Photonics/Optics

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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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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Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems

The use of modern laser technology has become standard in industrial manufacturing thanks to its speed, accuracy and effectiveness. Lasers are used to engrave parts, electronic printed circuit boards or chip cards. They perforate packaging; structure semiconductor wafers; drill, cut and weld plastics or metals; and create highly complex structures via 3D printing.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Machine Vision, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Lasers, Additive manufacturing, Manufacturing equipment and machinery
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3D Imaging Reveals Sub-surface Battery Flaws

Ed Barnard

Traditional imaging technologies have been used to investigate overall solar efficiency, but many of the methods only offer surface views. A new – and “exciting” – ultra-fast laser technique developed at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides a deeper look and maps a solar cell in three dimensions.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics, Batteries, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Solar energy, Performance tests
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Autonomous Vehicles Open Up New Roads for LIDAR Growth

Laser range-finding, or LIDAR, is a way of measuring distance, directly analogous to radar except using radiation in the near infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum rather than the radio waves used in radar. LIDAR techniques are used for a variety of final applications including terrain-mapping for geology, urban planning and archaeology; distance measurement for surveying, golf, hunting, military applications, and docking of large ships; and speed measurement for traffic monitoring and speed limit enforcement.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Measurements, Lidar, Autonomous vehicles
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NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space

Bill Klipstein

The standard way for spacecraft to communicate with teams on the ground has been to use radio waves. NASA, however, will test the use of lasers to increase data communication rates by as much as 100 times. In a Technology Leaders Q&A, JPL physicist Bill Klipstein explains his role as project manager of NASA's Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) mission.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics, Lasers, Wireless communication systems, Spacecraft
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High-Power Fiber Lasers

New Applications Are Being Enabled by Dramatic Advances in Design and Performance

High-power (multi-kW) fiber lasers are revolutionizing industrial materials processing markets by offering an unmatched combination of performance, reliability, and cost advantages. For example, in sheet metal cutting (the largest application, with more than $1B/year of laser sales), fiber lasers provide the highest cutting speed (especially for thin sheets, the dominant application), scalability to thick sheets (>1”), and the ability to process a wide range of metals with a single tool. Along with low power consumption and high reliability, these capabilities result in the lowest cost per part. Fiber lasers have thus been the fastest-growing segment of the laser market for the past decade.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Fiber optics, Lasers, Cutting, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Reliability
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Finding the Right Chip-on-Tip Camera Technology

You have a great idea that could potentially revolutionize your industry: a new surgical technique, diagnostic solution, or inspection system. You already know getting there will require the latest video imaging technology from an incredibly small, sub-millimeter, package; in other words, a distal chip-on-tip (COT) video camera. The COT needs to integrate into an elegantly designed, flexible device and allow video imaging into anatomy that was previously inaccessible, or image into the tiny dark crevices of our mechanized world. The technology has to be inexpensive, yet video performance needs to be competitive with larger sensor video products with which the market is already familiar. (Figure 1). So, where do you start to identify appropriate video technologies and vendors?

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Integrated circuits, Optics, Product development, Supplier assessment
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Thermal Imaging: How Does It Work?

By detecting very subtle temperature differences of everything in view, infrared technology reveals what otherwise would be invisible to the naked eye.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Heat transfer, Visibility
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Six Questions About Today's Camera Market

Although camera components like CCD and infrared sensors have reached a level of maturity, imaging features continue to evolve. Analysts from the San Francisco, CA-based business consulting firm Grand View Research spoke with P&IT about current camera technology's most exciting capabilities, applications, and leaders.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Product development, Technical review
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