Thermal Imaging: How Does It Work?

By detecting very subtle temperature differences of everything in view, infrared technology reveals what otherwise would be invisible to the naked eye.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Heat transfer, Visibility
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Fourier Transform Spectrometer System

NASA's Langley Research Center and Science Applications International Corporation have developed a method of processing data from Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTS) measurements that improves upon existing methods. This method is simpler, more accurate, faster, and less expensive than previous methods. It uses less hardware and can be used with all wavelengths.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Architecture, Spectroscopy, Data management
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New Products: March 2017 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Near Eye Displays Test System

A new test system from Gamma Scientific (San Diego, CA) offers high spatial resolution color and contrast measurements for near eye displays (NED), such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets, and heads up displays (HUD). The Gamma Scientific NED Measurement System incorporates compact imaging optics which feed both an integrated camera viewing system and a low-noise, high-accuracy spectroradiometer.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Photonics
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Six Questions About Today's Camera Market

Although camera components like CCD and infrared sensors have reached a level of maturity, imaging features continue to evolve. Analysts from the San Francisco, CA-based business consulting firm Grand View Research spoke with P&IT about current camera technology's most exciting capabilities, applications, and leaders.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Product development, Technical review
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Large-Area, Polarization-Sensitive Bolometer for Multi-Mode Optics

This type of detector will be used by the PIXIE mission to map the microwave sky in polarization, opening a new window to the earliest moments of the universe.

Polarization-sensitive bolometer measures linear polarization of the cosmic microwave background. (Left) Prototype detector. The absorber in the central square fills a small fraction of the optical area, but is opaque to microwaves. (Center) Schematic diagram showing the absorbing wires and sensing thermistors. (Right) Photomicrograph showing absorbing wires and the crystalline silicon end bank.

Measurements of the cosmic microwave background are a powerful probe of the early universe. Part-per-million fluctuations in the intensity of background trace the initial conditions of matter and energy shortly after the Big Bang, mapping the large-scale structure of spacetime. Now, new measurements in linear polarization at sensitivities of a few parts per billion can look behind these initial conditions to test physics at energies a trillion times higher than terrestrial accelerators, and perhaps even provide a glimpse of quantum gravity in action.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Optics, Radiation
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Autonomous Driving — In a ‘Flash’

By combining CMOS technology with avalanche photodiodes, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS (Duisburg, Germany) have developed a potentially cost-effective sensor prototype that aims to support driverless car applications. The “Flash LiDAR” could play a valuable role alongside the cameras, radars, and other components within autonomous vehicles.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Lidar, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Semiconductors, Autonomous vehicles
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ViDAR Optical Radar Provides New Maritime Search Capability

ViDAR, developed by Sentient Vision Systems in Melbourne Australia, provides autonomous, real-time, wide-area search capability, optically, from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or manned aircraft. ViDAR, which stands for Visual Detection and Ranging, essentially acts as an optical radar, using high-megapixel video or infrared cameras to search the ocean over significantly greater operational coverage areas than can be achieved with current optical sensor approaches.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Optics, Surveillance, Performance upgrades, Product development, Fixed-wing aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Infrared Cameras Support Advanced 3D Printing Efforts

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is quite literally one of the most innovative technologies revolutionizing manufacturing today, in terms of both industry “buzz” and thermal properties. Unlike subtractive manufacturing methods such as machining, the growing range of AM technologies creates components directly from a computer model, adding material only where needed. Wohlers Associates, a leading independent consulting firm focused on these technologies, is forecasting that the value of the worldwide AM market will grow to more than $10.8 billion by 2021, up from just $2.2 billion in 2012. That rapid escalation, however, isn't the result of hobbyists buying desktop 3D printers that cost a few hundred dollars.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Optics, Market research, Technical review, Additive manufacturing
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Researchers Turn iPhone Camera into Optical Sensor

By integrating an optical Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, chip into an iPhone camera, researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a new, cost-effective kind of hyperspectral technology. The spectral device will provide mobile device users and consumers with new ways to monitor their environments, including quick food analysis, health checks, and other Internet-connected sensing. Research team leader Anna Rissanen works actively with companies to enable commercialization and new business development based on the team's various sensors.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors, Microelectromechanical devices, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Research and development
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Photonic Choke-Joints for Dual-Polarization Waveguides

The joint is constructed from a conductive metal, and requires no maintenance or peripheral equipment to operate.

Photonic choke-joint (PCJ) structures for dual-polarization waveguides have been investigated at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for use in device and component packaging. This interface enables the realization of a high-performance, non-contacting waveguide joint without degrading the in-band signal propagation properties. The choke properties of two tiling approaches — symmetric square Cartesian and octagonal quasi-crystal lattices of metallic posts — are explored and optimal PCJ design parameters are presented. For each of these schemes, the experimental results for structures with finite tilings demonstrate near ideal transmission and reflection performance over a full waveguide band.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Electronic equipment, Waveguides, Product development
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