Vol 50, No 04, 13 February 2014

  • the human skull is a complicated object to image due to its variable tissue densities

    Micro detection

    Microwave tomography can be used to identify and categorise strokes effectively and quickly, as shown with a new realistic 2D head model

  • Non-destructive testing is important to preserve samples and reduce costs

    Inside view

    We talk to Sujitha Puthukodan to find out more about the collaborative research from Spain, France and Korea into non-destructive testing of multi-walled carbon nanotubes

  • Ivan Grech

    Interview with Ivan Grech

    Ivan Grech of the University of Malta talks about the research including that in his Letter: ‘The versatility provided by an electrostatic torsional microstructure as a consequence of its complex dynamics’

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Long and intense

Four-intensity level pulse amplitude modulation (4PAM) is an attractive modulation format for  large capacity optical light sources, and researchers in Japan have achieved 25-Gbaud/s 4-PAM modulation with 1.3-μm DML and 10-km transmission over single-mode fibre for the first time.Their device will be employed as a light source in an optical transmitter for optical network systems.

Power source

Terahertz frequency radiation has many potential applications, ranging from imaging and chemical sensing through to telecommunications. However, one of the principal challenges is to develop compact, low-cost, efficient THz sources.  To address this, researchers in the UK have developed high-power THz quantum cascade lasers operating in pulsed mode. Their devices deliver peak output power of up to 1.01 W from a single facet at 10 K.

Mixed messages 

Researchers in the US have presented a  wide band GaN HEMT mixer which has very low loss and high dynamic range. Since resistive mixers are a commonly used component in military or satellite communication systems, their reduction of typical in-band resonance means they may contribute to the  improvement of microwave communication systems. 


The first investigation of the total phase noise and frequency stability of the signals using independent cryogenic sapphire oscillators has been demonstrated by researchers in Australia. They have shown that the phase noise and frequency stability results were not estimated from residual noise measurements of the synthesis chain, as was the previous state-of-the-art.

Using weakness

A novel switching architecture for exponential function generation in CMOS technology has been demonstrated by researchers in the US. Their CMOS quadratic function generator circuit – removing the necessity for a squarer/multiplier circuit – means  non-idealities in sub-micron technology can introduce a technique to extend dynamic range.

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Cover of Electronics Letters, Volume 49, Issue 25

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