Univ. of Cincinnati).


Cool Nano Loudspeakers Feeding Quantum Processors Shrink MRIs, for Starters


Gaithersburg, MD — Okay, it’s still just a theory, but a team of physi- cists from the Joint Quantum Insti- tute (JQI), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Har- vard University has developed a the- ory describing how to detect weak


electrical signals and cool electrical circuits using light and something very like a nanosized loudspeaker. (J. M. Taylor, A. S. Sorensen, C. M. Marcus and E. S. Polzik. “Laser cool- ing and optical detection of excita- tions in a LC electrical circuit.” Physical Review Letters 107, 273601. Published online Dec. 27, 2011.)


If demonstrated through experi- ment, the work could have a tre - mendous impact on detection of low- power radio signals, magnetic reso- nance imaging (MRI), and the devel- oping field of quantum information science. JQI researchers think they have discovered a way to amplify


Continued on page 8 ACD CEO Scott Fillebrown.


day’s trend toward more “Made in USA” manufacturing operations. During those 18 months, the


Richardson, Texas facility was equipped with two entirely new Juki production lines, which President and CEO Scott Fillebrown character-


Continued on page 10


provide better than 85 percent “white- state reflectance,” a performance level required for consumers to accept re- flective display applications such as e- books, cell-phones and signage.


Better Technology “If you compare this technology


to what’s been developed previously, there’s no comparison,” says develop-


er Jason Heikenfeld, assistant pro- fessor of electrical engineering in UC’s College of Engineering. “We’re ahead by a wide margin in critical categories such as brightness, color saturation and video speed.” This work, which has been un-


derway for several years, has just been published in the paper “Elec- trofluidic displays using Young- Laplace transposition of brilliant pig- ment dispersions.” Lead author Heikenfeld explains the primary ad- vantage of the approach. “The ulti- mate reflective display would simply place the best colorants used by the printing industry directly beneath the front viewing substrate of a dis- play,” he says. “In our EFD pixels, we


Continued on page 8


“Made In USA” Gets Boost at ACD, Texas


Richardson, TX — EMS company Au- tomated Circuit Design (ACD) has just completed an 18-month program of upgrading its internal infrastruc- ture with solid new investment in capital equipment. This is in antici- pation of dramatically increased do- mestic production, combined with to-


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