Articles

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: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Measurements, Fiber optics
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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: Articles, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays
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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: Articles, Imaging, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Virtual reality, Imaging and visualization, Human machine interface (HMI)
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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: Articles, Imaging, Microscopy, Biological sciences
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Software Toolkit Inspects Automotive Components

MPC , a Walworth, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive industry, builds many types of components. One such product is the oil filler cap for the car’s engine. The cap is made of injection-molded plastic, with a rubber O-ring seal around it, and a pad-printed logo and instructions at the top (Figure 1). To ensure design consistency, the caps must go through an inspection process. The goals for the component inspection include:

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Computer software and hardware, Plastics, Parts, Inspections
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LED Packaging with Silicone Encapsulants

By Michelle Velderrain and Matthew Lindberg, NuSil Technology

When working together, the packager and silicone pro vider should take into account several details. One major consideration is the methodology used when packaging an LED, such as surface mount LED, compression molding or injection molding. Besides that, the end use of the LED and the longevity of the LED must be addressed. As we often find, producing an LED is a game of compromise – durability versus reliability. We will explore some of the basics of silicone to get a better understanding of the material. Also, we will delve into a few questions to be asked when packaging an LED, such as what type of material to use or what RI should be targeted. In all cases, the necessity of a relationship between the silicone provider and the LED manufacturer will become clearer.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Test & Inspection
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Bringing the Heat

New Thermal Characterization Testing Standard and Tools Allow More Accurate Thermal Analysis for LEDs and Semiconductors

By John Parry, Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, OR

LED, semiconductor, and package designers use complex thermal analysis software to analyze their products, but the analysis is only as good as the data provided. Reliable clarification of heat data upstream and downstream is critical. The process of obtaining this clarification traditionally has been cumbersome, requiring manual intervention. But now, for the first time, an automated process combines accurate thermal measurement with precise analysis, giving companies the ability to design better LEDs and power semiconductor device packages, create accurate simulation models, and verify systems for proper heat management.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Materials & Packaging
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Designing High-Speed, Rugged Data Recorders

High-speed recorders represent a major share of electronic instrumentation found in commercial, industrial, scientific research, government, and defense applications. Each system captures specific classes of analog and digital inputs from among an enormous range of sensors, networks, and interfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Articles
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Improving Software Reliability in Satellite and Spacecraft Applications

In the space industry, much of the effort to refine system engineering processes has been done by hand using tools as divergent as Microsoft PowerPoint to IBM Rational Doors. While these tools are valuable, they do not provide a direct connection to source code and test results.

Posted in: Articles, Articles
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Solar Cell Manufacturing and Robot Automation: Right Fit, Right Robot

The United States has set 2015 as a goal to reach grid parity (that point where solar electricity is equal to grid electricity). No matter your thoughts on regulatory involvement, it is clear there will be a resurgence in investment, development, and innovation within the PV manufacturing community throughout the world, and it will largely be driven by technology. Finding the most effective tools and processes to gain more productivity and decrease costs within a set capital plan is paramount.

Posted in: Articles, Automation, Robotics, Solar energy, Manufacturing processes, Robotics
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