Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Bringing the Heat

New Thermal Characterization Testing Standard and Tools Allow More Accurate Thermal Analysis for LEDs and Semiconductors

By John Parry, Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, OR

LED, semiconductor, and package designers use complex thermal analysis software to analyze their products, but the analysis is only as good as the data provided. Reliable clarification of heat data upstream and downstream is critical. The process of obtaining this clarification traditionally has been cumbersome, requiring manual intervention. But now, for the first time, an automated process combines accurate thermal measurement with precise analysis, giving companies the ability to design better LEDs and power semiconductor device packages, create accurate simulation models, and verify systems for proper heat management.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Materials & Packaging
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Designing High-Speed, Rugged Data Recorders

High-speed recorders represent a major share of electronic instrumentation found in commercial, industrial, scientific research, government, and defense applications. Each system captures specific classes of analog and digital inputs from among an enormous range of sensors, networks, and interfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Articles
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Improving Software Reliability in Satellite and Spacecraft Applications

In the space industry, much of the effort to refine system engineering processes has been done by hand using tools as divergent as Microsoft PowerPoint to IBM Rational Doors. While these tools are valuable, they do not provide a direct connection to source code and test results.

Posted in: Articles, Articles
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Solar Cell Manufacturing and Robot Automation: Right Fit, Right Robot

The United States has set 2015 as a goal to reach grid parity (that point where solar electricity is equal to grid electricity). No matter your thoughts on regulatory involvement, it is clear there will be a resurgence in investment, development, and innovation within the PV manufacturing community throughout the world, and it will largely be driven by technology. Finding the most effective tools and processes to gain more productivity and decrease costs within a set capital plan is paramount.

Posted in: Articles, Automation, Robotics, Solar energy, Manufacturing processes, Robotics
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Motion Control and System Engineering Considerations

Motion control choices are best made in light of the whole system architecture, as the selection of system architecture will drive not only the implementation and integration stages of the project, but also manufacturing and field service, and even the ability to ship and install the final product. We will first review a quick tour of system engineering, and then go on to the motion control specifics.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Architecture, Electronic control systems, Systems engineering, Technical review
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Ames Research Center

NASA Ames Research Center is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, surrounded by high-tech companies, universities, and laboratories. With over $3 billion in capital equipment, 2,500 research personnel, and a $900 million annual budget, Ames plays a critical role in virtually all NASA missions in support of America’s space and aeronautics programs.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Research and development, Test facilities, Spacecraft
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Experts On Design & PLM Software

In our annual poll of executives in the Design and PLM Software market, we asked our experts about topics ranging from mobile applications and CAD in the cloud, to improving productivity and enhancing the user experience. Here’s more of what they had to say:

Posted in: Articles, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Cloud computing, Computer software and hardware, Human factors, Technical review, Productivity
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INDUSTRY UPDATE: Design and PLM Software

In our annual roundtable with executives at leading CAD and PLM software companies, topics for 2012 ranged from mobile applications and CAD in the cloud, to improving productivity and enhancing the user experience.

Sharing 3D Designs: Compatibility is the “Word”

In last year’s roundtable, one of our executives predicted that one day, sharing 3D designs would be as easy as sharing Microsoft Word documents today. Ease of use has been a thorn in the sides of software vendors for years, but changes to the user experience are on the horizon, according to this year’s panel.

Posted in: Articles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), CAD, CAM, and CAE, Data exchange, Collaboration and partnering
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Transforming Gaussian Beams into Uniform, Rectangular Intensity Distributions

The majority of laser types in current use produce output beams with circular or elliptical crosssections, with either Gaussian or near- Gaussian intensity profiles. This Gaussian intensity distribution is acceptable, and often beneficial for many applications in which the laser beam is being focused to a small spot. However, there are also many different uses for which a uniform intensity distribution (often referred to as a “flattop”) would be more optimal. For example, in materials processing tasks, a uniform intensity distribution ensures that the entire laser illuminated area is processed evenly. It is also valuable in situations where the laser light is used essentially for illumination. This is because uniform illumination makes identical features that all appear to have the same brightness, regardless of where they are located in the illuminated field, simplifying the image processing task and increasing contrast and resolution. These same benefits apply over a wide range of other applications that can be broadly classed as “illumination,” from machine vision, through flow cytometry, inspection, and even some medical uses.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Calibration, Lasers, Reliability
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Designing Optical Systems With Off-The-Shelf Products

Utilization of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) products is now almost a bylaw of government and military design projects and is becoming of increasing interest in commercial designs, as well. Optical systems are no exception; the use of stock optics can provide tremendous advantages in terms of reduced cost and development effort. The key is finding the most appropriate way of employing stock optics in a custom design.

Posted in: Articles, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Design processes, Optics
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