Photonics/Optics

Coming Soon - Trends Driving Innovations in Optical Product Design

Companies developing cutting-edge optical products—from virtual reality to autonomous vehicles—can gain an enormous competitive advantage by getting their products to market ahead of their competitors.

Posted in: Upcoming Webinars, Optics
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Ultra-Thin Camera Says Good-Bye to the Lens

A new proof-of-concept design retires one of the most familiar parts of a traditional camera: the lens. By swapping out the glass lens with a tiny array of light receivers, a California Institute of Technology team believes the thinner, lighter model supports a new wave of ubiquitous imaging.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics
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DESIGNING A VISION SYSTEM: A Comprehensive Guide to the Technical Requirements for Building a Vision System for Your Unique Imaging Application

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when designing a vision system, including: the hardware platform, the operating system, the software and API, and the very things that make the vision system “see” – the camera and its lens. Although each aspect plays an important role in achieving desired results, the camera and lens are the essence of the vision system. As such, it is recommended that both the camera and the lens be selected as a pair based on overall system requirements. Here we discuss various elements of vision systems with a focus on the camera and lens.

Posted in: White Papers, Imaging, Medical, Optics, Photonics
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Laser Integration on Silicon Photonic Circuits Through Transfer Printing

New fabrication approach allows the massively parallel transfer of III-V coupons to a silicon photonic target wafer.

The purpose of this project was to develop a transfer printing process for the massively parallel integration of III-V lasers on silicon photonic integrated circuits. Silicon has long offered promise as the ultimate platform for realizing compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs). That promise stems in part from the material's properties: the high refractive-index contrast of silicon allows strong confinement of the optical field, increasing light-matter interaction in a compact space—a particularly important attribute for realizing efficient modulators and high-speed detectors.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics
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High Energy Computed Tomographic Inspection of Munitions

Inspection system provides additional level of quality assurance for R&D, reverse engineering, and malfunction investigations.

An advance computed tomography (CT) system was recently built for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, for the inspection of munitions. The system is a charged coupled device (CCD) camera based CT system designated with the name “experimental Imaging Media” (XIM). The design incorporated shielding for use up to 4MeV x-ray photons and integrated two separate cameras into one single field of view (FOV). Other major distinguishing characteristics include its processing functions to digitally piece the two cameras together, use of advanced artifact reduction principles, performing reconstruction simultaneously during acquisition, and its development in accurate beam hardening corrections through digital means.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics
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Development of Photoacoustic Sensing Platforms

Research focuses on sensor miniaturization and detection of chemical targets both proximally and at range.

In recent years, photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) has emerged as an attractive and powerful technique well suited for sensing applications. The development of high-power radiation sources and more sophisticated electronics, including sensitive microphones and digital lock-in amplifiers, have allowed for significant advances in PAS. Furthermore, photoacoustic (PA) detection of IR absorption spectra using modern tunable lasers offers several advantages, including simultaneous detection and discrimination of numerous molecules of interest. Successful applications of PAS in gases and condensed matter have made this a notable technique and it is now studied and employed by scientists and engineers in a variety of disciplines.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics
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Drones Spot Gas Leaks From the Sky

As part of a project to improve energy pipeline industry safety, a JPL-developed miniature methane sensor is flight tested on a small unmanned aerial system. (Credit: University of California, Merced)

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors
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Digital Beamforming Interferometry

This technology effectively divides a single antenna into two antennas.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a new radar approach that uses a single phased array antenna and a single-pass configuration to generate interferograms, known as Digital Beamforming Interferometry. A digital beamforming radar system allows the implementation of nonconventional radar techniques, known as Digital Beamforming Synthetic Aperture Radar Multimode Operation (DBSAR).

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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Additive-Manufactured, Very Lightweight, Diamond Turned Aspheric Mirror

Industrial-grade, lightweight mirrors used in military and aeronautics have tight specifications brought on by demanding performance parameters. For example, a mirror that is used in an orbiting telescope would have to be extremely lightweight, stiff, and be configured to operate in extreme temperatures. These parameters traditionally work against each other. A material that is stiff is typically heavy, and a mirror that is lightweight and machinable may greatly distort when exposed to extreme heat or cold. Furthermore, materials that fit some of these parameters may not be easily machined to create a mirror — an art that requires high-precision tooling.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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Development of a Sodium LiDAR for Spaceborne Missions

Laser and electro-optic technologies are under development to remotely measure sodium (Na) by adapting existing LiDAR technology with spaceflight heritage. The developed instrumentation will serve as the core for planning a heliophysics mission targeted to study the composition and dynamics of Earth's mesosphere based on a spaceborne LiDAR that will measure the mesospheric Na layer.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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