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MEMS are Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems and they are an enabling technology for so many of the devices we interact with everyday. While their near ubiquity may come as a surprise to some, their economic impact should not be understated. MEMS and the components or products they empower fuel markets in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Recently, Knowles Corporation announced that they’ve shipped eight billion MEMS microphones globally. Think about that for a minute – That’s more microphones than people living today. And that’s just one MEMS supplier and one of the myriad applications of MEMS…

Portfolio Spotlight: Redlen Technologies

Posted by on in Video

Redlen Technologies is a leading manufacturer of high resolution Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) semiconductor radiation detectors which are enabling a new generation of high performance detection and imaging equipment including Nuclear Cardiology, CT Scanning, Baggage Scanning and Dirty Bomb Detection.

NASA in Your Pocket

Posted by on in Electronics

For half a century, Moore's Law has charted semiconductor development with incredible accuracy. In 1965, Gordon Moore quantified the scaling principle for semiconductors by predicting that the number of transistors that can be etched on a computer chip would double every one year. He revised it to every two years in 1975. His initial belief was that this would hold for a decade. But five decades later, Moore's Law has held up surprisingly well. However, there is now a belief among many semiconductor engineers and scientists that we will hit a miniaturization wall unless there are major breakthroughs in advanced materials innovation.

Another Super Bowl has come and gone and once again, the Lombardi trophy has eluded the Philadelphia Eagles. Alas, it’s now been a decade since the Eagles have made it to the Big Game, and their last NFL Championship was in 1960, 6 years before the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, posthumously dubbed “Super Bowl I”. However, the Eagles can claim one title for 2015: The Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFL in installed solar capacity with 3,000 kW. Living up to their ‘green’ colors, the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field has installed – through a partnership with NRG – 11,000+ solar panels and 14 micro wind-turbines.

Thermoelectrics Deserve Some Heat

Posted by on in Energy

Would you be surprised to learn that the most advanced economy in the world is only forty percent efficient at utilizing its key input?   Shockingly, of the 100 Quads of energy consumed in the United States in 2014, only 40 quads performed useful services such as cooling a building or transporting the kids to soccer practice.  The remaining was lost as heat.  A shameful waste or a tremendous opportunity?   

In my opening remarks at the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit on May 13, 2014, I discussed several “giga goals” facing advanced materials in the energy, electronics, health and sustainability markets.

Space: The Final Frontier [for materials innovation]? It's a far-out idea but the notion of manufacturing materials in a microgravity environment is quite intriguing. Without all that pesky force we call gravity holding us back, we can explore lots of unusual phenomena perhaps impossible to replicate on the surface of our blue gravity-producing planet.

Bottoms Up to Compound Semiconductors

Posted by on in Electronics

Silicon has served us well over the last 55 years since the first integrated circuit was invented at Texas Instruments. Today, the symphony of chemistry, physics and engineering required to orchestrate the production of 22nm node chips in the latest Intel or TSMC fabs represents the pinnacle of 21st century technology. As great as Silicon may be as the driver of today's digital world, for many applications its properties make it a terrible semiconductor choice. For example, its electron bandgap is not compatible with light emission for LEDs, while its electrical and thermal properties make it an extremely inefficient choice for power electronics. Fortunately, the periodic table has come to the rescue with a vast array of compound semiconductors waiting to fill the gap.

It is often said that an ideal market for venture investing is a large market on the verge of massive disruption. It is for this reason that the medical imaging market recently came onto my radar. It is a multi-billion dollar market that is on the verge of massive technology and market disruption.

The core technology for radiation-based medical imaging cameras are scintillators. This detector technology was first adopted around 1985 and is comprised of scintillator crystals that convert x-rays and radiation into visible light and a photodiode or photomultiplier tube that converts the light to an electric signal. Sounds like old technology.