Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
Nasa Tech Briefs

Frame Grabber

The FireBird Camera Link Deca board frame grabber from Active Silicon (Iver, UK) is now available in two form factors: a full-height version with front panel IO and a low-profile/half-height version. The low-profile design allows the FireBird Low Profile board to be used in small embedded PC enclosures and rack-mount cases where full-height PC cards are not suitable. A full-height bracket option is available for use in standard PC form-factor enclosures.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Photonics


Motorized Actuators

A new series of low-cost DC drive motors from Siskiyou Corporation (Grants Pass, OR) enables precise, hands-free adjustment of translation stages and mirror mounts, using a simple, push-button control pad. Specifically, the new 500 series actuators can replace manual screw and micrometer adjusters on Siskiyou’s crossed roller bearing linear stages, kinematic mirror mounts, and IS OGP beam steering assembly for microscopes. The hand-held controller for operating these actuators offers two preset drive speeds (0.3 mm/s and 0.1 mm/second), as well as an adjustable low speed range (from 10 μm/s to 30 μm/s). The latter enables consistent, small moves (down to 1.0 μm) with a single, short button press.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Photonics


Acrylate-Based Specialty Optical Fiber Coatings for Harsh Environments

Applications of optical fibers at high temperatures and in harsh environments demand coatings sustainable under those conditions. The goal of this work was to evaluate thermal and environmental stability of a series of commercially available and in-house formulated acrylate-based coatings. Dual and single-coat fiber designs were tested. The individual formulations included non-urethane and urethane acrylates, silicone acrylates and an organic-inorganic hybrid acrylate. The “as drawn” fibers were tested for attenuation, mechanical reliability, microbend sensitivity, delamination resistance and coating stripability. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was used for estimating the use temperature of the coatings. In addition, the fibers were exposed to harsh environments, including dry aging in air (150°C) and in nitrogen (250°C), autoclaving, immersion in high pressure/temperature water (up to 200°C and 2000 psi) and immersion in a hot cable gel (160°C). Based on the obtained results, the best formulations were ranked for suitability in different types of fiber application.

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Optics, Photonics


Boosting Machine Vision with Built-in FPGA Image Preprocessing

Since imaging processing tasks can consume major CPU resources in machine vision applications, increasing processing performance within size constraints is, accordingly, a common challenge for solution providers. The following discusses the efficacy of FPGA in addressing such performance shortcomings, presents the image processing tasks most suitable for FPGA, and compares the capabilities of CPU and FPGA in operation. A built -in FPGA image preprocessing solution supporting machine vision app lications is then presented.

Posted in: White Papers, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, Automation, Robotics


How the Laser, Optic, & Photonic Industries Benefit from Electropolishing

Improve precision and cleanliness with an enhanced surface finish. Like other industries that utilize electropolishing to finish metal components, there are many benefits associated with electropolishing metal components used in photonics, optics or laser applications.

Posted in: White Papers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Medical, Optics, Photonics


Characterizing Richness of Previously Unmapped Terrain and Estimating its Impact on Navigation Performance using 3D Range Sensors in Flight

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Landers to large planetary bodies such as Mars typically use a secondary reconnaissance spacecraft to generate high-fidelity 3D terrain maps that are subsequently used for landing site selection and creating onboard maps for terrain-relative navigation systems. This luxury does not exist with small primitive bodies such as comets and asteroids. For these bodies, the landing spacecraft has to perform the 3D mapping and, with possible help from ground control, choose a feasible landing site. To enable this operation, the spacecraft would need to carry a 3D ranging sensor system such as a LIDAR. With the spacecraft placed in extended mapping orbits, 3D range measurement data is then used to create a shape model of the object. Terrain-based navigation schemes that employ cameras could then be used to image, detect, match, and track features against the map database to provide a 6-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) navigation solution during descent. Camera-based systems, however, are not robust to lighting variations, and do not provide a direct 3D position/range feedback.

Posted in: Briefs, Optics, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Lidar, Surveillance, Terrain, Spacecraft


NASA’s Infrared Sensor Spots Near-Earth Asteroids

The Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) is part of a proposed NASA mission to find potentially hazardous asteroids. In a Q&A with Photonics & Imaging Technology, NEOCam principal investigator Amy Mainzer ex plains how the NEOCam chip, a stamp-sized mega pixel infrared sensor, detects the faint heat emitted by near-Earth objects circling the Sun.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Spacecraft


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