Photonics/Optics

Nasa Processing Technologies Enable Advanced Computing Applications

Embedded processing technologies developed at NASA field centers are enabling the use of next-generation computer-controlled instruments and spacecraft, including SpaceCubes, integrated photonics modems, and new ways to manufacture computer components. SpaceCube ProcessorsNext-generation spacecraft instruments are capable of producing data at rates of 108 to 1011 bits per second, and both their instrument designs and mission operations concepts are severely constrained by data rate and volume. SpaceCube™ enables these next-generation missions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Photonics

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Diamond Meta-Surfaces Enable New Laser Applications

Over the last 15 years, breakthroughs in the manufacture and processing of diamond grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) have established diamond as an excellent substrate material for high-power and high-energy optics. Diamond is a natural choice for these highly demanding applications due to a combination of desirable properties including: extremely broad transmission spectrum, low absorption, chemical inertness, mechanical strength, and the highest room temperature thermal conductivity of any material. These properties allow diamond to perform in environments and applications where other materials are simply not viable options.

Posted in: Articles, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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Inside NASA’s White Sands Test Facility: How High-Speed Cameras Support Hypervelocity Experiments

At NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, Donald Henderson and his team spend much of their days shooting projectiles at 15,700 miles per hour. Hypervelocity testing done at the Las Cruces, NM center simulates the impact of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on spacecraft shields.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics

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Choosing the Right Adhesive for Display Bonding

When ambient light hits displays, it causes unwanted reflections, which adversely affects readability. This is a nuisance for users; however, it can be prevented with optical adhesives.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Optics, Photonics

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Improved Two-Step Replication Process for Producing Precision Optical Mirrors

Production of precision optical mirrors by replication requires molds or mandrels of the complementary shape. For example, replicating a concave mirror requires a convex mandrel. Convex shapes are difficult to fabricate and test since they do not focus light. Convex mandrels are therefore costly when they are available. Their sizes are limited to 1-2 meters. Two-step or double replication is well known in the art. In the traditional method, a specific polymer resin system with fillers is used to replicate an existing concave mirror (designated as “mother”) to produce a convex intermediate designated as “daughter.” The same material is then used to replicate the daughter, creating a third-generation concave that is designated as “granddaughter.”

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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System and Method for Generating a Frequency-Modulated Linear Laser Waveform

Applications include manufacturing equipment, robotics, surveillance and security, military imaging, and spectroscopy.NASA’s Langley Research Center has made a breakthrough improvement in laser frequency modulation. Frequency modulation technology has been used for surface mapping and measurement in sonar, radar, and time-of-flight laser technologies for decades. Although adequate, the accuracy of distance measurements made by these technologies can be improved by using a high-frequency triangular-waveform laser instead of a sine waveform or lower-frequency radio or microwaves. This new system generates a triangular modulation waveform with improved linearity that makes possible precision laser radar [light detection and ranging (lidar)] for a variety of applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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Researchers Propose Modular Space Telescope

Researchers from California Institute of Technology are proposing the idea of a modular space telescope that could be assembled by robots. The space observatory would have a primary mirror with a diameter of 100 meters — 40 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics

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