Photonics/Optics

All About Aspheric Lenses

The most notable benefit of aspheric lenses is their ability to correct for spherical aberration. Spherical aberration results from using a spherical surface to focus or collimate light. In other words, all spherical surfaces suffer from spherical aberration independent of alignment or manufacturing errors; therefore, a non-spherical, or aspheric surface, is needed to correct for it. Aspheric lenses allow optical designers to correct aberrations using fewer elements than conventional spherical optics because the former gives them more aberration correction than multiple surfaces of the latter. This white paper will discuss the anatomy and benefits of an aspheric lens, the different types of aspheres and how they are made, as well as Edmund Optics custom manufacturing capabilities.

Posted in: White Papers, Photonics

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Optical Fiber for Solar Cells

These materials enable new solar-powered devices that are small, lightweight, and can be used without connection to existing electrical grids. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Polymeric and inorganic semiconductors offer relatively high quantum efficiencies, and are much less expensive and versatile to fabricate than non-amorphous silicon wafers. An optical fiber and cladding can be designed and fabricated to confine light for transport within ultraviolet and near-infrared media, using evanescent waves, and to transmit visible wavelength light for direct lighting.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Fiber Optics

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Fabrication of Single-Mode, Distributed-Feedback, Interband Cascade Lasers

Applications exist in the oil and gas industry, automobile emissions monitors, breath analyzers, and fire detection equipment. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Type-II interband cascade lasers (ICLs) based on the GaSb material system represent an enabling technology for laser absorption spectroscopy in the 3-to-5-μm wavelength range. Instruments operating in this spectral regime can precisely match strong absorption lines of several gas molecules of interest in atmospheric science and environmental monitoring, specifically methane, ethane, other alkanes, and inorganic gases. Compared with non-semiconductor-based laser technologies, ICLs can be made more compact and power efficient, ultimately leading to more portable, robust, and manufacturable spectroscopy instruments.

Posted in: Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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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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Interview with Jim Odom, Hubble Project Manager 1983-1986

Jim Odom served as project manager on the Hubble Space Telescope from 1983 to 1986. As the world celebrates Hubble’s 25th anniversary, Mr. Odom shared some of his experiences on the project.

Posted in: Articles, Podcasts, Features, Cameras, 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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