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Designing Converged Optical Ethernet Networks

Transport networks have witnessed two significant trends over the past half-decade or so. The first has been an explosion in the bandwidth these networks can support and the distances over which they can support it. This is due to the advent of cost-effective wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and dense-WDM (DWDM), as well as a slew of technologies that extend transmission range, such as sophisticated optical amplifiers. The second has been the need to support a variety of traffic types (voice, video, data) and services: virtual private networks (VPNs), high-speed Internet (HSI), video-on-demand (VoD) and videoconferencing, and IPTV, to name a few. This is due to the need to simplify the network by collapsing intermediate layers and protocol stacks, thus reducing interface and node counts (and, hence, cost) in the carrier network. Thus, transport networks have migrated from being primarily voice-dominated to multi-service supporting infrastructures.

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

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Compact Two-Dimensional Spectrometer Optics

This unit would feature coarse and fine resolution along two orthogonal axes. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The figure is a simplified depiction of a proposed spectrometer optical unit that would be suitable for incorporation into a remote-sensing instrumentation system. Relative to prior spectrometer optical assemblies, this unit would be compact and simple, largely by virtue of its predominantly two-dimensional character.

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

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Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

Unlike glass face sheets, these would be nearly unbreakable. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses that are used in some conventional optics and have been considered for adaptive-optics face sheets.

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

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Product of the Month: Biochemical Sensing Unit

Stratophase (Romsey, UK) introduces the Spectrosens sensing unit for biochemial detection of toxins, viruses, and bacteria in real-time. Based on an optical silicon micro-chip with an integral Bragg grating, Spectrosens uses a fiber optic cable to transmit a conditioned beam of light to the chip. When target agents or contaminants are carried in liquid across the surface, tiny changes in sample composition can be detected by precise and continuous monitoring of the wavelength of light reflected from the sensor. Pre-treating the surface to make it sensitive to certain biological or chemical reactions makes it a biochemical detector. The technology is ideal for food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, as well as drug discovery and process control.

Posted in: Products, Products

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Machine Vision Software

EyeSpector Version 1.5 software from Vision Components GmbH (Ettlingen, Germany) is suitable for a variety of gauging, inspection, orientation, color inspection, and recognition tasks. The Eye-Spector works with VC4xxx Series real-time and network ready Smart Camera series. The software now offers support for Robot Vision, making 2d/3d calibration and communication with robots easy. The software provides for brightness compensation, pattern matching, color measurements, and position compensation.

Posted in: Products, Products

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Laser Diode Modules

Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, UK) introduces the PM-NEOLD 635nm photon laser diode modules with an integral “Near End of Life Detection” feature that alerts users when a laser diode approaches the end of its operational life. The laser modules have optical output powers from 0.9 mW to 18 mW at a lasing wavelength of 635 nm, beam size of 3.5×1.5mm, operating voltage of 3-6 VDC, and operating temperature from -10°C to +50°C.

Posted in: Products, Products

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Piezoelectric Bolt Breakers and Bolt Fatigue Testers

Safer alternative to spacecraft explosive bolts may accelerate fatigue testing on Earth. A proposed family of devices for inducing fatigue in bolts in order to break the bolts would incorporate piezoelectric actuators into resonant fixtures as in ultrasonic/ sonic drills/corers and similar devices described in numerous prior NASA Tech Briefs articles. These devices were originally intended primarily for use as safer, more-reliable, more-versatile alternatives to explosive bolts heretofore used to fasten spacecraft structures that must subsequently be separated from each other quickly on command during flight. On Earth, these devices could be used for accelerated fatigue testing of bolts.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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