Photonics/Optics

Inlet Funnels on Mars Rover Are Validated Using Scanning Laser Vibrometry

NASA’s latest mission to Mars in November 2011 sent the Mars Science Laboratory rover “Curiosity” to assess whether Mars ever had, or still has, an environment able to support life. While on Mars, Curiosity will collect soil and environmental samples, and analyze the samples on location. Preventing contamination of the rover is critical to ensure that Curiosity’s data collection and analysis yields accurate results. Thus, engineering models and flight models are tested separately to validate design requirements of the various systems aboard the rover.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems

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A Better Understanding of High-Temperature Superconductors

Superconductivity, in which electric current flows without resistance, promises huge energy savings – from low-voltage electric grids with no transmission losses, super-efficient motors and generators, and myriad other schemes. But such everyday applications still lie in the future, because conventional superconductivity in metals can’t do the job.

Posted in: News, News, Power Management, Energy, Energy Storage, Lasers & Laser Systems

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Compact Green Disk Laser for Therapy Systems

This diode-pumped, thin-disk laser is designed for applications in ophthamology, dematology, and endoscopy The JenLas® D2.mini 5/8 W, recently introduced to the U.S. market, offers an output power of up to 8 Watts. Lasers of the JenLas D2 product line work in continuous wave mode, emitting green laser light at 532 nm. The infrared laser light is converted into green laser light by an intracavity frequency doubling crystal. The new laser is a multi-mode system.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Medical, Surgical Robotics/Instruments, Lasers & Laser Systems, Lasers, Optics, Medical equipment and supplies

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Light Source Enables Endoscope Miniaturization

This work will explore an illumination system's potential to miniaturize traditional endoscopes by shrinking the size of the channel used to deliver light. Physical space constraints continue to impact advanced procedures such as single-incision laparoscopic surgery, robotic-assisted surgery, and other minimally invasive surgical procedures. Additional functionality and instruments are being squeezed through the smallest incisions possible. Available space continues to tighten with the migration of larger diameter, three-dimensional, high-definition endoscopic imaging systems into minimally invasive procedures. Fortunately, a significant portion of the endoscope, the light delivery channel, can be reduced in size, thereby allowing the space to be used for other purposes, or for shrinking the endoscope itself.1

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Imaging, Bio-Medical, Diagnostics, Medical, Fiber Optics

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Fiber Optic Oxygen Sensors — How Do They Work?

Fiber optic oxygen sensors use the fluorescence of a chemical complex in a sol-gel to measure the partial pressure of oxygen. The pulsed blue LED sends light, at ~475 nm, to an optical fiber. The optical fiber carries the light to the probe. The distal end of the probe tip consists of a thin layer of a hydrophobic sol-gel material.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Has the Ultimate Camera Interface Finally Arrived?

In the early days of machine vision, like with all new technology, there was a lot of confusion as to what constituted a video interface between camera and computer. It was known that a camera and frame grabber were needed, but because the frame grabber and camera manufacturers were from places all over, there wasn't much agreement on how the two should be connected. This led to a time of several cameras with several cables, often the same camera manufacturer may have had different cables for each family of cameras on offer. Couple that with the fact that frame grabber interfaces also had no interface standards and you ended up with a lot of cables, sitting around long after the frame grabber or the camera had served its purpose. This led to standardization, and agreement by all parties on what constitutes an acceptable number of interfaces.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Computer software and hardware, Connectors and terminals, Optics, Wiring, Standardization

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Method of Bonding Optical Elements With Near-Zero Displacement

Displacement caused by epoxy shrinking as it cures is reduced less than 200 nm. The International X-ray Project seeks to build an x-ray telescope using thousands of pieces of thin and flexible glass mirror segments. Each mirror segment must be bonded into a housing in nearly perfect optical alignment without distortion. Forces greater than 0.001 Newton, or displacements greater than 0.5 μm of the glass, cause unacceptable optical distortion. All known epoxies shrink as they cure. Even the epoxies with the least amount of shrinkage (

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Mirrors, Optics, Adhesives and sealants

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