Photonics

Spatial Resolution and Contrast of a Focused Diffractive Plenoptic Camera

The concept of an imaging system that captures both spatial and spectral information has existed for a while. An example of one such imaging system that encodes both location and wavelength into an image is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS).

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics
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Combating Infrared Threats on the Battlefield

There have been several news headlines lately about offenders pointing commercial lasers at helicopters or police personnel, temporarily blinding and distracting them. An increasing number of “laser assault” incidents have led to tougher penalties with fines and jail time in various countries. The lasers typically used in these attacks operate in the visible light spectrum; therefore, these lasers can be blocked by special absorbing optical dyes contained in special laser defense eyewear.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Sensors
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Optical Interconnect Design Challenges in Space

More and more aerospace applications are incorporating fiber optics technology into their designs due to its many advantages over copper. The thinner fiber solutions provide higher speed over a longer distance, are more reliable, offer higher noise immunity and, in many cases, lower the cost of ownership. Additionally, for the same diameter, fiber can pack more data than copper. Fiber is faster than the category 5 and 6 copper cables, approaching the speed of light (31% lower). For copper, pushing the speed beyond 1G is a challenge, but for fiber 10G is quite common. Copper is limited by distance. Usually, signal degradation with copper will occur after about 90 meters (2.7 km maximum for custom systems), while fiber can achieve more than 1.5 km without a problem and can deliver over 80 km depending on transmission signal quality.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Fiber Optics, Optical Components, Optics
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Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System

AeroVironment, Inc.
Monrovia, CA
626-357-9983
www.avinc.com

AeroVironment, Inc., a specialist in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, and ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, a system and software house in Germany for development and service, recently announced that the German Navy has acquired the AeroVironment Puma™ maritime unmanned aircraft system. The Puma systems will include the Mantis i45 sensor and pocket Remote Video Terminal (p/RVT). AeroVironment partnered with ESG to satisfy the requirement of the Bundesamt fur Ausrustung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) for an urgent operational requirement.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aeronautics, Aviation, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Laser-Based System Could Expand Space-to-Ground Communication

A new research project announced recently as a collaboration between the Georgia Institute of Technology and satellite communications provider Xenesis could help open the bottleneck that now limits the flow of data from Earth-orbiting satellites to ground stations.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Data Acquisition, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Data Acquisition
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Optical Seeker for Munitions Systems

BAE Systems
Nashua, NH
603-885-4321
www.baesystems.com

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, has awarded BAE Systems a $13.1 million contract to demonstrate a new, cost-effective optical seeker for precision-guided munitions. The seeker is designed to improve navigation, as well as automate target location and homing, for different types of munitions that are used in GPS-denied and other contested environments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Propulsion, Automation
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Taming the Thermal Behavior of Solid-State Military Lasers

Laser diodes and laser diode arrays (LDAs) are widely used throughout military systems, for sighting and range finding, but also at high power levels as offensive and defensive weapons. In companion with much higher-power chemical lasers, these high-power optical sources can generate kilowatts of optical power (as arrays) for use in neutralizing incoming missiles, rockets, and armaments and for long-distance offensive strikes. But laser diodes are also still inefficient, and a great deal of the energy supplied to a laser diode or an LDA is converted into heat, which must be safely dissipated to ensure a long operating lifetime for the solid-state devices.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Thermal Management, Ceramics, Materials, Metals, Packaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs
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Fiber Optic Rotary Joints Add a Spin to Sensing, Mobile, and Robotic Fiber Systems

To the passing optical signals, fiberoptic rotary joints (FORJs) are nothing more than fiber connectors, which provide connection between one or multiple fibers. Their unrestricted ability to rotate, however, gives them a critical role in many sensing, mobile, and robotic fiber systems such as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), aerostat radars, submarines, satellite antennae, OCT (optical coherence tomography), mining vehicles, cranes, wind turbines, robotic vehicles, broadcasting (mobile cameras), etc. This article discusses some of the applications where optical rotary joints are indispensable.

www.princetel.com

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Photonics
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Autonomous Helicopters

Northrop Grumman Corporation
Falls Church, VA
+1 703-280-2900
www.northropgrumman.com/firescout

Fire Scout is a combat proven, autonomous helicopter system that provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Target-acquisition (ISR&T), laser designation, and battle management to tactical users without relying on manned aircraft or space-based assets. Fire Scout has the ability to operate from any air-capable ship or land base in support of persistent ISR&T requirements.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aeronautics, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Data Acquisition, Detectors
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Robotic Paint Removal System

Air Force Research Laboratory
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH
+1 937-255-0017
www.wpafb.af.mil

AFRL Materials Integrity engineers recently played a key role in enabling the safer and more efficient removal of paint from F-16 aircraft through the newly-adopted Robotic Laser Coating Removal System.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aeronautics, Aviation, Defense, Thermal Management, Coatings & Adhesives, Composites, Materials, Lasers & Laser Systems, Robotics
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