Quantum computers are cryogenically cooled because their quantum bits (qubits) are extremely delicate and sensitive to disruptions from even minute amounts of thermal noise, such as Johnson-Nyquist (J-N) noise. J-N noise is generated by the thermal agitation of electrons, regardless of any applied voltage, when the conductor is at equilibrium. Even small amounts of J-N […]
What kinds of attenuators are there?
Attenuators are often defined as electronic devices that reduce the power of a signal without introducing significant distortion. While that’s not incorrect, it’s also not complete. For example, optical attenuators can be based on fixed or variable neutral density (ND) filters and are largely mechanical constructions. This FAQ considers basic types of electronic attenuators. Other […]
What are digital twins, and where are they on the “hype cycle”?: Part 2
Digital twins are getting lots of deserved attention, but are they the cure-all for whatever simulation issues you have? Although digital twins are undoubtedly valuable tools along with basic simulation, modeling, HITL, and others, the associated all-good/no drawbacks promotion concerns me. When a tool, product, or other development gets a lot of “pumping up” to […]
What are digital twins, and where are they on the “hype cycle”?: Part 1
Digital twins are getting lots of deserved attention, but are they the cure-all for whatever simulation issues you have? Lately, I’m seeing what are called “digital twins” cited everywhere. What is a digital twin? In addition to having that very catchy name, it is a highly advanced model of the system which can be used […]
What are MEMS relays good for?
MEMS relays (also called MEMS switches) have high isolation when open and very low insertion loss or resistance when closed; they can handle signals from DC to multi-GHz, operate with very little power, and their micrometer size means that many can be packed into a small space. These attributes make MEMS relays well-suited for 5G […]
What are the four most-common relay technologies and where are they used?
The four most-common relay technologies include electromechanical relays, reed relays, solid-state relays, and optotriacs. These relay technologies have widely varying capabilities, making them suitable for different applications. This FAQ compares each relay technology’s structures, specs, operations, and applications. The oldest and most basic type of relay are electromechanical designs. When an input value, usually current […]
When to use a relay and when to use a contactor?
Contactors are used for switching more than 15 amperes or in circuits rated more than a few kW. Except for optional auxiliary low-current contacts, contactors normally have open contacts and are used in high-power circuits. They include features to control and suppress the arc produced when interrupting heavy currents like those found in motor control […]
Where are cloud connected relays used?
Relays are humble devices, but they are not immune to being impacted by the Internet of Things. Electromechanical relays, solid-state relays, and MEMs relays are among the numerous devices in the IoT that can connect to the cloud. Some relays include Wi-Fi controllers or Bluetooth, some use power over Ethernet (PoE), and others use voice […]
Confused about RF-band letter designations? That’s not surprising!
Frequency bands within the electromagnetic spectrum have multiple, sometimes confusing, overlapping designations. Electronics engineers must deal with the electromagnetic spectrum as a routine part of their wired and wireless projects. This spectrum of interest ranges from relatively low frequencies in the kilohertz (kHz) range (or perhaps lower) into the tens and even hundreds of gigahertz […]
Why should you boundary-scan all your manufactured PCBs?
By Suresh Patel, Sales Engineer, Mer-Mar Electronics The Boundary-scan, aka JTAG (Joint Test Action Group), is the IEEE 1149.1 standard used to verify and test Integrated Circuits (IC) interconnections on the PCBs. Using the boundary scan in PCB production will effectively reduce manufacturing costs, accelerate test automation, and improve PCB quality with better fault coverage. […]