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Precision Prism Manufacturing — Art or Science?

Prisms are used in countless optical systems — from the pair of binoculars in your closet to cutting edge targeting systems to retroreflectors on the Moon. In modern, high-end optical systems, precision optics may be required that push the envelope of manufacturability within given cost constraints. Prisms are an integral component in many of these systems and often require manual fabrication in small quantities; however, they save space, mounting time, and materials, presenting opportunities as well as challenges for optical system designers.

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

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Multichannel Monitor-Stabilizer for Injection-Locked Lasers

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Temp Tracker and Temp Tracker 12 ch (single-channel and 12-channel versions) programs are designed for use with an atomic gravity gradiometer. They support the stable operation of the injection-locked slave laser(s) in an autonomous regime. Due to changes of environmental conditions and aging, slave lasers tend to drift from the locking range and need to be relocked. This program checks the injection-locking range for each slave laser and re-centers them with respect to the master lasers, if needed. The master laser is assumed to be locked at an absorption line of Cs.

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

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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).

Posted in: Products, Products

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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.

Posted in: Products, Products

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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.

Posted in: Products, Products

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