Photonics

OCULLAR Provides Around-the-Clock Ocean Measurements

A team led at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has developed an instrument capable of observing ocean color during normal sunlight conditions and under moonlight — a first-ever capability that will allow scientists to monitor the health and chemistry of the planet’s oceans literally around the clock.The prototype Ocean Color Underwater Low Light Advanced Radiometer (OCULLAR) has shown in field testing that it can measure ocean color under low-light conditions across multiple wavelength bands, from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared. In contrast, current remote-sensing instruments can obtain measurements — based on electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun, transmitted through the atmosphere, reflected off Earth’s surface, or upwelled from water masses — only during daylight hours, said Principal Investigator Stan Hooker.Of particular interest to scientists studying ocean color is phytoplankton, the microscopic ocean plants that form the base of the oceanic food web. The tiny plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce organic carbon. This process, called photosynthesis, is possible because plants contain chlorophyll, green-colored compounds that trap the energy from sunlight. Because different types of phytoplankton contain different kinds of chlorophyll, measuring the color of a particular area allows scientists to estimate the amount and general type of phytoplankton there. Since phytoplankton also depend on specific conditions for growth, they frequently become the first to be affected by pollution or some other change in their environment.Until now, however, obtaining these measurements was limited to daylight hours and only during the spring, summer and fall months in the polar regions — a problem Hooker sought to correct with OCULLAR. The successful OCULLAR demonstration leads the way to anticipated commercialization and creates a new capability for oceanographers, climate scientists, and others interested in quantifying, understanding, and monitoring the biological productivity of oceans, coastal areas, and inland waters.SourceAlso: Learn about a Data Assimilation System for Coastal Ocean Prediction.

Posted in: Photonics, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, News

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Advances in Manufacturing Fiber Optic Gyroscopes

Since it was first proposed in 1975, the fiber optic gyroscope (FOG) has steadily improved in performance and manufacturability. Now a mainstream, high-volume manufactured product with performance approaching Ring Laser Gyros (RLG), FOGs offer substantial advantages over competitive technologies in terms of reliability, cost, and complexity. Optical fiber splicing and related processes are at the core of this achievement.

Posted in: Features, Photonics, Briefs

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Beyond Smart Vision

Many Higher-End Vision Projects Require Capabilities Not Built Into Smart Vision Systems With the proliferation of smart vision (SV) cameras and platforms it is understandable that automation engineers begin to define vision technology capabilities based on the performance and features of these popular and easy to implement products. Although they are effective for addressing a broad range of common vision applications and requirements, there are compromises made to make SV products easy to use and less costly, the obvious being reduced vision processing and performance capabilities.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Briefs

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Product of the Month: Non-Contact Laser Beam Monitoring System

Ophir Photonics (North Logan, UT) announced the newest version of BeamWatch™, a non-contact, focus spot size and position monitor for very high power YAG and fiber lasers used in material processing applications. Because there is no contact with the laser beam, the system has no power restriction and has been successfully tested on high power lasers up to 100kW.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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1-Chip CMOS HD Video Camera

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (ISD) (Irvine, CA) has released the IK-HR3H, a feature-rich, 1-chip CMOS, 2.1 megapixel video camera that provides optimal color accuracy and advanced noise reduction technology via a 1⁄3-inch, 1080p high definition sensor. The ultra-small remote head (only 1.08 in. × 1.08 in. × 1.3 in.), delivers up to 900 TV lines resolution and features high sensitivity and wide dynamic range.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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Multispectral Photodiode Array

PIXELTEQ (Largo, FL) has released its PixelSensor™ 8-band multispectral photodiode array, packing eight wavelength-selective photodiodes into a compact 9mm square sensor. The PixelSensor photodiode splits the visible spectrum into eight discrete color bands. Its standard 20-pin LCC package can be surface or socket mounted. Common cathode operation provides low noise and fast response time. Customized OEM versions of PixelSensor are also available with user-defined spectral bands. Using PIXELTEQ’s exclusive micro-patterned optical filter technology, narrowband filters deliver improved sensitivity and contrast for multispectral applications from portable color monitors to industrial and scientific instruments.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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Configurable Fiber Laser Workstation

IPG Photonics Corporation (Oxford, MA) has introduced the IX-200-F, an advanced fiber laser micromachining system for general purpose, R&D and batch-scale production applications. IPG’s IX-200-F is a fully enclosed and interlocked CDRH Class 1 system, configurable with a wide range of IPG fiber lasers and fully integrated with the system operating hardware and software. The IX-200-F features a high-resolution, high-performance microscope vision system that provides a continuous zoom range from 38X to 880X for sub-micron automated part alignment and inspection. The selection of IPG Fiber lasers currently supported on the IX-200-F includes pulsed IR to >500 watts and pulsed green up to 50 watts as well as UV lasers. Users may select ablation or thermal cutting and scanning or fixed beam delivery configurations.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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