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Self-Quenching Single-Photon Detector

The detector has applications in nuclear physics instruments, spectroscopy, night-vision devices, and biological instrumentation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The self-quenching single-photon detector exhibits unique avalanching behaviors. It can automatically quench each of the Geiger mode avalanche events occurring inside the detector, can maintain the capability over a broad bias range, and can output explicit pulses with virtually constant and high value gain.

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

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Reducing Temperature Effects in Optical Resonator Sensors

Influences of temperature fluctuations are suppressed by factors of about 105. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A differential-frequency measurement technique has been devised to reduce the spurious contributions of temperature fluctuations to determinations of physical quantities from readings of optical resonator and interferometric sensors. The technique is applicable mainly to sensors in the form of whispering-gallery mode (WGM) optical resonators. The evanescent electromagnetic fields of such resonators interact with their environments, such that their resonance frequencies change in response to environmental changes (e.g., a change in the index of refraction of the surrounding medium) that one seeks to measure. The resonance frequencies also vary significantly with temperature, with consequent introduction of errors and uncertainties and, hence, effective loss of sensitivity to changes in quantities other than temperature that one seeks to determine.

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

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Product of the Month: IR Panoramic Camera

HGH Infrared Systems (Cambridge, MA) has introduced the IR Revolution 360, a 20° vertical, 360° horizontal field of view (FOV) panoramic infrared camera for security and surveillance. The sensor contains approximately 3 million pixels (10,000 × 288).

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Camera Processor

Toshiba Teli America, Inc. (Irvine, CA) has introduced the SmartDragonTM image processor that can connect and simultaneously receive data from up to four FireWire-B (IEEE1394.b) color or black-and-white cameras. The SmartDragon features 16 insulated digital input and output terminals to address automated inspection needs in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, packaging, semiconductors, and factory automation industries. SmartDragon uses industrial-grade CF cards up to 4GB for data storage, and is equipped with an Intel® Pentium M 1.4GHz processor. An external trigger input is used to input signals at the desired timing with variations in delay times and pulse widths, and then output from the unit’s external trigger output.

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Cameras with Auto and Averaging Features

Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany) has implemented enhanced features on their Scout and Pilot series cameras. The Auto Features Suite controls several camera functions such as gain, exposure, and white balance controls, which normally require manual adjustment of the related parameter values. The Pilot will be equipped with an Averaging feature that lets the user obtain an image that is the average of a specified number of consecutively acquired individual images. Up to 256 individual images can be averaged inside the camera. The pylon driver package supports both GigE and FireWire cameras.

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Environmental Transmission Electron Microscope

FEI Company (Hillsboro, OR) has released the TitanTM 80-300 environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM). The Titan ETEM is suitable for chemical research at the atomic scale, and studying materials and processes in the fields of energy and environment. The Titan ETEMs can deliver high-resolution imaging with gas pressures in the sample chamber as high as a few percent of atmospheric pressure. The ETEM selects electron beam voltages anywhere between 80 and 300 kilovolts (kV), accommodating a wide range of material and imaging conditions.

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Low Energy LEDs

SCHOTT (Southbridge, MA) has introduced the KL 200 LED Series cold light engine and the EasyLED Ringlight plus stereo microscopy lamp. The low energy consuming lighting solutions are ideal for industrial, biological lab, and home applications. Both products come with integrated controllers and can be mounted directly to a microscope. The KL 200 LED is a fiber optic cold light source with an LED light engine that is brighter than a 20 watt halogen bulb, while using 80% less energy. The EasyLED Ringlight Plus contains 48 high brightness neutral white (5,600 K) LEDs and features a “jog dial” wheel for intuitive operation.

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