Special Coverage

Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
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Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers
Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
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Multi-I/O PMC

Aitech Defense Systems Inc. (Chatsworth, CA) offers a compact, multi-I/O PMC for I/O environments. The low-power, single-width M705 features up to five dual-channel, dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553B channels, 16 ARINC-429 receive channels and eight ARINC-429 transmit channels, up to six RS-232/422/485 serial channels and eight opto-isolated digital discrete input channels, all of which reduce the number of I/O cards when developing subsystems. Additional board options include an ARINC 708 Weather Radar interface contained as VHDL within the large onboard FPGA.

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Oscilloscopes

Agilent Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) expanded its mixed-signal and digital-storage oscilloscope portfolio with 10 new models that comprise its InfiniiVision 7000 Series. The InfiniiVision 7000 Series offers bandwidths up to 1 GHz and delivers a deep memory waveform update rate of up to 100,000 waveforms per second. Each model is equipped with a 12.1-inch XGA LCD display and comes in a compact package that’s just 7 inches deep and weighs 14 pounds. The increased display size helps users who need to display up to 20 channels simultaneously with serial protocol. The update rate is 5,000 times faster than any other available scope, and allows the user to view critical signal detail that other scopes might miss with their longer dead times.

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Data Acquisition Cards

Strategic Test Corp. (Woburn, MA) offers two new 250 kHz 16-bit data acquisition cards for PCI Express. The UF2e-4721 has 16 analog inputs and the UF2e-4020 has 8 channels. Features include the options for dual- timebase sampling, synchronous digital inputs, asynchronous digital I/O, and the possibility to synchronize up to 4336 channels. Drivers and programming examples for Microsoft Windows Vista, XP64, XP, and Linux are supplied with the card, as well as the SBench 5.3 oscilloscope program. SDKs for MATLAB, LabVIEW, Agilent-VEE, DASYLab, and LabWindows/CVI are available as options.

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MicroTCA System

Emerson Network Power (Tempe, AZ) has released the Centellis™ 500, a fully deployable MicroTCA™ system that uses innovative plastic packaging, and Emerson’s MicroTCA Carrier Hub (MCH) and high-performance processor module. Made of an injection molded plastic enclosure that houses a MicroTCA backplane, fans, power module, MCH, PrAMC 7211 processor Advanced Mezzanine Card, and three additional AMC payloads, the Centellis 500 supports a number of enterprise-level applications. These include IP-PBX, Packet Processing, VoIP Gateway, Network Point of Sales, Industrial Automation, Access Router, WiMAX, Telemedicare, Remote Radiology, and Patient Monitoring.

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Performance of 1mm² Silicon Photomultipliers

A silicon photomultiplier (SPM) is a new type of semiconductor detector that has the potential to replace the photomultiplier tube (PMT) detector in many applications. In common with a PMT detector, the output of an SPM is an easily detectable current pulse for each detected photon and can be used in both photon counting mode and as an analogue (photocurrent) detector. However, the SPM also has a distinct advantage over PMT detectors. The photon-induced current pulse from a PMT varies greatly from photon to photon, due to the statistics of the PMT multiplication process (excess noise). In contrast, the current pulse from an SPM is identical from photon to photon. This gives the SPM a distinct advantage in photon counting applications as it allows the associated electronics to be greatly simplified. Identical pulses also mean that the SPM can resolve the number of photons in weak optical pulses, so-called photon number resolution. This is critical in a number of applications including linear-optics quantum computing.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Biomedical Imaging Using Ultrashort Laser Pulses

The field of optical microscopy experienced significant gains in resolution and speed following the introduction of lasers. Unfortunately, these gains came at the expense of sample degradation caused by the continuous flux of intense light. Taking advantage of the two-photon absorption process, Webb and Denk implemented a microscope based on the use of near-IR light pulses capable of causing simultaneous multiple fluorophore excitation. Two-photon microscopy is now widely applied in the biomedical imaging field due to the absence of out-of-focus photobleaching and reduced photodamage and fluorescence scattering. These advantages are brought about collectively by the inherent instantaneous peak intensity and narrow focal plane of excitation. Given that peak intensity increases with decreasing laser pulse duration, one would expect extensive use of available ultrashort (sub-10 fs) pulse laser systems in the field of biomedical imaging. However, most two-photon microscopes still use the same pulse duration that Webb and Denk used in 1990 (≈150 fs).

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

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MACOS Version 3.31

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Version 3.31 of Modeling and Analysis for Controlled Optical Systems (MACOS) has been released. MACOS is an easy-to-use computer program for modeling and analyzing the behaviors of a variety of optical systems, including systems that have large, segmented apertures and are aligned with the technology of wavefront sensing and control. Two previous versions were described in “Improved Software for Modeling Controlled Optical Systems” (NPO-19841) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 21, No. 12 (December 1997), page 42 and “Optics Program Modified for Multithreaded Parallel Computing” (NPO-40572) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 1 (January 2006) page 13a. The present version incorporates the following enhancements over prior versions:

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

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