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Next Month’s Focus Automation Send News Releases For


Semicon West Product Preview


VOLUME 32 - NUMBER 6 Product Preview:


ATX/MD&M East THE GLOBAL HI-TECH ELECTRONICS PUBLICATION June, 2017


Food Color Material Repurposed as Sensors


By John Toon, Georgia Tech


YXLON offers a range of radio- scopic and CT inspection sys- tems for applications from labs to high-rel electronics. Product Preview begins on… Page 64


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Atlanta, GA —Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have found a material that has been used for decades to color food items ranging from corn chips to ice cream could po- tentially have uses far beyond food dyes. In a study published in March,


the researchers described how a class of water soluble liquid crystals, called lyotropic chromonic liquid crystals, ex- hibited unexpected characteristics that could be harnessed for use in sen- sors and other potential applications. (Karthik Nayani, Jinxin Fu, Rui Chang, Jung Ok Park, and Mohan


Srinivasarao, “Using chiral tactoids as optical probes to study the aggre- gation behavior of chromonics,” Pro- ceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2017) “We were seeking to understand


the aggregation and phase behavior of these plank-like molecules as a function of temperature and concen- tration,” says Karthik Nayani, a for- mer Georgia Tech student who worked on the problem. “When ob- served under crossed polarizers in an optical microscope, liquid crystals can exhibit beautiful textures that hint toward how the molecules them-


Continued on page 6


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Page 20 This Month's Focus:


Components & Distribution


Georgia Tech students Jinxin Fu and Rui Chang view the liquid crystals created from a common food dye (Photo credit: Rob Felt).


Graphene Used as “Copy Machine” for Semiconductor Wafers


By Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office


Gowanda creates surface mount ER inductor for RF ap- plications; Creative Electron learns from IoT teardowns; EasyLogix resolves irritating PCB issues. Special Features begin on…


Cambridge, MA — In 2016, annual global semiconductor sales reached their highest-ever point, at $339 bil- lion worldwide. That same year, the semiconductor industry spent about $7.2 billion worldwide on wafers that serve as the substrates for microelec- tronics components, which can be turned into transistors, LEDs, and other electronic and photonic devices. A new technique developed by


Page 52


MIT engineers may vastly reduce the overall cost of wafer technology and


enable devices made from more exot- ic, higher-performing semiconductor materials than conventional silicon. The new method, reported in


Nature, uses graphene — single- atom-thin sheets of graphite — as a sort of “copy machine” to transfer in- tricate crystalline patterns from an underlying semiconductor wafer to a top layer of identical material. The engineers worked out care-


fully controlled procedures to place single sheets of graphene onto an ex- pensive wafer. They then grew semi- conducting material over the graph - ene layer. They found that graphene is thin enough to appear electrically invisible, allowing the top layer to see through the graphene to the underly- ing crystalline wafer, imprinting its patterns without being influenced by the graphene. Graphene is also rather “slip-


pery” and does not tend to stick to other materials easily, enabling the


Continued on page 8


Making Batteries from Waste Glass Bottles


Riverside, CA — Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low- cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-perform- ance lithium ion batteries. The bat- teries will extend the range of elec- tric vehicles and plug-in hybrid elec- tric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal elec- tronics like cell phones and laptops. Titled “Silicon Derived from


Glass Bottles as Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Full Cell Batteries,” an article describing the research was published in the Nature journal Sci- entific Reports. Cengiz Ozkan, pro- fessor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electri- cal engineering, led the project. Even with today’s recycling pro-


grams, billions of glass bottles still end up in landfills every year, prompting the researchers to ask whether silicon dioxide recovered from waste beverage bottles could provide high-purity silicon nanopar- ticles for lithium ion batteries. Silicon anodes can store up to 10


times more energy than conventional graphite anodes, but expansion and shrinkage during charge and dis- charge make them unstable. Howev- er, downsizing silicon to the nanoscale has been shown to reduce this prob-


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