Features

Adam Sidor, NASA Research Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) — heatshields — form the outer surface of spacecraft and provide protection as the vehicle plunges through planetary atmospheres. Conformal ablative materials are currently being developed to improve TPS performance. Adam Sidor is developing a fresh approach to designing and manufacturing these materials to produce larger tile sizes while reducing labor, cost, and waste.

Posted in: Who's Who, Materials
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Virtual Fabrication and Assembly Documentation

Over the years, the term “virtual” has become associated with many different domains. Virtual machines are now commonplace as a substitute for physical laptops or desktops, allowing for the emulation of computer systems. Of course, virtual reality is in the news daily as new headsets, apps, and games provide a substitute for images and sounds, allowing for the simulation of a three-dimensional environment. In the printed circuit board (PCB) space, some fabrication and assembly information such as artwork, drill, netlist, test, and component placement have been conveyed virtually to manufacturing for more than 30 years.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers
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New Products: May 2017 Photonics & Imaging Insider

High Efficiency Double Spot Beam Splitter

LASER COMPONENTS (Bedford, NH) has introduced the HEDS (High Efficiency Double Spot) beam splitter. Double spot beam splitters are diffractive optical elements (DOE) used for separating an incoming laser beam into two identical beams. They are most commonly used in lithography as well as high power applications such as cutting and perforation. Until now, a small portion of light was lost in higher diffraction orders. Some applications cannot tolerate even a 1% loss, so this DOE boasts an efficiency well above the standard value of 81%. HEDS is available in wavelengths between 193 nm and 10.6 µm.

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Scanning Electron Microscope

JEOL USA (Peabody, MA) has introduced a new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that combines the performance of a Field Emission SEM with the simplicity of the JEOL InTouchScope™ SEM series. The new JSM-IT300HR features a rugged in-chamber specimen stage and large chamber to accommodate a wide variety of samples of different shapes, sizes, and weights. The specimen chamber’s twelve geometrically-optimized analytical ports allow for multiple detectors, creating a virtual nano-lab inside the SEM. Low vacuum capability is a standard feature and allows for imaging and analysis of all types of samples in their native state.

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Optical Transmitter

The Micro ATx high-fidelity optical transmitter from APIC Corporation (Culver City, CA) combines an ultra-low-RIN (-168 dB/Hz) continuous wavelength (CW) laser (1530-1565 nm), a low Vπ amplitude modulator, a low noise amplifier, power conditioning and control electronics into a small yet rugged package (14 x 5 x 2 cm). When used in combination with APIC’s highly linear 20 GHz analog receiver, the resultant link performance, with a selectable low noise amplifier (LNA), has a gain greater than 8 dB; a noise figure (NF) lower than 8 dB; an SFDR ~ 111 dBHz2/3; and an RF bandwidth from DC through 20 GHz.

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20 GHz Realtime Spectrum Analyzer

Saelig Company, Inc. (Fairport, NY) has introduced the Spectran HF-80200 V5 RSA rack-mounted real-time 9kHz-20GHz Spectrum Analyzer that can capture even intermittent signal transmissions. The Spectran HF-80200 V5 RSA scans from 9kHz to 20GHz in less than 20mS, so that even erratic transmissions or interference can be captured. The HF-80200 V5 is controllable through a USB interface or LAN/Ethernet, allowing continuous logging and streaming of almost any frequency range, and direct access to the analyzer through an Internet-connected PC. It offers AM and FM demodulation. All V5 rackmount spectrum analyzers are housed in a durable aluminum case and feature a built-in 20dB preamplifier.

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Line Scan Cameras

Teledyne e2v (Chelmsford, UK) has developed OctoPlus, a new range of line scan cameras for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) applications. OctoPlus is based on new image sensor pixel architecture and is specifically tuned to provide the most accurate images of the retina and cornea; mapping tissue structure, measuring thickness and visualizing blood flow dynamics for diagnostics. Specific advantages of OctoPlus include a 250 percent larger field of view compared to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved commercial Swept Source OCT (SS-OCT) and a +5dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in comparison with equipment currently available in Spectral-Domain OCT (SD-OCT).

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Red to Near-IR Enhanced Photodiode

Opto Diode Corporation (Camarillo, CA) has introduced the NXIR-5C, a red to near-infrared (NIR) enhanced photodiode with a circular active area of 5 mm2. With a spectral response from 320 nm to 1100 nm, the rugged photodiode is housed in a custom 4.7 mm x 4.9 mm ceramic carrier surface-mount device (SMD) package. The NXIR-5C provides superior responsivity with low reverse bias and high sensitivity at 0.62 A/W @ 850 nm and 0.35 A/W at 1064 nm. It has low dark current at 1nA, low capacitance of 5 pico-farads (pF) at 10 volts, and high shunt resistance greater than 100 MΩ.

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E-Arm Focus Mount with LED Ring Light

Aven’s (Ann Arbor, MI) E-Arm Focus Mount with Integrated LED Ring Light and independent brightness Controller provides ease of use for inspection purposes. An eco-friendly 60 LED ring light provides even, shadow-free illumination, and a variable light control adds flexibility. These energy-efficient LEDs provide a minimum of 20,000 hours of high-output illumination. The adjustable tilt of the E-arm permits a variety of inspection angles. The E-Arm Focus Mount is compatible with all Aven Binocular and Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscopes, Boom and Articulating Arm Stands.

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Programmable Light Source

The RS-7-4 SpectralLED™ is a new digitally programmable, color tunable, calibrated light source from Gamma Scientific (San Diego, CA) that bolts directly on to existing image sensor testers from manufacturers such as Teradyne and National Instruments, and can be readily adapted to test head manipulators and handler instrumentation custom built by end users. The LED-based RS 7 4 offers a longer calibrated, stable lifetime than tungsten sources. Plus, the color temperature and spectral power distribution of the RS-7-4 can be rapidly varied through software control, and the output is extremely linear over its entire output range.

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Posted in: Products, Photonics
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Nick Krotkov, Atmospheric Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Using data from NASA’s Earth Observing System Aura satellite, launched in 2004, a team led by Michigan Technological University created a global map of volcanic emissions. Scientist Nick Krotkov will use the information to refine climate models and better understand the human and environmental health risks of erupted gases like sulfur dioxide.

Posted in: Who's Who, Data Acquisition
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Product of the Month: May 2017

Spectrum Instrumentation Corp. (Hackensack, NJ) introduced the DN6.44x, a range of 12 high-speed, 14-, and 16-bit LXI-based digitizers with up to 24 fully synchronized channels. The 16 bit ADC models offers sampling rates of either 130 MS/s or 250 MS/s, while the 14 bit units feature sampling rates of 500 MS/s. The units are suitable for applications where arrays of receivers, sensors, detectors, rectifiers, antennas and other electronic devices are to be used and tested. Each channel is also equipped with its own front-end amplifier that features six input ranges (from ±200 mV up to ±10 V full scale), switchable input impedance (50 Ω and 1 MΩ) and programmable positive input offset for unipolar signals. Analog bandwidth is as high as 250 MHz (for 500 MS/s models), enabling the units to capture electronic signals in the DC to 200 MHz frequency range. The instruments are equipped with a large on-board acquisition memory of 512 MSamples per channel.

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Posted in: Products, Data Acquisition
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Products of Tomorrow: May 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Product of the Month: May 2017

Spectrum Instrumentation Corp., Hackensack, NJ, introduced the DN6.44x, a range of 12 highspeed, 14- and 16-bit LXI-based digitizers with up to 24 fully synchronized channels. The 16-bit ADC models offer sampling rates of either 130 MS/s or 250 MS/s, and the 14-bit units feature sampling rates of 500 MS/s. The units are suitable for applications where arrays of receivers, sensors, detectors, rectifiers, antennas, and other electronic devices are to be used and tested. Each channel is equipped with its own front-end amplifier that features six input ranges (from ±200 mV to ±10 V full scale), switchable input impedance (50 Ω and 1 MΩ), and programmable positive input offset for unipolar signals. Analog bandwidth is as high as 250 MHz (for 500 MS/s models), enabling the units to capture electronic signals in the DC to 200-MHz frequency range. The instruments are equipped with onboard acquisition memory of 512 MSamples per channel, and feature an industrial chassis with integrated cooling, a replaceable dust filter, and low-noise power supplies.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers
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Intelligent Robotics Safeguarding

Traditional robot applications limit operator access to hazards through hard-guarding and protective devices that either detect and stop the hazard, or prevent access into the safeguarding space until the hazard no longer exists. The introduction of power- and force-limited robots used in collaborative applications changes this environment. Reduced or nonexistent hard-guarding, along with continuous motion and interaction between the robot and the operator, makes the environment inherently dynamic and uncertain. Methods to reduce risks to a tolerable level include limiting forces and speed, but these measures can yield unacceptable production rates.

Posted in: Articles, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Risk management, Robotics
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Novel Threading Enables New Approach to Golf Clubs

Fastener threading technology used on shuttle engines reduces vibration in golf clubs.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Collaboration and partnering, Vibration, Fasteners
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Using Sensor Fusion to Analyze Laser Processing in Additive Manufacturing

Sensor: “A device that detects or measures a physical property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to it.” A sensor is a device that detects a physical quantity and responds by transmitting a signal.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Additive manufacturing
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