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Photonics Spectra: June 2015

FEATURES
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Considerations When Buying Flat Optics
To simplify the process when purchasing flat optics, we will discuss the top six factors from a manufacturer’s perspective, all of which affect the three major areas of the purchasing decision: quality, delivery and cost. Flat optics generally perform three main functions: They transmit light (windows), reflect light (mirrors) and fold light (prisms). While most optical manufacturers...
Michael Naselaris, Sydor Optics
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Quantum Cascade Lasers: Where They Are and Where They're Going
QCLs are carving a clearer niche in photonics applications, namely in defense and security, medical diagnostics, atmospheric gas sensing and mid-IR imaging. Since its first demonstration more...
Justine Murphy, Contributing Editor, Justine.murphy@photonics.com
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Applied Robotics: How Robots Are Changing Our World
Photonics and artificial intelligence are enabling the creation of robots with new ways of interacting in business, medicine, imaging and many other applications. The robot age is upon us. The...
Valerie C. Coffey, Science Writer, stellaredit@gmail.com
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Layer Structure Enhances Light Absorption
A double absorbing layer based on amorphous silicon thin film is promising for solar cells because it considerably enhances the utilization of sunlight. Other potential applications can be found in...
Haihua Tang1, Yunfei Liu1, Shuang Liu1, DeJun Chen1, Yong Liu1, zhiyong Zhong2
1University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, School of Optoelectronic Information, Chengdu, China
2University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, Chengdu, China
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Materials Innovations Help LEDs Turn On
For LEDs, changes in materials are cutting costs and boosting performance. That’s vital as light-emitting diodes move into new applications and general illumination, where cost is king. ...
Hank Hogan, Contributing Editor, hank.hogan@photonics.com


EDITORIAL
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A Solar-Powered Future
Solar panels and other solar-powered devices are fueling the future, with new applications being developed all the time. Those finding solar power success include cameras, lights, sensors and even some household appliances. And now – airplanes? Imagine relying on solar power to run an entire airplane. It’s a mind-boggling concept, but one that has become a reality. Swiss pilot...
Justine Murphy, Contributing Editor, Justine.murphy@photonics.com


WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW
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ALOP: Bringing Optics and Photonics to the Developing World
Teaching introductory O&P courses is very challenging. Teachers must understand math and physics well enough to provide students the requisite understanding of both. They also have to choose the best teaching techniques from options including the traditional lecture format, interactive lecture demonstrations, and active learning methodologies such as inquiry and problem- or project-based...
Vasudevan (Vengu) Lakshminarayanan vengu@uwaterloo.ca, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


TECH PULSE
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Camera-Based Monitoring of Vital Signs Improved
Refined signal processing allows video cameras to monitor vital signs regardless of ambient lighting and the subject’s skin color. A new algorithm developed by researchers at Rice University detects subtle variations in skin tone caused by blood circulation to determine pulse and breathing rates. The idea of using a camera to track vital signs is based on photoplethysmography...
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Plasmonic Nanodiscs Boost 2-D Material’s Light Emission
Augmenting molybdenum disulfide with plasmonic nanodiscs transforms the 2-D material into a promising light emitter. Researchers at Northwestern and Arizona State universities have found that a...
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Lidar Chip Offers Mobile 3-D Scanning
A tiny lidar device could turn mobile phones into powerful 3-D scanning devices. Based on a silicon chip less than a square millimeter in size, the nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI) provides...
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Photopolymerization Approach Speeds 3-D Printing (with video)
A new approach to 3-D printing uses photopolymerization to create useful objects like stents in minutes rather than hours. Continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) works by projecting UV...
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Nanolaser Uses Atomically Thin Gain Medium
With potential for on-chip optical communications applications, a tungsten-based nanoscale laser operates reliably on a tiny amount of electricity. Developed by researchers at the University of...
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Squid Skin Inspires IR Camouflage Tape (with video)
A protein derived from squid skin could be adapted into a kind of IR camouflage for soldiers. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have developed an adhesive film that, when...
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Honeycomb Steers Light around Sharp Curves
Microscale plastic honeycomb structures can make light beams turn on a dime, a development that could allow more optical relays to be packed onto photonic integrated chips. These spatially...
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Livermore Develops Diode Arrays for EU Facility
The world’s highest-peak-power laser diode arrays are now online at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Representing a total peak power of 3.2 MW, the arrays are destined to become...
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Photothermal Nanoparticles Extend Range of Optogenetics
Targeted gold nanoparticles allow light to activate neurons, a finding that could enable the use of optogenetic techniques without genetic manipulation. “This is effectively optogenetics...
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Laser Glasses Aim to Counteract Low Vision
A new type of smart glasses that shine laser light directly onto the retinas could be a boon to people with poor eyesight. QD Laser Inc. is developing the device in collaboration with the...
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Narrower Lasers Could Yield Better Atomic Clocks
Atomic clocks lose 1 second every 300 million years, but that level of accuracy isn’t good enough for researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute. For even better precision, they’ve...


LIGHT SPEED
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Australian Military Tests Laser-Guided Missiles
Laser-based missile guidance systems scored 10 out of 10 hits in recent testing aboard an Australian military helicopter, according to developer BAE Systems Inc. A photo illustration of an APKWS rocket being fired from an Airbus Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter. Courtesy of BAE Systems. The test shots, conducted in November, were conducted in extreme heat conditions at ranges...
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First Light Imaging Wins EC Grant to Develop IR Camera
First Light Imaging SAS will use a grant from the European Commission to finalize development of an ultrafast, low-noise IR camera for use in astronomy, medical imagery, industry and defense. ...
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Ross Launches Free Optical Calculator App
Ross Optical Industries Inc. has launched a free mobile version of its Optical Calculator, as well as a new online desktop version. The tool allows engineers and technicians to calculate to industry...
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Elbit to Provide HMDs for Navy Helicopters
Elbit Systems of America LLC will install and test its Color Helmet Display and Tracking System (CHDTS) on U.S. Navy helicopters under a contract from Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)...
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Facebook, Infinera to Create 8 Tb/s European Optical Network
Facebook Inc. is preparing to deploy an intelligent transport network developed by Infinera Corp. to create a 3998-km optical network route across Europe with a capacity of up to 8 Tb/s. The...
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Major Stakeholder Divests from Jenoptik; Shares Snapped up by New Investors
ECE Industrial Holdings GmbH has sold its approximately 10.48 percent stake in Jenoptik AG. Jenoptik said the roughly 6 million shares were purchased by other investors March 31 at a price of...
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Headwall Partners with Ocean Spray on Spectral Imaging for Agriculture
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. will try to improve the quality and yield of its cranberries using spectral imaging systems from Headwall Photonics Inc. The two companies will cooperate to test a...
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RMI Launches Custom Optomechanical Assembly Service
Rocky Mountain Instrument Co. (RMI) has launched the Opto-Mech Program for design, manufacturing and testing of optomechanical assemblies. Complex prism assemblies used in day-night systems....
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Natcore, Eurotron Partner on HIT Solar Cells
Natcore Technology Inc. has teamed up with Eurotron BV to produce next-generation photovoltaic modules. The company recently announced that it had produced an all-back-contact silicon...
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Marines Award Elbit $73.4M Contract for Laser Rangefinders
The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded Elbit Systems of America LLC a $73.4 million contract for laser rangefinder technology. The Common Laser Range Finder-Integrated Capability (CLRF-IC) replaces...
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OLED Microdisplay Contracts Buoyed eMagin Revenues in 2014
Organic LED microdisplays firm eMagin Corp. decreased its losses in 2014 as it forged ahead with new products and contracts. The company reported a net loss of $5.3 million, or $0.22 per...
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Quantum Imaging, SemiConductor Devices Secure Funding for SWIR Camera Development
Quantum Imaging Inc. of Colorado and SemiConductor Devices of Israel will develop a next-generation short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera with funding from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research...
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Faro Acquires Kubit, Opens New Manufacturing Plant
Laser-scanning company Faro has acquired another software firm and opened a new manufacturing plant. Faro acquired Kubit GmbH of Dresden, Germany, and U.S. distributor Kubit USA Inc. for an...


GREENLIGHT
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Solar Array Turns CO2 into Useful Chemicals
Efforts abound in the interest of shrinking our carbon footprint and making Earth a healthier place. Recycling paper, plastic and other materials helps, but what if we could take it a step farther and repurpose carbon dioxide emissions? Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered how to do...


LIGHTER SIDE
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Combating Darkness with Light
It is no secret that light can be one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. So when an application comes along and gives that energy a specific purpose against the backdrop of our past and present international political climates – along with the experiences produced by them – attention must be paid. Teaming up with the VA Boston Healthcare System, Dr. Margaret Naeser at Boston...


PRODUCTS
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Scanning Laser Vibrometer
Polytec Ltd. has introduced a scanning laser vibrometer for study of complex structures. The PSV-500-NB Scanning Vibrometer (Notebook) allows noncontact, zero-mass-loading measurements, making it suitable for examining lightweight surfaces, as well as hot, cold and dangerous surfaces. Deflection shapes can be color coded as 2-D or 3-D graphics for display purposes. Frequencies of...
Polytec Ltd.
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Noncontact Surface Profiler
Taylor Hobson Ltd. has announced a new noncontact profiler for quantitative measurements of 3-D form and roughness features. Based on coherence correlation interferometry (CCI) technology, the...
Taylor Hobson Ltd.
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SWIR Cooler Assembly
Optimized for hyperspectral and imaging applications, a new shortwave infrared integrated Dewar cooler assembly (IDCA) from American Infrared Solutions LLC (AIRS) offers higher quantum efficiency and...
American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)
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Optical Frequency Combs
New offset-free optical frequency combs from Toptica Photonics Inc. enable unprecedented passive stability for complex experiments. The difference frequency comb (DFC) operates with Cero...
TOPTICA Photonics, Inc.
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Gimbal Imaging System
The Tactical Airborne Gimbal System (TAGS) from IJK Controls LLC features an HD continuous-zoom midwave-infrared (MWIR) imaging system with a visible-wavelength camera and laser, making it suitable...
IJK Controls LLC
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Digital Scan Head
Nutfield Technology has introduced the D-20, a fully digital, encoder-based X-Y scan head suitable for micromachining, laser drilling and welding, laser ablation, materials processing, precision...
Nutfield Technology
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Piezo Screw Drive
Pizeosystem Jena GmbH has announced a hybrid nanopositioning element for improving resolution of linear stages, quality control, automation, fine adjustment of optical components and micro-assembly....
piezosystem jena GmbH
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Laser Fume Filtration System
ULT AG has launched the ULT 1500 and ULT 2500 extraction and filtration systems for dust, laser fumes and welding smoke. Both systems feature a conic filter cartridge and a 70-liter removal...
ULT AG
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Automotive LEDs
Extending its automotive LED lighting portfolio, Everlight Electronics Co. Ltd. now offers high-efficiency, sulfur-resistant golden frame series and PC Amber options. Gold-lead frames enhances...
Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd.
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3-D Aerial Cameras
VisionMap Ltd. has added 3-D capabilities to its Mist and A3 Edge aerial cameras used in defense applications. The new 3D Edge feature communicates with a ground-based image processing system...
VisionMap Ltd.
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Robotic Laser Metrology System
Perceptron Inc. has announced the Autoscan series of laser-based industrial metrology products for shop-floor, automated 3-D scanning and dimensional measurement. The Autoscan Collaborate-CMM...
Perceptron, Inc.
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Optical Fiber Identifiers
New optical fiber identifiers, used for identifying the light power presence in optical fibers, are available from Fujikura Europe Ltd. The FID-30R (pictured) includes an optical power meter...
Fujikura Europe Ltd.
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Educational Microscope
Olympus Corp. has announced the new CX23 microscope for laboratory, classroom and training facilities. The microscope features infinity-corrected optics for bright, clear and crisp images. The...
Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas
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Beam-Steering Assembly
A new Risley prism beam-steering assembly (RPA) is now available from Optra Inc. The RP-100 offers large-aperture (up to 4-in.) field-of-view steering of active and passive optical systems,...
OPTRA, Inc.
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Digital Laser Scan Head
Laser Control Systems Ltd. has introduced the fourth-generation Digi-Cube II digital laser scan head for high-speed laser marking. Suitable for OEM design integration, the compact version of the...
Laser Control Systems Ltd.
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Piezo Stage Scanners
The PIHera family of piezo stage scanners by PI (Physik Instrumente) LP are suitable for nanopositioning applications such as micromanufacturing, photonics and test alignment, superresolution...
PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P., Piezo Nano Positioning
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Compact Fixed-Focal-Length Lens
New machine vision lenses from Edmund Optics Inc. are suited for factory automation, inspection and qualification. The Techspec 3.5-mm compact fixed-focal-length lenses are designed to meet the...
Edmund Optics, Inc.
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Thermography Camera
Upgraded thermography cameras from InfraTec GmbH may be used in routine preventive maintenance and R&D. The new EverSharp algorithm now included with VarioCAM High Definition cameras...
Armstrong Optical Ltd.
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Custom Patterned Optics
Reynard Corp. has begun offering custom photolithography services to manufacture patterned optics with geometries as small as 5 μm on substrates up to 18 in. in diameter. The process...
Reynard Corporation
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Fiber-Coupled Pump Module
Dilas Diode Laser Inc. has announced a fiber-coupled diode laser pump module, developed for fiber laser pumping with kilohertz modulation capabilities. The module is based on a single-emitter...
DILAS Diode Laser, Inc.
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Optical Transceivers
Based on InP laser chips, new temperature-hardened transceivers from Source Photonics Inc. are designed for antenna front-haul in wireless infrastructure deployments. The new 90C 10G LR-Lite...
Source Photonics
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Wollaston Polarizing Prism
A new Wollaston prism from Newport Corp. offers high-purity linear polarization of broadband sources or multiple laser wavelengths. Unlike many other polarizers, the 10WLP08 provides two output...
Newport Corporation
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Fiber Cleaning Tool
MicroCare Corp. has introduced the newest addition to its Sticklers family of fiber optic cleaning tools, the CleanClicker push-to-clean tool. Containing more than 750 cleaning...
MicroCare Corp.
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Tunable Laser Assembly
A microintegrated tunable laser assembly (micro-ITLA) from Avago Technologies Ltd. is designed for use in coherent dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) systems. The AFCU-UITLAXX is based on...
Avago Technologies
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CWDM Transceiver
A new optical transceiver from ColorChip is suitable for hyperscale data center, high-performance computer and enterprise applications. The 100-Gb/s coarse wavelength division multiplexing...
ColorChip Inc.
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Laser Diode Packages
Transistor outline (TO) packages from Schott North America Inc. are suited for 10-Gb/s laser diodes in high-frequency, actively cooled communications applications. The TEC TO package features a...
SCHOTT North America, Inc.
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CMOS Image Sensor
A 13-MP backside-illumination CMOS image sensor from Toshiba enables smartphones and tablets to record full high-definition video at 240 fps equivalent and quarter video graphics array (QVGA) video...
Toshiba Imaging Systems
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Variable Beamsplitters
Variable beamsplitters from Laser Components USA Inc. have an inhomogeneous layer distribution on a square substrate. The components are used to incorporate two beams in an assembly with a...
Laser Components USA, Inc.
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Progressive-Scan Video Camera
The IK-HD5U progressive-scan HD 1080p/1080i video camera, by Toshiba Imaging Systems Division, is designed for scientific imaging and microscopy applications. It features a front-panel...
Toshiba Imaging Systems
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Laser Spectrum Analyzer
A new spectrum analyzer from Bristol Instruments Inc. characterizes lasers over wavelength ranges from the visible to midwave-infrared. The 771 Series includes shorter measurement times, more...
Bristol Instruments, Inc.
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Optical Encoders
iC-Haus has developed optical encoders with photodiodes designed especially for blue light. The encoder chips optimize scanning and signal interpolation in the smallest available space of a...
iC-Haus GmbH
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HDR Imaging Photometers
SphereOptics has introduced a multi-exposure high dynamic range (HDR) feature for its I- and Y-Series ProMetric imaging photometers. The HDR mode increases the dynamic range of the ProMetric...
SphereOptics GmbH
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Spatial Light Modulator
An advanced reflective spatial light modulator, the SLM-100 from Santec Corp. is based on liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology. The SLM-100 provides 1.5 MP in high definition, with four...
Santec Corp.
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Hyperspectral Camera
Telops has announced a new narrowband hyperspectral imaging camera for detection and identification applications in geological, chemical and environmental research. The Hyper-Cam NB has a...
Telops Inc.
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Graded-Index Multimode Fiber
Graded-index multimode fiber by Fibercore is designed for harsh environments. The fiber features a 50-µm pure silica core and 125-µm cladding. It also features an extended range of...
Fibercore

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