April 2009

The 2008 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future Design Contest," presented by SolidWorks, recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery &...

Briefs: Energy
Quantum-Well Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Thermophotovoltaic cells containing multiple quantum wells have been invented as improved means of conversion of thermal to electrical energy. These cells are expected to be especially useful for extracting electrical energy from combustion, waste-heat, and nuclear sources. Conversion efficiencies more than...

Features: Photonics/Optics
Taming Residual Bulk Image in CCDs

Residual bulk image (RBI) is a phenomenon observed in certain types of front side-illuminated charge-coupled devices (CCDs). A CCD is an electronic light sensor used in digital cameras. In simplest terms,...

The votes are in and the winners of the 2008 Photonics Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards have been selected.

Keeping one step ahead of our adversaries is top priority for security forces with terrorist threats growing daily around the world. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance...

Podcasts
Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky, Senior Staff Scientist, SSAI, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky is a principal investigator on several NASA and NSF grants studying topics related to cosmological bulk flows, cosmic microwave and infrared background radiation, and early stellar populations. Using the Wilkinson...

Ophir-Spiricon (Logan, UT) has introduced BeamGageTM, a new laser beam analysis system. Based on UltraCalTM, Ophir-Spiracon’s patented baseline correction algorithm that helped establish the...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Gel Imaging System

UVP (Upland, CA) has released an upgraded GelDoc-ItTMTS Imaging System with a 15" VGA screen for high resolution fluorescent imaging. The GelDoc-It TS touch screen capabilities and built-in computer minimizes equipment on...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Near-IR Cameras

FJW Optical Systems, Inc. (Palatine, IL) has released the Find-R-Scope model 85700 and 85706 Near-IR Cameras. The cameras utilize a 2.54cm (1”) PbO-PbS Super Infrared Vidicon and sophisticated electronics to provide uniform...

Products: Photonics/Optics
LED Lighting Modules

The Imaging Source (Charlotte, NC) now offers cost effective LED lighting modules, which seamlessly integrate with The Imaging Source USB, FireWire, and GigE cameras. The lighting modules feature very bright LEDs and...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Piezo Stages

Physik Instrumente (Auburn, MA) has extended its line of piezo stages for scanning microscopy applications. The P-737 Piezo Z-Focusing Stage is offered along with the stiffer, P-726 high performance microscope lens focusing...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Transmission Flat For Interferometers

Tower Optical Corp. (Boynton Beach, FL) has released a Transmission Flat, TxF, that is used in interferometers to verify the surface flatness of plano elements such as mirrors, windows, and prism...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Phototransistor Optocouplers

Everlight Electronics (Caroll-ton, TX) has introduced 4-pin SSOP phototransistor optocouplers. The phototransistor opto-couplers feature a low-profile (2mm) package, high isolation voltage (3750 Vrms), minimum...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Thin-Film Thermoelectric Cooler

Nextreme Thermal Solutions (Durham, NC) has released a thin-film thermoelectric cooler module, the OptoCooler UPF40, designed for optoelectronic applications with high heat-flux requirements. The module is...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Miniature Halogen Lamps

Welch Allyn Lighting Products (Skaneateles Falls, NY) has introduced HPX® miniature halogen lamps with enhanced ultraviolet (UV) output and increased stability. The HPX lamps produce high-quality 340nm light with...

Products: Photonics/Optics
642nm 150mW Laser Diode

Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, UK) has announced the Opnext HL6385DG, a 642nm, 150mW, single longitudinal mode semi-conductor laser diode with TE mode oscillation. The Opnext HL6385DG laser diode is a single...

Products: Photonics/Optics
LED Drivers

RECOM (Brooklyn, NY) has introduced the RCD-24-x.xx Series LED-drivers with current outputs of 300, 350, 500, 600 and 700mA, which can also be adjusted using the analog dim-function. The buck converters feature an input range of...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Dual Vision Thermal Imaging Camera

Mikron Infrared (Oakland, NJ) has introduced the M7816 Dual Vision Thermal Imaging Camera for demanding PPM applications. The camera features a 160 × 120 pixel resolution along with Mikron’s Dual Vision...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Pump Diode Laser

The AM6-940B-20-608 from Alfa-light, Inc. (Madison, WI) is a 940nm, 6W uncooled multimode laser diode for cladding-pumped telecom fiber amplifiers. The AM6-940B-20-608 device includes a thermistor for temperature tracking,...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Borescopes

GenScope, Inc. (E. Longmeadow, MA) introduces the MicroFlex, Micro SemiRigid, and MicroRigid ergonomic borescopes. With diameters of 0.6mm, the scopes are engineered for high speed inline and maintenance inspections in fast-moving...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Ruggedized Lasers

Model ML301HD and Model MIL301HD ruggedized laser diode modules from Bea Laser Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL) withstand vibration, chemical, impact, and dust conditions. Available in red or green laser beam output, these...

Products: Photonics/Optics
LED Driver

Linear Technology (Milpitas, CA) offers the LT3598, a 45V, 2.5MHz DC/DC boost mode converter designed to operate as a constant current LED driver for up to sixty white LEDs. The LT3598 can drive up to six strings of LEDs, each with up to ten 30mA white LEDs in series, while delivering efficiencies up to 90%. Its multichannel...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Portable Raman Spectroscopy Device

A portable 1064nm Raman Spectroscopy device from Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland) is based around the Andor iDus InGaAs detector array camera and Bayspec’s high throughput Volume Phase...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Laser Apparatus

Mobius Photonics (Santa Clara, CA) has been awarded U.S. Patent #7,443,903 for a new laser apparatus that has multiple synchronous amplifiers tied to one master oscillator. This fiber-based architecture scales up average...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Handheld Spectrometer

The i-LAB® Hand Held Analyzing Spectrometer from MicrOptix Technologies (Wilton, ME) performs real-time measurement and analysis of liquids and solids in the visible light range from 400–700nm. Features include a...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Damage-Resistant Mirrors

Saint-Gobain Crystals (Hiram, OH) has introduced high reflectors optimized for use with q-switched, solid-state lasers (Nd:YAG, NdYVO4, and Nd:YLF) operating in the near infrared and visible spectrum...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Dispersion Control Modules

OFS (Norcross, GA) has announced new additions to its FemtoCompTM Modules line of dispersion control technologies for ultra-short pulse lasers. The modules address the difficult-to-match, third- and...

Magnetic-field-response sensors have been developed for use in measuring levels of fluids under extreme conditions. The sensors work without wire connections or direct physical contact with...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Direct-Solve Image-Based Wavefront Sensing

A method of wavefront sensing (more precisely characterized as a method of determining the deviation of a wavefront from a nominal figure) has been invented as an improved means of assessing the performance of an optical system as affected by such imperfections as misalignments, design errors, and...

Briefs: Medical
Using Fluorescent Viruses for Detecting Bacteria in Water

A method of detecting water-borne pathogenic bacteria is based partly on established molecular-recognition and fluorescent-labeling concepts, according to which bacteria of a species of interest are labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules and the bacteria can then be detected by...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Use of UV Sources for Detection and Identification of Explosives

Measurement of Raman and native fluorescence emission using ultraviolet (UV) sources (<400 nm) on targeted materials is suitable for both sensitive detection and accurate identification of explosive materials. When the UV emission data are analyzed using a combination of...

A new gradiometer scheme uses middle loops as sensing elements in low-field superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetic resonance imaging...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Volcano Monitor: Autonomous Triggering of 'In-Situ' Sensors

In-situ sensors near volcanoes would be alerted by the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) craft to take more frequent data readings. This project involves developing a sulfur-dioxide-sensing volcano monitor that will be able to transmit its readings through an Iridium modem. The monitor, when...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wireless Devices for Temperature Monitoring

The growth of wireless instrumentation technology has provided new ways to apply temperature measurement sensors, combined with personal computers, to collect, tabulate, and analyze data. For...

A digital receiver in a 1.26-GHz spaceborne radar scatterometer now undergoing development includes a module for detecting radio-frequency interference (RFI) that could contam-inate...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modal Vibration Analysis of Large Castings

The art of experimental modal vibration analysis (MVA) has been extended to apply to large castings. This extension was made to enable the use of experimental MVA as a relatively inexpensive, simple...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Structural/Radiation-Shielding Epoxies

A development effort was directed toward formulating epoxy resins that are useful both as structural materials and as shielding against heavy-ion radiation. Hydrogen is recognized as the best element...

Integrated multilayer insulation (IMLI) is being developed as an improved alternative to conventional multilayer insulation (MLI), which is more than 50 years old. A typical conventional MLI blanket comprises...

This year’s seventh annual NASA Tech Briefs “Create the Future Design Contest,” presented by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., recognized innovation in product design in six...

Within a digital world, the parameters of real-world information (temperature, voltage, current, speed, flow, pressure, distance, etc.) used for process communications and control...

An apparatus that includes an array of multiple electrodes has been invented as a means of simultaneously testing multiple materials for their utility as oxygen-reduction catalysts...

A photonic instrument is proposed to boost the resolution for ultraviolet/optical/infrared spectral analysis and spectral imaging allowing the detection of narrow...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Composite Bipolar Plate for Unitized Fuel Cell/Electrolyzer Systems

In a substantial improvement over present alkaline systems, an advanced hybrid bipolar plate for a unitized fuel cell/ electrolyzer has been developed. This design, which operates on pure feed streams (H2/O2 and water, respectively) consists of a porous...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Consumer Products Category Winner
Universal Proprietary Water Purifying/ Conditioning Multimedia

Jim Jablonsky J&M Associates Hatfield, PA

This inexpensive and easily operated filter system removes heavy metals, arsenic, mercury,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Quantum-Well Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Thermophotovoltaic cells containing multiple quantum wells have been invented as improved means of conversion of thermal to electrical energy. The semiconductor bandgaps of the quantum wells can be tailored to be narrower than those of prior thermophotovoltaic cells, thereby enabling the cells to convert...

Briefs: Information Technology
Bounded-Angle Iterative Decoding of LDPC Codes

Bounded-angle iterative decoding is a modified version of conventional iterative decoding, conceived as a means of reducing undetected- error rates for short low-density parity-check (LDPC)...

Slip clutches are commonly used to protect against overloads, but they can solve many other problems as well. Their applications include increasing machine speeds, applying constant tension to webs...

A procedure and software to implement the procedure have been devised to enable conversion from a tree representation to a graph representation of the requirements governing the...

Off-highway tractors slog through mud, muck, and other rough terrain on a daily basis. Achieving high reliability and performance in spite of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Parallel Hybrid Vehicle Optimal Storage System

A paper reports the results of a Hybrid Diesel Vehicle Project focused on a parallel hybrid configuration suitable for diesel-powered, medium-sized, commercial vehicles commonly used for parcel delivery and shuttle buses, as the missions of these types of vehicles require frequent stops. During...

There’s a science to testing metal structures for rigidity and performance under stress. The development of new testing methodologies is continuing at a fast pace, aided...

Briefs: Medical
Anaerobic Digestion in a Flooded Densified Leachbed

A document discusses the adaptation of a patented biomass-digesting process, denoted sequential batch anaerobic composting (SEBAC), to recycling of wastes aboard a spacecraft. In SEBAC, high-solids-content biomass wastes are converted into methane, carbon dioxide, and compost.

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Heidenhain Encoders Help TRW Machine Ford SUV Parts

TRW has been making parts for the automotive industry for many years, but when Ford Automotive considered giving them the contract to manufacture the rear toe-links for their Navigator and Expedition SUVs, their traditional lathes were considered inadequate for the task. The solution was to...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Optical Encoder

The TONiC optical encoder from Renishaw, Hoffman Estates, IL, provides the accuracy of fine-pitch encoders in a rugged, simple-to-install package. It employs a compact read head (35mm long × 13.5mm wide × 10mm high for...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Machinery & Equipment Category Winner

Winner of an HP Workstation Small-Area Thin-Film Heat Flux Sensor Mahmoud Assaad
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Akron, OH

This sensor is being used in tires of all types...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pillow Blocks

Pillow blocks from Quality Bearings & Components, Garden City Park, NY, feature both locking collar and set screw types. Designated the BBXBLK-HCP and BBXBLK-UCP Series, the blocks have cast iron housings and are designed...

Articles: Medical
Medical Category Winner

Kristina Irsch Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” is the leading cause of vision loss in...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Incremental Encoder

The DFS 60 incremental encoders from Sick|Stegmann, Dayton, OH, are available in fully programmable versions to accommodate any value from 1 to 65,536 pulses per revolution. With the help of a simple programming tool,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Piezo Linear Actuator

Based on the Piezo Walk principle, the N-380/N-381 NEXACT® ceramic linear motor actuator from Physik Instrumente replaces classical lead screw actuators. It combines high forces and long travel ranges with...

Articles: Electronics & Computers
Safety & Security Category Winner
Electronic Fog, Frost, and Ice Prevention Technology

Don Skomsky
Integrity Engineering, Inc.
West Chester, PA

This electronic device prevents condensation, frost, and ice from...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Gearmotors

Designed for high torque, tight space applications, the FlexTorq™ 762 series hollow shaft offset DC gearmotors from Bison Gear & Engineering Corp., St. Charles, IL, feature either a 1.25in. (31.75mm) I.D. hollow shaft, or...

Articles: Green Design & Manufacturing
Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

Lindsay Meek Perth, Australia

This design improves the energy efficiency of a residential air conditioner by replacing the traditional reciprocating compressor (bore and stroke) with a...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Speed Regulator

The Cushion-Start Kinechek® speed regulator from Deschner Corp., Santa Ana, CA, combines the shock absorbing feature of the company’s Cushioneer® shock absorber with the Kinechek® speed regulator. The impact-absorbing...

Articles: Transportation
Transportation Category Winner
Movito Electric Scooter

Tai Chiem Melbourne, Australia

Movito is a scooter based on an electric inwheel motor, a hubless front wheel, and a modular base system. It is designed for traveling short...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Actuator

The EGC electric actuator from Festo Corp., Hauppauge, NY, is designed for high dynamic speeds and high rigidity. It can be used as an individual component adapted to third-party motors, or as a complete system. The...

Communications systems and support equipment
L-3 Communications Corp.
Communications Systems West
Salt Lake City, UT
801-594-2000
www.l-3com.com/csw/...
Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Drive

The TA333 high-power linear drive from Trust Automation, San Luis Obispo, CA, combines a Class-AB linear amplifier with pure analog throughput at currents up to 25A. Highly configurable, the drive can be used with a brushless...

PT-1880 handheld electronic labeler
Brother International
Bridgewater, NJ
908-704-1700
www.brother-usa.com

In October 2007, the crew...

NASA’s work in advanced aeronautics and space vehicle development relies on advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes such as FUN3D that rely on numerical solution of...

Kavlico, a unit of Custom Sensors & Technologies, Moorpark, CA, has introduced the P356 low-pressure gage/differential pressure sensor for applications requiring an operational life in excess of 10 years. Available...

Eye on Innovation: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product Simplification: Rediscover a Whole New Game

Product simplification is the discipline of merging the greatest performance functionality into the fewest number of parts using the most suitable and cost-effective materials and...

Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky is a principal investigator on several NASA and NSF grants studying topics related to cosmological bulk flows, cosmic...

Techs for License
Green Sewage Treatment and Water Purification Technology

A green sewage treatment and water purification technology combines water with fertilizer and biomass production. The sustainable water treatment system produces biofuel and organic fertilizer, and extracts carbon from the atmosphere. No electric power is required for sewage treatment,...

Techs for License
Odor Removal From Recycled Plastics

This technology removes odors from recycled plastics, especially high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Odors absorbed from household or industrial liquids do not affect physical properties of the polymer, but make the recycled plastic unsuitable for consumer goods. Trace amounts of polyethylene imines blended with...

Tech Needs
Generating Sodium Hydroxide from Sodium Sulfate and Calcium Hydroxide

A company produces crystalline sodium sulfate as a byproduct, using sodium hydroxide as one of many feeds within the process. They seek to use the available compounds to produce it in situ. The company seeks a process that uses sodium sulfate and calcium oxide to produce...

Tech Needs
Manufacturing Method for Joining Elastic Materials

A company seeks methods of joining identical elastic materials. The current method is to use adhesives to bond the elastic components physically, but adhesives lack the strength of a chemical bond or weld. A method of joining or bonding natural or synthetic rubber in a way that can withstand a...

Blog
China Raises Stakes in Electric Vehicle Race

As if the U.S. auto industry doesn’t already have enough problems, it looks like domestic automakers will have another competitor to deal with – China. A New York Times article said today the Chinese government has hatched a plan to be a leading producer of hybrid and all-electric vehicles over...

Supplements
Comsol News - 2009

COMSOL News 2009 is a collection of case studies on industrial multiphysics applications. Discover how GE, Waters, STMicroelectronics, ArcelorMittal and others are benefiting from using multiphysics tools by downloading your own copy of COMSOL News. Inside, you will find several examples of how your peers have cut costs,...

Blog
Giving Engineers a Hand

Manufacturing employment fell by 161,000 last month, and as we all know, most other aspects of our economy are not doing much better. Displaced engineers are finding that having skills in 3D computer-aided design could improve the success of their job search.

To that end, Dassault Systems SolidWorks has launched an...

Blog
Shrinking the Nuclear Arsenal

President Obama’s recent call for the United States to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons has met its share of skeptics concerned about national security, given unstable political and military conditions around the world. But there’s at least one group of scientists and environmental activists adamant about...

Blog
Gadget Addicts

We have become a world full of gadget addicts. Every day on my commute to and from New York City, I'm surrounded by hordes of people happily ensconced in their own little worlds, listening to music on their MP3 players, fiddling with their cell phones, madly texting associates or scanning emails on their iPhones and BlackBerries....

Blog
Bright Spots in Motion Control Market

Like other sectors, the motion control product market has been impacted by the economic downturn over the past nine months, according to a recent report by market research firm IMS Research. The sector saw the double-digit growth of the past few years slow significantly the second half of 2008 and first few...

Blog
Earth Day 2009

Today is Earth Day, the day set aside 39 years ago to inspire awareness and appreciation of the earth’s environment. There will be no shortage of commemorative activities and people pumping their chests proudly proclaiming their dedication to preserving the environment we live in. But with this country and many parts of the...

Blog
Conspiracy Theories

It’s been quite a year so far for UFO conspiracy theorists.

This month, former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who walked on the Moon in 1971 as part of the Apollo 14 mission, stated publicly that we are not alone. During a speaking engagement at the National Press Club following the Fifth Annual X-Conference,...

Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

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