Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Focusing Light Beams To Improve Atomic-Vapor Optical Buffers

Atomic-vapor optical buffers could be made to perform more nearly optimally.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Specially designed focusing of light beams has been proposed as a means of improving the performances of optical buffers based on cells containing hot atomic vapors (e.g., rubidium vapor). There is also a companion proposal to improve performance by use of incoherent optical pumping under suitable conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Optics
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Digitally Enhanced Heterodyne Interferometry

This design mitigates cyclic error and improves measurement sensitivity.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Spurious interference limits the performance of many interferometric measurements. Digitally enhanced interferometry (DEI) improves measurement sensitivity by augmenting conventional heterodyne interferometry with pseudo-random noise (PRN) code phase modulation. DEI effectively changes the measurement problem from one of hardware (optics, electronics), which may deteriorate over time, to one of software (modulation, digital signal processing), which does not. DEI isolates interferometric signals based on their delay. Interferometric signals are effectively time-tagged by phase-modulating the laser source with a PRN code. DEI improves measurement sensitivity by exploiting the autocorrelation properties of the PRN to isolate only the signal of interest and reject spurious interference. The properties of the PRN code determine the degree of isolation.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Optics
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Product of the Month: Ultra Compact Diode Laser

The new iBeam smart ultra-compact diode laser series from TOPTICA Photonics (Victor, NY) features digital and analog modulation; autopulse; a graphical user interface (GUI); high power levels (120 mW at 405 nm, 50 mW at 445 nm, 60 mW at 488 nm, 100 mW at 640 nm, 150 mW at 642 nm and150 mW at 660 nm); compact size (100 mm × 40 mm × 40 mm); single-mode fiber coupling; FINE (Feedback Induced Noise Eraser), which makes the iBeam smart completely insensitive to optical feedback; and a new SKILL function, which acts as a purely electronic “speckle killer” by decreasing the longitudinal coherence lengths of emitted light to a minimum.

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Selective Wavelength Photodiodes

Opto Diode Corporation (Newbury Park, CA) has introduced the ODD-660W selective wavelength photodiodes. The device operates from 550-720nm, with peak response at 660nm, and features a spectral bandwidth of 80nm. A hermetically sealed photodiode offers low dark current without the need for optical filters. Applications include fluorescence detection, color sensors, daylight sensors, light barriers, and medical diagnostics. Systems and operating parameters are from -30 °C to 85 °C, with a lead soldering temperature of up to 260 °C.

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Optical Vector Analyzer

Luna Technologies (Roanoke, VA) has introduced the Optical Vector Analyzer platform, (OVA 5000), a tool for loss, dispersion, and polarization measurements of modern optical networking equipment. It delivers single- measurement, all-parameter analysis of fiber optic components and assemblies up to 150 meters in length. A full C and L band characterization of all linear optical parameters can be completed in less than three seconds. The OVA uses swept-wavelength interferometry to measure all device characteristics in a single scan of a tunable laser. It characterizes all linear optical parameters including: Insertion Loss (IL), Polarization Dependent Loss (PDL), Group Delay (GD), Chromatic Dispersion (CD), Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD), and Second Order PMD.

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Microscope Focus Controller

Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) has introduced a new focus-only control system for modern microscopes. The ES10ZE Focus Controller is suitable for applications involving extended focus or Z-stacking. The controller includes a clear display that shows the current position at all times while separate controls are provided for rapid movement up or down along with the facility to change the speed of the focus movement. A manual focus knob is also provided for manual fine focusing and ease of operation.

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Camera Control Units

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (Irvine, CA) has added two new camera control units (CCUs) designed to operate with the remote head, high-definition IK-HD1. The IK-HD1 model has an added DVI-I output on the rear panel, allowing customers to use HD control panels that accept DVI and/or HDMI signals, rather than more costly HD-SDI panels. The IK-HD1E CCU is designed to output HD-SDI and Y/Pb/Pr video signals in both 50 and 60 Hz.

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SWIR InGaAs Digital Video Linescan Camera

Sensors Unlimited (Princeton, NJ) has introduced the SU-LDH shortwave infrared (SWIR) InGaAs digital video linescan camera featuring line rates for 1024 pixels from 1 to over 46,000 lines per second with integrate-while-read snapshot acquisition. With a shortwave infrared wavelength response over 0.8 to 1.7 microns, this is suitable for electroluminescence and photoluminescence inspection of silicon and multi-junction cells. The SU-LDH features a 25-micron pixel pitch and a sharp 25-micron aperture mask that combine to provide a high SWIR imaging resolution. The 14-bit Camera Link compatible output and control is designed to integrate into machine vision systems for photovoltaic manufacturing at all stages of the process.

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Optical Replication Process

OPCO (Fitchburg, MA) offers a replication process that reproduces complex optics. The process transfers the profile of a precision optical surface from a master, creating an exact duplicate on a variety of substrates. The replicated optics are less expensive and in many cases lighter than the master. This process can be used to produce a range of both ruled and holographic diffraction gratings, reflective and transmission holographic optical elements, and dual wavelength gratings, as well as plano and conic sections. Substrate materials include glass, silicon carbide, ceramic, and metals such as beryllium, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, and others. Diffraction gratings are produced in sizes up to 110mm × 110mm with groove densities from 40 g/mm to 3,600 g/mm, with available wavelengths from the deep UV to the far IR.

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Miniature Spectrometers

The XR-Series of miniature spectrometers from Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) covers all wavelengths from ~200 - 1050 nm and are available for USB2000+, JAZEL2000, and USB4000. The XR-2 grafting option provides broad UVNIR coverage with 500 lines/mm density without increasing the system footprint. They deliver an optical resolution of ~2.0 nm (FWHM) and are suitable for setups where both UV-VIS and VIS-NIR measurements are needed. They are also suitable for measurement of samples with response across the entire wavelength range, including solar irradiance, atomic emission line measurement, and some plasma applications.

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