Articles

30 Years of Test & Measurement

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from industry leaders on the past, present, and future of each technology. This month, we take a look at the past 30 years of Test & Measurement.

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Achieving Positioning Accuracy Goals

The task of choosing the correct mix of motion control components for a successful servo positioning system involves a combination of art, science, and experience. It also includes a little luck, but luck is not needed when you fully comprehend the principle of operation, accuracy, resolution, and repeatability of each component in the system.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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10G and “Killer Apps” Excite Telecom Market in ‘07

In the optical communications industry, it’s important to look back before you look forward. History has a way of putting the future into perspective.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Laser Diode Market Stays Hot in 2007

The high-power laser diode market has grown rapidly in the last twelve months, a trend that is set to continue throughout 2006 and beyond. The global market for laser systems is forecast to grow by 8% in 2006 to US $5.9 billion, with diode lasers alone growing by 8%.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Optical Software in ‘07: Isn’t that Easy?

Optical software programs provide optical designers with the means to predict and analyze performance characteristics of optical systems without experimental prototyping. Looking ahead into 2007, optical software will continue to enhance optical design capabilities in several ways. Optical software developers are concentrating their efforts on improving communication channels between engineers in disparate fields who are asked to collaborate. In a word, the direction is “inter-operability.”

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Alternatives to Keyways in Motion Systems

The age-old tradition of using shaft keys in mechanical drives has served the power transmission industry well for many years. When appropriately sized, it guarantees that virtually no relative motion can take place between a shaft and its respective shaft hub in a unidirectional continuous motion application. Today’s increasing demands for speed, precision, and small size have changed the standard for shaft locking devices, and challenged motion components manufacturers to develop new methods of keyless shaft locking for dynamic loading. As motors and drives become increasingly capable of rapid acceleration and rotary positioning accuracy in smaller and smaller packages, backlash, stress distribution, and balance have all needed to be addressed in shaft locking devices, in many cases rendering the shaft key obsolete.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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Glass Molding Makes High-Quality Aspheres Cost Effective

High-resolution digital imaging, low-light-level biomedical devices, and automotive sensing are just a few of today’s hot technologies demanding both low-cost and high-performance optical systems. Critical in this effort is the mid- and high-volume requirement for aspheric optical components. Unfortunately, CNC polishing methods are expensive and take too long to produce each component, which has pushed precision glass molding to the front of asphere manufacturing technologies.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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