<p>Swedish startup opens silicon carbide plant</p>

The prospects for European owned gallium arsenide (GaAs) device development and production changed significantly this month when RF Micro Devices (Greensboro, N.C.), the world’s leading maker of GaAs RFICs, completed the acquisition of Filtronic’s compound semiconductors division for £12.5 million (about $25 million).


Product information: Data loggers

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National Instruments , 1-800-258-7022, www.ni.com

Investment banking firm Robert W. Baird & Co. has released its RFID Monthly for March. Excerpts from key developments in the report are found below, along with a link to download the entire document found on the next page of this update. The February and the January reports are available, too.

Key Updates

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Aerospace Mandate: Lockheed has issued a mandate for RFID Gen2 tags for products in its Aerospace unit. A letter issued in mid-February to all suppliers shipping into Lockheed's Aerospace facilities in Marietta, Georgia or Ft. Worth, Texas, indicates they must tag all shipments by 2009.

Retail Expansion: Germany-based Metro intends to expand the number of stores receiving RFID pallets by 3-fold from its current 180 Metro and Real stores, according to industry sources. Many of the new sites will move internationally beyond Germany. Additionally, pilot activity has heightened at two or three of the large retailers and from several of the second-tier group. Several vendors indicate that most of this activity is in Europe, and expect pilot expansion between April and June.

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Growth Opportunities: Retail and consumer product goods companies have begun to look at RFID for new growth areas and improvements in customer service, which R. W. Baird views as an important potential driver for return on investment in RFID, as well as investment contributions from marketing departments.

Privacy Remains an Important Issue: The Washington Senate passed a version of House Bill #1031 on March 4 focused on banning unlawful behavior, rather than restricting the technology. The original bill in February would have required store warnings, incremental security precautions, and in many respects, pre-judged RFID technology as invading privacy. While Robert W. Baird & Co. is encouraged by the pragmatic outcome, the investment firm analysts remain concerned given pending legislation in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Alaska and Missouri.

Microchip Technology, www.microchip.com

Santa Clara, Calif. — National Semiconductor Corp. has introduced the LMP7721, a precision amplifier with the industry's lowest guaranteed input bias current of 20 fA at room temperature and over the extended temperature range of -40°C to 125° C, according to the company. As a result, the device is said to deliver maximum system sensitivity and accuracy from photodiode and high-impedance sensors and is well-suited for improving sensitivity and accuracy in battery-operated portable applications, as well as electrochemical sensor interface circuitry.

As a member of National's PowerWise family of energy-efficient products, the LMP7721 provides a wide gain bandwidth (GBW) of 17 MHz while consuming only 1.3 mA of current. National's proprietary VIP50 BiCMOS process technology enables the LMP7721's input bias cancellation circuitry to maintain its low input bias current. For example, the LMP7721 guarantees 900 fA at 85°C, which is 50 percent less than the closest competitive device, said National.

The LMP7721 precision amplifier provides 3 fA, with a guaranteed limit of 20 fA at 25°C, 900 fA at 85°C and 5 pA at 125°C. The amplifier also maintains ultra-low input bias current over its entire input common-mode voltage range, and its wide GBW along with a high open-loop gain of 120 dB enables accurate signal conditioning. Other features include low input voltage noise of 6.5 nV/sqrt Hz, low DC offset voltage of +/- 50 uV maximum at 25°C and low offset voltage temperature coefficient of 1.5 uV/C to improve system sensitivity and accuracy.

The LMP7721 provides a supply voltage range of 1.8 V to 5.5 V and is offered in an 8-pin SOIC package with a special pinout that isolates the amplifier's input from the power supply and output pins. This unique pinout is said to further reduce system errors by preventing printed-circuit-board (PCB) leakage current from reaching the input pins. By using the LMP7721 in place of an amplifier and discrete dual-input MOSFET, system designers can realize PCB space savings of approximately 50 percent, said National.


I am convinced that stockholders need to elect all of our candidates to send a message to Motorola's management and remaining directors that the 'status quo' at Motorola and inside its boardroom is no longer acceptable,” Icahn said in a statement.

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