Special Coverage

Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
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Thermographic Improvements Benefit Automotive Industry

Like most mature industries, the automotive industry is highly competitive. Customers demand quality, security, and economy. Competition requires increasingly fast times to market for new designs. Combining customer and competitive demands creates a dilemma: How to design and build the best product as fast as possible.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) Imaging Aids Laser Tracking, Detection

As warfare becomes more asymmetric, civilians and other non-combatants become a larger percentage of the casualties, along with unintended property damage. The military, of course, hopes to avoid these types of casualties and destruction. With advancing technologies that enable more precision from their weapons, they also need better pointing and targeting capabilities, while remaining covert. Improved targeting technologies that allow detection and identification at longer standoff distances from the designators also are needed. For instance, lasers are excellent at precision pointing, but it is important that others be able to covertly image the scene as well.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

A Bose-Einstein condensate is adiabatically compressed to drive coherent spin-mixing evolution. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping mechanism of this atom laser is based on spinor dynamics in a Bose-Einstein beam running-wave dipole trap that has been formed by focusing of a CO2-laser beam. By a technique that is established in the art, the trap is loaded from an ultra-high-vacuum magneto-optical trap that is, itself, loaded via a cold atomic beam from an upstream two-dimensional magneto-optical trap that resides in a rubidium-vapor cell that is differentially pumped condensate. By virtue of the angular-momentum conserving collisions that generate the two beams, the number of atoms in one beam is correlated with the number of atoms in the other beam. Such correlations are intimately linked to entanglement and squeezing in atomic ensembles, and atom lasers like this one could be used in exploring related aspects of Bose-Einstein condensates, and as components of future sensors relying on atom interferometry.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

Relatively inexpensive optical components could be used in free-space optical communications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further development, active optics would be used to reduce wavefront aberrations of about one wave or less in telescopes having aperture diameters of the order of meters or tens of meters. Although this remaining amount of aberration would be considered excessive in scientific applications in which diffraction-limited performance is required, it would be acceptable for free-space optical-communication applications at wavelengths of the order of 1 μm.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

This laser is relatively insensitive to vibration. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Lasers of similar design would be suitable for use in terrestrial laboratories engaged in atomic-clock and atomic-physics research.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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3D Laser-Scanning Sensor

Perceptron (Plymouth, MI) offers the ScanWorks® hand-held 3D laser scanner that features a scanning rate of up to 458,000 points per second and can maintain a dense point resolution of approximately 14 microns. The device projects the sensor’s field of view onto the target scanning area to visualize the best scanning strategy, and may be used on dark or highly reflective surfaces. The scanning software includes a MS Windows XP-style interface, intelligent sensor calibration, real-time point shading, and automatic exposure control. Intelligent Density Management (IDMTM) monitors incoming data and limits scan data generation in low-interest areas for faster throughput.

Posted in: Products, Products

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Evaluation and Analysis Software

FARO Technologies (Lake Mary, FL) has released version 4.0 of its family of laser-scanning software: FARO Scene, FARO Scout, FARO Scout LT, and FARO Record. The user-friendly software packages are used for viewing, administrating, calibrating, filtering, and managing large, 3D point clouds collected with the FARO Laser Scanner LS — a computerized measurement device that creates a high-resolution, 3-D, digital “photograph” by scanning everything in its 360° path as far as 76 m away. Captured data may be used to create digital models, perform evaluation and analysis of an existing model, and more.

Posted in: Products, Products

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