October 2009

News : Energy
Harvesting Energy from Regular, Day-to-Day Motions

Duke University engineers have developed a novel approach that they believe can more efficiently harvest electricity from the motions of everyday life. Although motion is an abundant source of energy, only limited success has been achieved because the devices used only perform well over a narrow...

Products : Lighting
LED Characterization System

As part of the design process, engineers must predict the performance of their LED system and determine if it will meet specifications at real operating temperatures and electrical drive conditions. The ETΦ™ family of LED Characterization Systems (also known as ETO) from Orb Optronix (Kirkland, WA) measures the...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Permeable Pavement and Reducing Water Runoff

Paved parking lots and driveways often create an easy pathway for pollutants to reach underground water sources and change the natural flow of water back into the ground. Today, EPA announced a study that will investigate ways to reduce pollution that can run off paved surfaces and improve how water...

A Smarter Electric Grid

A stark reminder of our country’s outdated infrastructure is the sight of uniformed utility company personnel canvassing neighborhoods to read electric and gas meters in homes and businesses. For many residents, this means having to arrange access for meter readers. I have circumvented this issue by doing my own...

MEMS Industry Fueled By New Technology

Like other sectors, the market for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) stagnated during the economic downturn. According to a report by market research organization Yole Developpement titled “State of the MEMS Industry 2009 Report,” sales of MEMS-based products are slated to reach $6.9 billion in...

Question of the Week
Should net neutrality rules be imposed on broadband service providers?

This week’s question concerns net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission last week began drafting legislation that would prevent phone and cable companies from abusing their control over the broadband access market, by prohibiting them from censoring certain...

Products : Energy
System Continuously Monitors Power and Thermal Use, Pinpoints Waste Areas

A wireless monitoring system from Arch Rock (San Francisco, CA) provides continually updated information on a data center's electrical usage and thermal status - giving users the knowledge to take energy-conservation measures, while maximizing the operational efficiency...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
"Earth Binoculars" Sense Disasters From Space

New Tel Aviv University technology combines sophisticated sensors in orbit with sensors on the ground and in the air to create a “Hyperspectral Remote Sensor” (HRS). HRS can give advance warnings about water contamination after a forest fire, or swiftly alert authorities of a pollution spill.

News : Energy
New Material Could Boost Data Storage, Save Energy

North Carolina State University engineers have developed a new material that would allow a fingernail-size computer chip to store the equivalent of 20 high-definition DVDs or 250 million pages of text, far exceeding the storage capacities of today’s computer memory systems.

Question of the Week
Should there be a mandate to buy health insurance?

This week’s question concerns the health-care reform bill. One of the controversial bill’s provisions, now in Congressional debate, revolves around an escalating series of fines that would be imposed on individuals refusing to purchase health insurance. The fines, slated to take effect...

Products : Energy
Ultracapacitor Provides Enhanced Backup Power

Roughly the size of a postage stamp, the PC-10 ultracapacitor from Maxwell Technologies Inc. (San Diego, CA) has a proprietary electrode for enhancing the reliability of backup power in enterprise storage and powering smart utility meters, among other applications.

Products : Energy
PV Measurement System

Newport Corporation’s Oriel Instruments division (Irvine, CA) has introduced the Oriel IQE-200TM, an instrument that permits simultaneous measurements of the external quantum efficiency (EQE) and the internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of solar cells, detectors, or any photon-to-charge converting devices.

News : Energy
Germany Takes the 2009 Solar Decathlon

Today, DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman announced the winners of the 2009 Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home. This is the...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Optical Dipstick Assesses Soil and Overall Planet Health

A new Tel Aviv University invention - a real-time "Optical Soil Dipstick" (OSD) - provides a new diagnostic tool for assessing the health of the planet. Professor Eyal Ben-Dor, of TAU's Department of Geography, says his soil dipstick will help scientists, urban planners, and farmers...

News : Energy
Silver Nanoparticles Give Polymer Solar Cells A Boost

Researchers at Ohio State University, led by professor Paul Berger, are experimenting with polymer semiconductors that absorb the sun’s energy and generate electricity - with the goal of lighter, cheaper, and more-flexible solar cells. The team has discovered that adding tiny bits of silver...

News : Energy
Sequenced Genome Could Enable More Efficient Biofuel Production

A strain of yeast, which thrives on turning sugar cane and other tough grasses into ethanol and might be used as biofuel, has had its genome completely sequenced by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

News : Energy
People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3)

The EPA has awarded 43 grants to teams of university students who will design technologies addressing sustainability challenges in the developed and developing world. The People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) competition asks students to design and build technologies that improve quality of life,...

News : Energy
Finding the Most Efficient Energy Transfer Pathway

University of Florida chemists have pioneered a method to tease out promising molecular structures for capturing energy, a step that could speed the development of more efficient, cheaper solar cells.

News : Energy
Battery Battle

A new type of redox flow battery from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) offers an advantage for electric cars. If the rechargeable batteries are low, the discharged electrolyte fluid can simply be exchanged at the gas station for recharged fluid – as easy as refilling the gas tank.

Robots Doing the Dirty Work

The days of human beings sweeping floors, guarding plants, and doing other mundane or hazardous tasks could someday become a thing of the past. Service robots are increasingly being called on to perform these tasks, according to a new study from industry intelligence organization The Robot Report.

According to...

News : Energy
Making Renewable Hydrogen From Wastewater At California Winery

Penn State researchers are demonstrating a renewable method for hydrogen production from wastewater at the Napa Wine Company in Oakville, CA. The refrigerator-sized hydrogen generator will take winery wastewater and - using bacteria and a small amount of electrical energy - convert...

Question of the Week
Will satellite radio ever live up to its commercial expectations?

This week's question concerns satellite radio. When the first U.S. digital satellite radio service was launched in 2001, many people predicted that satellite radio would someday dominate the airwaves, eclipsing all other forms of radio broadcasting. Most of the major automakers...

News : Energy
Spray-Coating Technique And Cheap Organic Solar Cells

IMEC of Leuven, Belgium has demonstrated a solution-processed organic solar cell with a spray-coated active layer and a metal top contact spray-coated on top. The resulting cell shows power conversion efficiencies above 3%.

Keep Innovating!

Although this is the last entry for my Design & Manufacturing Midwest show blog, I want to encourage all of you to keep innovating, and to let me know what new products and technologies you’re working on that may be inspiring to someone at next year’s show.

Here are the last couple of products I wanted to let you...

Articles : Green Design & Manufacturing
Getting Green and Staying Green

EU RoHS, China RoHS, Korea RoHS, California RoHS, ELV, REACH – the list of environmental regulations for reducing hazardous substances in products keeps growing. What, exactly, are the costs if your products fail to comply? Missed customer requirements, blocked shipments, costly redesigns, and scrapped parts are...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Light-Driven Polymeric Bimorph Actuators

Light-driven polymeric bimorph actuators are being developed as alternatives to prior electrically and optically driven actuators in advanced, highly miniaturized devices and systems exemplified by micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), micro-electro-optical-mechanical systems (MEOMS), and sensor and...

Briefs : Information Technology
Guaranteeing Failsafe Operation of Extended-Scene Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensor Algorithm

A Shack-Hartmann sensor (SHS) is an optical instrument consisting of a lenslet array and a camera. It is widely used for wavefront sensing in optical testing and astronomical adaptive optics. The camera is placed at the focal point of the lenslet array...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
T-Slide Linear Actuators

T-slide linear actuators use gear bearing differential epicyclical transmissions (GBDETs) to directly drive a linear rack, which, in turn, performs the actuation. Conventional systems use a rotary power source in conjunction with a nut and screw to provide linear motion. Non-back-drive properties of GBDET’s make the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cloud Water Content Sensor for Sounding Balloons and Small UAVs

A lightweight, battery-powered sensor was developed for measuring cloud water content, which is the amount of liquid or solid water present in a cloud, generally expressed as grams of water per cubic meter. This sensor has near-zero power consumption and can be flown on standard...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pixelized Device Control Actuators for Large Adaptive Optics

A fully integrated, compact, adaptive space optic mirror assembly has been developed, incorporating new advances in ultralight, high- performance composite mirrors. The composite mirrors use Q-switch matrix architecture- based pixelized control (PMN-PT) actuators, which achieve high-...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Low-Noise MMIC Amplifiers for 120 to 180 GHz

Three-stage monolithic millimeter-wave integrated-circuit (MMIC) amplifiers capable of providing useful amounts of gain over the frequency range from 120 to 180 GHz have been developed as prototype low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) to be incorporated into instruments for sensing cosmic microwave background...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Three MMIC Amplifiers for the 120-to-200 GHz Frequency Band

Closely following the development reported in the article, "Low-Noise MMIC Amplifiers for 120 to 180 GHz" (NPO-42783), three new monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) amplifiers that would operate in the 120-to-200- GHz frequency band have been designed and are under...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
G⁴FET Implementations of Some Logic Circuits

Some logic circuits have been built and demonstrated to work substantially as intended, all as part of a continuing effort to exploit the high degrees of design flexibility and functionality of the electronic devices known as G4FETs and described below. These logic circuits are intended...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Complementary Paired G⁴FETs as Voltage-Controlled NDR Device

It is possible to synthesize a voltage-controlled negative-differential-resistance (NDR) device or circuit by use of a pair of complementary G4FETs (four-gate field-effect transistors). [For more information about G4FETs, please see "G4FET...

News : Energy
Lowering Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cost

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new ceramic material that could help expand the applications for solid oxide fuel cells – devices that generate electricity directly from a wide range of liquid or gaseous fuels without the need to separate hydrogen.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mercuric Iodide Anticoincidence Shield for Gamma-Ray Spectrometer

A film-growth process was developed for polycrystalline mercuric iodide that creates cost-effective, large-area detectors for high- energy charged-particle detection. A material, called a barrier film, is introduced onto the substrate before the normal mercuric iodide film growth...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Method of Design for Folding Inflatable Shells

An improved method of designing complexly shaped inflatable shells to be assembled from gores was conceived for original application to the inflatable outer shell of a developmental habitable spacecraft module having a cylindrical midlength section with toroidal end caps.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electrically Variable or Programmable Nonvolatile Capacitors

Electrically variable or programmable capacitors based on the unique properties of thin perovskite films are undergoing development. These capacitors show promise of overcoming two important deficiencies of prior electrically programmable capacitors:

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System for Automated Calibration of Vector Modulators

Vector modulators are used to impose baseband modulation on RF signals, but non- ideal behavior limits the overall performance. The non-ideal behavior of the vector modulator is compensated using data collected with the use of an automated test system driven by a LabVIEW® program that...

Briefs : Materials
Using Ozone To Clean and Passivate Oxygen-Handling Hardware

A proposed method of cleaning, passivating, and verifying the cleanliness of oxygen-handling hardware would extend the established art of cleaning by use of ozone. As used here, “cleaning” signifies ridding all exposed surfaces of combustible (in particular, carbon-based)...

Briefs : Materials
Two-Piece Screens for Decontaminating Granular Material

Two-piece screens have been designed specifically for use in filtering a granular material to remove contaminant particles that are significantly wider or longer than are the desired granules. In the original application for which the two-piece screens were conceived, the granular material...

Briefs : Materials
Metal Standards for Waveguide Characterization of Materials

Rectangular-waveguide inserts that are made of non-ferromagnetic metals and are sized and shaped to function as notch filters have been conceived as reference standards for use in the rectangular- waveguide method of characterizing materials with respect to such constitutive...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Large Solar Sail

UltraSail is a next- generation ultra-large (km2 class) sail system. Analysis of the launch, deployment, stabilization, and control of these sails shows that high-payload-mass fractions for interplanetary and deep-space missions are possible. UltraSail combines propulsion and control systems developed for...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cooperative Three-Robot System for Traversing Steep Slopes

Teamed Robots for Exploration and Science in Steep Areas (TRESSA) is a system of three autonomous mobile robots that cooperate with each other to enable scientific exploration of steep terrain (slope angles up to 90°). Originally intended for use in exploring steep slopes on Mars that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Assemblies of Conformal Tanks

Assemblies of tanks having shapes that conform to each other and/or conform to other proximate objects have been investigated for use in storing fuels and oxidizers in small available spaces in upper stages of spacecraft. Such assemblies might also prove useful in aircraft, automobiles, boats, and other terrestrial...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microfluidic Pumps Containing Teflon® AF Diaphragms

Microfluidic pumps and valves based on pneumatically actuated diaphragms made of Teflon® AF polymers are being developed for incorporation into laboratory-on-a-chip devices that must perform well over temperature ranges wider than those of prior diaphragm-based microfluidic pumps and valves....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Transparent Conveyor of Dielectric Liquids or Particles

The concept of a transparent conveyor of small loose dielectric particles or small amounts of dielectric liquids has emerged as an outgrowth of an effort to develop efficient, reliable means of automated removal of dust from solar cells and from windows of optical instruments. This concept...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multi-Cone Model for Estimating GPS Ionospheric Delays

The multi-cone model is a computational model for estimating ionospheric delays of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. It is a direct descendant of the conical-domain model, which was described in “Conical-Domain Model for Estimating GPS Ionospheric Delays” (NPO-40930), Software...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Progress Toward a Compact, Highly Stable Ion Clock

There was an update on the subject of two previous NASA Tech Briefs articles: “Compact, Highly Stable Ion Clock” (NPO-43075), Vol. 32, No. 5 (May 2008), page 63; and “Neon as a Buffer Gas for a Mercury-Ion Clock” (NPO-42919), Vol. 32, No. 7 (July 2008), page 62. To recapitulate: A...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
High-Sensitivity GaN Microchemical Sensors

Systematic studies have been performed on the sensitivity of GaN HEMT (high electron mobility transistor) sensors using various gate electrode designs and operational parameters. The results here show that a higher sensitivity can be achieved with a larger W/L ratio (W = gate width, L = gate length) at...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
On the Divergence of the Velocity Vector in Real-Gas Flow

A theoretical study was performed addressing the degree of applicability or inapplicability, to a real gas, of the occasionally stated belief that for an ideal gas, incompressibility is synonymous with a zero or very low Mach number. The measure of compressibility used in this study is...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated Risk and Knowledge Management Program — IRKM-P

The NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) IRKM-P tightly couples risk management and knowledge management processes and tools to produce an effective “modern” work environment. IRKM-P objectives include: (1) to learn lessons from past and current programs (Apollo,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Constructing LDPC Codes From Loop-Free Encoding Modules

A method of constructing certain low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes by use of relatively simple loop-free coding modules has been developed. The subclasses of LDPC codes to which the method applies includes accumulate-repeat-accumulate (ARA) codes, accumulate-repeat-check-accumulate...

Briefs : Information Technology
LDPC Codes With Minimum Distance Proportional to Block Size

Low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes characterized by minimum Hamming distances proportional to block sizes have been demonstrated. Like the codes mentioned in the immediately preceding article, the present codes are error-correcting codes suitable for use in a variety of wireless...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
MMICs With Radial Probe Transitions to Waveguides

A document presents an update on the innovation reported in “Integrated Radial Probe Transition From MMIC to Waveguide” (NPO-43957), NASA Tech Briefs Vol. 31, No. 5 (May 2007), page 38. To recapitulate: To enable operation or testing of a monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC), it is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tests of Low-Noise MMIC Amplifier Module at 290 to 340 GHz

A document presents data from tests of a low-noise amplifier module operating in the frequency range from 290 to 340 GHz — said to be the highest-frequency low-noise, solid-state amplifier ever developed. The module comprised a three-stage monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC)...

Briefs : Information Technology
Extending Newtonian Dynamics to Include Stochastic Processes

A paper presents further results of continuing research reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, the two most recent being “Stochastic Representations of Chaos Using Terminal Attractors” (NPO-41519), [Vol. 30, No. 5 (May 2006), page 57] and “Physical Principle for...

Eye on Innovation
Return on Investment of Model-Based Design: Increasing Innovation Capacity

Given the current economic conditions, companies must continue to deliver existing products as they develop the products of tomorrow, without increasing the engineering staff. To accomplish this paradoxical challenge, innovative companies have adopted Model-Based Design...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Instruments for Imaging From Far to Near

The acronym “CHAMP” (signifying “camera, hand lens, and microscope”) denotes any of several proposed optoelectronic instruments that would be capable of color imaging at working distances that could be varied continuously through a range from infinity down to several millimeters. As in any optical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Reflectors Made From Membranes Stretched Between Beams

Lightweight cylindrical reflectors of a proposed type would be made from reflective membranes stretched between pairs of identically curved and identically oriented end rails. In each such reflector, the curvature of the two beams would define the reflector shape required for the intended...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Tool Coil Springs Aid in Hubble Repairs
Canted-Coil™ springs
Bal Seal Engineering
Foothill Ranch, CA

When astronauts embarked on the latest mission to repair the Hubble Space...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Fire Suppression System Protects Giant Crawler Transporters
Stat-X fire suppression system
Fireaway LLC
Minnetonka, MN

When NASA Kennedy Space Center’s fire safety experts decided to replace the fire suppression system in the giant twin crawler transporters that bring the space...

Graphical System Design Software

National Instruments, Austin, TX, has introduced LabVIEW 2009 graphical system design software for control, test, and embedded system development.

New virtualization technology for multicore systems offers compiler improvements that enhance field-programmable gate array (FPGA) design. The software enables...

NASA Tech Needs
NASA Engineering Polymer Development Needs

There is increasing interest in lightweight and ultra-lightweight structural concepts and materials within NASA’s exploration mission and as part of efforts to develop “green” aeronautics options. Polymers and polymeric composites are important elements in design and construction of the nation’s...

Techs for License
Accurate Laser Micro-Etching

A one-step laser etching process proves advantageous for the microfabrication of optics, electromechanical systems, and fluidics. Utilizing a laser-absorbing fluid against the back side of virtually any solid, transparent material, any of a number of lasers can perform micro-etching of 1 millimicron to 10...

Techs for License
Microscopically Reinforced Polymers Without Fibers or Fillers

This micro-reinforcement technology enables new applications where existing thermoplastics, elastomers, thermosets, and reinforcing technologies have not had sufficient toughness or fracture strength, particularly at elevated temperatures. The new reinforcement technology does not...

NASA Tech Needs
Technologies to Protect Crop Plants From Pesticide Damage

A company seeks technologies or “safeners” that minimize the negative impact of pesticides on crops, such as physiological or cosmetic damage. The safener must have utility on a broad combination of crops, result in no inhibition effect or other performance consequences on the active...

NASA Tech Needs
Small, Mechanical Valve for Use With Propellant Gas

A valve technology is sought that can be used with a propellant- gas-based device aimed at the consumer goods industry. The valve will be used with a canister of propellant gas, in a handheld consumer device, and needs to be small, lightweight, and low-cost. The size should be in the millimeter...

Who's Who
Gary Martin, Director, New Ventures & Communications Directorate, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Gary Martin began his career with NASA in the Microgravity Sciences and Applications Division in 1990 where he served as Branch Chief for Advanced Programs from 1992 – 1994 and Deputy Director from 1994 – 1996. In 2002 he was named...

Articles : Motion Control
Electric Actuators Deliver Energy Efficient, Low Maintenance Solutions

Machine designers and end users find themselves balancing sometimes opposing priorities such as improving energy efficiency while minimizing adverse impact on the environment, at the same time ensuring performance (e.g., precision, reliability) is not compromised. A key trend...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Fanuc Painting Robot Boosts Production for Metal Finisher

Classic Metal Finishing, based in Jackson, Mich., supplies components for the aerospace, motorcycle, racing, and medical industries. The plant was purchased in February, 2008 by Classic Metal Finishing and Classic Turning. Classic Turning performs high-end CNC machining of components and...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
HEIDENHAIN Gauge Facilitates Precision Stereology Research

Stereology, a tool that became popular in the late ‘90s, is used to quantify properties of 3D objects from 2D sections through an object (such as microscope slides of brain tissue). This method is accepted by neuroscientists as the preferred way to estimate numbers of cell populations...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Rotary Encoders Aid Remote Control Vehicle

AB Precision (ABP) prefers to call its Guardian a vehicle (as in MROV - Miniature Remotely Operated Vehicle) rather than a robot. Names aside, the UK-based engineering company’s quadtracked, articulated creation is characterized by dexterity and maneuverability. Its network of ten Renishaw...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Machine Controller

Yaskawa Electric, Waukegan, IL, has enhanced its IEC/MP2000iec machine controller with new hardware and software. New is MotionWorks IEC Pro, an integrated development environment based on the IEC611212-3 international programming standard. The development environment enables users to program in Sequential Function Chart...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Level Switch

The Model 1100 in-line flow level switch from Thomas Products, Southington, CT, monitors insufficient or excessive liquid flow rates. It is factory preset for flow rates of 0.4 to 100 gpm. Other models are available with a vane to adjust the set point in the field. Standard process connections range from ¾ to 3in. NPT. Standard...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Position Sensor

The RS 1500-200 rotary position sensor from Macro Sensors, Pennsauken, NJ, measures the angular displacement of rotating elements such as quarter-turn ball and butterfly valves, air flow dampers, and diverter gates used in packaging and postal sorting machine. It is available with a 24Vdc input and 0 to 10Vdc output (RSE...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Control Card

The MC302-K Motion Coor dinator motion card from Trio Motion Technology Ltd., Gloucestershire, UK, is designed to plug into the Kollmorgen S300 and S700 drive platform to provide a cost-effective, fully programmable single-axis control system. The digital interface gives the controller access to all drive parameters.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Air Bearing Actuator

The Airpel-AB air bearing actuator from Airpot, Norwalk, CT, has a specially shaped stainless steel piston that is precisely fitted to a borosilicate glass cylinder. Introducing pressurized air into the air bearing’s cylinder produces a true bearing airflow effect around the piston. The air cushion prevents the piston from...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Motor Stages

The ANT95-XY and ANT95-XY-H dual-axis linear motor stages from Aerotech, Pittsburgh, PA, allow travel in X and Y dimensions. They allow critical elements such as orthogonality, straightness, and flatness to be optimized. The technology has no hysteresis or backlash, enabling 5nm resolution, 50nm repeatability, and 250m...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Cylinder Position Sensor

A magnetically actuated linear displacement sensor from Turck, Minneapolis, MN, the Q25L, detects piston position on pneumatic cylinders. Suited for applications requiring precise signal transmission over long measuring distances, it is available with measuring ranges of 100, 125, 160, and 200mm. By utilizing an external...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder

The MR319 fiber optic rotary encoder from Micronot, Newbury Park, CA, has an industry-standard 58mm synchro housing and is installed like a conventional encoder. It optically connects to an MR310 module via a multimode fiberoptic link. The encoder operates from 15 to 32 Vdc and offers a range of standard interface...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Axis Compensation Unit

Schunk Inc., Morrisville, NC, has introduced two-axis compensation units. The AGE-F is self-centering using spring force and compensates for deviations of up to 5mm in the X and Y axis. Three spring rates are available for each of four sizes, which can be preloaded to specific sizes through an adjustment screw.

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Designing Electro-Optical Sensors Using Collaborative Systems Engineering Technology

About 25% of space-borne electro-optical (EO) sensor programs in both the civil and National Security Space (NSS) communities have experienced reduced on-orbit reliability, as well as cost and schedule overruns of 100% or more1-3. Many of these EO...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Choosing Optics for Medical Lasers

Designers of medical equipment using lasers must be careful in their selection of optical components in order to ensure safe and reliable operation. The high power density and narrow wavelength range of lasers create problems not found in other medical optics such as microscopes and cameras. Proper selection of...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Product of the Month: Short-Pulse Ultrafast Laser

Newport Corporation’s Spectra-Physics® Lasers Division (Mountain View, CA) introduces the Mai Tai SP, the first fully-automated, hands-free 60nm to responding to near transform-limited pulse widths from ® technology and proprietary EternAlignTM permanent optics mounting technology to ensure...

Products : Photonics/Optics
VGA Cameras

Basler Vision Technologies (Ahrensburg, Germanay) has introduced four new scout 120gm VGA cameras based on Sony’s ICX618 sensor. The cameras feature a compact 29 mm × 44 mm × 73.7 mm housing and are equipped with a C- or CS-mount lens adapter. They are available in monochrome and color, and with a Gigabit Ethernet or IEEE 1394b...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Gamma-Ray Spectrometer

ORTEC® (Oak Ridge, TN) offers the trans-SPEC DX-100 hand-held gamma-ray spectroscopic instruments that are suitable for a variety of in situ applications. The trans-SPEC DX-100 features a high-purity Germanium (HPGE) detector that eliminates the need for liquid nitrogen cooling, and has greater than 40% relative...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Vision Software

Cognex (Natick, MA) has released VisionPro 5.2 hardware-independent vision software that features SearchMaxTM and Color ExtractorTM color tools. SearchMax uses color features to search for objects, and Color Extractor locates colored regions in complex scenes with very minimal training. Color Extractor is...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Machine Vision Software

DALSA Corporation (Ontario, Canada) has advanced the color capability of its Sapera Essential software for machine vision applications. The cost-effective machine vision software toolkit bundles board-level acquisition and control with advanced image processing capability. Hardware independent, Sapera Essential offers...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Photodarkening-Resistant Fibers

nLIGHT (Vancouver, WA) has released highly doped, photodarkening-resistant ytterbium fibers with up to 60% higher absorption at 920nm and pump conversion efficiencies routinely over 75%. The LIEKKITM Yb2000 fibers are available in core/clad geometries ranging from 7/125 μm to 30/250 μm in non-polarization and...

Products : Photonics/Optics

OPTEK Technology (Carrollton, TX) introduces OUE8A ultraviolet LEDs in the UV-A spectrum. OUE8A UV LEDs are offered in a variety of wavelengths and are housed in hermetic TO-46 metal can packages. The UV LEDs are suitable for medical and industrial applications including phototherapy treatment; dental applications; fluorescence and...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Ambient Light Sensor ICs

ROHM Semiconductor (San Diego, CA) releases analog and digital Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) ICs for the control of LED backlighting for LCD-equipped devices. Featuring ROHM’s proprietary trimming process and use of multiple photodiodes with different junction depths, the ALS ICs provide an accurate output with little...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Digital Wavefront Analyzing System

DataRay (Boulder Creek, CA) introduces PhaseProTM, a Digital Wavefront Analyzing system that measures intensity and wavefront phase with high resolution in real-time in one shot. PhasePro employs patented data reduction techniques and custom optics to process simultaneous beam images from two planes...

Products : Photonics/Optics
DUV Dynamic Interferometer

The FizCam DUV interferometer from 4D Technology (Tucson, AZ) provides accurate measurement of optics and optical systems at 193 nm wavelength (deep ultra-violet), even in the presence of vibration and air turbulence. The FizCam DUV incorporates a single camera, high-speed optical phase sensor that measures in less...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Thin Film Measurement Instrument

The Craic Technologies QDI 2010 FilmTM is available from Elliot Scientific (Hertfordshire, UK). The QDI 2010 Film is a specialized instrument developed from the existing QDI 2010 UV-VIS-NIR microspectrophotometer, combining UV microscopy and microspectroscopy into one tool. The QDI 2010 Film can...

Products : Photonics/Optics
LED Color Correction Filters

Abrisa (Santa Paula, CA) has introduced color correction filters for energy-efficient LEDs. The durable LED filters are ideal for interior and architectural lighting design, and can be easily interchanged to achieve color variations, subtle diffusion, or to create a specific lighting atmosphere. The color correction...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Marking Laser

The TruMark 3010 marking laser from TRUMPF (Farmington, CT) is suitable for users who need to mark small batches or individual workpieces. The marking laser features user-friendliness, compact size, and low maintenance. Due to a convection-cooled laser head, the TruMark 3010 is a silent companion without creating unwanted air-flow...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Organic Photovoltaic Technology

Cytec Industries (Woodland Park, NJ) and IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) have collaborated to develop a commercially viable technology for organic photovoltaic devices with enhanced stability and extended lifetime. The operational lifetime of organic solar cells must be improved to extend beyond 5 years. Intrinsic...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Specialty Fibers for Er:YAG Lasers

Infrared Fiber Systems (Silver Spring, MD) produces HPTM Fiber, a Germanium Oxide glass fiber for use with Er:YAG and Er:YSGG lasers. Transmission range is from visible to 3.0 microns, with typical absorption of 0.5 dB/m at 2.94 microns and 0.25 dB/m at 2.79 microns. HP Fiber is non-toxic, has good...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Fiber Optic Switches

New fiber optic switches from Leoni (Nurnberg, Germany) offer reproducibility in the range of 0.1%, they can act up to 50 Hz, and they have ed as well. Up to 16 output channels can be provided by cascading switches. All types of quartz fibers, from single-mode types up to 16 output channels, can be inserted.

Products : Photonics/Optics
Light Guide Foils

CoActive Technologies KDM (Newton, MA) has expanded its family of light guide foils to include devices with a thickness of less than 200μm. The light guide foils are designed to evenly distribute light from side-firing LEDs, providing bright, uniform illumination of keypads for handheld electronic devices. Backlight coloring...

Products : Photonics/Optics
High-Speed Nanopositioner

The new Nano-LPQ piezo nanopositioner from Mad City Labs (Madison, WI) is the lowest profile high speed XYZ nanopositioner available and offers 75 × 75 × 50μm travel with picometer position noise under closed loop control. The Nano-LPQ features equal millisecond response times in XYZ, an integrated sample holder,...

Quality Counts

As my post-show coverage of Design & Manufacturing Midwest winds down, the focus is on quality. A number of products were on display that promise to help engineers make the right design decisions, and then ensure that their products are top-notch.

Autodesk showcased its Digital Prototyping solutions, including Moldflow...


On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation


Articles: Materials

Lightweighting in Aerospace Component and System Design

NASA Spinoff: Electronics & Computers

Sterilizing Fogger Cleans Ambulances with a Breeze

Articles: Motion Control

Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Multiple Sensors Aid in Development of an Electrical Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Gap Welding Preforms