Z9 Engineering is a consultancy and design service started by George Pontis in the early 1990s. George has been actively involved on a consulting or contract basis in the design of electronic circuits and systems for more than twenty years. Prior to that he was an engineer at the Stanford Park division of Hewlett Packard, and has held both technical and managerial positions in a biotech startup, a laser/optical company, and a nanotechnology startup. George is the principal of Z9 today, but works with others to bring the specialty skills that a project may need.
Z9 has successfully delivered projects that range from a tiny microphone preamp to the control and power electronics for an alternative energy system. The portfolio includes numerous designs for diagnostic devices and laboratory instruments. Such instruments often combine microcontrollers, FPGAs, motion control, temperature measurement and regulation, and other measurement capabilities. From the medical field, Z9 has put into production the electronics and firmware for two different handpieces used in medical treatment, both subject to IEC 60601 compliance. We recently delivered prototype hardware for ECG measurement in the presence of strong external fields. Z9 has designed a number of different controllers for low noise, tunable lasers used in telecom and industrial applications. We also designed several modules for an optical atomic clock, including one for the sensitive comb controller.
Although much of the work is for new projects, sometimes the job calls for a fix or update to an existing design. This might be to add a feature, or to design out components that can no longer be readily sourced. In one case we helped develop a product that was successfully produced for many years, then redesigned the electronics for a whole new second generation, and then again years later a third generation.
For most projects we use local companies to fabricate and assemble prototype boards. But for light rework and repairs, we have the tools and components to complete the job immediately. This capability is usually all that we need to bring up new hardware or to experiment with circuit changes.