Photonics/Optics

One-Micron (1064-nm) Planar External Cavity Laser (PLANEX)

Ahighly reliable, very low-phase, and low-amplitude-noise laser is required as an oscillator for the LISA mission. A commercial product made by Redfern Integrated Optics met these requirements (1550-nm PLANEX External Cavity Laser), but it operated at 1.5 microns, not the required LISA wavelength of 1 micron. An ultra-low-noise External Cavity Laser was produced at a wavelength of 1 micron, and was integrated in a butterfly package. The goal is to eventually use this laser in the LISA and GRACE-II missions.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers, Waveguides, Spacecraft
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Stereoscopic Imaging in Hypersonic Boundary Layers Using Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence

This technique offers a more complete visualization of high-speed flowfields than standard imaging methods.

Stereoscopic time-resolved visualization of three-dimensional structures in a hypersonic flow was performed for the first time in NASA Langley Research Center’s 31-inch Mach 10 Air Tunnel. Nitric oxide (NO) was seeded into hypersonic boundary layer flows that were designed to transition from laminar to turbulent. A laser excitation and multiple-camera imaging scheme was used to obtain raw images containing three-dimensional spatial information. The images were processed in a computer visualization environment to provide stereoscopic image pairs that could be viewed several ways, including using the cross-eyed viewing method, with the aid of a stereoscope, as animated image pairs (i.e., wiggle stereoscopy), or as anaglyph images through conventional red/blue 3D glasses.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Computational fluid dynamics, Imaging and visualization, Lasers
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Compact, Lightweight, Athermal, Nanocomposite Telescopes with Freeform Optics

Small space missions such as CubeSats frequently require telescopes with highly sophisticated optical systems that are also low in mass and cost. The very limited spacecraft volume and mass limits also preclude adjustments to maintain critical alignment with change in temperature. Existing systems, especially those that employ folded optical paths with freeform optics, are expensive to fabricate. The optics, and support and metering structures, are also heavy due to the use of high-density material such as glass, aluminum, or nickel.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, Downsizing, Optics, Nanomaterials, Satellites
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Camera-Equipped Vehicles ‘See the Light’ in Cities

Imagine if every police car, bus, and garbage truck gathered important infrastructure data as they made their usual routes through the city.

In different field tests around the world, re searchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cam bridge, MA) mounted a camera-and-sensor system to the tops of vehicles. As the cars traveled up and down streets, sophisticated software recognized and recorded the presence and strength of street lights. The software estimated pole heights and distinguished between the street lamp’s output and other points of illumination.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Optics, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Intelligent transportation systems
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Developing a Laser System to Decrease the Rate of Neurodevelopment Issues

A fairly new biomedical imaging modality, optoacoustic imaging is based on the use of laser-generated ultrasound. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is a hybrid method that has emerged over the past two decades, combining the high-contrast and spectroscopic-based specificity of optical imaging with the high spatial resolution of ultrasound imaging.

Posted in: Articles, Diagnostics, Imaging, Medical, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Medical equipment and supplies, Nervous system
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Fabricating Optical Mirrors for Use in Outer Space Measurements

There are many ways to manufacture an optic depending on the complexity of the component and the application. From choosing the best substrate, to detailing the numerous operations required to make the optic, all the while considering tight tolerances and other specifications. This article highlights the precision needed to successfully fabricate the mirrors for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment’s (HETDEX’s) Visible Integral Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs (VIRUS) unit which was designed to measure dark energy in outer space.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Optics, Measuring Instruments, Mirrors, Measurements, Fabrication
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Making VR a NASA Reality

NASA researchers want to prove that a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift is not just a toy. Josh Kinne, a deputy project manager at NASA Langley Research Center, sees a future role for virtual and augmented reality in the agency’s research and development, CAD design, and data visualization efforts.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Optics, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Computer simulation, Virtual reality
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SPIE Photonics West 2017 Preview

The SPIE Photonics West 2017 technical conference and exhibition returns to The Moscone Center in San Francisco, January 28 through February 2, offering attendees the opportunity to explore the latest innovations in lasers, photonics, optics, optoelectronics, biophotonics, biomedical optics, 3D printing, and more. As in the past, the event will once again kick off with BiOS, the world’s largest biomedical optics conference, before transitioning into the Photonics West conference and exhibition. Last year’s event hosted more than 20,000 attendees and put the products and services of over 1,300 exhibitors on display. More than 4,800 technical papers will be available to conference participants throughout the week (http://spie.org/photonicswest.xml).

Posted in: Articles, Photonics, Lasers, Optics, Career and professional development, Product development, Additive manufacturing
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Integrating Novel Materials to Improve Medical Device Performance

Today’s implantables are highly engineered assemblies with multiple complex elements that require innovative materials and sophisticated manufacturing. The development and use of new and novel materials and processes has enabled advances in both medical device performance and patient safety. Whether it’s a lighter material, a smoother surface, or a process that can be automated and repeatable, advanced technologies such as scratch-free surfaces or specialized coatings for stimulation can help extend or improve the life of implantable devices.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Bio-Medical, Medical, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics
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Laser-Driven Light Source

Energetiq Technology (Woburn, MA) has introduced its 5th generation, ultra-bright, Laser-Driven Light Source (LDLS™), the EQ-77. The EQ-77 offers higher radiance and irradiance from a truly broadband white light source. The EQ-77 features a compact lamp house, with clean construction that ensures long life and ultimate stability. With a wavelength range from 170nm in the deep ultraviolet to >2µm in the near infrared, and a choice of dual-beam output or a single-beam output with retro-reflector, the EQ-77 is flexible for a broad variety of applications.

To learn more, click here

Posted in: Products, Lasers & Laser Systems
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