Photonics

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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RF Photonics for Avionics Signal Processing

The maturity of RF photonic components has reached the point where fiber optic links are being system-tested to replace traditional copper coax links on avionic platforms. Many demonstrations of RF photonic links have been made with traditional and non-traditional modulation formats to improve the RF performance of the link. While the advantages of RF photonic links in regard to size and weight are important, the large instantaneous bandwidth of the fiber optic links is a key driver for the use of this technology in the airframe.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Fiber Optics, RF & Microwave Electronics, Avionics, Optics
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Using Forensic Lasers in Modern Warfare

In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy’s guerilla tactics have muddled the distinction between terrorism and warfare. To deal with the challenges of this new type of combat, the military has quietly built up impressive forensic capabilities, with technology more usually found in domestic crime labs than on the battlefield. Just as they have in numerous areas of weapons technology, lasers play a cutting-edge role in this work, which is performed on location, within mobile labs in Afghanistan, as well as in the US.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Photonics, Test equipment and instrumentation, Military vehicles and equipment
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Covert Infrared Battlefield Combat Taggants

Modern warfare often involves poorly defined battle lines accompanied by multilevel fire support systems that can deliver firepower with high precision and devastating lethality from a long distance. The ability to immediately and accurately discriminate through sight between friend and foe is of great importance to military operations for effectively destroying hostile forces while preventing fratricide. This ability is even more crucial for irregular and unconventional warfare such as anti-terrorism operations where US forces often engage enemy combatants well entrenched in urban settings or rugged terrains at night. In such battlefield conditions, using conventional daylight and thermal imagery often exceeds the ability to accurately identify targets as friend or foe, and more reliable battlefield identification methods are needed.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Photonics, Imaging, Identification, Military aircraft, Military vehicles and equipment
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