Fabricating Optical Mirrors for Use in Outer Space Measurements

There are many ways to manufacture an optic depending on the complexity of the component and the application. From choosing the best substrate, to detailing the numerous operations required to make the optic, all the while considering tight tolerances and other specifications. This article highlights the precision needed to successfully fabricate the mirrors for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment’s (HETDEX’s) Visible Integral Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs (VIRUS) unit which was designed to measure dark energy in outer space.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Optics, Measuring Instruments, Mirrors, Measurements, Fabrication
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High-Speed Cameras Help Digital Image Correlation Show Its Strength

Digital Image Correlation (DIC) using high-speed cameras is gaining in popularity as a method for measuring material deformation and strain. That popularity is based on some real advantages of DIC over traditional sensors, and supported by advances in camera capabilities, integrator software, and new measurement techniques.

Posted in: White Papers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Physical Sciences, Test & Measurement
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Diffuse Reflectance Probe

The Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) Diffuse Reflectance Probe (DR-Probe) measures 45° diffuse reflectance, enhancing UV-Vis and NIR spectroscopy results. The DR-Probe integrates a light source and collection optics into one unit. With the probe’s collection optics fixed in place relative to the light source, the measurement geometry is constant. An included standoff accessory ensures a consistent 40 mm focal length between the probe and the sample. The DR-Probe has rugged, all-metal construction for durability, and its 6W tungsten halogen bulb has a 10,000-hour lifetime.

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Posted in: Products, Optics, Photonics, Instrumentation
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Signal Source Challenges Facing Quantum Computing and Research

Today there is a huge rush to explore quantum phenomena and develop technologies based on quantum physics. These technologies range from quantum computing to new communications schemes and have the potential to revolutionize the world. In developing these technologies, there are common challenges facing researchers who are using signal sources to stimulate, measure, and get feedback from their quantum experiments.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Test & Measurement
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How to Make Low Flow Measurements Using Turbine Flow Meters

Accurate low flow measurement represents significant challenges in many applications. Some typical low flow applications in the aerospace market include: small UAV fuel consumption, satellite thruster fuel consumption, and fuel/chemical/water injection. The low dynamic energy associated with flow rates down to 0.001 GPM exceed the capabilities of most mechanical flow meters and force the use of less accurate flow meter technologies.

Posted in: White Papers, Mechanical Components, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Instrumentation
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High-Resolution Surface Measurement

Inspectors who are assessing the severity of defects and the dimensions of small features on precision machined surfaces are limited by the capabilities of existing measurement techniques. A new type of instrument has been developed that enables direct, non-contact inspection of precision surfaces in shop floor environments. By combining the resolution of optical techniques with the portability of a handheld gauge, the new technology gives inspectors an important tool for finding and quantifying critical features on machined components.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Fiber optics, Fiber optics, Tools and equipment, Inspections
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Optical Fiber Sensors for Infrastructure Monitoring

Virtually every type of public infrastructure — including bridges, pipelines, tunnels, foundations, roadways, dams, etc. — is subject to factors that can degrade it or lead to malfunctions. These structural problems can be the result of deterioration, improper construction methods, seismic activity, or nearby construction work. Although electrical strain gauges have long been used for monitoring structural changes, they sometimes lack the durability and integrity necessary to provide accurate, actionable information over extended periods.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Test & Measurement, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Inspections, Roads and highways
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ECG Small Signal General and Analysis

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is the most common way to identify various ailments, especially when the ailment is related to the heart. To perform an ECG, the medical personnel places the leads on the patient’s skin. The leads measure the heart’s electrical activity of one heartbeat cycle and record it as a continuous line tracing on paper to produce a graph. The ECG signal may indicate:

Posted in: Articles, Diagnostics, Medical, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Oscilloscopes, Oscilloscopes, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies
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Automating Roadbed Testing Before Paving

The normal road construction process involves subgrade (the existing soil) preparation followed by placement of an aggregate layer, and then the pavement surface layer (asphalt or concrete). In practice, most highways are designed using a set of assumptions that is sufficiently conservative to ensure that the roadway will meet its minimum specifications over its design life. The cost of the pavement layer can be optimized by testing the firmness of the prepared roadbed before paving. The testing process validates the basic design assumptions, and enables the amount of pavement to be tailored or optimized for each segment of the road. Ingios Geotechnics (Northfield, MN) was formed to develop and manufacture equipment to automate the process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automotive, Test & Measurement, Product development, Automation, Test procedures, Roads and highways, Construction vehicles and equipment
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A 40-Year Legacy and Excitement for the Future

As I approach retirement after 40 years as CEO of National Instruments (NI), I am reminded of the great progress and innovations the test and measurement industry has witnessed over that time. We have gone from an industry driven by vacuum tube technology in the era of General Radio, to a time where the transistor ruled with Hewlett-Packard, to today where software truly is the instrument — a transition that NI helped shepherd.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Test & Measurement, Measurements, People and personalities, Technical reference, Technical review
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