Photonics

How Miniaturized Distributed Modular Architecture Advances Avionics Design

Most of today’s collision-avoidance, in-flight-entertainment (IFE), air-to-ground-communications, and other avionics systems employ electronics packaging based on the Aeronautics Radio INC (ARINC) 600 standard. Compared to the older ARINC 404 standard dating from the 1970s that defined “black box” enclosures and racks within aircraft, ARINC 600 specified a Modular Concept Unit (MCU) – the basic building block module for avionics. An ARINC 600 metal enclosure can hold up to 12 MCUs, allowing a lot of computing power to be placed in a centralized “box.” By making it possible to run numerous applications over a real-time network, ARINC 600 enabled “next generation” integrated modular avionics (IMA).

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Defense, Internet of Things, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Fiber Optics, Optics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Pathfinder Radar ISR and SAR Systems: Tactical Eyes for the Warfighter

Sandia National Laboratories’ (Albuquerque, NM) Radar Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems enable a new product paradigm in radar capabilities and modalities. With the ability to shrink sensor size, increase resolution, raise image quality, and advance realtime onboard processing, Sandia has been producing next-generation systems for nearly three decades. Sandia specializes in the full system design of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI), target recognition, and other sensor systems for the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and industry partners.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition
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Panoramic Thermal Imaging Technology

SPYNEL sensors are passive wide area surveillance systems with automatic intrusion detection and tracking capabilities. The 360° thermal sensors offer 24/7 situational awareness by detecting and tracking an unlimited number of targets in real time, on land, air and sea. HGH Infrared Systems recently won a multi-million contract from a leading shipyard, to equip three new warships with the latest generation of SPYNEL panoramic thermal cameras.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Mechanical Components, Optical Components, Optics, Detectors, Sensors
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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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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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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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Laser Detecting Systems

Whether engaged in an asymmetric fight with an insurgent or a conventional battle with a “near-peer” adversary, today's battlefield presents combatants with significant challenges. Rapidly advancing technology and increased lethality of weapon systems have forced the military to develop and deliver more effective technologies to protect our air and vehicle crews. One such critical technology – laser detecting systems – is designed to detect and alert crews to laser-aided threats.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Sensors
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Communications in Space: A Deep Subject

Transmitting and receiving radio signals between spacecraft in deep space is a snap compared with getting those signals back to Earth, especially when the spacecraft is 120 billion miles away.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, RF & Microwave Electronics
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Identifying and Isolating Signals Using Radio Frequency Photonics

A single antenna can be used for both transmission and reception. To accomplish this, the transmission must be isolated from the reception. In Figure 1, a radio frequency (RF) circulator is connected right after the antenna. The three-port device separates the transmit path from the receive path. After the circulator, a system can be used to identify the frequency of different signals. Once the frequency has been found, a filter with the right pass-band frequency can be used to isolate signals from each other.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Wireless, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Antennas, Radio equipment
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