Imaging

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on imaging, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots and cameras of the future could be made of liquid crystals, thanks to a new discovery that significantly expands the potential of the chemicals already common in computer displays and digital watches. The findings are a simple and inexpensive way to manipulate the molecular properties of liquid crystals with light exposure.
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Briefs: Electronics & Computers
By using artificial intelligence, researchers are developing a system that can automatically identify buildings after disasters and make an initial determination of whether they are damaged and how serious that damage might be.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The NIST camera is made up of grids of ultrathin electrical wires, cooled to near absolute zero, in which current moves with no resistance until a wire is struck by a photon. In these superconducting-nanowire cameras, the energy imparted by even a single photon can be detected because it shuts down the superconductivity at a particular location (pixel) on the grid. Combining all the locations and intensities of all the photons makes up an image.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
An international team of researchers reports on a compact high-brightness mid-IR-driven source combining a gas-filled anti-resonant-ring photonic crystal fiber with a novel nonlinear-crystal. The tabletop source provides a seven-octave coherent spectrum from 340 nm–40,000 nm with spectral brightness 2–5 orders of magnitude higher than one of the brightest synchrotron facilities.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers at SEAS have uncovered hidden potential in metasurfaces and demonstrated optical devices that manipulate light’s polarization state with an unprecedented degree of control. Read on to learn more.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers have created a device that enables them to electronically steer and focus a beam of terahertz electromagnetic energy with extreme precision. This opens the door to high-resolution, real-time imaging devices that are hundredths the size of other radar systems and more robust than other optical systems.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed an autonomous, or self-driving, microscopy technique. It uses AI to selectively target points of interest for scanning. Read on to learn more.
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Briefs: Imaging
Researchers at Boston University recently developed a novel deblurring algorithm that improves the resolution of images with photon intensity conservation and local linearity.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
MIT researchers have developed a camera-based touch sensor that is long, curved, and shaped like a human finger. Their device provides high-resolution tactile sensing over a large area. The sensor, called the GelSight Svelte, uses two mirrors to reflect and refract light.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Imagine being able to snap a picture of extremely fast events on the order of a picosecond.
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Briefs: Imaging
To further shrink electronic devices and to lower energy consumption, the semiconductor industry is interested in using 2D materials but manufacturers need a quick and accurate method for detecting defects in these materials to determine if the material is suitable for device manufacture.
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Briefs: Weapons Systems
Researcher are finding ways to estimate a target location when light gets deflected by a disordered structure.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Processes and structures within the body that are normally hidden from the eye can be made visible through medical imaging. Scientists use imaging to...

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Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Researchers have developed the world’s smallest LED. It enables the conversion of existing mobile phone cameras into high-resolution microscopes. Smaller than the wavelength of light, the new LED was used to build the world’s smallest holographic microscope.
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Briefs: Imaging
Prompted by conversations regarding soft robotics, a research group has developed a design for a new sensor using 3D electrodes inspired by the folding patterns used in origami, able to measure a strain range of up to three times higher than a typical sensor.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
The tool shows promise for imaging brain activity in 3D with high speed and contrast.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
A team has introduced a new method for taking high-res images of fast-moving and rotating objects in space, such as satellites or debris in low-Earth orbit.
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Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will usher in a new era of laser communications.
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Briefs: Materials
Innovators at NASA Langley Research Center have developed a multi-spectral imaging pyrometer utilizing tunable optics. The system uses a conventional infrared imaging camera as the basis.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Engineers have created full-motion video technology that could potentially be used to make cameras that peer through fog, smoke, driving rain, murky water, skin, bone, and other media that reflect scattered light and obscure objects from view.
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Briefs: Imaging
A new patented software system can find the curves of motion in streaming video and images from satellites, drones, and far-range security cameras and turn them into signals to find and track moving objects as small as one pixel.
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Briefs: Lighting
A research team has developed a 3D imaging sensor that has an extremely high angular resolution — it can distinguish points of an object separated by an angular distance, of as little as 0.0018°. The sensor operates on a unique angle-to-color conversion principle.
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Briefs: Imaging
Researchers have created a new technology to assemble matter in 3D. Their concept uses multiple acoustic holograms to generate pressure fields with which solid particles, gel beads, and even biological cells can be printed.
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Briefs: Unmanned Systems
Advanced technology plays a vital role in search and rescue operations after natural disasters such as earthquakes. Thermal imaging equipment and sensitive listening devices are deployed to seek out signs of life.
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Briefs: Lighting

A wavelength of visible light is about 1,000 times larger than an electron, so the way the two affect each other is limited by that disparity. Now, researchers have come up with a way to...

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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
A novel nanostructure produces uniquely shaped light.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
The "AOM" performs complex observations with ten observation modes and 175 strategies.
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Briefs: Imaging
Inspired by the human finger, MIT researchers have developed a robotic hand that uses high-resolution touch sensing to accurately identify an object after grasping it just one time.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers are tapping into dynamically controlled LEDs to create a simple illumination system for 3D imaging.
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