Vector Signal Analyzer

National Instruments (Austin, TX) introduced the PXIe-5668R 26.5-GHz microwave vector signal analyzer (VSA) and a 20-GHz continuous wave signal generator. The VSA delivers low noise floor, high linearity, and low phase noise, and delivers up to 765 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. Engineers can analyze wide-bandwidth signals in a single acquisition including radar pulses, LTE-Advanced transmissions, and 802.11ac waveforms. Users can program the VSA’s user-programmable FPGA with LabVIEW system design software to customize instrument behavior. The 20-GHz signal generator features fast tuning time of 100 μs for applications such as blocking/interferer generation, high-performance intermodulation distortion test benches, and various electronic warfare applications.

Posted in: Products, Measuring Instruments


Data Acquisition Card

Innovative Integration (Simi Valley, CA) introduced Atropos, an XMC I/O module with low-noise clock generation and distribution for data acquisition and communications timing applications. The module has four output clocks and four output triggers, as well as a clock/reference input and a trigger input. Multiple cards can be cascaded to synthesize dozens of phase-synchronous, ultra-low-jitter clocks and triggers within radar, beam steering, and MIMO applications. In the sample clock generation mode, the card can generate clocks from 74.06 to 3080 MHz. All clock outputs may be referenced to an on-card 280-ppb temperature-compensated oscillator, or an external clock input. In distribution mode, a supplied clock and trigger are buffered and distributed 1:4. The PLL circuit is fully programmable. Example code supports control of all card features. Software tools for host development include C++ libraries, and drivers for Windows and Linux.

Posted in: Products, Data Acquisition


Detection Scanner

The R2000 Detection laser scanner from Pepperl+Fuchs (Twinsburg, OH) features a 360-degree gapless measurement angle with angular resolution within 0.071 degrees, scan frequency to 30 Hz, and object detection to 1 mm. An eye-safe visible red laser enables alignment and detection of very small objects or reflectors. The scanner can detect objects up to 10 m away and reflectors up to 30 m away, with measurement repeatability within 12 mm of true distance value. The scanner is suited for detecting protrusions or obstacles over a large area, collision avoidance on overhead monorails, detecting small overhangs such as damaged pallets, monitoring entryways and exits, controlling the height of pallets on palletizers, and verifying empty, full, or overfilled cartons on conveyors. The IP65 rated scanner has an anticipated operating life of 20 years in operating temperatures from -10 to 50 °C, and offers four digital I/O channels that can each be configured as an input or as an output (NPN or PNP).

Posted in: Products, Detectors, Measuring Instruments


Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to re-fuel, or to avoid carrying vast amounts of heavy fuel on long-stay journeys.

Posted in: News, Aviation, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting


NASA Robot Explores Volcanoes

Carolyn Parcheta, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness are developing robots that can explore volcanic fissures."We don't know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic," Parcheta said.Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels.VolcanoBot 2, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, will explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Parcheta's research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign. SourceAlso: Learn about Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring


Forensic Tracers Identify Contamination in Water

Duke University scientists have developed new forensic tracers to identify coal ash contamination in water and distinguish it from contamination coming from other sources. The tools can be used by regulatory agencies to monitor the environmental effects of coal ash, and determine whether it has or hasn’t impacted the environment. Previous methods to identify coal ash contaminants in the environment were based solely on the contaminants’ chemical variations. The newly developed tracers provide additional forensic fingerprints that give regulators a more accurate and systematic tool. The tracers, which have been tested both in the laboratory and the field, are based on the distinctive isotopic and geochemical signatures of two elements, boron and strontium, found in coal ash effluent. The U.S. EPA has submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget to restrict coal ash disposal into the environment and, for the first time, establish federal regulations to govern how the ash is stored and disposed. Source:

Posted in: News, Environmental Monitoring, Monitoring


Technology Diagnoses Brain Damage from Concussions, Strokes, and Dementia

New optical diagnostic technology developed at Tufts University School of Engineering promises new ways to identify and monitor brain damage resulting from traumatic injury, stroke, or vascular dementia in real time and without invasive procedures.

Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Diagnostics, Fiber Optics, Optics, Photonics, Measuring Instruments