Researchers Show How Fear Memories Can Be Erased

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have devised a method to selectively erase particular fear memories by weakening the connections between the nerve cells (neurons) involved in forming these memories. A sight, sound, or smell we have sensed may not later trigger fear, but if the stimulus is associated with a traumatic event, such as a car accident, then fear memory is formed, and fearful responses are triggered by the stimulus.

Posted in: News, Defense, Medical, Photonics

Robot’s Speed-of-Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

Cornell University researchers are developing a system to enable teams of robots to share information as they move around, and if necessary, interpret what they see. This would allow the robots to conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes. Beyond surveillance, the new technology could enable teams of robots to relieve humans of dangerous jobs such as disposing of landmines, cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown or surveying the damage after a flood or hurricane. The project, called “Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” is supported by a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Posted in: News, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Optics, Robotics

Heads-up Display Improves Soldiers’ Situational Awareness

A novel technology called "Tactical Augmented Reality," or TAR, is now helping soldiers precisely locate their positions, as well as the locations of friends and foes. It even enables them to see in the dark, all with a heads-up display device that looks like night-vision goggles (NVG). In essence, TAR replaces NVG, GPS, plus it does much more.

Posted in: News, Defense, Optical Components, Optics

Laser Integration on Silicon Photonic Circuits Through Transfer Printing

The purpose of this project was to develop a transfer printing process for the massively parallel integration of III-V lasers on silicon photonic integrated circuits. Silicon has long offered promise as the ultimate platform for realizing compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs). That promise stems in part from the material's properties: the high refractive-index contrast of silicon allows strong confinement of the optical field, increasing light-matter interaction in a compact space—a particularly important attribute for realizing efficient modulators and high-speed detectors.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Photonics, Integrated circuits, Lasers, Fabrication, Materials properties, Semiconductors

High Energy Computed Tomographic Inspection of Munitions

An advance computed tomography (CT) system was recently built for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, for the inspection of munitions. The system is a charged coupled device (CCD) camera based CT system designated with the name “experimental Imaging Media” (XIM). The design incorporated shielding for use up to 4MeV x-ray photons and integrated two separate cameras into one single field of view (FOV). Other major distinguishing characteristics include its processing functions to digitally piece the two cameras together, use of advanced artifact reduction principles, performing reconstruction simultaneously during acquisition, and its development in accurate beam hardening corrections through digital means.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Photonics, Charge coupled devices, Imaging, Defense industry, Inspections, Missiles

Development of Photoacoustic Sensing Platforms

In recent years, photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) has emerged as an attractive and powerful technique well suited for sensing applications. The development of high-power radiation sources and more sophisticated electronics, including sensitive microphones and digital lock-in amplifiers, have allowed for significant advances in PAS. Furthermore, photoacoustic (PA) detection of IR absorption spectra using modern tunable lasers offers several advantages, including simultaneous detection and discrimination of numerous molecules of interest. Successful applications of PAS in gases and condensed matter have made this a notable technique and it is now studied and employed by scientists and engineers in a variety of disciplines.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Photonics, Amplifiers, Electronic equipment, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Spectroscopy, Acoustics

Mobile High-Energy Laser Shoots Down Drones

A Stryker combat vehicle equipped with a 5kW laser and an array of sensors spent several minutes scanning the horizon for a wayward "enemy" drone. On a television screen in a nearby tent off Thompson Hill - a range used during the recent 10-day Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) - observers watched the black and white output of those sensors on two flat-screen televisions. A crosshair was centered on the screen. When what appeared to be a drone entered the frame, the crosshairs locked on to it and followed it.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems

Luminescence Materials as Nanoparticle Thermal Sensors

The purpose of this research program was to create and study novel luminescence particles (phosphors} capable of sensing and retaining the time-temperature information to which they were exposed, therefore acting as nano- and microsized thermosensors. The thermometric property is the latent thermoluminescence (TL) signal associated with electron/hole pairs trapped at defect energy levels, which are differently affected by the environmental temperature.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Sensors, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Research and development, Nanomaterials, Thermal testing

Beam Steering Developer’s Kit

New Scale Technologies Inc. (Victor, NY) has a new beam steering developer’s kit for precise point-to-point beam positioning and dynamic scanning up to 100 Hz. The two piezoelectric rotary stages in the DK-M3-RS-U-2M-20-L developer’s kit have a galvo-scanner form factor but are only 12 mm in diameter. A closed-loop controller embedded in each tiny stage enables direct input of high-level motion commands from a system processor via standard digital (I2C, SPI, UART) or analog servo interface. Each smart stage rotates a pre-mounted aluminum-coated mirror +/- 20 degrees at up to 1100 degrees/second with angular resolution of 0.05 degrees (1 mrad).

Posted in: Products, Lasers & Laser Systems

Compact UV Lasers Could Spot Dangerous Substances from a Distance

For soldiers in the field, the ability to identify an object or substance based on how it responds to light could mean the difference between life and death. They could, for example, determine from a safe distance if an approaching person or vehicle is carrying an explosive device or dangerous biological agent.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems