Application Briefs

Improving Microinverter Performance in Photovoltaic Systems

We have known for decades that the sun radiates enough energy to meet the world’s needs for power, both now and in the future. As in any energy conversion from original source to a “usable” form, however, the various stages of adaptation introduce efficiency losses. In the case of the photovoltaic system, this has limited what could be exponential growth. In fact, the best performance available from solar cells of any kind (excluding the concentrated approach) never rose above 15% efficiency. In cascade to the solar cell itself, a classical centralized inverter would add barely more than 90% efficiency to the chain. This “poor” performance and the obvious lack of large successes has also helped to keep the installation costs very high.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Sun and solar, Solar energy, Semiconductors
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Using Aspheric Optics in Complex Lens Designs

Optical design engineers often discuss the use of aspheres to reduce element count, but they seldom put the discussion into real-time practice, often fearing that the more complex fabrication process of the asphere itself overwhelms the advantages that they might gain.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Optics, Optics, Fabrication
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Smoothing the Wave for High-Power Lasers

For years, laser manufacturers have promised the ability to produce very high-power, cost-effective lasers that are stable outside of a laboratory environment. Recent requirements in aerospace and defense applications, such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), IR countermeasures, and laser targeting, are now calling on these manufacturers to deliver.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Lasers, Fabrication
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Heat Exchanger Coils Control Temperature in NASA Icing Tunnel

Heat exchanger coilsSuper Radiator CoilsChaska, MN952-556-3330superradiatorcoils.com

A 25-foot-high wall of heat exchanger coils manufactured by Super Radiator Coils will replace the coils in the Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. When installed and commissioned, the new coils will enable the IRT to lower the air temperature faster and more efficiently to -40 °F, which will be 15 degrees colder than its current capacity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Heat exchangers, Icing and ice detection
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Laser Systems Will Enable NASA Satellite to Measure Sea Ice

Flight lasers and test laserFibertekHerndon, VA703-471-7671www.fibertek.com

Managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission is scheduled to launch in 2016. The satellite will replace the original ICESat observatory, which was decommissioned in 2010. Four flight lasers and one test laser for ICESat-2’s Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System instrument will be provided by Fibertek.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems, Measurements, Lasers, Icing and ice detection, Satellites
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LED Video Displays

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Regensburg, Germany

FormoLight Technologies, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Particularly compact Multi CHIPLEDs developed by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors raise the image quality in FormoLight Technologies' high performance LED Matrix TVs. Multi CHIPLEDs are the smallest RGB LED currently on the market, and their compact size permits a special image format. The LED Matrix TVs feature a pitch of 2.8 mm and high brightness of up to 4500 cd/m2. Water- and dust-proof housing allows for indoor and outdoor applications.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lighting
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LEDs Power Pocket Projector

Luminus Devices, Billerica, MA

Aiptek, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Luminus Devices is powering Aiptek’s new Pocket-Cinema V50 Projector, a small projector enabling instant projection for business presentations, photo sharing, and gaming. The Pocket Cinema V50 Projector combines DLP optical technology with Luminus’ SBT-16 LED pico-projection chipset for sharp and rich image quality.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lighting
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Modeling Design Software Gets the International Space Station Moving

Creo Direct v17 modeling design softwarePTC Corp.Needham, MA781-370-5000www.ptc.com

There are several robotic arms on the International Space Station (ISS), but the two that NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) robotics analysts deal with the most are the Space Station Remote Manipulator (SSRMS), known as the Canada Arm 2, and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), appropriately named Dextre. Both are operated by the United States and Canada.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Computer software and hardware, Robotics, Spacecraft
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Network Connectivity Enables Climate Research

Summit® X650 40-GbEswitchExtreme NetworksSanta Clara, CA408-579-2800extremenetworks.com

Some of the largest data sets in existence are related to weather research, and that data is used throughout the world. The ability to rapidly share data across faster networks enables advances in global climate research. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, is home to two of the world’s top climate modeling groups at the Greenbelt facility and at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York. Goddard is working with Extreme Networks to evaluate high-speed, standards-based 40-GbE connectivity in support of global climate research.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Data exchange, Telecommunications systems, Weather and climate
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Applying HDTV Imaging Technology To Industrial Applications

New high definition (HD) television cameras are being integrated into industrial environments to assist in the inspection of a variety of manufactured products. HDTV technology is reaching areas of application far outside the broadcast or entertainment markets, in part because of the capability of perfectly matching the cameras’ HD resolution, pixel to pixel, to high definition LCD and LED monitors, making these systems ideal for real-time, live viewing inspection.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Displays, Quality assurance, Inspections
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