Carbon Nanotube-Based Coatings Provide Extremely-High Surface Emissivity

Santa Barbara Infrared (SBIR) and Surrey NanoSystems (SNS) have partnered to produce a line of extended-area blackbody sources with exceptionally-high emissivity and radiometric accuracy. The emitter plates in these sources feature a carbon nanotube (CNT) based coating with remarkable light-trapping properties. This ultra-black coating was developed by SNS to satisfy a broad range of applications requiring surfaces with extremely low reflectance. The resulting blackbody sources provide more accurate infrared (IR) radiometric calibration than previously achievable by drastically reducing errors due to reflected IR light from the surrounding environment. The coating also works to reduce stray light in optical and IR imaging systems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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High-Resolution Imaging with Conventional Microscopes

MIT researchers have developed a method for making extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples at a fraction of the cost of other techniques, yet with similar resolution. The new technique relies on expanding tissue before imaging it with a conventional light microscope. Two years ago, the team showed that it was possible to expand tissue volumes 100-fold, resulting in an image resolution of about 60 nanometers. Now, they have shown that expanding the tissue a second time before imaging can boost the resolution to about 25 nanometers.

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Cinematography on the Fly

In recent years, a host of Hollywood blockbusters, including “The Fast and the Furious 7,” “Jurassic World,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” have included aerial tracking shots provided by drone helicopters outfitted with cameras. Those shots required separate operators for the drones and the cameras, and careful planning to avoid collisions. But a team of researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and ETH Zurich hope to make drone cinematography more accessible, simple, and reliable.

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Microscope Can Scan Tumors During Surgery

When women undergo lumpectomies to remove breast cancer, doctors try to remove all the cancerous tissue while conserving as much of the healthy breast tissue as possible. But currently there's no reliable way to determine during surgery whether the excised tissue is completely cancer-free at its margins — the proof that doctors need to be confident that they have removed the entire tumor. It can take several days for pathologists using conventional methods to process and analyze the tissue.

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New Microscopy Method Breaks Color Barrier of Optical Imaging

Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward breaking the so-called “color barrier” of light microscopy for biological systems, allowing for much more comprehensive, system-wide labeling and imaging of a greater number of biomolecules in living cells and tissues than is currently attainable. The advancement has the potential for many future applications, including helping to guide the development of therapies to treat and cure disease.

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Changing the Nature of Optics in One Step

Optical lenses that can see features smaller than the wavelength of light cannot be made from conventional materials. Creating “hyperlenses” that can take ultra-sharp images needs both designer materials (metamaterials) and innovative optics to be developed. Current methods for fabricating such synthetic metamaterials are complicated and involve assembling artificial cells and patterning processes. To improve the process, Texas A&M scientists developed a one-step method, which directs the self-assembly of metallic gold pillars into a special oxide using pulsed laser deposition.

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How to Test Devices Used in Optical Communications Systems

As signal rates approach 50 Gb/s, bandwidth demand has outpaced conventional circuit boards. Engineers are now turning to PAM4 signaling rather than conventional NRZ as the most viable solution to these design challenges.

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Neuroimaging Technique May Help Predict Autism Among High-Risk Infants

According to a recent study, functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) may predict which high-risk, 6-month-old infants will develop autism spectrum disorder by age 2 years.

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New Microscope Uses Adaptable Mirror to Create Clearer Images

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NBIB) has developed a microscope that increases resolution and contrast in thick biological samples. The new microscope improves on its predecessor by combining two-photon laser scanning microscopy (2PM) with instant structured illumination microscopy (ISIM). Key to the development, was including adaptive optics (AO) to rapidly correct distortions.

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Flexible Liquid Lens Simplifies Inspection

When you buy a new car, you can choose from a wide range of exterior and interior features, transmission and dynamics, and safety bundles, to configure your individual vehicle. From the point of view of engine manufacturing, this entails a wide range of designs and sizes. To meet demands for high quality, the manufacturer must test their engines according to industry-specific guidelines and quality standards. Industrial vision systems make an important contribution to quality assurance and increased efficiency in engine manufacturing. There used to only be a small range of products, whereas nowadays fully automated evaluation of a wide variety of large components and complex geometries is required. A single component may call for as many as 100 features to be inspected in different positions.

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