Photonics/Optics

Improving Microinverter Performance in Photovoltaic Systems

We have known for decades that the sun radiates enough energy to meet the world’s needs for power, both now and in the future. As in any energy conversion from original source to a “usable” form, however, the various stages of adaptation introduce efficiency losses. In the case of the photovoltaic system, this has limited what could be exponential growth. In fact, the best performance available from solar cells of any kind (excluding the concentrated approach) never rose above 15% efficiency. In cascade to the solar cell itself, a classical centralized inverter would add barely more than 90% efficiency to the chain. This “poor” performance and the obvious lack of large successes has also helped to keep the installation costs very high.

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

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Control Program and Optical Improvements of Fresnel Microspectrometer

This innovation is suitable for optical fiber communications and medical applications where multiple optical fibers are used.A microspectrometer has a circular geometry, and is designed with the Fresnel diffraction equation. This enables a dramatic miniaturization of the optical parts of a spectrometer over 100 times by volume. Therefore, it enables the construction of spectrometer arrays such as 100×100 microspectrometers for tunable multispectral or hyper-spectral imaging. It can be used for a massive, simultaneous spectral scan from multiple optical sources such as 10,000 optical fibers.

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

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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: Briefs, TSP, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Physical Sciences

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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: 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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