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Will "4D" materials catch on?

This week's Question: While 3D printing has still not yet reached the mainstream, MIT and other researchers are performing primary tests on the next design dimension. 4D printing, a self-assembly design process, enables the production of composite materials that react and change shape in predictable ways when exposed to external elements such as water. A printed rear wing, for example, would have the ability to transform its aerodynamics during a downpour. Autonomous pipes, too, could expand and narrow based on flow. Self-assembling technologies may eventually allow the construction of space structures whose components deposit themselves in zero-gravity environments without human intervention. Wood and carbon fibers have responded well to 4D testing, but more materials and energy sources are likely required for the materials to self‑optimize according to sensing and logic. What do you think? Will "4D" materials catch on?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Industry Roundtable: Imaging Technology

Few technologies have impacted the scientific community – and non-scientific community for that matter – as much as digital imaging technology. From exotic, high-speed imaging systems to rugged machine vision systems to a vast array of sophisticated consumer devices, digital cameras are everywhere these days, documenting every aspect of this world we live and work in. Photonics Tech Briefs recently spoke with executives from four well-known imaging companies to get their perspectives on where imaging technology is today, and where it is going in the future.

Posted in: Features, Photonics, Articles

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Ruggedized Displays Improve Automotive Safety

Navigation and entertainment screens in cars are becoming ever-larger and, in some cases, the central control point for drivers and passengers. Many manufacturers consider using glass to cover the displays. It gives the same pleasing surface feel and high-quality look that users of tablets and smartphones have come to expect. However, glass also bears the additional risk that in the event of a crash it may splinter and injure the occupants.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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Product of the Month: Laser Illumination System

Specialised Imaging (Herts., UK), working in conjunction with Cavitar (Tampere, Finland), has announced the SI LUX640 laser illumination system, designed to improve the accuracy and sensitivity of high-speed video, ultra-high-speed framing cameras, Schleiren imaging, and Shadowgraph systems.

Posted in: Products, Photonics

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>60 W Ultraviolet (UV) Laser

Spectra-Physics®, (Santa Clara, CA), a Newport company, recently introduced Quasar 355-60, a UV laser that offers a groundbreaking >60 W with high >300 μJ pulse energies. Featuring TimeShiftTM technology for programmable pulse parameters, the laser delivers dramatic advances of 33 percent in power and pulse energies, 3.5x in maximum repetition rate (0 to 3.5 MHz), and 2.5x in minimum pulse widths (100 ns) over the >45 W Quasar 355-45. The new Quasar 355-60 transforms microelectronic device manufacturing, enabling major advances in both throughput and precision.

Posted in: Products, Photonics

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Monolithic Light Engine

Melles Griot (Carlsbad, CA) has introduced the OEM Monolithic Light Engine. The light engine can shake, rattle, and ship without needing to be realigned. The hermetically sealed design, combined with a patented beam-combiner results in rock-solid stability when subjected to mechanical shock, vibration and temperature changes. The internal laser components, combining elements, and beam shaping optics are held at a constant temperature in an ultra-compact package, which delivers excellent pointing stability, ultra-low optical noise and outstanding power stability. The worry free and truly hands-free light engine is available in three or more output wavelengths from 405 to 785 nm and powers up to 200 mW.

Posted in: Products, Photonics

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Laser Diode Driver

Portable Power Systems (St. Louis, MO) has introduced the new PPS-90-125OEMDPC laser diode driver. The PPS series of OEM laser diode drivers will operate from 1-45 diodes or bars in either the Pulsed or CW mode. Added features include Over Voltage and Over Current protection, Remote and Coolant interlocks, Over Temperature interlocks for the driver and laser, as well as an Emergency Stop feature. The units are microprocessor controlled and can be interfaced with either USB or RS-232. 16 sets of parameters for current, pulse width and frequency can be stored and recalled with all parameters displayed every 4 seconds. The units come with a 3 year warranty.

Posted in: Products, Photonics

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