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Solar Pumped Fiber Laser for Solar Sail Propulsion and Remote Power Transfer

The photovoltaic capability of any instrument can be enhanced by delivering extra power via a space-based, broadband laser beam. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland A new method has been developed to create coherent laser light efficiently with direct optical coupling of the Sun’s energy into the gain medium for multiple uses. New advances in solar cell photovoltaic (PV) technologies have greatly improved their efficiencies, mostly by improving their ability to convert many wavelengths or wider bands of the solar spectrum to electricity. New advances in actively doped fibers and optical glasses have been shown to produce very broad, multi-line absorption bands as well as stimulated emission lines, or laser lines. By designing the optical cavity system to feed back all emission bands into the gain media for amplification, a multi-wavelength source can be generated requiring no electronics.

Posted in: Tech Briefs, Physical Sciences, Photonics, Briefs

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ELID Grinding of Large Aspheres

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This work focused on a manufacturing process to produce silicon carbide optical surfaces with low mid-spatial surface errors. Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) and high-spatial frequency (HSF) surface errors in the grinding of fast aspheres are amplified in hard ceramics like silicon carbide due to cyclic tool wear rates, vibration, and tool deformation.

Posted in: Tech Briefs, Photonics, Briefs

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Systems and Methods for Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing

This innovation uses an optical fiber having a metallic dot array on its tip, a light source coupled to the optical fiber via a light coupler, and a spectrometer coupled to the optical fiber via the coupler. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Recently, there is widespread interest in the development of chemical and biochemical sensors based on plasmonic resonance of metallic nanostructures. In the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) for nanometer-sized metallic structures, a resonant oscillation of the conduction electrons within the metallic nanostructures gives rise to an enhanced scattering and absorption of light. The LSPR sensing requires simpler instrumentation than surface plasmon resonance (SPR).

Posted in: Tech Briefs, Photonics, Briefs

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Advances in Manufacturing Fiber Optic Gyroscopes

Since it was first proposed in 1975, the fiber optic gyroscope (FOG) has steadily improved in performance and manufacturability. Now a mainstream, high-volume manufactured product with performance approaching Ring Laser Gyros (RLG), FOGs offer substantial advantages over competitive technologies in terms of reliability, cost, and complexity. Optical fiber splicing and related processes are at the core of this achievement.

Posted in: Features, Photonics, Briefs

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Beyond Smart Vision

Many Higher-End Vision Projects Require Capabilities Not Built Into Smart Vision Systems With the proliferation of smart vision (SV) cameras and platforms it is understandable that automation engineers begin to define vision technology capabilities based on the performance and features of these popular and easy to implement products. Although they are effective for addressing a broad range of common vision applications and requirements, there are compromises made to make SV products easy to use and less costly, the obvious being reduced vision processing and performance capabilities.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Briefs

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Product of the Month: Non-Contact Laser Beam Monitoring System

Ophir Photonics (North Logan, UT) announced the newest version of BeamWatch™, a non-contact, focus spot size and position monitor for very high power YAG and fiber lasers used in material processing applications. Because there is no contact with the laser beam, the system has no power restriction and has been successfully tested on high power lasers up to 100kW.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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1-Chip CMOS HD Video Camera

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (ISD) (Irvine, CA) has released the IK-HR3H, a feature-rich, 1-chip CMOS, 2.1 megapixel video camera that provides optimal color accuracy and advanced noise reduction technology via a 1⁄3-inch, 1080p high definition sensor. The ultra-small remote head (only 1.08 in. × 1.08 in. × 1.3 in.), delivers up to 900 TV lines resolution and features high sensitivity and wide dynamic range.

Posted in: Products, Photonics, Briefs

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