Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
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

Ternary Content Addressable Memory

Renesas Technology America (San Jose, CA) now offers the TCAM (Ternary Content Addressable Memory) Series of memory products to enable high-speed packet processing for networking equipment such as routers and switches. The first product in the series is the R8A20410BG TCAM, which has a capacity of 20 Mbits and delivers high-speed search performance of up to 360 MSPS (mega-searches per second)/Table. TCAM memory cells can store three data states: 0, 1, and X (“Don’t Care”). It is suitable for applications such as networking equipment because it achieves deterministic, high-speed searches by using simultaneous parallel operation to compare data strings input from an external device with data strings stored in the memory and outputting the matches.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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LPDDR2 Compliance and Protocol Test Tools

Agilent Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced a new comprehensive low-power double data rate 2 (LPDDR2) compliance and protocol test application package and industry-first LPDDR2 ball-grid array (BGA) probes. The Agilent N5413B LPDDR2 test application, which runs on Agilent Infiniium 9000 Series oscilloscopes, provides LPDDR2 physical-layer compliance measurements. The Agilent B4623A LPDDR2 bus decoder and the B4622A DDR protocol compliance tool, which run on the Agilent 16900 Series logic analyzers, provide debug and protocol compliance measurements.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Single-Chip OTN Platform

Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, Canada) has introduced ClockCenter, a platform for high-speed optical transport network (OTN) and communications equipment. ClockCenter synchronous products synchronize “any rate, any port, all the time,” meaning the single-chip solution accepts and generates any frequency (1 kHz to 720 MHz) required to support all communication services delivered over optical and Ethernet networks. The ClockCenter free run products are suitable for designing equipment for a range of applications that have traditionally relied on multiple oscillators, logic converters, and fan outs to time processors, memory chips, PHY chips, and more. The free run clock products allow equipment manufacturers to replace multiple external components with an integrated single-chip device.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Holographic Vortex Coronagraph

A holographic vortex coronagraph (HVC) has been proposed as an improvement over conventional coronagraphs for use in high-contrast astronomical imaging for detecting planets, dust disks, and other broadband light scatterers in the vicinities of stars other than the Sun. Because such light scatterers are so faint relative to their parent stars, in order to be able to detect them, it is necessary to effect ultra-high-contrast (typically by a factor of the order of 1010) suppression of broadband light from the stars. Unfortunately, the performances of conventional coronagraphs are limited by low throughput, dispersion, and difficulty of satisfying challenging manufacturing requirements. The HVC concept offers the potential to overcome these limitations.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sun and solar, Product development
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Photon Counting Using Edge-Detection Algorithm

New applications such as high-data-rate, photon-starved, free-space optical communications require photon counting at flux rates into gigaphoton-per-second regimes coupled with sub-nanosecond timing accuracy. Current single-photon detectors that are capable of handling such operating conditions are designed in an array format and produce output pulses that span multiple sample times. In order to discern one pulse from another and not to over-count the number of incoming photons, a detection algorithm must be applied to the sampled detector output pulses. As flux rates increase, the ability to implement such a detection algorithm becomes difficult within a digital processor that may reside within a field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Mathematical models, Communication protocols, Integrated circuits, Optics, Communication protocols, Integrated circuits, Optics
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Optical Structural Health Monitoring Device

This non-destructive, optical fatigue detection and monitoring system relies on a small and unobtrusive light-scattering sensor that is installed on a component at the beginning of its life in order to periodically scan the component in situ. The method involves using a laser beam to scan the surface of the monitored component. The device scans a laser spot over a metal surface to which it is attached. As the laser beam scans the surface, disruptions in the surface cause increases in scattered light intensity. As the disruptions in the surface grow, they will cause the light to scatter more. Over time, the scattering intensities over the scanned line can be compared to detect changes in the metal surface to find cracks, crack precursors, or corrosion. This periodic monitoring of the surface can be used to indicate the degree of fatigue damage on a component and allow one to predict the remaining life and/or incipient mechanical failure of the monitored component.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Aircraft structures, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Fatigue, Non-destructive tests
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Cooling Lasers with Thin-Film Thermoelectric Coolers

Laser diodes for telecommunications have traditionally used thermoelectric coolers (TECs) for precision temperature control to improve diode output levels and maintain wavelength integrity. A major trend for photonics in telecommunications has been the move to more integrated packaging that is smaller and simpler in structure in order to lower costs. This, in turn, has opened the door for higher volume manufacturing. In the course of this transition, conventional TEC solutions have become increasingly difficult to implement as conventional bulk thermoelectric technology has not kept pace with the size and power density requirements for next generation devices.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Articles, Photonics, Lasers, Telecommunications, Lasers, Telecommunications, Thermal management, Thermal management, Packaging
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Tunable Bandpass Filters

The ubiquitous techniques of fluorescence and Raman imaging and spectroscopy rely heavily on spectrally precise, high-quality and high-throughput optical filter technologies. As both fluorescence and Raman-based techniques move from traditional R&D-based environments into medical and clinical (diagnostic) settings, even higher demands are placed on system performance. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to improve system components and architectures to meet the demanding challenges often encountered in biological applications.

Posted in: Applications, ptb catchall, Application Briefs, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Spectroscopy, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Spectroscopy
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Holographic Vortex Coronagraph

A holographic vortex coronagraph (HVC) has been proposed as an improvement over conventional coronagraphs for use in high-contrast astronomical imaging for detecting planets, dust disks, and other broadband light scatterers in the vicinities of stars other than the Sun. Because such light scatterers are so faint relative to their parent stars, in order to be able to detect them, it is necessary to effect ultra-high-contrast (typically by a factor of the order of 1010) suppression of broadband light from the stars. Unfortunately, the performances of conventional coronagraphs are limited by low throughput, dispersion, and difficulty of satisfying challenging manufacturing requirements. The HVC concept offers the potential to overcome these limitations.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Briefs, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Performance upgrades, Noise, Noise, Visibility
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Photon Counting Using Edge-Detection Algorithm

New applications such as high-data-rate, photon-starved, free-space optical communications require photon counting at flux rates into gigaphoton-per-second regimes coupled with sub-nanosecond timing accuracy. Current single-photon detectors that are capable of handling such operating conditions are designed in an array format and produce output pulses that span multiple sample times. In order to discern one pulse from another and not to over-count the number of incoming photons, a detection algorithm must be applied to the sampled detector output pulses. As flux rates increase, the ability to implement such a detection algorithm becomes difficult within a digital processor that may reside within a field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

Posted in: ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Briefs, Photonics, Mathematical models, Fiber optics, Integrated circuits, Fiber optics, Integrated circuits
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