Special Coverage

Home

NbxTi1–xN Superconducting-Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors

Potential applications include optical communications and quantum cryptography. Superconducting- nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) in which NbxTi1–xN (where x

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs

Read More >>

Miniature Incandescent Lamps as Fiber-Optic Light Sources

These lamps can be used without coupling optics. Miniature incandescent lamps of a special type have been invented to satisfy a need for compact, rapid- response, rugged, broadband, power- efficient, fiber-optic- coupled light sources for diverse purposes that could include calibrating spectrometers, interrogating optical sensors, spot illumination, and spot heating. A lamp of this type (see figure) includes a re-entrant planar spiral filament mounted within a ceramic package heretofore normally used to house an integrated-circuit chip. The package is closed with a window heretofore normally used in ultraviolet illumination to erase volatile electronic memories. The size and shape of the filament and the proximity of the filament to the window are such that light emitted by the filament can be coupled efficiently to an optical fiber without intervening optics.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Prism Window for Optical Alignment

Prism windows could be generally useful in manufacture of optical instruments. A prism window has been devised for use, with an autocollimator, in aligning optical components that are (1) required to be oriented parallel to each other and/or at a specified angle of incidence with respect to a common optical path and (2) mounted at different positions along the common optical path. The prism window can also be used to align a single optical component at a specified angle of incidence. Prism windows could be generally useful for orienting optical components in manufacture of optical instruments.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Range-Gated Metrology With Compact Optical Head

A compact, single-fiber optical head requires minimal internal alignment. This work represents a radical simplification in the design of the optical head needed for high-precision laser ranging applications. The optical head is now a single fiber-optic collimator with dimensions of order of 1×1×2 cm, which can be easily integrated into the system being measured with minimal footprint. Previous heads were significantly larger, with multiple optical elements requiring careful alignment. The new design has only one optical fiber per head, rather than four, making it much easier to multiplex between tens or hundreds of heads. It is capable of subnanometer precision, consistent with the demanding requirements of new missions.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

NASA Technology Prize Competitions – Summer 2008

NASA has a program of technology prizes currently consisting of seven competitions held throughout the year. The program, which began in 2005, is known as Centennial Challenges in recognition of the centennial of powered flight. In keeping with the spirit of the Wright Brothers and other American innovators, the Centennial Challenge prizes are offered to independent competitors who work without government support including small businesses, student groups and garage inventors. The prize competitions are targeted at a range of technical challenges that support NASA’s missions in aeronautics and space. The goal is to encourage novel solutions from non-traditional sources. In the Centennial Challenge program, NASA offers the prize money but each of the competitions is managed by an independent organization, sometimes with additional private sponsorship.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

Read More >>

Interview with Drew Feustel, Astronaut, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Astronaut Drew Feustel is scheduled to fly aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery when it makes what is projected to be the final manned mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Feustel will perform three of the five spacewalks planned for that mission.

Posted in: Podcasts

Read More >>

Creating Patterned Multispectral Filters

In recent years the explosion in demand for multispectral imaging has coupled with the industry’s insatiable need for weight reduction, there-by greatly increasing the demand for more sophisticated approaches to producing optical filters that are used in these systems. One method to meet the challenge of reducing the weight of a multispectral system is to eliminate beam-splitting optics and multiple detectors by patterning a filter array on a single substrate, or directly on the CCD itself.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

Read More >>