Using a Wide-Band Tunable Laser for Optical Filter Measurements

The concept of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) in fiber optic communication networks gained traction when optical amplifiers became available. Able to amplify an entire wavelength grid at once, they removed the need to first demultiplex, then convert every channel to an electrical signal, regenerate it, convert it back to an optical signal, and finally multiplex all channels onto a single optical fiber.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics


3D Machine Vision Using Laser Triangulation

Applications for 3D machine vision are rapidly expanding in a variety of industries for several reasons. The first is that vision systems can lower production costs by increasing yields and/or reducing scrap product and wasted raw material. One example of this would be extruded products from various materials (rubber, plastic, metal), where it’s vital to know as soon as the process goes out of specification.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Applications, Photonics


Hyperspectral Sensing for Defense and Security Applications

The successful exploitation of hyperspectral imaging sensors depends on the availability of accurate and complete spectral signature libraries. Coupled with the appropriate spectral signature library, images collected with hyperspectral sensors provide the means to survey large areas identifying and characterizing materials, detecting a wide range of camouflaged targets, and detecting disturbed surfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics


Generating Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Microplasma in Air

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang recently demonstrated that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air – first pioneered in 1993 – can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs


Products of Tomorrow: April 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today. This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at http://technology.nasa.gov.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Joining & Assembly, Optical Components, Optics


Reducing Interconnection Weight in Autosports

In Formula 1 and other autosports, weight reduction is critical to competitive advantage. A few grams saved here and a few more saved there can add up to significant savings. There is also a move toward high-density packaging of electronics parts. As the electronics content of cars increases, the natural drive is to miniaturize the package to gain maximum efficiency in the use of space.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Electronics, Composites, Fiber Optics


Precision Measurement and Inspection Ensure Quality of SLS Rocket Panels

Reverse engineering and inspection software Verisurf Software Anaheim, CA 714-970-1683 www.verisurf.com In spaceflight, the first eight minutes are critical. This is when the greatest opposing forces of thrust and gravity are impacting the launch vehicle. The new NASA Space Launch System (SLS) will weigh 5.5 million pounds at liftoff, or roughly the weight of eight fully loaded 747 jets. Everything comes down to weight and the integrity of design and fabrication to insure success. Today, it costs $10,000 to send one pound of payload into orbit; since the entire launch vehicle makes the trip to low-Earth orbit, its net weight is a big consideration. The lighter the launch vehicle, the greater the payload can be.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Lasers & Laser Systems, Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Mathematical/Scientific Software