Photonics/Optics

The Hubble Space Telescope

25 Years of Challenges and Triumphs By Bruce A. Bennett On April 24, 1990, something happened that forever altered mankind’s view of the universe. It was on that day that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Cameras, Optical Components, Photonics

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Hubble Spinoffs: Space Age Technology for the Masses

By Bruce A. Bennett Over the plast 25 years, some of the sophisticated technology developed for the HST has been successfully spun off and commercialized to improve life on Earth.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Cameras, Photonics

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Customizing Visual 3D Optical Coatings

There are many ways to coat an optic and optimize the coating for a specific application, some more interesting than others. But any thin film coating process requires raw materials, coating capabilities, deposition chamber(s), coating software, a spectrophotometer, and an efficient production system that can produce the desired coating or effect while keeping within the customer’s requisite specifications. This article will focus on the challenge of customizing a non-polarizing cube beamsplitter for a 3D visual application and detail the steps taken to make this challenge a reality.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Coatings & Adhesives, Optics, Photonics

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Google Glass for Industrial Automation

A new concept uses Google Glass for operating machinery, with all of the benefits delivered by wearable computing in an industrial environment. With Google’s Web-enabled glasses, status or dialog messages can be projected via a head-up display directly into a person’s field of vision. Online information and communication is also possible with this innovative device, and error messages can be acknowledged using a touchpad.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Machinery & Automation

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Design of High-Brightness, Fiber-Coupled Diode Laser Modules

In the past decade, diode lasers have made great strides in both power and reliability. The performance improvements have enabled new applications, particularly in areas where optical brightness is a key performance metric. The fiber-coupled diode pumping of fiber lasers is a critical technology in commercial, industrial and defense applications. Materials processing, once the singular province of fiber lasers, can now be addressed in some respects by diode laser beams directly delivered by optical fiber.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics

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SPIE Photonics West 2015 Preview

The SPIE Photonics West 2015 technical conference and exhibition, taking place February 7-12 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco, offers attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest technological developments in lasers, photonics, optics, optoelectronics, biophotonics, biomedical optics, 3D printing and more. Incorporating BiOS, the world’s largest biomedical optics conference, the event will offer its anticipated 20,000 attendees the opportunity to access roughly 4700 technical papers and view the products and services of more than 1250 exhibitors over the course of a week (http://spie.org/photonics-west.xml).

Posted in: Articles, Features, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics

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Fabricating Custom Components from Stock Optics

Two quantities are perennially in short supply on engineering projects: time and money. When it comes to producing custom optical components in less time, for less money, one feasible approach is to modify off-the-shelf components to meet customers’ unique requirements. This tactic is particularly valuable in the prototyping stage or for one-of-a-kind instruments, when a full production run would be unjustifiably expensive and take an unreasonably long time.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Applications, Optical Components, Photonics

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