Photonics

Digital Servos, Software Chart New Directions in Optical Scanning

Optical scanners, or servo-controlled, limited-rotation motors with laser-beam steering mirrors, were first introduced 40 years ago by General Scanning. Since then, they have become the enabling technology behind many innovative products across many different industries, including medical imaging, industrial machining, product identification, biomedical research, automotive manufacturing, and many more.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Design Software Bridges Optical/Mechanical Gap for Life Sciences

The inherently interdisciplinary nature of developing instrumentation for life sciences requires a high level of collaboration between scientists and engineers across the fields of analytical or clinical chemistry, optics, mechanics, material science, and microbiology. Moreover, product development teams are competing for first-tomarket benefits that are driven by intellectual property lifetimes and insuring an installed base quickly to realize recurring consumable sales. Concurrently, product designers need to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). System-level modeling enables adherence to the methodical design process without the cost and time associated with iterative hardware prototyping and laboratory and clinical testing.

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

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Instrumented Spindle Improves Manufacturing of Optical Materials

Sensors and data acquisition system provide real-time visibility of grinding system operation. Lion Precision and Professional Instruments, St. Paul, Minnesota High-performance materials such as ceramics, optics, and alloy steels are manufactured using abrasive grinding technology. Until now, the grinding wheel and process conditions have been difficult to measure in production.

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

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Flexible Laser Design Targets Low-Volume Material Processing Needs

A flexible approach to diode-pumped laser design combines customized performance with cost-effective manufacturing. Coherent, Inc., Santa Clara, California Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state lasers with an end-pumped cavity design are now widely used in micromachining, materials processing, marking, and related applications. They are used to process a broad range of materials including metals, glass, plastics, and semiconductors. But this application diversity creates a concomitant need for laser diversity. Namely, while each application requires superior reliability and performance, the definition of “superior performance” is very application-specific. For example, some metal ablation applications may benefit from a long laser pulse, whereas semiconductor scribing needs a short pulse and a very high pulse repetition rate.

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

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Aligning Optical Fibers by Means of Actuated MEMS Wedges

Wedges would be fabricated using gray-scale exposure of photoresist. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) of a proposed type would be designed and fabricated to effect lateral and vertical alignment of optical fibers with respect to optical, electro-optical, optoelectronic, and/or photonic devices on integrated circuit chips and similar monolithic device structures. A MEMS device of this type would consist of a pair of oppositely sloped alignment wedges attached to linear actuators that would translate the wedges in the plane of a substrate, causing an optical fiber in contact with the sloping wedge surfaces to undergo various displacements parallel and perpendicular to the plane. In making it possible to accurately align optical fibers individually during the packaging stages of fabrication of the affected devices, this MEMS device would also make it possible to relax tolerances in other stages of fabrication, thereby potentially reducing costs and increasing yields.

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

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Optical Characterization of Molecular Contaminant Films

A theoretical model is correlated with measured spectral transmittances and VUV exposures of spacecraft optics. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A semi-empirical method of optical characterization of thin contaminant films on surfaces of optical components has been conceived. The method was originally intended for application to films that become photochemically deposited on such optical components as science windows, lenses, prisms, thin-film radiators, and glass solar-cell covers aboard spacecraft and satellites in orbit. The method should also be applicable, with suitable modifications, to thin optical films (whether deposited deliberately or formed as contaminants) on optical components used on Earth in the computer microchip laser communications and thin-film industries.

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

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10G and “Killer Apps” Excite Telecom Market in ‘07

In the optical communications industry, it’s important to look back before you look forward. History has a way of putting the future into perspective.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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