Photonics/​Optics

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

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light

Numerous devices in everyday life use computerized cameras to identify objects — think of automated teller machines that can “read” handwritten dollar amounts when...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Micro-Mirror Optical Tracking and Ranging System

An innovative optical sensing and tracking system was designed to detect, track, and determine object distance and direction in a wide, full, solid angle (160 × 160°) with an extremely high...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Thermal-Compensating Optics Housing

Existing optics mounts sandwich the optic axially between two metal components, which can lead to optical surface damage and misalignment when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Thermal-compensating...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Steering-Mirror-Assisted Laser Fine Pointing

Pointing precision is a critical element of instrumentation for optical communications and ranging in space, affecting laser design, link power budgets, and SWaP. While star trackers possess...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Imaging System Makes Back Surgery Safer, Faster, Less Expensive

Researchers at Dartmouth have found a way to make back surgery safer, faster, and more cost effective. MRIs and CT scans can help surgeons identify spine problems such as...

Briefs : Internet of Things
Decoding Multiple Frames From a Single Scattered Exposure

Engineers at Duke University have developed a way to extract a sequence of images from light scattered through a mostly opaque material — or even off a wall — from one long...

Briefs : Medical
New X-Ray Scanning Method Reveals How Particles Move in Solution

A new method of X-ray scanning will allow for the visualization of many more biological molecules, providing critical information about what is inside molecules to scientists...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Ultra-Thin “Meta-Lens” Enables Full-Color Imaging

Light of different colors travels at different speeds in different materials and structures. This is why we see white light split into its constituent colors after refracting through a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Microresonators Offer Simpler Approach to Sensing With Light Pulses

Ultrashort optical pulses are becoming more and more relevant in a number of applications including distance measurement, molecular fingerprinting and ultrafast sampling....

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Imaging Technique Detects Skin Cancer Without Invasive Biopsy

Researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a non-invasive imaging technique that accurately detects skin cancer...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Enhanced X-Ray Imaging Determines Molecular Structure

For more than 100 years, X-rays have been used in crystallography to determine the structure of molecules. At the heart of the method are the principles of diffraction and superposition,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Materials Move in Response to Light

In biology, there are many examples where light induces movement or change — think of flowers and leaves turning toward sunlight. Magnetic elastomeric composites were developed that move in different...

Briefs : Aerospace
Optically Transparent Polyimide Aerogels

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have expanded their growing portfolio of aerogels to include a new optically transparent polyimide aerogel. Aerogels — low-density, highly porous,...

Briefs : Medical
3D Printer Creates Complex Biological Tissues

A technique was developed that uses a specially adapted 3D printer to build therapeutic biomaterials from multiple materials. The advance could be a step toward on-demand printing of complex...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Device Measures Laser Power in Real Time

Lasers play roles in many manufacturing processes, from welding car parts to crafting engine components with 3D printers. To control these tasks, manufacturers must ensure that their lasers fire at...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Control of the Diameter and Chiral Angle Distributions During Production of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes

Pulsed laser vaporization (PLV) production of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) on traditional Co/Ni catalyst was explored with...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hybrid, Wide-Range Detector Amplifier

Many applications require detection of both very small and very large signals. High-gain detector amplifiers provide low noise, but are easily swamped by large signals. Logarithmic amplifiers provide a...

Briefs : Medical
Shape-Shifting Material Morphs Using Heat and Light

A controllable material was developed that can transform into complex, pre-programmed shapes via light and temperature stimuli, allowing it to morph into a different shape before fully...

Briefs : Medical
Compact Device for Detecting Rheumatoid Arthritis

A device that shows the difference between healthy fingers and arthritic fingers has been developed that combines ultrasound and photoacoustics medical imaging techniques. Combining these...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ancient Pigment Can Boost Energy Efficiency

Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue absorbs visible light, it then...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
3D Inks Can Be Erased Selectively

3D printing allows for the efficient manufacture of complex geometries. A very promising method is direct laser writing in which a computer-controlled focused laser beam acts as a pen and produces the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optical Gyroscope-on-a-Chip

Gyroscopes are devices that help vehicles, drones, and wearable and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in three-dimensional space. Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Low-Light Night Vision Imaging and Video Capture

Conventional night vision goggles all use image intensification (I2) tube technology that multiplies ambient, visible, and near-infrared light several thousands of times, allowing a user to see and operate in very-low-light conditions. One shortcoming of I2 tube night vision devices is that they...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones

A process has been developed that enables the production of a 2-mm flat camera. The lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets, similar to the eyes of an insect. The facetVISION camera is...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Optimetric Measurements Over Coherent Free-Space Optical Communication

High-precision ranging (optimetric) instruments are highly desired for both space navigation and communications as well as gravitational-based science missions. Traditionally, these measurements are made with instruments solely dedicated to ranging (i.e. Doppler shift of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
New Laser for Improving Telecommunications and Computing

The first laser based on the wave physics phenomenon called bound states in the continuum (BIC) has been developed. The technology could revolutionize the development of surface...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Wide-Area Chemical Sensor

The detection and localization of gas releases, such as methane from leaking natural gas pipelines or nitrogen oxides from failing electrical equipment, require high sensitivity to the target gas and insensitivity...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion

It is relatively easy to measure small movements of large objects, but is much more difficult when the moving parts are on the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. The ability to accurately...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Portable Acousto-Optic Spectrometers

Spectrometers are widely used for applications such as chemical analysis, remote sensing, quality control, environmental monitoring, spaceborne measurements, and optical measurements. Most spectrometers...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Dynamic Optical Grating Device for Modulating Light

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel optical grating device that dynamically modulates light and is capable of controlling the spectral properties and propagation of light...

Technology Leaders

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Electric Drive Noise and Vibration Analysis

Upcoming Webinars: Medical

What Is A Sterilization Dose Audit and How are they Performed

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Solutions for Digital Battery Engineering

Upcoming Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

How to Optimize Environmental Monitoring Using Direct Mass...

Upcoming Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

How to Optimize Environmental Monitoring Using Direct Mass...

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Design and Simulation of an Inverter Power Module for Electric...