Welcome to our annual Top 101 Components feature, which includes a list of 101 of most sought after components in the electronics OEM.
When we tallied the results for this year’s Top 101 Components list, we found that many design engineers are thinking about power and seeking out more information about innovative power sources. In fact, 23 of the products on the list are categorized as power sources and four of the top 10 components are power-related products: the CLK series of supercapacitors from Cellergy, the LXDC series of dc/dc converters for Murata Americas, the E200E series of dc/dc converters from MicroPower Direct and the IWAS-3827EC-50 charging coil from Vishay Intertechnology.
Though power sources made a strong showing on the list, the component at the very top of the list is a sensor, the LIS3MDL magnetometer from STMicroelectronics (Fig. 1). This is ST’s first discrete magnetometer, and it sparked quite a bit of interest among our readers. Announced back in February, the LIS3MDL is just now going to mass production.
One of the interesting applications of this standalone 3-axis magnetometer is for indoor navigation, where it reliably calculates dead-reckoning when no satellite signal is available. The part can also be combined with other discrete sensors from ST such as a 3-axis MEMS accelerometer or 3-axis MEMS gyroscope, to build sensors with as many as 9 degrees of freedom.
ST suggests using its iNEMO Engine Sensor Fusion software to further enhance location-detection capabilities with these sensors. Sensor Fusion software helps coordinate any combination of ST sensors to create systems with multiple degrees of freedom quickly and efficiently for location-based services, enhanced motion-based gaming, and pedestrian dead-reckoning for indoor and multi-floor navigation. For example adding a MEMS pressure sensor, for altitude sensing, can enhance in-building accuracy, as well as support extended smartphone functionality and location-based operator services.
- Image Gallery: Power Sources
- Image Gallery: Sensors
- Image Gallery: Interconnects
- Image Gallery: Passive Components
- Image Gallery: Switches
ST has some indication of how this sensor might be used in novel applications due to its experience with a 6x iNemo part, an accelerometer plus magnetometer. For example, HAPILABS, a company based in Hong Kong, has developed a product called HAPIfork, which helps individuals monitor and track their eating habits. With the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations, the device alerts users to the fact that they are eating too fast. HAPIfork uses an ST accelerometer and a magnetometer module, as well as an STM32 microcontroller.
One of the hottest areas in electronics today is solid state lighting, so it makes complete sense that new LEDs would pique our readers’ interest. In this particular case, the product that made the greatest impression on our readers during the past year is the Cree XLamp series of LEDs (Fig. 2). There are two of them: the discrete (XB-D) and multicolor (XM-L).
Single-color XB-D LEDs are designed to reduce system costs for lighting manufacturers by doubling the lumens per dollar of previously available LEDs. Built on Cree’s SC³ Technology Platform, the XB-D White LED delivers up to 139 lumens and 136 lumens per watt in cool white (6000 K) or up to 107 lumens and 105 lumens per watt in warm white (3000 K), both at 350 mA and 85°C.
Multicolor XM-L LEDs combine very high efficacy at very high drive currents, delivering 1000 lumens with 100 lumens-per-watt efficacy at 3 A in a compact, 5-mm x 5-mm footprint. These LEDs are designed for very-high-lumen applications such as high-bay, indoor commercial or roadway lighting. The XM-L LED can lower total system cost by reducing the number of LEDs and optics in the system.
Cree wasn’t the only company that placed an LED in the top 10 of our list. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors secured the seventh position with its Oslon Black Flat LED (Fig. 3). Designed for automotive frontlighting applications, the LED features high light output at high currents, uniform light distribution, thermal stability, and strong contrast. The LED employs Osram’s UX:3 chip technology, which is based on the company’s ThinGaN process. This technology uses a metallic mirror below its active layer and a well-defined scattering surface for optimized light extraction.