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Thermal Imaging for Consumers and More

Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher, karen.newman@photonics.com

SPIE held its annual Defense, Security and Sensing (DSS) event May 5-9 in Baltimore, with a new emphasis on sensing that the organization said was well received. Highlights of the 2180 technical presentations include:

• Dr. Jeongsik Shin of the University of Texas at Arlington shared early results on electrohydrodynamic ink-jet printing in sensor fabrication for flexible robotic skins.

• Dr. Charles Harb of the University of New South Wales described work on cavity-enhanced spectroscopy in a novel twist on traditional detection methods to provide rapid measurement and feedback in hostile chemical environments.

• Dr. Ludger Overmeyer, head of the Institute of Transport and Automation Technology at Leibniz University in Hannover, shared why he sees this as the century in which objects will start to “feel,” and why light, with its uniquely wide range of optimal signal parameters for sensing, will be the main medium to achieve this.

I visited a number of exhibitors showing off their latest advances. Devaunshi Sampat, vice president of marketing and sales at ISP Optics, walked me through a number of new product lines, including IR fixed-focal-length A-thermal lenses and X-Treme Hi-Contrast IR Wire Grid Polarizers for broadband infrared applications.

At SRI International’s booth, Dr. Tom Vogelsong, senior director of imaging systems in the division of products and services, demonstrated a dual-use image sensor that provides both day and night situational awareness from a single sensor – a product he says pushes CMOS to its low-light limits.

Flir Systems launched FLIR ONE, its consumer-oriented thermal imaging system, at CES in January, and I got a demo at DSS from Jay James, vice president of worldwide OEM sales of commercial systems. The device attaches to Apple’s iPhone 5 or 5s, and presents a live thermal image, useful for finding heat leaks, lost dogs, smoke and more.

In our cover story, contributing editor Hank Hogan says the sky’s the limit for 3-D printing as it finds its way into parts for fighter jets; he imagines a limitless future as the technology clears a number of hurdles. Read the feature, “3-D Printing Readies for Takeoff,” beginning on page 46.

Also in this issue, science writer Valerie C. Coffey follows “The Incremental Quest for Quantum Computing,” beginning on page 36, and contributing editor Marie Freebody reveals how “Scanning Vision Continues to Improve Manufacturing Standards,” starting on page 42. In “Mid-IR Semiconductor Lasers Enable Sensors for Trace-Gas-Sensing Applications,” Dr. Frank K. Tittel of Rice University describes a number of trace-gas optical detection techniques including photoacoustic spectroscopy, beginning on page 52. Mohan Ramisetty, Lee Goldman, Nagendra Nag, Sreeram Balasubramanian and Suri Sastri of Surmet Corp. compare the attributes of ALON and spinel, optical materials that are mechanically strong, scratch-resistant and chemically durable. The article, “Transparent Ceramics Enable Large, Durable, Multifunctional Optics,” can be found on page 58.

Enjoy the issue.


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