Photonics/Optics

Solid-State Lasers

The latest AVIA NX series lasers from Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) are qswitched, diode-pumped, solid-state lasers that offer output powers as high as 40W at 355 nm. These new lasers implement Coherent's patented pumping technology of the Nd:YVO4 gain medium, which delivers increased overall system efficiency (conversion of input electrical energy into usable light). They also incorporate Coherent’s latest optical mounting technology, called PermAlign 2, which is a simpler and more compact method that yields enhanced stability and greater long term reliability. Reliability is further enhanced through implementation of Highly Accelerated Life Testing and Stress Screening (HALT/HASS) protocols during AVIA NX production.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems

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High-Accuracy Galvo Scanner

The highly repeatable and thermally stable feedback sensors used on the AGV-HPO scanner systems from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) can be calibrated down to single-digit, micron-level accuracy over the field of view. With the extremely low thermal gain drift performance of the position transducers, complex, high-density laser machining applications will maintain consistent micron-level feature placement accuracy over the lifetime of the process.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Sensors

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High-Speed Cameras

XIMEA (Munster, Germany) recently announced new Thunderbolt™ technology ready cameras that are equipped with the newest sensors from Sony (IMX174) and CMOSIS (CMV20000). The cameras provide highest speeds and direct access to computer memory at 10 and 20 Gbit/s respectively.

Posted in: Products, Cameras, Photonics

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NASA Advances Next-Generation 3D-Imaging Lidar

Building, fixing, and refueling space-based assets or rendezvousing with a comet or asteroid will require a robotic vehicle and a super-precise, high-resolution 3D imaging lidar that will generate real-time images needed to guide the vehicle to a target traveling at thousands of miles per hour. A team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is developing a next-generation 3D scanning lidar — dubbed the Goddard Reconfiguable Solid-state Scanning Lidar (GRSSLi) — that could provide the imagery needed to execute these orbital dances. GRSSLi is a small, low-cost, low-weight platform capable of centimeter-level resolution over a range of distances, from meters to kilometers. Equipped with a low-power, eye-safe laser; a MEMS scanner; and a single photodetector, GRSSLi will "paint" a scene with the scanning laser, and its detector will sense the reflected light to create a high-resolution 3D image at kilometer distances. A non-scanning version of GRSSLi would be ideal for close approaches to asteroids. It would employ a flash lidar, which doesn’t paint a scene with a mechanical scanner, but rather illuminates the target with a single pulse of laser light — much like a camera flash. Source:

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Aerospace, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, MEMs, News

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Adaptive Zoom Riflescope Prototype Has Push-Button Magnification

When an Army Special Forces officer‑turned engineer puts his mind to designing a military riflescope, he doesn’t forget the importance of creating something for the soldiers who will carry it that is easy to use, extremely accurate, light‑weight and has long‑lasting battery power. The result is the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) prototype, developed by Sandia National Laboratories optical engineer Brett Bagwell. At the push of a button, RAZAR can toggle between high and low magnifications, enabling soldiers to zoom in without having to remove their eyes from their targets or their hands from their rifles.

Posted in: Photonics, Optics, Defense, News

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Researchers Measure Stress in 3D-Printed Metal Parts

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM).The 3D-printing process produces metal parts layer by layer using a high-energy laser beam to fuse metal powder particles. When each layer is complete, the build platform moves downward by the thickness of one layer, and a new powder layer is spread on the previous layer.While the method produces quality parts and components, residual stress is a major problem during the fabrication process. Large temperature changes near the last melt spot, and the repetition of this process, result in localized expansion and contraction.An LLNL research team, led by engineer Amanda Wu, has developed an accurate residual stress measurement method that combines traditional stress-relieving methods (destructive analysis) with modern technology: digital image correlation (DIC). The process provides fast and accurate measurements of surface-level residual stresses in AM parts.The team used DIC to produce a set of quantified residual stress data for AM, exploring laser parameters. DIC is a cost-effective, image analysis method in which a dual camera setup is used to photograph an AM part once before it’s removed from the build plate for analysis and once after. The part is imaged, removed, and then re-imaged to measure the external residual stress.SourceAlso: Learn about Design and Analysis of Metal-to-Composite Nozzle Extension Joints.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Metals, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, News

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Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets Could Help Aircraft Exceed Mach 10

A new method for improving the thrust generated by laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. The method, developed by physicists Yuri Rezunkov of the Institute of Optoelectronic Instrument Engineering, Russia, and Alexander Schmidt of the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute in Saint Petersburg, Russia, integrates a laser‑ablation propulsion system with the gas‑blasting nozzles of a spacecraft. Combining the two systems can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds, while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Posted in: Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Motion Control, Power Transmission, Aerospace, Aviation, News

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