Articles

Photonics Design Automation

Taking a Building Block Approach to Optical Chip Design

Fuelled by an increasing demand for bandwidth combined with a continued drive towards cost and size reduction, larger scale photonics integrated circuits are now clearly breaking through. For example, fiber optics networks are rapidly embracing 40Gbps and 100Gbps data rates, where the transmitters and receivers often include photonic integrated circuits. And the cost and size reduction in 10Gbps transceivers has driven several companies to successfully leverage photonic chips. The growing FTTH (fiber to the home) market is driving demand for integrated photonic splitters as well as monolithically integrated BiDi transceivers. And there are exciting applications in fiber sensing and bioscience that are now benefiting from optical chips as well.

Posted in: Articles, Applications, Photonics, Fiber optics, Integrated circuits, Fiber optics, Integrated circuits, Automation
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Software is the Driving Innovation for Consumer Electronics

You may not realize it, but many of the bells and whistles in the products that you engage with on a daily basis are actually powered by software.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Electronic equipment, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Electronic equipment, Product development
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Alloy-Enhanced Fans Maintain Fresh Air in Tunnels

A lightweight alloy finds uses in cars, ships, planes, and road/rail tunnels.

The Partnership for Next Gen eration Vehicles (PNGV) is not a NASA initiative to develop powerful new rockets and spacecraft, even though it may sound like one. PNGV was a partnership established by the Clinton Administration between the federal government and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research to develop technologies that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from cars and trucks.

Posted in: Articles, Materials, Metals, Emissions control, Fuel economy, Alloys, Fans
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Creating White Light Using LEDs

When it comes to creating white light using LEDs, there are many different methods, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. First, the most common and traditional is chip-level conversion, where the converting material is integrated directly onto a blue LED die or fills up the LED package volumetrically. A second method converts the blue light of a diode far away from the chip, which utilizes a mixing chamber and remote optic integrating a converting phosphor, fluorescent dye, quantum dots, or other converting material. Yet another method is color mixing using LEDs of different colors such as red, green, and blue, where each LED’s intensity is varied additively to create the desired color temperature. Each method presents different challenges and brings to the designer different advantages from a system performance perspective with regards to system efficacy, CRI, optical efficiency, energy efficiency, heat sinking and other design considerations. It is important for designers to understand the nuances of each method when deciding on which method to use, whether one is selecting the light engine to be used in design of a new fixture, or selecting the type of fixture to be used in a given application.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Design processes, Architecture, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Architecture, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Customization
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The Rebirth of the Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb, first commercialized by Thomas Edison in 1879, was a remarkable invention for its day. Edison found that when an electric current was passed through a carbon filament, the filament would glow, or incandesce. The incandescent light bulb was improved over the next three quarters of a century by using different filament materials and adding inert gas inside the outer jacket. It was mass-produced by the hundreds of millions in a seemingly endless array of shapes, sizes, and wattages, but the basic technology of the incandescent light bulb was largely unchanged.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Exterior lighting, Interior lighting, Interior lighting, Technical reference, Technical review
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NASA Awards 2012 Software of the Year

NASA’s first mobile application and software that models the behavior of earthquake faults to improve earthquake forecasting and our understanding of earthquake processes are co-winners of NASA’s 2012 Software of the Year Award. The award recognizes innovative software technologies that significantly improve the agency’s exploration of space and maximize scientific discovery on Earth. A NASA software advisory panel reviews Software of the Year entries and recommends winners to NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board for confirmation.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Wireless communication systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Wireless communication systems
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Economic Development Done Right

NASA and MIT pioneer new technologies for lightweight aircraft.

Greek mythology tells of the inventor Daedalus using wings of his own fashioning to escape from imprisonment on the island of Crete. In 1988, a similar adventure was launched, though in this case, carbon-fiber composites, gears, and driveshafts were featured instead of wax and feathers.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Collaboration and partnering, Product development, Composite materials, Fixed-wing aircraft, Two or three wheeled vehicles
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Using Multispectral Imaging for Ecological Observations

With an airborne camera capable of making precise and detailed ecological observations, biologists at Applied Ecological Services (Brodhead, WI) are bringing satellite imagery closer to earth.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Optics, Optics, Weather and climate, Biological sciences, Satellites
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USB 3.0: Addressing New Challenges in Machine Vision

Users of machine vision systems often have one common goal in mind: increasing system efficiency. Greater efficiency translates into high productivity. On the factory floor, higher speed in an automated optical inspection system, for example, contributes directly to profit.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Automation, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Productivity, Inspections
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Transitioning Application Platforms to Sandy Bridge

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is changing how software applications run and perform on server platforms. In order for applications to tap the full power of these new devices, developers will need to update not only their application software, but also the hardware platforms on which those applications run. Changes to Intel’s Xeon® E3 and E5 series of microprocessors include new instructions used to accelerate common encryption tasks and floating point calculations, as well as increased core counts and cache per CPU. Paramount to adoption is the critical thinking that developers need to consider to successfully transition to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware
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