Too Many, Too Few Rare Earths


A team from Japan recently made a major discovery—they found massive deposits of rare earths on the ocean floor off the coast of Japan. The team of Waseda University, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) found a deposit that equates to 16 million tons of rare earths. Rare earths are a group of critical materials used in various ele... » read more

Privacy Is In Retreat


It was always a given that when you were online, you're in public. The deceptive piece is that your online activities can appear very distant from your physical location. You might be shopping from the comfort and seeming privacy of your living room, or texting on your smart phone before you get out of bed. This created a lot of buzz initially, but over the past year or so the level of paran... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The IC industry continues to consolidate. For example, Qualcomm has a proposed plan to buy NXP. And then, Broadcom wants to buy Qualcomm. Who is next? In a research note, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves said: “According to Bloomberg, Microsemi is exploring a sale and we think logical acquirers could include Skyworks. We continue to view Microsemi as a notable strategic as... » read more

Metal Markets In Flux


Markets for critical metals are becoming turbulent, creating shortages and widespread supply chain concerns. Critical metals are the raw elements and materials used in the production of aerospace/defense systems, automobiles, batteries, computers and electronic products. Many critical metals also are scarce, and there is high risk associated with their supply. In a recent report, the Europea... » read more

3D Neuromorphic Architectures


Matrix multiplication is a critical operation in conventional neural networks. Each node of the network receives an input signal, multiplies it by some predetermined weight, and passes the result to the next layer of nodes. While the nature of the signal, the method used to determine the weights, and the desired result will all depend on the specific application, the computational task is simpl... » read more

The Week in Review: IoT


Commentary Chris Voce of Forrester Research writes that the Internet of Things next year will move beyond experimentation in this piece. “At Forrester we believe IoT extends beyond devices and connectivity,” he writes. “But it's the business impact of IoT that truly defines what it is: the insights that you can derive with analytics and the business outcomes you can achieve.” M&A M... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 17


GOOI FETs The next-generation power semiconductor market is heating up. Two wide-bandgap technologies—gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon devices and silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs—are ramping up in the power semi market. In addition, the industry is also exploring various futuristic technologies, such as bulk vertical GaN, diamond FETs and others. Purdue University has demonstrated another... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 4


China’s powerful laser The Shanghai Superintense-Ultrafast Lasers Facility (SULF) in China claims to have demonstrated the world’s most powerful laser. The ultra-intense, ultra-fast laser is said to have delivered a peak power of more than five petawatts. This is supposedly the largest peak-power laser pulse ever measured on record. A petawatt is equivalent to one quadrillion watts. ... » read more

Trade War Looms Over Materials


It’s time to pay close attention to rare earths and raw materials--again. In fact, the supply chain teams and commodity buyers at aerospace, automotive and electronics companies may have some new and potentially big problems on their hands. For some time, the European Union (EU), the United States and other nations have been at odds with China over rare earths. China, which accounts for... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 26


Jumping films Riken and the University of Tokyo have developed a tiny autonomous actuator. The actuator, which is based on a special material, can automatically curl up or straighten out when exposed to ambient humidity. And in certain conditions, the film can even jump into the air by itself. A video can be seen here. Researchers placed a material called guanidinium carbonate into a hig... » read more

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