Manufacturing Bits: June 20


Solar cell metrology Using atomic force microscopy (AFM), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a pair of novel techniques to measure the chemical compositions and defects in solar cells. The new techniques will give researchers insights into a thin-film solar cell material called cadmium telluride. The technology will also suggest ways to boost the efficie... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: May 23


Pushing optical metrology The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a new way to determine crystal types using optical metrology techniques. Using an optical-based technique called absorption spectroscopy, researchers have detected tiny nanocrystals down to about 2nm resolutions. Absorption spectroscopy measures the absorption of radiation. It is measured as a function o... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 28


‘Big G’ gravitation measurements The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled a new coordinate measuring machine (CMM). The CMM, dubbed Xenos, makes measurements that involve “big G” or the universal constant of gravitation. Basically, there are two meanings for the constant of gravity. The first is Newton’s universal law of gravitation. For this, the spe... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 21


AFM-on-a-chip An atomic force microscope (AFM) is a metrology tool that can measure and characterize structures in three dimensions. It uses a tiny probe to enable measurements in chip structures, but the instrument itself is often a large and bulky system. In response, the University of Texas at Dallas has devised an AFM-on-a-chip technology. The AFM is roughly the size of a dime. Based on... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 27


Coffee ring effect In physics, the “coffee ring effect" has been the subject of study for years. This phenomenon is a simple concept. A liquid or droplet hits a surface and dries. The particles in the droplet are suspended. And ultimately, it leaves a ring-like pattern. The phenomenon is named for the formation of a ring-like deposit when coffee or other liquid resides on a surface. ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 18


Measuring gooey materials The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Thermo Fisher Scientific have devised an instrument that correlates the flow properties of “soft gooey” materials, such as gels, molten polymers and biological fluids. The instrument, called a rheo-Raman microscope, combines three instruments into one system. First, the system incorporates a Raman sp... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Sept. 20


Crystal database The University of California at San Diego and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created an open-source database of elemental crystal surfaces and shapes. The database, called Crystalium, is a new and expanding set of information about various crystals. The database can help researchers design new materials for various applications, such as batteries, catalytic conv... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Aug. 30


Redefining the ampere In 2014, an international group called the BIPM agreed to redefine four common units of measurements--the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole. These units of measurement make up the so-called International System of Units or SI. In total, there are seven SI base units—meter, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and the candela. Work is already under wa... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 24


Reducing MRAM chip area Researchers from Tohoku University developed a technology to stack magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) directly on the via without causing deterioration to its electric/magnetic characteristics. The team focused on reducing the memory cell area of spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) in order to lower manufacturing costs, making them more compe... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 29


Photonic-phononic circuit Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a piezo-optomechanical circuit that converts signals among optical, acoustic and radio waves. At the heart of the piezoelectric optomechanical circuit is an optomechanical cavity, which consists of a suspended nanoscale beam. Within the beam are a series of holes that act like a ha... » read more

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