Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
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

New Class of ‘Soft’ Semiconductors Could Transform HD Displays

A new type of semiconductor may be coming to a high-definition display near you. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown that a class of semiconductor called halide perovskites can emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The findings represent a clear challenge to quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light. It could also influence the development of new applications in optoelectronics, photovoltaics, nanoscopic lasers, and ultrasensitive photodetectors, among others.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs

'Magic' Alloy Could Spur Next Generation of Solar Cells

In what could be a major step forward for a new generation of solar cells called "concentrator photovoltaics," University of Michigan researchers have developed a new semiconductor alloy that can capture the near-infrared light located on the leading edge of the visible light spectrum. Easier to manufacture and at least 25 percent less costly than previous formulations, it's believed to be the world's most cost-effective material that can capture near-infrared light—and is compatible with the gallium arsenide semiconductors often used in concentrator photovoltaics.

Posted in: News, Materials, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs

Blue-Light-Canceling Lens Gives Skiers a Clearer View

An optical filter for assessing plant health finds use in ski goggles.

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Optical Components, Optics, Optics, Optics, Terrain, Human factors, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Polymers, Visibility

Microstructural Explorations Inside Fuel Cells

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), a promising technology that can efficiently produce energy using fossil fuels with no moving parts and low emissions, present a particularly perplexing economic challenge: current systems operate at maximum efficiency between 700 and 1000 degrees Celsius, but such high temperatures shorten their service life, requiring more frequent fuel cell stack replacements. Lowering the operating temperature makes them last longer, but requires additional cells in the stack to deliver the same performance, and that drives up costs.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Emissions control, Fuel cells, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Durability, Reliability, Durability, Reliability

CMOS The Future of Image Sensor Technology

CMOS imaging is trending to become the dominant imaging technology. Initially, CMOS was limited by its inherent noise. Architectures were then essentially analog and the idea of integrating the image processing features with System On Chip (SoC) technology was yet to be considered. However, it is fundamentally this SoC characteristic of CMOS that has driven impressive growth. Over the years, this technology has become more and more competitive. The commercial race started in early 2000 when the big players applied continuous improvements to electro-optical performance.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Photonics, Architecture, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Architecture, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators

Ruggedization of Imaging Lenses

Imaging lenses used in many industrial machine vision applications have special requirements beyond those of standard imaging lenses. The lenses used in factory automation, robotics, and industrial inspection have to work in specific and demanding environments, which could involve vibrations, shocks, temperature changes, and contaminants. Because of these environmental requirements, new classes of ruggedized lenses are being designed specifically to work in a multitude of different scenarios, therefore creating different types of ruggedization. There are three distinct types of ruggedization available: industrial ruggedization, ingress protection ruggedization, and stability ruggedization.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Robotics, Vibration, Vibration, Durability, Durability

The Advanced Land Imager Helped NASA Mission Exceed Expectations.

After more than 16 years of operation, NASA’s Earth Observing–1 (EO-1) spacecraft was decommissioned on March 30 of this year. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory was aboard as an alternative to the land-imaging sensor that was used by the Landsat Earth-observing program.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Architecture, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Architecture, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Satellites, Spacecraft

New Products: July 2017 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Photoluminescence Spectrometer (PRIORITY)

Edinburgh Instruments (Kirkton Campus, UK) introduces the FLS1000 state-of-the-art, modular photoluminescence spectrometer. The instrument excels in both steady state and time-resolved spectroscopy. It can be configured for spectral measurements from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared spectral range, and for lifetime measurements spanning time resolutions over 12 orders of magnitude from picoseconds to seconds. Its ultimate sensitivity for the standard water Raman measurement is >30,000:1.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Photonics

Robotic Vision Keeps an Assembly Plant at Home

A major manufacturer of electromechanical products had been operating six separate indexing assembly machines, each producing one of a family of more than 75 different products at about 40 parts per minute. The machines frequently sat idle as demand fluctuated for the various products. Labor expenses were high since each machine required a dedicated operator. The manufacturer considered moving the six machines and their entire production offshore to reduce labor expenses and save floor space at its European facility.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Robotics, Inspections

Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors

The effectiveness of airborne search and rescue, navigation, and situational awareness tasks is predicated on the availability of high-resolution imagery that provides pilots with a clear picture and the widest possible field of view. While the human eye is extremely high resolution with an unmatched ability to detect high-spatial-frequency (HSF) objects across a wide field of regard, human vision can easily fatigue, is subject to environmental conditions, and is vastly degraded at night.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Rescue operations, Aircraft

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