Photonics/Optics

Tryptophan Fluorescence of Ocular Lens Protein for Early Diagnosis of Cataracts

Findings could spur the development of a clinically useful, non-invasive tool sensitive enough to detect, diagnose, and monitor lens change earlier than current methods. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide; they affect more than 20 million people and result in ~1.3 million operations annually in the United States. Current methods of cataract detection are based on subjective observation of lens opacity by Rayleigh light scattering using a slit lamp. These methods are not sensitive enough to reveal structural changes on a molecular level; they can only reveal defects once their size becomes comparable with the optical wavelength (400-600 nm). This occurs at a very late stage of cataract development.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Diagnostics, Medical, Photonics

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Specialized Thin Film Coatings for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and their applications are experiencing rapid growth, especially in the area of remote sensing. Advances in propulsion; airframe materials; communications, command and control (C3) systems; cameras and detectors; and image processing are combining to continuously improve UAS capabilities. Most optical systems used in unmanned aircraft systems function over the visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) wavelength ranges. Increasing in importance is multispectral or hyperspectral imaging which can combine information from VIS, NIR, mid-wave infrared (MWIR), and long-wave infrared (LWIR) wavelength regions to provide enhanced detection, such as chemical, vehicular, or terrain identification capabilities not available by the use of imaging alone. This article will cover some of the basics of optical thin film coatings as applied to electro-optical systems commonly used in unmanned systems (Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Fine Laser Cutting Technology

Fine laser cutting is an ideal technology for specialized cutting requirements found in the manufacturing of medical tube tools and components. From surgical instruments used in cutting and biopsy, to needles containing unusual tips and side wall openings, to puzzle chain linkages for flexible endoscopes, laser cutting provides higher precision, quality, and speed than traditionally used cutting techniques. In addition, new laser cutting technologies are now coming to market, including a 5-axis motion package that gives the designer freedom to cut more challenging geometries in one pass.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Polished Panel Optical Receiver for Simultaneous RF/Optical Telemetry With Large DSN Antennas

Three options are examined. The “polished panel” optical receiver concept described here makes use of aluminum panels on the main reflector of the Deep Space Network’s (DSN’s) 34-meter antennas at optical wavelengths by polishing and coating their surface to efficiently reflect nearinfrared wavelengths in the 1,064–1,550- nanometer range. Achievable surface smoothness is not a limiting factor for aluminum panels, and initial field experiments indicate that the surface quality of microwave aluminum panels is sufficient to concentrate the light into small, but not diffraction-limited, spots at their primary focus. Preliminary analysis of data from high-quality microwave panels has shown that the light can be concentrated into 200–400 microradian cones, resulting in spot diameters of 2–4 mm at the 10-meter primary focus F0 shown in the figure, or 2–4 cm spots at F1 after magnification by the subreflector, which results in an effective focal length of about 100 meters. Three distinct implementation options are possible, with theoretically identical tracking and communications performance:

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Universal Polishing Fixture

The Universal Workholder (UVG) from Krell Technologies (Morganville, NJ) is designed to polish any fiber optic component that incorporates a UPC-style ferrule with a diameter between 1.25 mm and 3.2 mm. The fixture works with industry-standard connectors: SC, FC, ST, LC, MU, E2000, and SMA. M29504, TFOCA, and ARINC 801 mil-spec termini and contacts can also be loaded in the device. The UVG integrates independent suspension and optical alignment at each component position. Independent suspension permits automated air polishing and provides equalized pressure distribution for each component. Optically aligned positions yield Telcordia compliance for endface geometry. In addition to standard connectors and termini, the UVG can accommodate many devices that integrate lightguides.

Posted in: Products, Products, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Machine-Vision Camera

From high-speed automated inspection of printed circuit boards to rapid 3D mapping of disaster areas, Imperx (Boca Raton, FL) supports a wide range of high-resolution video-capture applications with two 29-Mpx B6620 cameras. Units are available with either Gigabit Ethernet or Camera Link outputs. Shutter speeds up to 1.25 × 10-5 second freeze even the most rapid motion. Frame rates up to 2.4 fps follow rapidly evolving scenes. Standard F-mount allows inexpensively fitting the cameras to almost any optical-system requirement. The cameras’ ability to image at light levels as low as 1 lux (f/1.4) allows capturing even dimly lit scenes. The cameras’ small size (60 × 60 × 45 mm), light weight (320 gm), wide operating temperature range (-30-85 °C), low power consumption (3.6 W at 12 V), and high shock rating (10 g shock at 20-200 Hz, and 70 g sustained acceleration) make it suitable for a wide range of research and testing applications under harsh conditions. Two models are available: the IGV-B6620 outputs video over gigabit Ethernet, and the ICL-B6620 over Base Camera Link.

Posted in: Products, Products, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Digital High-Speed Cameras

Vision Research (Wayne, NJ) has introduced the Phantom® v1210 and v1610 cameras. The devices feature high-definition and widescreen 1280 × 800 CMOS sensors. Both cameras are based on proprietary sensors offering larger 28-micron pixels that allow for sensitivity when shooting in low light. The v-Series additions capture images at more than 12,000 fps (12 gigapixels/second) in full resolution when utilizing the v1210, and more than 16,000 fps (16 gigapixels/second) when the v1610 is used. If higher speeds are needed, reduced resolution images are available up to 650,000 or 1,000,000 fps when the FAST option is used. The v1210 can be configured with 12GB, 24GB, or 48GB of memory, and the v1610 has 24GB, 48GB, or 96GB memory options. That memory, which can be segmented into as many as 63 partitions, allows continuous shooting of back-to-back shots without the need for constant downloading. The cameras offer 12-bit pixel depth. Both cameras come standard with the Vision Research CineMag interface, allowing a user to save a high-speed shot from camera memory to non-volatile storage. The cameras come with built-in, on-camera controls (OCC) so that settings can be changed without connection to a PC or laptop.

Posted in: Products, Products, ptb catchall, Photonics

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