Water Jets and Lasers Cut Through Electronic Industry’s Problems

Semiconductor manufacturers need the flexibility of a wafer-cutting machine that supports various wafer sizes and cuts them without the mechanical and thermal damage often seen with traditional cutting methods, including the mechanical stress that occurs with conventional sawing, or the contamination and/or ablated material caused by laser cutting. Employing a dicing process that makes the wafers less prone to breakage would allow manufacturers to introduce thinner wafers into the production line, thereby increasing the number of functions on a given device. A machine that cuts lasers without a heat-affected zone would also offer efficiency advantages to manufacturers.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Lasers, Water, Cutting, Semiconductors


Full-Duplex Digital Communication on a Single Laser Beam

The laser beam would be transmitted with one modulation and retroreflected with another modulation. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland A proposed free-space optical communication system would operate in a full-duplex mode, using a single constant-power laser beam for transmission and reception of binary signals at both ends of the free-space optical path. The system was conceived for two-way data communication between a ground station and a spacecraft in a low orbit around the Earth. It has been estimated that in this application, a data rate of 10 kb/s could be achieved at a ground-station-to-spacecraft distance of 320 km, using a laser power of only 100 mW. The basic system concept is also applicable to terrestrial free-space optical communications.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Data acquisition and handling, Lasers, Optics


Stabilizing Microwave Frequency of a Photonic Oscillator

Microwave frequency is stabilized by stabilizing optical frequency to an atomic transition. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A scheme for stabilizing the frequency of a microwave signal is proposed that exploits the operational characteristics of a coupled optoelectronic oscillator (COEO) and related optoelectronic equipment. An essential element in the scheme is a fiber mode-locked laser (MLL), the optical frequency of which is locked to an atomic transition. In this scheme, the optical frequency stability of the mode-locked laser is transferred to that of the microwave in the same device. Relative to prior schemes for using wideband optical frequency comb to stabilize microwave signals, this scheme is simpler and lends itself more readily to implementation in relatively compact, rugged equipment. The anticipated development of small, low-power, lightweight, highly stable microwave oscillators based on this scheme would afford great benefits in communication, navigation, metrology, and fundamental sciences.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Electronic equipment, Lasers, Optics


Microwave Oscillators Based on Nonlinear WGM Resonators

Optical signals are phase-modulated with spectrally pure microwave signals. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Optical oscillators that exploit resonantly enhanced four-wave mixing in nonlinear whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) resonators are under investigation for potential utility as low-power, ultra-miniature sources of stable, spectrally pure microwave signals. There are numerous potential uses for such oscillators in radar systems, communication systems, and scientific instrumentation.

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


Fiber-Optic Gratings for Lidar Measurements of Water Vapor

These are highly selective, lightweight, tunable optical filters. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Narrow-band filters in the form of phase-shifted Fabry-Perot Bragg gratings incorporated into optical fibers are being developed for differential-absorption lidar (DIAL) instruments used to measure concentrations of atmospheric water vapor. The basic idea is to measure the relative amounts of pulsed laser light scattered from the atmosphere at two nearly equal wavelengths, one of which coincides with an absorption spectral peak of water molecules and the other corresponding to no water vapor absorption. As part of the DIAL measurement process, the scattered light is made to pass through a filter on the way to a photodetector. Omitting other details of DIAL for the sake of brevity, what is required of the filter is to provide a stop band that:

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Fiber optics, Lidar, Humidity


Simplifying Beam Measurements in Real Time

Beam collimation measurements can be made with a test lens and beam profiler. Photon, Inc., San Jose, California A common misconception is that beam collimation angle measurements must involve a least two or more beam size measurements along the beam path. For this reason, collimation measurements are often viewed as complicated and time-consuming. Real-time collimation angle measurements are considered out of the question.

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


Pointing Reference Scheme for Free-Space Optical Communications Systems

A technique is proposed for referencing infrared transmit lasers with silicon detectors. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A scheme is proposed for referencing the propagation direction of the transmit laser signal in pointing a free-space optical communications terminal. This recently developed scheme enables the use of low-cost, commercial silicon-based sensors for tracking the direction of the transmit laser, regardless of the transmit wavelength. Compared with previous methods, the scheme offers some advantages of less mechanical and optical complexity and avoids expensive and exotic sensor technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Lasers, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Telecommunications


The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.