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Optical Flats

Optical Surfaces (Surrey, UK) offers standard and custom optical flats measuring up to 600 mm in diameter and manufactured of materials such as glass, Zerodur, and silica. The optical flats can be used for measuring surface flatness of polished areas by determining the variations between work surfaces and the surface of the optical flat. They are suitable for applications in astronomy, laser beam steering, inspecting gauge blocks for wear and accuracy, and interferometric flatness testing of prisms, filters, and optical windows. Surface accuracy of up to lambda/20 p.v. can be achieved, as well as surface roughness of 10 A rms on individual flats. Optics up to 450 mm in diameter are provided with a Fizeau interferometric test report; larger flats are quality assured using the Ritchey-Common test procedure.

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CMOS Camera

Lumenera Corp. (Ottawa, ON, Canada) has introduced the Lw290, a USB 2.0 digital camera based on the company’s 1080P HD sensor. The 16:9 HD format, 2.0-megapixel CMOS sensor provides 20 frames per second at full 1920×1080 resolution. Higher frame rates are available at lower resolution, with full sub-window control and live focusing modes. The camera offers dynamic range of >60dB and blooming for image detail. No framegrabber is required. It provides plug-and-play integration with any DirectShow application.

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Diode Laser Platform

Spectra-Physics, a Division of Newport Corp. (Tucson, AZ), has released a 900- to 980-nm diode laser platform based on epitaxial design. The diode laser platform provides CW power conversion efficiency to 71% for 940-nm single emitters (15°C case temperature). More than 68.5% peak PCE at 25°C may be achieved from 100-μm-wide, 3-mm-long single emitters designed for 8-W output power applications.

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Solving Complex Engineering Challenges of Large Composite Aerostructures

Large-scale composite parts present unique design and manufacturing challenges in aerospace. Composites are becoming the material of choice for the manufacture of large, complex aerostructures. The aft section of the jumbo Airbus A380 and the wings of the military transport Airbus A400, for example, are all made of carbon-fiber composites. Boeing, for the first time, is building an all-composite airframe and wings for its groundbreaking 787 airliner. Because of these and other recent manufacturing achievements, there is little doubt that composite materials will be used extensively in many future aircraft programs — from wide-body jets and commercial airliners to regional, business, and “very light” airplanes.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Regulating Glucose and pH, and Monitoring Oxygen in a Bioreactor

Glucose and oxygen concentrations are monitored, and glucose concentration and pH are adjusted as needed. Figure 1 is a simplified schematic diagram of a system that automatically regulates the concentration of glucose or pH in a liquid culture medium that is circulated through a rotating-wall perfused bioreactor. Another system, shown in Figure 2, monitors the concentration of oxygen in the culture medium.

Posted in: Medical, Briefs

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AC Drives Provide Precise Control Critical to Next-Generation Test Stands

Direct Torque Control (DTC) is widely used as a method for controlling AC motors in many demanding applications. It is a unique method for controlling AC motors. In pulse-width modulation (PWM) drives, the output frequency and voltage are the primary control reference signals for the power switches, rather than the desired torque in/of the motor shaft. For those who are not familiar with inverter technology, the DTC principle can be illustrated most accurately via this mechanical analogy: the continuous calculation of the best angle at which to rotate a shaft, with a given arm length and the forces available. These electrical “force vectors” are generated with the help of semiconductor switches called Integrated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT).

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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Software Used to Control Master-Slave Haptics Experiment

Haptics, also known as “force feedback teleoperation,” attempts to provide environmental interactions through a robotic system. Users mimic these interactions with robotic arms. By varying the amount of force the haptic devices exhibit, a user can achieve the sensation of interacting with the system. As it allows a user to interface with a remote or virtual environment, the goal of haptics is to augment a user’s sensory feedback while performing a given task. In order to construct safer haptic systems, researchers at the Intelligent Machine Dynamics Laboratory (IMDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) have built a series of master-slave devices, and utilize National Instruments’ (Austin, TX) LabVIEW 8.0 software and its various toolkits to control all feedback calculations, communication, control, and simulation, with the objective to investigate control difficulties that occur using a passive master with an energetically active slave.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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