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

CoaXPress Blazes Trail for Faster, Higher Quality Machine Vision

Introduced in 2010, CoaXPress (CXP) has become a leading standard for high-end machine vision, as well as life sciences, security, and defense applications. The CXP standard enables sending high-speed asymmetric serial data over long distances using standard 75-ohm coaxial cable. It currently supports speeds up to 6.25 Gb/S per link. However, the use of multiple links allows scaling up of bandwidth to meet the needs of a specific application. In addition, CXP enables control of the camera and supply of 24V at up to 13W of power per cable — all over the same coaxial cable.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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Improved Surface Characterization with AFM Imaging

To shrink device size yet still tightly control performance, new technology often requires increasingly stringent surface specifications. Characterization tools, in turn, must keep pace by providing higher resolution, faster throughput, and more functionality. The atomic force microscope (AFM) is well known as a high-resolution imaging technique, but its characterization power and ease of use have increased significantly over the years.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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Linear Encoders Enable More Accurate Observation of the Sun

HEIDENHAIN Corporation
Schaumburg, IL
www.heidenhain.com

Scientists know surprisingly little about what happens on the Sun. Solar researchers want to change this with the new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS) in Freiburg, Germany is developing a Visible Tunable Filter (VTF) for this project. With a mirror diameter of four meters, it will be the largest solar telescope in the world, and therefore will provide a very detailed view of the Sun’s surface. The filter adjustment is controlled by HEIDENHAIN linear encoders with an accuracy of under one nanometer.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Sun and solar, Suppliers
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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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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.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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Robotic Vision Keeps an Assembly Plant at Home

A major manufacturer of electromechanical products had been operating six separate indexing assembly machines, each producing one of a family of more than 75 different products at about 40 parts per minute. The machines frequently sat idle as demand fluctuated for the various products. Labor expenses were high since each machine required a dedicated operator. The manufacturer considered moving the six machines and their entire production offshore to reduce labor expenses and save floor space at its European facility.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Robotics, Inspections
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Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors

The effectiveness of airborne search and rescue, navigation, and situational awareness tasks is predicated on the availability of high-resolution imagery that provides pilots with a clear picture and the widest possible field of view. While the human eye is extremely high resolution with an unmatched ability to detect high-spatial-frequency (HSF) objects across a wide field of regard, human vision can easily fatigue, is subject to environmental conditions, and is vastly degraded at night.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Rescue operations, Aircraft
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Choosing a Light and Color Measurement System for LEDs

LED-based lighting and display systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their low cost, flexibility, and efficiency. Measuring the light and color output of LEDs is, therefore, becoming more important as their performance is compared to and evaluated against traditional technologies. In addition, inherent performance variations from device to device must be understood and controlled.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, LEDs, Lighting, Photonics, Measurements, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Performance tests
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Miniature Camera Mimics Eagle's Eye

A tiny, 3D-printed “eagle-eye” camera developed at the University of Stuttgart in Germany mimics the vision of some of nature's sharpest predators. The “foveated” imaging system, named after the fovea part of the eye, provides a high central acuity that could support new applications in optical sensors, endoscopy, and surveillance drones.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Biomechanics
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Optical Fiber for NASA's Next Climate-Viewing Satellite

Polymicro Technologies™ optical fiber
Molex
Lisle, IL
1-800-78MOLEX
www.molex.com
Posted in: Application Briefs, Fiber Optics, Optics, Fiber optics, Fiber optics, Weather and climate, Polymers, Satellites
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