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102 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 PCB connectors utilizing through-hole and SMT connection methods are the most common and lowest cost method of connect- ing a flex circuit. By utilizing the more com- mon varieties such as D-sub or micro-D, you can save money and be assured of a constant supply. You can design or use a custom PCB connector for your flexible circuitry. However, keep in mind custom connectors will probably be very expensive, with long lead times. Having a single supplier for a flex connector can prove to be fatal. e lead times on having a custom designed connector manufactured can be quite long, with two to four months being typical. As experience has taught, many various connectors can have unexpected and exceed- ingly long lead times. It is always wise to check suppliers for alternative connectors and lead times. Many times connector designs change quickly. One should check whether the partic- ular connector is stocked by other suppliers or if supply is limited because the connector has limited sales. Typically in almost every design of a prod- uct, the flex circuit is the last part to be exam- ined and designed into the system. It is not uncommon to hear stories that designers just thought of flex as an off-the-shelf item, as it is such a nondescript part. Many of the connec- tor termination choices would have already been confirmed using typical rigid PCB con- nectors before the flex is even designed. To prevent future problems in assembly and parts procurement, it is vital to begin the design by locking down the interconnect technology that you plan to use. You need to roughly design the flex interconnection circuits, define the con- nectors, and look at stress and flexibility which all play an important part in the early design process. is is the time to define and set quality and reliability parameters. Whatever method you choose, your flex circuit provider can guide you in the selection process. FLEX007 John Talbot is president of Tramonto Circuits. To read past columns or contact Talbot, click here. A study published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials summarizes the major achievements made to-date in Heusler alloy research. "Our review article can serve as an ideal reference for researchers in magnetic materials," says Atsufumi Hirohata of the University of York, UK, who specializes in spintronics. A category of materials showing great promise in this area is Heusler alloys: materials formed of one or two parts metal X, one part metal Y, and one part metal Z, each coming from a distinct part of the peri- odic table of elements. Over the last few decades, scientists have been working on approaches to grow Heusler alloy films at room temperature on special substrates with crystal lattices that are simi- lar to the alloy's. The interaction between the two lattices can lead to the development of half-metal- licity in the Heusler alloy. Researchers need to be able to measure the properties of materials in order to conduct their investigations. The atomic structure of Heusler alloys can be directly observed by X-ray diffraction and indirectly measured through examining the relationship between the material's resistance to an electric current and temperature changes. Other techniques are also available for measuring their magnetic properties. (Source: ACN Newswire) Putting a Spin on Heusler Alloys

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