Precision Measurement and Inspection Ensure Quality of SLS Rocket Panels

Reverse engineering and inspection software Verisurf Software Anaheim, CA 714-970-1683 In spaceflight, the first eight minutes are critical. This is when the greatest opposing forces of thrust and gravity are impacting the launch vehicle. The new NASA Space Launch System (SLS) will weigh 5.5 million pounds at liftoff, or roughly the weight of eight fully loaded 747 jets. Everything comes down to weight and the integrity of design and fabrication to insure success. Today, it costs $10,000 to send one pound of payload into orbit; since the entire launch vehicle makes the trip to low-Earth orbit, its net weight is a big consideration. The lighter the launch vehicle, the greater the payload can be.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Lasers & Laser Systems, Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Mathematical/Scientific Software


Low Er-Doped Yttrium Gallium Garnet (YGG) as Active Media for Solid-State Lasers at 1651 nm

This technology could serve applications in the bio-medical areas such as nerve stimulation and dentistry. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The typical approach for producing laser output at the 1651-nm wavelength is via nonlinear frequency conversion. Lasers based on nonlinear conversion are complex, and it is very difficult to provide stability over time and over a wide range of operating temperatures. The efficiency of such optical sources is also low. A much more promising approach is the use of active media that allows for the development of solid-state lasers (SSL) with spectral emission at 1651 nm. An important requirement for this active medium is the ability to support in-band pumping with a low quantum defect since this approach leads to significant improvement in efficiency of SSLs and excellent beam characteristics due to low thermal stress of the active media.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Lasers & Laser Systems


Dual-Cavity Rayleigh Scattering Measurement System

A method and apparatus were developed for simultaneous measurement of velocity, density, temperature, and their spatial and temporal derivatives in gas flow. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Molecular-based optical diagnostics techniques capable of obtaining simultaneous measurements of multiple fluid properties are critically important for characterizing hypersonic air-breathing engines, such as scramjet engines and scramjet-rocket combined cycle engines. Correlations between those properties lead to a more detailed understanding of complex flow behavior, and aid in the development of multiparameter turbulence models required for supersonic combustion engine flow path predictions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Optics, Measuring Instruments


Miniature Laser Magnetometer

This conceptual design includes three key innovations future space science requires while minimizing size, mass, and power. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Space missions using magnetometers have been very successful. However, science missions now require higher levels of accuracy and stability in order to refine existing understanding and improve modeling. In most space missions that require high-accuracy vector measurement of magnetic fields, a separate scalar magnetometer must also be included in order to calibrate the vector measurements. The miniature laser magnetometer (MLM) addresses the need for a single, high-stability magnetometer instrument that provides both scalar and vector measurements for future space science needs while minimizing size, mass, and power.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Lasers & Laser Systems, Measuring Instruments


Nonlinear Swept Frequency Technique for CO2 Measurements Using a CW Laser System

The measurements would be used to significantly reduce the uncertainties in global estimates of CO2, improve climate models, and close the carbon budget for improved forecasting and policy decisions. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The U.S. National Research Council recently identified the need for a near-term space mission of Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS). The primary objective of the ASCENDS mission is to make CO2 column measurements across the troposphere during the day and night over all latitudes and all seasons, and in the presence of scattered clouds. These measurements would be used to significantly reduce the uncertainties in global estimates of CO2 sources and sinks, provide an increased understanding of the connection between climate and CO2 exchange, improve climate models, and close the carbon budget for improved forecasting and policy decisions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Greenhouse Gases, Lasers & Laser Systems


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


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