Photonics/Optics

Miniature Laser Magnetometer

This device can be used for satellite, aircraft, and ground-based magnetic field sensors.A conceptual design has been developed for a miniature laser magnetometer (MLM) that will measure the scalar magnitude and vector components of near-Earth magnetic fields. The MLM incorporates a number of technical innovations to achieve high-accuracy and high-resolution performance while significantly reducing the size of the laser-pumped helium magnetometer for use on small satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The MLM will have a dynamic range up to 75,000 nT. The scalar sensitivity will be 1 pT(Hz)–1/2 at 1 Hz with an accuracy of 0.2 nT. The vector sensitivity will be 1 pT(Hz)–1/2 at 1 Hz with an accuracy of 0.5 nT.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Low-Power, Self-Calibrated Vector Magnetometer

NASA satellites measure vector magnetic fields around planets to learn about the geology of the planets. Existing fluxgate magnetometers drift as a result of temperature and aging. A magnetometer whose calibration was stable would improve investigations of planets and the solar system.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Smoothing the Wave for High-Power Lasers

For years, laser manufacturers have promised the ability to produce very high-power, cost-effective lasers that are stable outside of a laboratory environment. Recent requirements in aerospace and defense applications, such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), IR countermeasures, and laser targeting, are now calling on these manufacturers to deliver.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Understanding Infrared Detector & Emitter Technology

Generally speaking, sensor manufacturers are driven to improve performance (i.e. offering greater sensitivity, smaller packages, more features) and lower costs. The prioritization of these sometimes conflicting demands varies with each target sensor application. For detector manufacturers, this translates into an assortment of requirements including high sensitivity, expanded range of operation, more integrated products, and low cost solutions. Final detector selection will depend on which attributes are most important for the target application.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics

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Applying HDTV Imaging Technology To Industrial Applications

New high definition (HD) television cameras are being integrated into industrial environments to assist in the inspection of a variety of manufactured products. HDTV technology is reaching areas of application far outside the broadcast or entertainment markets, in part because of the capability of perfectly matching the cameras’ HD resolution, pixel to pixel, to high definition LCD and LED monitors, making these systems ideal for real-time, live viewing inspection.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Pulsed Laser System to Simulate Effects of Cosmic Rays in Semiconductor Devices

The system can measure the radiation sensitivity of microelectronic devices with high spatial and temporal resolution.Spaceflight system electronic devices must survive a wide range of radiation environments with various particle types including energetic protons, electrons, gamma rays, x-rays, and heavy ions. High-energy charged particles such as heavy ions can pass straight through a semiconductor material and interact with a charge-sensitive region, generating a significant amount of charge (electron-hole pairs) along their tracks. These excess charges can damage the device, and the response can range from temporary perturbations to permanent changes in the state or performance. These phenomena are called single event effects (SEE).

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Test Port for Fiber-Optic-Coupled Laser Altimeter

Test port simplifies verification of focal setting and boresight alignment.A test port designed as part of a fiber-optic-coupled laser altimeter receiver optical system allows for the back-illumination of the optical system for alignment verification, as well as illumination of the detector(s) for testing the receiver electronics and signal-processing algorithms. Measuring the optical alignment of a laser altimeter instrument is difficult after the instrument is fully assembled. The addition of a test port in the receiver aft-optics allows for the back-illumination of the receiver system such that its focal setting and boresight alignment can be easily verified. For a multiple-detector receiver system, the addition of the aft-optics test port offers the added advantage of being able to simultaneously test all the detectors with different signals that simulate the expected operational conditions.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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