Introducing a Novel Spectral Analysis System for Measuring High-Performance Thin-Film Optical Filters

Alluxa offers and manufactures high-performance optical thin films that are used in wide ranging applications including life sciences, research, semiconductor and LIDAR. All of Alluxa's thin-film optical filters and mirrors are hard-coated using a proprietary plasma deposition process on equipment that was designed and built by our team. This allows us to repeatably produce the same high-performance optical thin films in all of our coating chambers.

Posted in: White Papers, Optics, Photonics
Read More >>

RF Testing on Automotive Infotainment Devices

The car radio has evolved from a cassette player to a state of the art entertainment system, keeping the driver and passengers connected on the go. The entertainment system brings a design challenge in that communication and broadcast standards have to coexist within a small area in the dashboard of a car. Since the frequencies defined by the RF standards are in close proximity, it is very important that the frequencies coexist and since multiple standards need to be supported in the single assembly, RF modules are placed next to each other on the assembly line. Other than testing the entertainment center in the car, the antennas inside the car are subjected to cross-coupling effects with passengers mobile devices. To ensure the RF performance of the infotainment system, all of these scenarios need to be thoroughly tested. This application note highlights some of the RF measurement challenges and introduces equipment that is required for relevant RF characterization of car infotainment devices.

Posted in: White Papers, Automotive, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics
Read More >>

Will "Electric Clothing" appeal to consumers?

Last week's INSIDER lead story featured an ultra-thin energy harvester from Vanderbilt University. Made from materials five thousand times thinner than a human hair, the technology may someday be woven into clothing to power personal devices. What do you think? Will "Electric Clothing" appeal to consumers?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage
Read More >>

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain

Traditional robots often feature isolated mechanical joints. These discrete components limit a rover’s ability to traverse sand, stone, and other challenging environments. A team at the University of California San Diego has demonstrated a more flexible option: a soft robot that lifts its legs over obstacles and operates on a variety of terrains. The 3D-printed quadrupedal technology may someday support search-and-rescue missions requiring intelligent navigation capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Terrain, Kinematics, Additive manufacturing, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles
Read More >>

High-Temperature Actuators Bend as They “Breathe”

The mechanical components are made from films that expand and contract as they let oxygen in and out.

Extreme temperatures are hard for mechanical components to endure without degrading. To address the problem, researchers at MIT worked with several other universities to develop a new way to make actuators that could be used in exceptionally hot environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Heat resistant materials, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation
Read More >>

3D-Printed Tensegrity Object Can Change Shape

The technology creates a large, lightweight, strong object that can be flattened and then expanded to its full size when heated.

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of dramatic expansion. The technology could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices. The new 3D-printed objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Materials properties, Polymers, Smart materials
Read More >>

Reduce Compressed Air Costs with Proper Air Cylinder Sizing

Choosing an air cylinder without a full understanding of how it will perform in a pneumatic circuit can have long lasting, costly consequences.

There may be no stronger ally of electrical power utilities than industrial size air compressors, as they drone on every day, taking atmospheric air and transforming it into useful energy. Countless kilowatt hours are gobbled up in a mechanical conversion of electrical power into pneumatic power, a process that is wickedly inefficient, with one horsepower of pneumatic energy costing six times as much to generate when compared to one horsepower of electrical energy. Nevertheless, with its tremendous versatility, efficiency, and widespread use throughout many sectors, compressed air provides a clean, reliable source of pneumatic power that has a value outweighing its cost to produce.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
Read More >>

Energy Management Through Direct Drive Servo Technology

Inertia ratio provides a determinate measure for optimizing energy utilization of a servo motor during a machine’s design.

Direct drive servo motor and drive technology has many advantages. It reduces an axis’ parts count, mechanical losses, and often its objectionable noise. What’s more, it also increases the machine’s efficiency, lowering operation cost for the user due to its inertia ratio as compared to the more common mechanically advantaged multi-body axis designs. Reducing the mechanical transmission components (gearboxes, timing belts, pulleys, cams, lead screws, etc.) between the motor and its load is only part of the savings.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
Read More >>

Smart Actuators Add Brains to Automation Brawn

Integrated electronics let smart actuators perform enhanced control functions that were previously external, such as switching, position feedback, and system diagnostics.

Actuators have always been on the frontline of automation, providing the “push and pull” that extends human capabilities to operate everything from delicate pick-and-place applications to 10-ton agricultural combines. Now, as the industrial world becomes increasingly digitized and connected, a new generation of actuators is fulfilling that role with more intelligence, simplicity, and economy, while overcoming increasingly challenging environmental conditions.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
Read More >>

Flat, Triangular Modules Connect to Form Origami Robot

Using two genderless mechanisms, module sides are connected and folded to create reconfigurable 3D structures.

Origami robots are composed of thin structures that can fold and unfold to change shape. They are compact and lightweight, but have functional restrictions related to size, shape, and how many folds can be created. On the other hand, modular robots use large numbers of individual entities to reconfigure the overall shape and address diverse tasks. These robots are more flexible when it comes to shape and configuration, but they are generally bulky and complex.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Robotics, Lightweight materials, Materials properties
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.