Articles

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.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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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.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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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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Real 3D Visualization: The Promise of Virtual Holography

The Heart of Virtual Holography There are a number of drawbacks to traditional two-dimensional environments. In 2D, images appear flat and only offer one perspective. In 3D, images have depth and offer multiple perspectives. A true virtual-holographic representation overcomes the limitations of even the very highest resolution 2D flat screen display. Part of the benefit of a 3D environment is the comfort of the experience; as in the real world, there are no conflicting cues and no need to envision how a 2D projection will appear in three dimensions — with 3D, you see it and operate with it exactly as it is.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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Benchtop Imaging Devices: Making Fluorescence Microscopy More Accessible

Auto-fluorescent proteins have become an indispensible tool for cell biology research over the past decade. Originating from sea creatures such as jellyfish and sea anemone, these fluorescent proteins come in a rainbow of colors and are used to monitor cellular processes like protein localization, receptor signaling, and protein trafficking.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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