Application Briefs

Rotary Motors Customized for Telescope Spectrometer

SQUIGGLE® custom rotary piezoelectric motors New Scale Technologies Victor, NY 585-924-4450 www.newscaletech.com The Wide-Field Multi Object Spectrometer (WFMOS) is a ground-based astronomical instrument that is scheduled to be commissioned on the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii in 2013. The WFMOS, along with corrective optics, will be mounted in place of the secondary mirror of the telescope. An array of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Cobra fiber positioners will feed light from a 1.5-degree field of the sky to a visible spectrometer, for red shift observations of 2,400 cosmological targets simultaneously. The light will be transferred to the spectrograph using 2,400 f/2.4 fibers with 107 μm cores. The array of 2,400 Cobra optic fiber positioners contains two SQUIGGLE custom rotary piezoelectric motors, which were developed specifically for this purpose by New Scale Technologies. Working with JPL’s design requirements, New Scale optimized the miniature rotary motor for high torque over 3.0 mN m and step size less than 0.065º. Each theta-phi style Cobra fiber positioner includes one 4.4 × 4.4 mm and one 2.5 × 2.5 mm SQUIGGLE motor, with one offset from the other, allowing the optic fiber to be placed anywhere in a small circular patrol region. The patrol diameter of the actuator is large enough to obtain 100% sky coverage of the close-packed hex array pattern of positioners. The Cobra positioner was tested in a lab environment in a manner that simulates its use on the Subaru Telescope. The positioner was controlled in open loop, and used a CCD camera to image its optical fiber to determine its location. Over 100 simulated cosmological targets were tested using the Cobra positioner, which showed that it can converge on over 90% of its targets within 5 μm in six open-loop move iterations. The next phase of the project will include a high-fidelity design and test cycle. Characterization of performance versus lifetime at an environment that represents Mauna Kea will be conducted. For Free Info Click Here.

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High-Speed Cameras Assist in Crash Sled Testing

The Kettering University Crash Safety Center (Flint, MI) conducts vehicle subsystem tests using a pneumatic deceleration sled. The research and testing includes frontal, rear, or side impact occupant protection systems containing airbags, pretensioners, and/or child safety seats. The sled system can carry up to a 2,000-pound payload to a speed up to 42 miles per hour, and reach peak decelerations over 70 Gs. Access to high-quality imagery and dependable on-board and off-board high-speed digital video is as vital to the success of the data collection as is the anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs, also known as “crash dummies”) and their instrumentation (Figure 1).

Posted in: Imaging, Application Briefs

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Forest City Gear Controls Prosthetic Hand

Forest City Gear of Roscoe, IL, is a turnkey gear manufacturer, responsible to their customers for literally every facet of gear manufacturing, including prototyping, testing, production, finishing, quality and process validation, even packaging and delivery. One customer the gear manufacturer has increased their involvement with is Motion Control, Inc., of Salt Lake City, Utah, a world leader in myoelectric prosthetic devices and the makers of the Utah Arm, considered the most advanced prosthetic elbow/hand in the industry for above-elbow amputees.

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Omron Controls and Drives Improve Animals’ Joint Health

Ferno Aquatic Therapy, Wilmington, OH, designs and manufactures canine and equine underwater treadmill equipment used by veterinarians to provide aquatic therapy, rehabilitation, and conditioning for both dogs and horses. Designed specifically for canine rehabilitation, the Ferno Aqua Paws Plus Under water Treadmill System allows dogs to begin the rehabilitation process earlier than normal. Using the buoyancy, resistance and heat properties of water, the Aqua Paws unit creates a low-impact treadmill workout that helps the animal to increase muscle strength and endurance, providing the foundation for a quicker transition to land-based therapy.

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Alumina Ceramic “Dog Bone” Helps Chandra Detect High-Energy Events

Fine-grained alumina ceramic charge detector Insaco Quakertown, PA 215-536-3500 www.insaco.com The Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched into high elliptical orbit in 1998. The 39-foot-long, 10,000-pound observatory is designed to study high-energy events such as supernovae, black holes, quasars, and stellar coronae. At its core are several extremely precise instruments, including the high-resolution camera spectroscope (HRC-S). The spectroscopic detector consists of three major assemblies: a UV/ION shield, a pair of micro-channel plates, and a cross-grid charge detector (CGCD) made from a 99.98%-pure alumina ceramic made by Astro Met. The CGCD is referred to as the “dog bone” because of its shape. Usually such detectors consist of two separate layers of finely spaced gold wires wrapped in orthogonal directions around an insulating substrate such as alumina. The long and thin ceramic “dog bone” measures about 400 × 33 mm and has slight facets machined on its top face. Wire could not be wound along the length because it would vary in height above the surface due to the facets. Engineers deposited an array of 7-ml-wide gold traces just 0.7 mls apart on the substrate. Since the original alumina material they’d specified had too coarse a grain, this caused shorts or breaks in the traces. The solution came from Insaco’s machining capabilities, which offered 1- to 3-micron grain size as opposed to the original 17 microns. The Astro Met AMALOX 87 fine-grained alumina ceramic was specified for its stability over wide temperature extremes, as well as resistance to chemicals, oxidation, and wear. The ceramic part had multiple precision features machined to a tolerance of 0.001", and several mounting holes and undercut features. For Free Info Click Here.

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Communications System Supports the Ames Airspace Operations Lab

Voice-over-IP communications system Quintron Santa Maria, CA 805-928-4343 www.quintron.com Quintron was selected by NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC) to supply a new Voice-over-IP (VoIP) communications system to support the ARC Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) — a research facility to investigate improved operational techniques for Air Traffic Control (ATC) operations. The AOL provides representative ATC personnel operating stations along with “pseudo-pilot” positions to complete the simulation environment. Both the ATC and pseudo-pilot positions will utilize the Quintron VoIP for communications, with overall system configuration managed by the simulation control personnel. The system is based on Quintron’s standard DICES VoIP product, which uses client-server architecture ideally suited for the flexible requirements of the AOL operation. Several new features will be incorporated to meet more specific AOL needs, including multiple ATC operating screens for airplane and ground communications, two-channel audio paths to accurately simulate normal ATC operating procedures for headset versus speaker audio, and multiple user headset connections to provide for trainer operations at ATC user positions. The VoIP system also features workgroup voice path assignment, which provides for very low latency on network connections between the ATC operator positions. The project is taking place in phases, with the initial delivery of system components completed six weeks after the award. Additional features will be incorporated as development work progresses. A substantial initial effort will be to incorporate a number of FAA-ATC features in support of a major customer simulation program. Final system feature updates, including interoperable VoIP links to other ARC simulation systems, is scheduled to be completed next month. For Free Info Click Here.

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Using Hollow Core Plastic Bragg Fiber to Deliver Ultrashort Pulse Laser Beams

Ultrashort pulse (USP), or “ultrafast,” lasers emit extremely brief pulses of light, generally with duration of a picosecond (10-12 seconds) or less. The pulses are characterized by a high optical intensity that induces nonlinear interactions in various materials, including air.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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