Articles

Implementing PCI Express on PC/104-Size Modules

As PC/104 celebrates its 20th anniversary as an open standard this year, it continues to grow in terms of new design-ins, applications, and integration of the latest technology. In today’s fast paced, throw-away world, this is a remarkable achievement. PC/104 users typically demand a long product life cycle of seven years or more, so for two decades, these small, stackable, embedded computer systems have found applications in military, medical, industrial, transportation, communications, pipelines, mining, utilities and a host of other industries. However, as technology changes and becomes more powerful and complex, challenges arise in implementation. This has never been truer than for the different implementation strategies for PCI Express on PC/104 size modules.

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COM Express Revision 2.0: What’s new in the latest specification?

The COM Express specification was first released in 2005. Its main target was, and still is, to define the mandatory requirements of COM Express modules and carrier boards as far as it is necessary to ensure interoperability between the products of different vendors. Nevertheless, with continuous technical progress, there is also the need for adjustments of the common interface — that being the COM Express connector.

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Underwater Autonomous Vehicles Combine Robotics and Vision to Inspect Oil Pipelines

Among the various components of a submarine pipeline, the vertical section known as a riser is critical to managing the pipeline. This section connects the piping that runs along the bottom of the sea with the floating production platform.

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Mode-Field Diameter and “Spot Size” Measurements of Lensed and Tapered Specialty Fibers

Lensed and tapered specialty fibers are designed to optimize coupling between the fiber and various optical components such as edge-emitting laser diodes and AWGs. The light from these fibers forms a focus at some finite distance away from the fiber end. The Mode-Field Diameter (MFD) and corresponding spot size of these fibers is typically in the range of 5 microns or less. These small spot sizes and corresponding high divergence present challenges to near field and far field measurements. Typically the near-field measurements are limited by the optical performance, and the far-field measures must extend to very large angles. Results of measurements of 6 commercially available fibers are presented here, including different type lensed/tapered fibers (4 axially symmetric and 1 elliptical) and a standard single-mode fiber for reference. Also, since the focused beams are in free space, there are some fundamental questions as to the applicability of the MFD, a measure originally formulated to describe the field distribution within a fiber.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Automotive Engineering: The Future is Today

Recycled Plastic Bottles for Seat Fabric The Ford Focus Electric is the industry’s first car to feature 100 percent sustainable clean technologies in interior materials, including seat fabrics with Unifi’s REPREVE®-branded fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. Ford, through the use of REPREVE, plans to divert about 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles for use in the new Focus Electric and other new vehicles for this model year. The Focus Electric contains REPREVE-based fabrics that are made from the equivalent of about 22 recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles in each car.

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Marshall Space Flight Center

The Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located in Huntsville, AL, became a NASA field center on July 1, 1960. Since then, Marshall has provided the agency with the mission-critical design, development, and integration of launch and space systems required for space operations, exploration, and scientific missions. Marshall’s unique interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving brings scientific and engineering expertise together, providing answers that improve life on Earth, inspire a new generation, and stimulate innovation for the future of space exploration.

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Designing COTS LCD Displays For Rugged Applications

Innovation, demand, and falling prices have resulted in high quality large format commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) LCD displays moving from the living room to high availability, mission critical applications.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Applications, Photonics, Articles

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