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Generating Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Microplasma in Air

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang recently demonstrated that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air – first pioneered in 1993 – can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs

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Enhancing Neutron Imaging with Grazing Incidence Optics

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama A low-cost optical element was developed specifically for neutron optics applications. The technology operates as a reflective lens — similar to proven grazing incidence optics used for x-ray imaging — and improves neutron imaging resolution for applications using low-energy (<1 electron volt) neutrons.

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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Motion Blur Evaluation Techniques

These techniques model human sensitivity to moving spatial patterns to evaluate and improve display performance. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Motion blur results when a moving edge travels across a display, such as a liquid crystal display (LCD), that has limited temporal response. It is important to be able to quantify this effect in visual terms. The techniques described in this work provide methods for estimating the strength of the motion blur artifact in perceptual units of JNDs (just noticeable differences).

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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Illuminating Permanently Shadowed Lunar Regions Using a Solar Sail

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Sunlight can be reflected into permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) using S/C solar sails in order to detect and confirm the presence and distribution of water ice cold-trapped in PSRs in lunar polar craters. This reflected light is then viewed with an optical spectrometer.

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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Fiber Optic Connectors

Single Step Polishing After Laser Cleaving With the standardization of 4G wireless, the increase in cloud storage and computing, and the push for faster network data rates, the highest quality passive interconnect systems must be used. While the robustness and size of these interconnections, fiber types, and cable management all play major roles in the backbone, what happens at the tip of the connector also greatly affects the optical performance of the system.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics

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Intelligent Photonic Multi-Sensor Solutions

With the Internet of Things (IoT) quickly rising in front of us, it would be easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that both the trajectory and applications will be somewhat predictable. While hindsight is 20/20, the future can be a little trickier to envision. We can likely all agree that when we saw the first brick-sized wireless telephone, it wasn’t hard to tap our creative problem solving to conclude that subsequent generations were going to get smaller, cheaper and generally “better”. But few people could have envisioned the “smartphone,” let alone Apple’s first edition iPhone. Fewer still looked from that first brick to an age of sensor-driven, cloud-connected apps in the palms of our hands.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Briefs, Photonics

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Shock-Sensing Apparatus

This apparatus enables easy and reliable shock detection and localization in high-speed inlets of aerospace vehicles. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Acompact shock-sensing device, which employs an innovative light sheet generator, has been created. The device may be used either as a solo aerodynamic shock detector or in combination with a scanning mode shock sensor. This permits easy detection and tracking of unstable and traveling shocks in supersonic inlets.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Lasers & Laser Systems, Detectors, Sensors

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