Tech Briefs

Optical Systems Improve Nerve Stimulation

An infrared laser-based nerve stimulation system eliminates electrical stimulation artifacts, and improves nerve target specificity.The stimulation of nerve tissue is a technique that is used in both research and clinical applications. Neuroscientists use nerve stimulation to study the fundamental principles of the nervous system and to research Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and nerve regeneration, among others. Medical professionals use nerve stimulation for everything from pain and depression management to brain mapping. Today’s stimulators use electrical current to stimulate nerves, resulting in significant limitations. Thanks to a novel optical stimulation technique pioneered by Vanderbilt University, Aculight has developed a compact, laser-based neural stimulator that overcomes these obstacles.

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

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DPSS UV Source Targets Gas Lasers and Life Sciences

System is designed for applications that relied on pulsed nitrogen gas lasers. Spectra-Physics Corp., Tucson, Arizona Nitrogen lasers have been used for more than 15 years in life science and forensic applications and will continue to play a role in many scientific and industrial applications. But researchers, OEMs, and system integrators working on innovative, cutting-edge applications need higher-performance lasers. The Explorer, a diode-pumped solid-state OEM laser system with flexible power and control electronics, is a low-power, actively Q-switched, ultraviolet (UV) laser system that operates at 349 nm for bioinstrumentation applications that in the past have relied on pulsed nitrogen gas lasers.

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

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Optical Profilometers Using Adaptive Signal Processing

Sizes would be reduced, leading to development of hand-held profilometers. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida A method of adaptive signal processing has been proposed as the basis of a new generation of interferometric optical profilometers for measuring surfaces. Many current optical surface-measuring profilometers utilize white-light-interferometry and, because of optical and mechanical components essential to their operation, are comparable in size to desktop computers. In contrast, the proposed profilometers would be portable, hand-held units. Sizes could be thus reduced because the adaptive-signal-processing method would make it possible to substitute lower-power coherent light sources (e.g., laser diodes) for white light sources and would eliminate the need for most of the optical components of current white-light profilometers. Furthermore, whereas the height scanning ranges of current surface-measuring profilometers are of the order of millimeters, the adaptive-signal-processing method would make it possible to attain scanning ranges of the order of decimeters in the proposed profilometers.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Optics, Test equipment and instrumentation

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Optical Surface Analysis Advances Defect Inspection of Optoelectronics

Production defect data leads to better yield management practices. KLA-Tencor Corp., San Jose, California Faced with increasing demand, manufacturers of power devices, microdisplays, and high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB-LEDs) are focusing on tightening manufacturing process windows to reduce defects. The transparent nature of the substrates used to make many optoelectronic devices such as glass, silicon carbide, and sapphire makes manual defect inspection using optical microscopes an ambiguous and time-consuming process incapable of high-volume production. To meet the need for improved defect inspection, Optical Surface Analyzer (OSA) instruments provide automated defect inspection for optoelectronic device wafers from 2" to 300 mm in diameter.

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

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Improved Photon-Emission-Microscope System

An advanced photon-emission microscope is combined with the latest image-processing software. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California An improved photon-emission-microscope (PEM) instrumentation system has been developed for use in diagnosing failure conditions in semiconductor devices, including complex integrated circuits. This system is designed primarily to image areas that emit photons, at wavelengths from 400 to 1,100 nm, associated with device failures caused by leakage of electric current through SiO2 and other dielectric materials used in multilayer semiconductor structures. In addition, the system is sensitive enough to image areas that emit photons during normal operation. This system supplants a prior PEM system based on a photon-intensified, gated, charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Failure analysis, Charge coupled devices, Integrated circuits, Semiconductor devices, Diagnostics

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Production of Tuber-Inducing Factor

This substance regulates the growth of potatoes and some other plants. A process for making a substance that regulates the growth of potatoes and some other economically important plants has been developed. The process also yields an economically important by-product: potatoes.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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Vacuum-Assisted, Constant- Force Exercise Device

An important advantage over other exercise machines would be light weight.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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