Articles

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901, and is now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Based in Gaithersburg, MD, it was established to remove a major challenge to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time — a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals.

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab, Test & Measurement
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The Future of Wearable Technology

The U.S. Army uses wired and wireless systems to monitor real-time performance and safe operating limits of vehicles and aircraft, but no comparable systems exist for soldiers. New wearable technologies could change that.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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LAB-ON-A-GLOVE: Enables Onsite Detection of Chemical Threats

Wearable sensors are uniquely placed to fill the technology gap for real-time analytics at the point of need. Seamless integration of chemical sensors into wearable platforms gives the power of laboratory-based chemical analyses directly on the wearer's body. Several biosensors, based primarily on enzyme electrodes, have been incorporated recently into cutting-edge wearable devices to allow non-invasive sensing of lactate, glucose, or alcohol in sweat; uric acid in saliva; and glucose in tears. While the majority of these wearable sensor systems has focused on fitness and healthcare applications, there are growing demands for developing wearable sensor platforms for monitoring hazardous chemicals for diverse security and environmental applications.

Posted in: Articles, Data Acquisition, Detectors
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Blue-Light-Canceling Lens Gives Skiers a Clearer View

An optical filter for assessing plant health finds use in ski goggles.

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Optical Components, Optics
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CMOS The Future of Image Sensor Technology

CMOS imaging is trending to become the dominant imaging technology. Initially, CMOS was limited by its inherent noise. Architectures were then essentially analog and the idea of integrating the image processing features with System On Chip (SoC) technology was yet to be considered. However, it is fundamentally this SoC characteristic of CMOS that has driven impressive growth. Over the years, this technology has become more and more competitive. The commercial race started in early 2000 when the big players applied continuous improvements to electro-optical performance.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics
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Ruggedization of Imaging Lenses

Imaging lenses used in many industrial machine vision applications have special requirements beyond those of standard imaging lenses. The lenses used in factory automation, robotics, and industrial inspection have to work in specific and demanding environments, which could involve vibrations, shocks, temperature changes, and contaminants. Because of these environmental requirements, new classes of ruggedized lenses are being designed specifically to work in a multitude of different scenarios, therefore creating different types of ruggedization. There are three distinct types of ruggedization available: industrial ruggedization, ingress protection ruggedization, and stability ruggedization.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics
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Snapshot High-resolution Hyperspectral Imaging

Traditional digital cameras are comprised of an image sensor, typically either a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD), or, more commonly Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS). In either case, these devices integrate an array of photodiodes which convert photons to current which is then integrated over time and digitized. The sensing device is agnostic to the wavelength of detected photons, as long as the energy of these photons is sufficient to create electron-hole pairs which can then be separated under an electric field.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics
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Chip-Scale Device ‘Fine-Tunes’ Wireless Communications

Achip-scale optical device, developed by a team from the University of Sydney’s Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST), achieves radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales. The photonics breakthrough has the potential to provide broader bandwidth instantaneously to more users.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics
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Round Lens. Square Pixels. Accurate Images. Really?

Alens is cylindrical. It captures light in a circular plane for collection onto a rectangular digital sensor plane. This collection of photons is then transformed into electricity by smaller square pixels. Just how do these disparate shapes work together to provide usable images?

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics
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Drones Spot Gas Leaks From the Sky

As part of a project to improve energy pipeline industry safety, a JPL-developed miniature methane sensor is flight tested on a small unmanned aerial system. (Credit: University of California, Merced)

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors, Gases, Hazardous materials, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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