EOS and MTU Advance Quality Measures for Metal-Based Additive Manufacturing

EOS and MTU Aero Engines have partnered to develop quality-assurance measures for metal engine components using additive manufacturing (AM), signing a framework agreement for the joint strategic development of their technologies.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aeronautics, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Optics, Manufacturing processes, Engine components, Quality assurance

Selective Laser Sintering System

3D Systems has developed its fastest fab-grade selective laser sintering (SLS) system yet, the ProX 500 Plus. Building upon last year’s ProX 500 release, the ProX 500 Plus continues the company’s efforts to redefine production 3-D printing, adding upgraded speeds, higher print resolution, and an expanded range of engineered composite materials to the line. As with the ProX 500, the ProX 500 Plus delivers injection molding-grade parts without expensive fixed tooling for highly complex and mass customized production. Parts from ProX-series SLS printers exhibit long-lasting, fab-grade durability and functionality as well as smooth surface finish. More detail at

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers & Laser Systems

Laser Measurement

Ophir Photonics’ 1000WP-BB-34 high-power water cooled thermal sensor is designed with the requirement that all materials coming in contact with the cooling water are either copper or nonmetallic. This eliminates the possibility of contaminating the water or corroding the sensor, improving the accuracy and reliability of the measurements. The sensor features a 34-mm aperture and a wide dynamic range, measuring powers from 5 W to 1000 W and energy from 400 mJ to 300 J. More detail at

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Sensors

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

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

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

Room-Temperature Sub-Diffraction-Limited Plasmon Laser

Lasers present the means to deliver powerful, coherent, and directional high-frequency electromagnetic energy. However, the diffraction limit of light imposes fundamental constraints on how compact such photonic devices can be and their potential for integration with electronic circuits, which are orders of magnitude smaller.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Downsizing, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Lasers

Rare-Earth-Doped Soft Glass Optical Fibers for Coherent Wavelength Sources Above 2 Microns

Rare-earth-doped soft glass optical fibers were developed and characterized for fiber lasers emitting at wavelengths longer than 2 microns to allow efficient narrow line-width emission in the atmospheric window for coherent detection and LIDAR and DIAL sensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Fiber optics, Lasers, Fibers, Glass

Surface Plasmon-Enhanced Si:Er Infrared Light-Emitting Diodes

Plasmons are collective oscillations of the free electrons in a metal or an ionized gas. Plasmons dominate the optical properties of noble-metal nanoparticles, which enables a variety of applications including electromagnetic energy transport at nanoscale dimensions, single-molecule Raman spectroscopy, and photothermal cancer therapy. Plasmons also affect the spontaneous emission dynamics of optical emitters positioned in the vicinity of metal nanoparticles. The luminescence intensity can either be enhanced or quenched, depending on the geometry. Since the associated enhancements can potentially be several orders of magnitude, plasmon-enhanced luminescence is the subject of intense research. This project focused on plasmon-enhanced luminescence of silicon quantum dots (Si QDs) and optically active erbium ions. Both these emitters are compatible with silicon processing technology, and are therefore of great technological interest.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Gases, Materials properties, Nanomaterials

AlInGaN Bandgap and Doping Engineering for Visible Laser Diodes

There is a great need to develop chip-scale visible lasers for many applications, including laser sight, environmental monitoring, and compact pumping sources for ultra-short laser pulse generation, high-luminous full-color displays, new-generation solid-state lighting, etc. The realization of chip-scale visible laser diodes (LDs) would provide significant benefits in terms of cost, volume, and the ability of photonic integration with other functional devices. Significant progress in nitride material technology has been achieved, and high-performance visible LEDs and near-UV LDs based on InGaN are now commercially available.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Integrated circuits, Lasers, Materials properties