Articles

Using a Wide-Band Tunable Laser for Optical Filter Measurements

The concept of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) in fiber optic communication networks gained traction when optical amplifiers became available. Able to amplify an entire wavelength grid at once, they removed the need to first demultiplex, then convert every channel to an electrical signal, regenerate it, convert it back to an optical signal, and finally multiplex all channels onto a single optical fiber.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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Choosing the Right Drive Technology

Coming up with the right drive technology for an application often depends on the options available. Here are five of the most common drive configurations being used today, along with their benefits and drawbacks. Although there are a number of variations of drive technologies for motion applications, there are a few that are used for the majority of systems being built today. These most common drives do take a bit of understanding before applying.

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Reasons for Turning to Slotless DC Motor Technology

When first introduced, brushless DC motors, despite their many advantages, were cast as a costly alternative to brush-commutated motors, and were typically only specified for low-power applications where long life was the primary desired requirement. Without the mechanical brush-commutator mechanism that would wear and eventually result in motor failure, brushless motors could be relied upon to deliver performance over time. As for other advantages, conventional wisdom held that brushless motors provide high speed and fast acceleration, generate less audible noise and electromagnetic interference, and require low maintenance. Brush-commutated motors, on the other hand, would afford smooth operation and greater economy.

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Analyst Roundtable: Machine Vision Moves Beyond Manufacturing

Imaging technology is playing an increasingly important role, for traditional industry sectors like manufacturing as well as emerging segments outside of the factory. Companies are looking to automate their operations. Lower costs have enabled customers to use camera-based technologies for the very first time. Vision systems have become more capable than single-purpose devices.

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‘Ralph’ Camera Shows Pluto in Color

Thanks to a camera affectionately known as “Ralph,” NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has delivered stunning natural-color images of Pluto and its moons.

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Considerations for Choosing Temperature Measurement Devices

Temperature is the physical variable most often measured in industrial processes. Selecting the sensor and measurement device to match a specific process is extremely important, and knowing the various options is the first step to optimizing temperature measurement. There are a variety of reasons we need to know the temperature of an object or a process — to prevent product damage, ensure sterilization, determine biological health, ensure mixture blending, control chemical reactions, or ensure drying, curing, and outgassing, to name just a few. Temperature measurement can also be a regulatory requirement; for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires temperature monitoring of food and drug products.

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Connectivity in Aircraft Interior Electronic Systems

The use of high-density, lightweight fiber optics is increasing in networks and electronic systems for equipping aircraft interiors. The civil aviation market comprises commercial passenger planes, cargo planes, private planes, private jets, and helicopters. Design engineers strive to reduce aircraft weight and costs, while enhancing safety, functionality, and the passenger experience in the cost-competitive travel industry. Relative to the overall aircraft, cabin electronic and electrical systems represent the largest segment, and include passenger seats, electric door systems, lighting, lavatory, kitchen equipment, flight attendant panels, and other cabin equipment.

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