Motorola is testing cellular telephones that have transistors made with a new gallium arsenide (GaAs) process. The transistors "grow" on silicon wafers. Wafers made from gallium arsenide are typically fragile, but a unique compliant layer that bonds to both the silicon and the gallium arsenide in the new process could alleviate that problem. Combining all components on a single chip also enhances the chip performance by eliminating the speed loss and power consumption that result from driving signals from chip to chip. "In the short term, it will lower the cost of GaAs products by allowing the use of larger, less fragile wafers," says Steve Cullen, director and principle analyst, semiconductor services, Cahners In-Stat Group. "Long term, it will enable the mixing of silicon and GaAs circuits on a single chip." Cullen notes that silicon is great for complex computational circuits such as Intel's Pentium. Motorola has filed patent applications on the process. The company's plans include licensing the technology to other companies, as well as using the technology for development of its own products. For more information, check out www.mot.com.
More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.