Application Briefs

Creating Motion Control and Drive Electronics With an FPGA-based System

Complex machines in semiconductor manufacturing often have tough performance requirements for motion control. When traditional PLCor PC-based motion controllers fail to meet these requirements, machine builders turn to custom board development — a time-consuming and expensive process. Recent advances in embedded technologies have made it possible to use FPGA-based COTS platforms to not only meet those requirements, but also to get to market faster by using graphical system design.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Simulation Software Enables Development and Validation of NASA Probe Bus and Probe Carrier

MSC Nastran and MSC Adams Enterprise Simulation Software MSC.Software Corp. Santa Ana, CA 714-540-8900 www.mscsoftware.com NASA’s MIDEX Mission THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) aims to resolve one of the oldest mysteries in space physics: namely, to determine what physical process in near-Earth space initiates the violent eruptions of the aurora that occur during substorms in the Earth’s magnetosphere. THEMIS is a 2-year mission consisting of five identical probes that will study the violent colorful eruptions of Auroras.

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Imaging Software Provides Access to Critical Mission Images Across NASA

Presto Imaging Software Inmagic Woburn, MA 781-287-6277 www.inmagic.com With every space shuttle mission, hundreds of individuals across NASA need to access extensive photographs, video footage, and other imaging assets in order to monitor launch results, review design decisions, and ensure mission safety. Additional video footage and still images shot on orbit enables NASA engineers to compare pre-flight and in-flight images in order to assess functionality and highlight areas that warrant further scrutiny. Until recently, only the Image Analysis Team (IAT) staff could view these baseline images, and sometimes with delays due to the complexity of accessing them.

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Encapsulated Video “Brick” Bolsters Video Surveillance Along Boarder

Increasingly dependent on continuous video monitoring and recording, even today’s more sophisticated security surveillance systems are often plagued by reliability problems. In some ways, more complex video systems are susceptible to signal and other dependability problems simply because they are multifaceted. Systems integrators may know what cameras and recorders to use in a given situation, but they also need to consider how subcomponents could play a critical role under certain conditions. A noisy switch or incompatible distribution amplifier (DA) can compromise the integrity of a video security system yet go undiagnosed or even undetected until the horse is already out of the barn.

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InGaAs SWIR Imagers Optimize Semiconductor Inspection

As the volume of consumer electronics increases, semiconductor fabrication plants are manufacturing larger and larger wafers to handle the demand (e.g., 300 mm substrates). The escalating value of these larger wafers is driving the industry to employ more advanced imaging technologies for quality control. Inspecting the raw material substrate for flaws before processing and detecting defects during processing is critical to keeping costs down. New and improved inspection techniques save the semiconductor manufacturing industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

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

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Diving Equipment Helps Expedition Team Uncover Microbial Adaptation to Harsh Environments

CODE Rebreathers and SSV Lifejackets Aqua Lung Vista, CA 760- 597-5000 The High Lakes Project (HLP) is funded by a grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute to the SETI/NAI team. The HLP is an endeavor involving a team of expert scientists, mountainclimbers, and divers that will explore the ecosystems of three high-altitude-summit lakes in Bolivia and Chile. The physical and environmental conditions around and in these lakes — characterized by a thin atmosphere, temperature swings, and intense ultraviolet radiation — are uniquely analogous to ancient Martian lakes about 2.7 billion years ago. Learning about how microbial organisms adapt to such harsh environments is a critical step in preparing for life on Mars. The HLP also aims to understand how rapid climate change affects life and habitats, which is relevant to Martian exploration and to Earth’s current evolution.

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Power Complex Protects NASA Test Equipment

Centralized Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Lee Technologies Fairfax, VA 703-968-0300 NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS, is NASA’s primary site for rocket propulsion testing. It is also home to the Applied Research and Technology Project Office (ARTPO), which supplies project management to support NASA’s science and technology goals. Recently, Stennis awarded Lee Technologies a contract to construct a centralized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and emergency generator. Under the terms of the contract, Lee Technologies will partner with Z Corporation in Burlington, MA, to construct the power complex at Stennis.

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