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Physicist Develops New Laser Technique to Study Electronic Properties

It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Such was the case for Ames Laboratory physicist Adam Kaminski who took a challenge he was facing and turned it into a new solution that will help advance his research. 

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Theory Turns into Reality for Nonlinear Optical Metamaterials

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

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Industrial Picosecond Lasers

Spark Lasers, a start-up currently in incubation at ALPhANOV (Talence, France), has introduced two new industrial picosecond lasers. Sirius and Vegas provide excellent beam quality with a linear polarization at a wavelength of 1064 nm. Vegas is a fiber laser producing 100ps pulse durations with an energy exceeding 40 μJ at a repetition rate up to 1 MHz. Sirius produces a pulse duration of less than 10 ps with an energy per pulse reaching 100μJ. Spark products are also available in the visible at 532nm and in the ultraviolet at 355 nm, still in a compact format.

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VCSEL-Based Miniature Line Generator

Princeton Optronics Inc. (Mercerville, NJ) has introduced a VCSEL-based miniature line generator. The wavelength of the line generator is in the 820- 840nm range, has a 20mW CW power output, a fan angle of 80 degrees, line uniformity of 75-85%, a 1/e2 linewidth of 2.5mm at a distance of 50 cm. The size of the line generator is 4x6x5mm. Such products can be made using Princeton Optronics VCSELs at wavelengths from red to 1064nm, with output power up to several hundred mW. The line generators are used in applications such as machine vision, consumer electronics and instrumentation.

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Algorithm Magnifies Motions Indiscernible to the Naked Eye

MIT has been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video, but indiscernible to the human eye. The algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of objects filmed through soundproof glass. A new version of the algorithm can amplify small motions even when they’re contained within objects executing large motions. So, for instance, it could make visible the precise sequence of muscle contractions in the arms of a baseball player swinging the bat, or in the legs of a soccer player taking a corner kick.

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Robots Learn to Observe, Adjust Their Force, and React


When robots and humans have to work together, it often leads to problems. Researchers on the CogIMon project want to teach robots to understand the forces during the movement of an object, and how to appropriately react to changes in weight or contact with the object while carrying it. Humans have no problem estimating the weight of an object, but robots lack this ability.

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Tests Show Football Player Concussions are Caused by Different Head Motions

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that concussions are caused by a different type of head motion, namely brain and skull rotation. Stanford engineers have produced a collection of results that suggest that current helmet-testing equipment and techniques are not optimized for evaluating these additional injury-causing elements.

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