News Feature | February 8, 2023

Back Channel — Nanoscale 3D-Printing Material Could Offer Better Structural Protection, Designing Better Cars With Safety & Security In Mind, IEE MTT-S Calls For Nominations, And More

John Oncea

By John Oncea, Editor


Back Channel presents the most captivating news and innovations in RF and microwaves. This week, we learn who the leading companies in missile aerodynamic guidance systems are, find out why the fiber optic cable market is expected to top $30 billion by 2029, dig into why the U.S. has a “unique opportunity” to lead the world’s IFE research, and more.

Engineers at Stanford University (go Cardinal!) have designed a new material for nanoscale 3D printing that can absorb twice as much energy as other similarly dense materials, reports the National Science Foundation. Nanoscale printing creates structures that are a fraction of the diameter of a human hair and can print minuscule materials that are both strong and light. The new material can absorb twice as much energy as other 3D-printed materials of a comparable density, researchers found. In the future, their invention could be used to create better lightweight protection for fragile pieces of satellites, drones, and microelectronics. “There's a lot of interest right now in designing different types of 3D structures for mechanical performance,” said Wendy Gu, a Stanford mechanical engineer and a corresponding author on the paper. “What we've done on top of that is develop a material that is good at resisting forces, so it's not just the 3D structure, but also the material that provides very good protection.”

The aerospace and defense industry – driven by modernization, the accelerated digitization of the battlefield, and the growing importance of technologies such as AI and unmanned systems –continues to be a hotbed of innovation, according to Naval Technology. GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the industry, reports there are more than 180 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10 companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming startups engaged in the development and application of missile aerodynamic guidance systems.

Carmakers are accelerating their chip and electronic design schedules to remain competitive in an increasingly fast-changing market, but they are encountering gaps in the tooling, the supply chain, and in the methodologies they use to create those cars, reports Semiconductor Engineering. This has led to new design trends to further speed up the design process for EVs, SDVs, and other new vehicles, so project schedules now include both parallel and serial tasks. “Engineering groups and their executive management teams have adopted the ‘shift left’ mantra of moving testing, quality, and performance evaluation to early in the design process as the sure path to greater profitability and competitiveness,” Semiconductor Engineering reports David Vye, senior product marketing manager for RF/microwave products at Cadence, as saying. “The pressure to shift left requires technologists to shorten design cycles through concurrent design activities and reduction of design inefficiencies that delay delivery.”

Exactitude Consultancy research finds rising penetration of the internet followed by an increase in adoption of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity will be major drivers for the fiber optic cables market, according to. Fiber is still the best option for transporting large amounts of data and information across long distances. Because fiber optic cables can transfer a vast amount of data at a very high speed, internet providers are one of the most important users of fiber optic cables. Users will notice a significant reduction in the amount of time it takes to transfer files and information across networks. As a result, market growth is predicted to be fueled by increasing penetration of IT enterprises, as well as increased internet stability.

The IEEE is looking for nominees for the MTT-S Outstanding Chapter Award, which is given each year worldwide based on the quantity and quality of the activities and programs implemented by the chapter during the previous year. Nominations may be submitted using a form accessible at the link above by March 6 and can be made by any Officer belonging to that Chapter, which will be reviewed by the MTT-S MGA Award Committee. Nominations will be evaluated based on the technical, societal, and educational activities, membership advancement, successful MTT-S membership recruitment, etc. The nominations should include a brief description and photographs of major Chapter activities during the previous year.

The historic fusion ignition achieved by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) positions the United States with a “unique opportunity” to further lead the world scientific community’s pursuit of developing fusion as a future source of clean energy, according to a newly released report. “There is a huge amount of momentum in the fusion field right now, which gives us a very special opportunity to grow the national IFE program and accelerate the development of fusion energy by leveraging our leadership in inertial confinement fusion (ICF), developing new collaborations through public-private partnerships and working closely with DOE and the community,” said LLNL physicist Tammy Ma, the lead for the Laboratory’s Inertial Fusion Energy Institutional Initiative. LLNL Director Kim Budil said the achievement of ignition at NIF signals the time is now for a major push to make IFE a reality. “This report provides an important roadmap to tackle the significant scientific and engineering challenges that still lie ahead on the path toward a fusion energy future,” Budil said. “The report outlines exciting opportunities for LLNL to partner with the entire fusion energy community as we work together to accelerate the development of IFE during what promises to be a transformational decade of high energy density science and fusion research.”