Application Briefs

Clearer Images on Near Infrared Camera Made Possible with Filters

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in 2013 and aims to unravel the history of earlier galaxies, linking the Big Bang to the Milky Way Galaxy. JWST’s Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) is a filter-based instrument covering the spectral range of 0.6 to 5.0 microns. The Principle Investigator for NIRCam is Dr. Marcia Reike of the University of Arizona, while the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) of Lockheed Martin is responsible for its manufacture, integration, and testing. Barr Associates recently was selected to design, manufacture, and test 30 filters for the JWST NIRCam. Barr previously provided spaceflight filters for Lockheed Martin ATC, including those for the Solar-B and shuttle glow experiments.

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NASA Institute Studies and Identifies Martian Land Formations

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston is part of the Universities Space Research Association, and is a NASAfunded institute that conducts research in the lunar, planetary, and terrestrial sciences on behalf of university science departments and NASA. The most recent project between the University of Houston (UH) and the LPI seeks to identify and characterize the natural landscape structures of Mars, such as the inside of craters, valley networks, and the outside and inside rims of craters and inter-crater plains. Identifying these structures is important because rocks, minerals, and geologic landforms hold clues to past water activity on Mars. Understanding the history of water on Mars is a part of NASA’s long-term Mars Exploration Project.

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Deformable Mirror to Help NASA Search for New Planets

Boston Micromachines, a provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror products for adaptive optics systems, is developing a deformable mirror that will aid NASA in the search for extra-solar planets. The mirror comprises a micromirror array consisting of 331 closely packed ultra-flat hexagonal mirror elements. Each element is capable of tip, tilt, and piston motion with nanometer precision as required for a space-based, hyper-contrast coronagraph imaging telescope.

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Slide Guide Used in Fluorescence Microscope

In the USA and other developed countries, cancer is responsible for 25% of all deaths. In spite of the most recent advances in cancer research, by far the best curative treatment for the disease is early detection. Such technology revolves around quick identification of malignant cells, necessitating clean, crisp images for oncologists. The CellTracks Analyzer II by Immunicon (Huntington Valley, PA) is a semi-automated fluorescence microscope system used to count and characterize fluorescently labeled cells that are immuno-magnetically selected and aligned. The SEBS-B type miniature slide guide, from NB Corp. of America (Wood Dale, IL), is tapped as part of the microscope’s system of axes.

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High Flow Valve Used in Optic Processing Line

As the race to fulfill the ever-increasing demand for fiber optic assemblies began, the need for a fully automatic assembly line has come into focus. Individual filaments must be connected in such a way that the light traveling from strand to strand is not degraded. Owens Design (Fremont, CA) developed the custom Fiber Optic Assembly Line to join optic fibers and connectors. Using SMC’s (Indianapolis, IN) Series VQ5000 5-port solenoid valve as part of the feeder system, the assembly produces five types of fiber optic transducers.

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Motion Controller Helps Test for Hard Disk Defects

Hard disks were originally intended for computers in ultra-clean, ultra-safe data offices; by the 21st century, hard disks had moved beyond the office, finding their way into digital cameras, video recorders, PDAs, and cell phones. With the ubiquity of hard disks comes the risk that any number of electronic devices can fail if their hard disk crashes. To detect hard disk defects while still in the assembly stages, THôT Technologies (Campbell, CA) developed the Model 42000, a laser-based test and measurement system for hard drives’ disks, using the DMC 1832 3-axis controller from Galil Motion Control (Rocklin, CA) to help monitor and regulate various systems of the Model 42000 as it conducts testing.

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Design Software Bridges Optical/Mechanical Gap for Life Sciences

The inherently interdisciplinary nature of developing instrumentation for life sciences requires a high level of collaboration between scientists and engineers across the fields of analytical or clinical chemistry, optics, mechanics, material science, and microbiology. Moreover, product development teams are competing for first-tomarket benefits that are driven by intellectual property lifetimes and insuring an installed base quickly to realize recurring consumable sales. Concurrently, product designers need to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). System-level modeling enables adherence to the methodical design process without the cost and time associated with iterative hardware prototyping and laboratory and clinical testing.

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