Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

The Use of Parylene as an Advanced Conformal Coating for Increased Reliability

Heightened demands for performance and reliability often require conformal coating solutions to provide protection from threatening environments. This is particularly true in the dynamic world of electronic devices where increased complexity on smaller and smaller components poses new challenges for design and manufacturing engineers alike. Device and component manufacturers often seek key competitive advantages through the use of conformal coatings, with the driving force to enhance one or more specific properties. Included may be electrical and barrier properties, dry film lubricity or biocompatibility.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Upcoming Webinars, Coatings & Adhesives

3D Printing’s Impact on the Value Chain

Over the past several decades, 3D printing has expanded into markets in unique ways as innovators have embraced the technology. It wasn’t until the last few years, however, that its potential has been more broadly realized. During this awakening, there has been a rise in claims that the technology will disrupt traditional value chains. However, most businesses who utilize 3D printing have not yet witnessed changes due to a slow moving shift in corporate leaders’ understanding of the technology’s business value.

Posted in: White Papers, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

Will "print-and-go" structures lead to printable robots?

As seen in this week's Tech Briefs TV video, MIT researchers envision many possibilities for devices that self-fold without external stimuli.

Do you?

Will "print-and-go" structures lead to printable robots?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Robotics

2.2-Micron, Uncooled, InGaAs Photodiodes and Balanced Photoreceivers up to 25-GHz Bandwidth

These photodiodes have applications in LiDAR sensors, telecommunications links, and pulsed laser systems.

Traditional applications for 2-micron photodetectors have been largely dominated by passive remote sensing where detectors having bandwidth of even one megahertz are deemed sufficient. The onus in such applications is to achieve low dark current through active cooling. The advent of high-power, 2-micron-wavelength lasers has made coherent LiDARs viable for active sensing applications. Such a system needs photodetectors that can handle high local oscillator optical power and have large bandwidth. Through a combination of high coherent gain and small integration time, a large signal-to-noise ratio can be achieved. Operation at high optical power levels reduces the significance of photodiodes' dark current. As a result, uncooled operation at room temperature is feasible, simplifying the overall instrument design.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics

PC-Board-Mountable Corrosion Sensors

These sensors address the problem of corrosion in microelectronics in many different applications.

Corrosion is a pervasive and expensive problem in applications ranging from construction to microelectronics. Corrosion has been widely studied in theories, and empirical studies exist for common materials, material combinations, and myriad environmental conditions. In order for microelectronic devices to perform and function properly, high-reliability packaging is important. Failure of microelectronic devices and packages not only causes a malfunction of the devices themselves, but can lead to catastrophic events for entire systems, which may cause loss of life, property, and safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

Gas Sensing System Employing Raman Scattering

This system identifies and characterizes various gases in a mixture or sample, and monitors and controls industrial processes or reactions.

The detection and characterization of molecular gases in a sample is a relatively difficult challenge. Usually, this task is relegated to expensive and time-consuming processes like mass spectrometry and gas chromatography. Furthermore, numerous industrial applications require such gas-phase analysis for pollution and process control; for example, in large, natural-gas-fired turbine electricity generators, large quantities of natural gas are mixed with air and burned. Because natural gas comes from a variety of sources, the composition of the gas changes often. If the composition of natural gas were known a-priori, turbine efficiency could be improved by adjusting the fuel/air mixture and other operating parameters. This control capability requires measurement of the components of the natural gas to better than 0.1% accuracy, with the measurement being performed at least once every second. There is currently no commercially available sensor or sensing system that can measure all of the natural-gas components in one second.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Opened in 1947 on the former site of the U.S. military's Camp Upton in New York, Brookhaven National Lab's (BNL) initial mission centered on the peaceful exploration of the atom. Particle accelerators, leading chemistry and biology experiments, and visionary scientists soon joined research reactors, and Brookhaven began innovation and exploration. The Lab's new mission is to perform basic and applied research including nuclear and high-energy physics, physics and chemistry of materials, nanoscience, energy and environmental research, national security and nonproliferation, neurosciences, structural biology, and computational sciences. Over its history, Brookhaven Lab has housed three research reactors, one-of-a-kind particle accelerators, and other facilities.

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab

AUGMENTED REALITY: Beyond Gaming to Real-World Solutions

Ask a stranger off the street what Virtual Reality (VR) is or how it works, and most people will have some inclination of what the technology entails; however, ask that same person about Augmented Reality (AR), and the answers are less likely to be easily gained. Maybe someone will talk about the gaming aspect of the technology, or its earliest incarnation in the failed Google Glass.

Posted in: Articles, Data Acquisition, Simulation Software

Absorbent Polymer Reinforcing Fiber

This material improves mechanical properties without degrading their absorption performance.

Absorbent polymers can be used, for instance, to absorb hydrocarbons from an aqueous medium such as the absorption of oil from water. In some configurations, conventional absorbent polymers are contained within a permeable material; for example, conventional spill “socks” and booms can hold an absorbent polymer within a fabric to enable the absorbent polymer to be applied directly to the site of interest. Moreover, conventional absorbent booms can float on a water surface to help contain a spill from spreading beyond the boom. This application, however, requires the absorbent polymer to be contained within a permeable membrane or fabric.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

MSET Industrial Early Warning System

MSET is applicable to any industry in which continuous operation and safety are imperative, including the power industry, manufacturing, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals.

System breakdowns in modern industrial environments can result in millions of dollars in lost time and productivity, and even the loss of life and property. In the utilities industry — where the continuous operation of coolant pumps is essential — the breakdown of a single pump can result in a loss of as much as $10 million in downtime.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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