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Understanding Lens Design Limitations

By understanding lens design limitations, it can be much easier to select the right combination of components in order to optimize an imaging system. Edmund Optics, Barrington, New Jersey Every lens has an absolute upper performance limit dictated by the laws of physics. This limitation is controlled by the working f/# of the lens and the wavelength( s) of light that pass through the lens. Known as the Diffraction Limit, this limitation is given in line pairs/mm and determines the theoretical maximum resolving power of the lens. Even a perfect lens that is not limited by design will be diffraction limited. This limit is the point where two Airy patterns are no longer distinguishable from each other. To calculate the diffraction limit, a simple formula that relates it to the f/# of the lens and the wavelength of light can be used. (See Figure 1)

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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Megahertz-Rate Molecular Tagging Velocimetry

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia In recent years, a large number of Lagrangian-based optical velocimetry techniques have been developed that are known, collectively, as either flow tagging velocimetry or molecular tagging velocimetry. In either case, the method is based on the use of an optical resonance to “tag” a pattern into a flow. After suitable time delay, the displacement of the initially tagged fluid volume is interrogated using optical imaging — either planar laser-induced fluorescence from a second resonant excitation, or, in the case of tracer molecules with sufficiently long radiative lifetime, spontaneous emission. The objective of this innovation is to allow velocity measurement in hypersonic flows at which detecting movement requires very high detection rates.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Optics

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Quantum Cascade Laser Driver

Electronic noise from quantum cascade laser drivers has long limited the detection threshold of chemical sensors. That may no longer be a problem. Wavelength Electronics (Bozeman, MT) has introduced the QCL LAB family of instruments that couples an intuitive touchscreen display with low-noise drive electronics that drop detection thresholds up to an order of magnitude.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics

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Product of the Month: Combiner Block™

The new APC Combiner Block™ from American Photonics Co. (Sarasota, FL) replaces the first turning mirror in many CO2 laser machines to add three new capabilities: a visible alignment laser, a Half Collimator™, and precision alignment capabilities. The visible alignment laser adds the ability to align your machine without the need to burn spots with the CO2 laser, improving safety and speed of setup.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics

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Silicon Avalanche Photodiode Module

Excelitas Technologies Corp. (Waltham, MA) recently launched the new HeliX™ Silicon Avalanche Photodiode (Si APD) Module, employing its leading-edge Si APD detectors to deliver enhanced performance including high responsivity, broadband photon absorption (400- 1100nm), wide dynamic range and linearity, and exceptional signal-to-noise ratio. Designed for high-performance applications such as fluorescence measurement, distributed temperature sensing, analytical instrumentation, and laser scanning ophthalmology, the HeliX Si APD module provides highly accurate measurements and is fully customizable.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics

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Universal Fluorescence Illumination System

The new Lumen 1600-LED from Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) is the latest product in Prior’s expanding microscopy illumination product line. The Lumen 1600-LED offers individual control for 16 selectable wavelengths. With its unique 16 selectable LED wavelengths, the Lumen 1600-LED is compatible with all simple and multiband filter sets. The Lumen 1600-LED has a “white light” mode with simple on/off and intensity buttons. Fitting directly to most microscopes, the system enables rapid switching between LED wavelengths to allow for capture of high-speed events.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics

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Machine Vision Software

To meet the demands of automated visual inspections in the electronics assembly process, EVT (Karlsruhe, Germany) has developed the “ChipControl” command set for its EyeVision image processing software. ChipControl specifically focuses on areas such as inspecting for bent electrical contacts, the presence of the contact housing, inspection of coplanarity, recognition of the pin-one marker, orientation and position adjustment, pin gap, etc.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics

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