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Multi-Channel Laser Absorption Spectrometer for Combustion Product Monitoring

This instrument can detect fires associated with electrical wiring and electronics packaging materials. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Tunable laser absorption spectrometer (TLAS) sensors enable gas monitoring with high accuracy and gas specificity, and can be optimized for continuous, maintenance-free operation on long-duration manned spacecraft missions. This innovation is a portable, five-channel TLAS instrument designed to continuously monitor ambient concentrations of carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen fluoride, and carbon dioxide, with low-level detection limits below the standard spacecraft maximum allowable concentrations. Monitoring of these particular hazardous compounds allows tracking of ambient conditions and enables detection of fires associated with electrical wiring and electronics packaging materials.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Disturbance-Free, High-Resolution Imaging from Space

Telecommunication satellites, astrophysical imaging, remote sensing, surveillance, and reconnaissance from space could all benefit from this innovation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California All imaging systems from space are affected by disturbances originating in the spacecraft in the form of mechanical noise from thruster and reaction/momentum wheels, and sensor noise. A drag-free system is truly unaffected by any disturbances, as it is in pure freefall. Hence, leveraging drag-free technology can provide a quantum leap in improvement for spaceborne imaging systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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SCaN Optical Link Assessment Tool Version 2

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio In response to the requirements of the Space-Based Relay Study (SBRS) undertaken by NASA in 2013, as well as the Integrated Radio and Optical Communications (iROC) project being conducted by NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) beginning in 2012, a calculation procedure was required to rapidly assess the operation of optical communication links originating from within deep space (in particular, from around Mars in the case of iROC), as well as within the near-Earth scenarios of LEO and GEO (in the case of SBRS). Such an assessment included the specification of the design components of the optical system to achieve reliable communications as prescribed by one or several metrics that indicate overall system operation. Additionally, it was also desired to be able to dynamically evaluate such optical link operation as the satellite/earth orbital positions evolve during the mission lifetime.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Defining and Measuring “LOOSE TIGHT BUFFER” in Fiber Optic Cables

As the optical fiber and cable industry unfolded, several terms were coined to describe specific properties that were new and different from conventional wire processing. One of those that stayed around was the term “Loose Tight Buffer.”

Posted in: Articles, Photonics

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Advanced Infrared Camera Maps Methane "Hot Spots"

Methane often appears in the atmosphere at an irregular rate, puzzling researchers challenged with the task of tracking the gas’s sources in the landscape. An advanced infrared camera developed by Linköping University and Stockholm University researchers, in collaboration with the infrared imaging manufacturer Telops, allows users to both film and photograph methane emissions.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics

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Cambridge Researchers Take Computer Vision for Test Drive

Google's driverless car, like many autonomous vehicles in development, is packed with sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras. To lighten the load of sensing devices in self-driving autos, researchers at Cambridge University have hit the streets with a system that uses only computer vision.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics

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Using Optical Imaging to Combat Counterfeit Components

Counterfeit parts and materials pose a serious threat to the United States defense supply chain. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 (Section 818) laid out strict guidelines for DoD prime contractors for detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts1. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) identified six federal supply groups in their supply chains that are at high risk for counterfeiting including electrical and electronic components, bearings, hardware and abrasives, pipes and fittings, engine accessories, and vehicle components2. DLA is championing development of anti-counterfeiting technologies that also provide traceability for the parts in its supply chain. A solution called QuanTEK developed by Chromo Logic LLC, involves novel optical imaging methods and has been found to work on a broad class of the DLA identified high-risk federal supply groups.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics

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