Test & Measurement

3D Printer Heads to International Space Station

The first 3D printer is soon to fly into Earth orbit, finding a home aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The size of a small microwave, the unit is called Portal. The hardware serves as a testbed for evaluating how well 3D printing and the microgravity of space combine. The soon-to-fly 3D printer can churn out plastic objects within a span of 15 minutes to an hour.The technology works by extruding heated plastic, and then builds successive layers to make a three-dimensional object. In essence, the test on the ISS might well lead to establishing a “machine shop” in space. The 3D printer experiment is being done under the tech directorate's Game Changing Development Program, a NASA thrust that seeks to identify and rapidly mature innovative/high impact capabilities and technologies for infusion in a broad array of future NASA missions.According to the team, manufacturing assets in space, as opposed to launching them from Earth, will accelerate and broaden space development while providing unprecedented access for people on Earth to use in-space capabilities. SourceAlso: Learn about Ammonia Leak Detection on the ISS.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Plastics, Test & Measurement, Aerospace, News

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Custom Surface Inspection System for Safety-Critical Processes

Researchers have engineered a high-precision modular inspection system that can be adapted on a customer-specific basis and integrated into the production process. Before a workpiece leaves the production plant, it is subjected to rigorous inspection. For safety-critical applications such as in the automotive or aerospace industries, manufacturers can only use the most impeccable parts.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Industrial Controls & Automation, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Aerospace, News, Automotive

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New Laser Technology to Make 2020 Mission to Mars

NASA announced recently that laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been selected for its new Mars mission in 2020. SuperCam, which builds upon the successful capabilities demonstrated aboard the Curiosity Rover during NASA’s current Mars Mission, will allow researchers to sample rocks and other targets from a distance using a laser.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Electronics, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Sensors, Detectors, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Aerospace, Machinery & Automation, News

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Fundamentals of Vector Network Analysis Primer

One of the most common measuring tasks in RF engineering involves analysis of circuits (networks). A network analyzer is an instrument that is designed to handle this job with great precision and efficiency. Circuits that can be analyzed using network analyzers range from simple devices such as filters and amplifiers to complex modules used in communications satellites

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

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Oscilloscope Fundamentals Primer

The oscilloscope is arguably one of the most useful tools ever created for use by electronic engineers. In the more than five decades since the modern analog oscilloscope was created, hundreds of useful documents and thousands of articles have been written about what it is, how it works, how to use it, and application-specific examples of the “oscilloscope” in action. It is the purpose of this primer to instead describe digital oscilloscopes, which have for practical purposes replaced their analog predecessors in the vast majority of applications. Covered here is a short description of the oscilloscope’s origins, its transition from analog to digital, types of digital oscilloscopes and their major subsystems, key benchmark specifications, and measurements.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

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Antenna Basics

This white paper describes the basic functionality of antennas. Starting with Hertz's Antenna model followed by a short introduction to the fundamentals of wave propagation, the important general characteristics of an antenna and its associated parameters are explained.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

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An Introduction to LED Capabilities

Developments in LED technology have created an even wider range of new applications. The LED industry is booming in part due to the introduction of high intensity blue LEDs and the use of white LEDs in aerospace and lighting engineering. Increased capability and application also creates increased demands on optical characterization of LEDs. In order to meet this increased demand for a reliable, high quality product, special technological capability is necessary in order to maintain precise results that can be reproduced. The purposes of this white paper are to provide an overview of the terms used in LED testing and development for LED metrology newcomers and experienced professionals alike. Additionally, it will provide a comparison of the equipment used in the LED industry as well as recommendations for applications and obtaining accurate measurement results.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers

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