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142 articles

Photonics Handbook

Diffraction Gratings: Selection GuidelinesDiffraction Gratings: Selection Guidelines
David Ventola, Optometrics Corp., an Omega Optical Holdings company
Diffraction gratings are optical components with a periodic structure that separate light into beams traveling in predictable directions based on their wavelength. The grating acts as the dispersive...
What Is Photonics?What Is Photonics?
Photonics Media Editors
Photonics is the study of light and other types of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The impact of photonics on research, technology, navigation, culture, astronomy, forensics, and...
Fiber Lasers: Continuing to Power GrowthFiber Lasers: Continuing to Power Growth
Bryce Samson, IPG Photonics Corporation
Early fiber lasers were inefficient and limited to low powers, until more effective methods emerged to deliver the pump light into the cladding. Valentin Gapontsev, founder and CEO of IPG Photonics,...
Scatter and BSDF Measurements: Theory and PracticeScatter and BSDF Measurements: Theory and Practice
Richard Pfisterer, Photon Engineering LLC
Except for direct illumination from the sun, laser, or other light source, everything we see or detect is ultimately scattered light. Light can be scattered or rescattered during its propagation to...
Detectors: Options for Low-Light ApplicationsDetectors: Options for Low-Light Applications
SLAWOMIR PIATEK AND EARL HERGERT, HAMAMATSU CORPORATION
Developed in the early 1990s, the silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) is a solid-state photodetector whose sensitivity to light rivals that of a photomultiplier tube (PMT) in a regime where a few hundred...
Optical System Optimization: Analyzing the Effects of Stray LightOptical System Optimization: Analyzing the Effects of Stray Light
Richard Pfisterer, Photon Engineering LLC
Electrical engineers are very familiar with the effects of shot noise, thermal noise, flicker noise and crosstalk, and recognize how these effects can reduce the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in their...
Silicon Photonics: Light Is the Ultimate Medium for High-Speed CommunicationsSilicon Photonics: Light Is the Ultimate Medium for High-Speed Communications
Christophe Kopp, Ségolène Olivier, and Stéphane Bernabé, CEA-LETI
Silicon photonics is widely considered a key enabling technology for further development of optical interconnect solutions needed to address growing traffic on the internet. From the first submarine...
Superresolution Microscopy: An Imaging RevolutionSuperresolution Microscopy: An Imaging Revolution
Marie Freebody, Contributing Editor
Superresolution optical microscopy, for which the Nobel Prize was awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, and William Moerner in 2014, has been one of the most momentous developments in the life...
Measuring Aspheres: Selecting the Best TechniqueMeasuring Aspheres: Selecting the Best Technique
Amy Frantz, Edmund Optics Inc.
The benefits of aspheric lenses are numerous: They allow for a reduction in spherical aberrations and are ideal for focusing or collimating light, as they can achieve a low ƒ-number. Aspheres...
Polarization-Based Imaging: Basics and BenefitsPolarization-Based Imaging: Basics and Benefits
XING-FEI HE, TELEDYNE DALSA
There are three fundamental properties of light: intensity, wavelength, and polarization. Almost all cameras today are designed for monochrome or color imaging. A monochrome camera is used to measure...
Prefixes for Binary MultiplesPrefixes for Binary Multiples
Prefixes for Binary Multiples The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998 approved as an IEC International Standard names and symbols for prefixes for binary multiples for use...
Machine Vision Cameras: Making the Right SelectionMachine Vision Cameras: Making the Right Selection
GLEN AHEARN, TELEDYNE DALSA
Technological advances have resulted in new, higher-quality sensors that enable machine vision cameras to deliver greater features and functionality at a lower cost than ever before. These factors...
Industrial Lasers: An Introduction to Process QualificationIndustrial Lasers: An Introduction to Process Qualification
JOCHEN DEILE AND FRANK GAEBLER, COHERENT INC.
Materials processing with lasers is actually a broad term for a diverse range of applications. The major categories of these uses, and the lasers that service them, are summarized Table 1. At one...
QCL Primer: History, Characteristics, ApplicationsQCL Primer: History, Characteristics, Applications
Hamamatsu Corporation
Since its first successful operation in 1960 at Hughes Research Labs, the laser technology has been at the center of innovation and research. Semiconductor lasers first made their appearance in 1962...
Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging: Choosing the Best ApproachFluorescence Lifetime Imaging: Choosing the Best Approach
GERHARD HOLST, Excelitas PCO GmbH
The term fluorescence is often applied as a synonym for photoluminescence, although luminescence actually covers fluorescence and phosphorescence. Both of these terms describe the process of...
Tunable Light Sources: A Popular Choice for Measurement ApplicationsTunable Light Sources: A Popular Choice for Measurement Applications
VICKI LU and JOHN PARK, PhD, MKS/Newport
Many common spectroscopic measurements require the coordinated operation of a detection instrument and light source, as well as data acquisition and processing. Integration of individual components...
Measuring Surface Roughness: The Benefits of Laser Confocal MicroscopyMeasuring Surface Roughness: The Benefits of Laser Confocal Microscopy
ROBERT BELLINGER, Evident
When evaluating the surface of a component, surface roughness can be assessed by eye or by rubbing it with a fingertip. Common expressions include “shiny,” “lusterless and...
Nanopositioning: A Step AheadNanopositioning: A Step Ahead
Scott Jordan, Brian Lula, and Stefan Vorndran, PI (Physik Instrumente) LP
By its original definition, a nanopositioning device is a mechanism capable of repeatedly delivering motion in increments as small as one nanometer. Lately demands from industry and research have...
Microscopy Illumination: Considering Nonlaser Light SourcesMicroscopy Illumination: Considering Nonlaser Light Sources
BARBARA FOSTER, THE MICROSCOPY & IMAGING PLACE INC.
As recently as five years ago, shopping for a microscope light source was fairly straightforward. For routine applications, it was tungsten halogen, typically 100 W, while for fluorescence, it was an...
Measuring Small-Beam MFD: Overcoming the ChallengesMeasuring Small-Beam MFD: Overcoming the Challenges
DERRICK PETERMAN, PhD, MKS Ophir
Profiling beams under 10 µm in size is one of the more challenging beam profiling applications. There are numerous reasons for this, including the very small size. Focal plane arrays commonly...
Laser Measurement Systems: Best PracticesLaser Measurement Systems: Best Practices
JOHN MCCAULEY, MKS Ophir
Given the pace at which technology advances, there always seems to be a learning curve. With the abundance of consumer electronics available, there typically is no right or wrong way to use these...
Aspheric Lenses: Optimizing the DesignAspheric Lenses: Optimizing the Design
Jeremy Govier, Edmund Optics Inc.
With the understanding of aspheric lens manufacturing provided in part one of this article, designers have the tools to optimize their aspheres; the next step is to understand how to specify and...
Fiber Optics: Understanding the BasicsFiber Optics: Understanding the Basics
Engineering and Marketing Staff, OFS
Optical fibers are made from either glass or plastic. Most are roughly the diameter of a human hair, and they may be many miles long. Light is transmitted along the center of the fiber from one end...
Selecting a Photodetector: Using WITS$ as a Rough GuideSelecting a Photodetector: Using WITS$ as a Rough Guide
Earl Hergert and Slawomir Piatek, Hamamatsu Corporation
Light is a versatile tool for investigating physical and chemical processes in nature. Any specific system being analyzed may, through the light it emits or reflects, communicate information about...
Flat Optics: Considerations When BuyingFlat Optics: Considerations When Buying
Michael Naselaris, Sydor Optics Inc.
Flat optics generally perform three main functions: They transmit light (windows), reflect light (mirrors), and fold light (prisms). While most optical manufacturers make spherical and flat optics, a...
Aspheric Lenses: Design ConsiderationsAspheric Lenses: Design Considerations
Jeremy Govier, Edmund Optics Inc.
Aspheric surfaces are powerful tools that combine the optical corrections of multiple lenses into a single element (Figure 1) and affect performance in ways that spherical optics cannot. For example,...
Laser Safety: Important ConsiderationsLaser Safety: Important Considerations
Ken Barat, Laser Safety Solutions
When purchasing an industrial laser system, the astute buyer will look for a Class 1 laser product — a system where the laser beam hazard is completely enclosed and there is no potential laser...
Optical Design Software: Fundamentals and PotentialOptical Design Software: Fundamentals and Potential
Richard Pfisterer, Photon Engineering LLC
Optical design software allows the user to develop a configuration of optical elements that manipulate the trajectory of light for the purposes of creating an image, illuminating a target, coupling...
Laser Operation: Temperature Control and Mount SelectionLaser Operation: Temperature Control and Mount Selection
Paul Corr and Patrick Klima, Arroyo Instruments LLC
As you operate your laser, only a portion of the electrical power sourced from your laser driver converts to light energy. The remainder turns to heat, and the buildup of that thermal energy presents...
Understanding Surface Quality: A Practical GuideUnderstanding Surface Quality: A Practical Guide
John C. Smith, Rocky Mountain Instrument Co. (RMI)
Surface quality has become one of the most poorly understood specifications in the optics industry. A significant portion of the confusion stems from the two major competing (and largely...
Lasers for Microscopy: Major TrendsLasers for Microscopy: Major Trends
Marco Arrigoni, Nigel Gallaher, Darryl McCoy, Volker Pfeufer, Matthias Schulze, and Daniel Callen, Coherent Inc.
Laser development for the microscopy market continues to be driven by key trends in applications, which currently include superresolution techniques, multiphoton applications in optogenetics and...
Transparent Ceramics: Enabling Large, Durable, Multifunctional OpticsTransparent Ceramics: Enabling Large, Durable, Multifunctional Optics
Mohan Ramisetty, Lee Goldman, Nagendra Nag, Sreeram Balasubramanian and Suri Sastri, Surmet Corp.
Single-crystal sapphire has been the material of choice for defense and other applications that require extremely durable optics, but aluminum oxynitride (ALON) and magnesium aluminate (spinel) have...
Powering Lasers: Evaluating Bench Power SuppliesPowering Lasers: Evaluating Bench Power Supplies
Paul Corr and Patrick Klima, Arroyo Instruments LLC
A bench power supply should be thoroughly tested and characterized before it is used to power a laser. The quality of the controls and safety measures incorporated into a bench supply will need to be...
Physical Constants & Conversion FactorsPhysical Constants & Conversion Factors
Physical Constants & Conversion Factors Length [I] 1 meter (m) = 39.3700 in. = 3.280833 ft = 1.093611 yd 1 kilometer (km) = 0.6213711 mi = 0.53996 nautical mi 1 micron (µm) =...
Passive Athermalization: Maintaining Optical Performance Over TemperaturePassive Athermalization: Maintaining Optical Performance Over Temperature
Janos Engineering, Janos Technology LLC
For rotationally symmetric optical systems, either the lens or the detector moves along the optical axis to maintain optical performance. If the compensating axial motion is accomplished without the...
Greek AlphabetGreek Alphabet
Table of the Greek alphabet and what the letters are commonly used to designate. Name Capital Small Commonly Used to Designate Alpha A α Angles, coefficients, attenuation constant,...
Chemical Symbols for the ElementsChemical Symbols for the Elements
Chart of the first 118 chemical symbols for the elements. Chemical Symbols for the Elements Ac - Actinium Ag - Silver Al - Aluminium Am - Americium Ar - Argon As - Arsenic At -...
Plastic Optics: Specifying Injection-Molded Polymer OpticsPlastic Optics: Specifying Injection-Molded Polymer Optics
William S. Beich, GS PLASTIC OPTICS
The use of precision polymer optics is becoming an increasing necessity today as products demand sophisticated light handling components to achieve desired results. Polymer optics can be thought of...
Detectors: Guideposts on the Road to SelectionDetectors: Guideposts on the Road to Selection
Earl Hergert, Hamamatsu Corporation
Any number of medical, industrial, and analytical applications requires the detection of light. Chemiluminescence, bioluminescence, fluorescence, and atomic absorption are just a few, and all require...
SI PrefixesSI Prefixes
International System of Units (SI) SI Prefixes Multiples Factor Name Symbol 1024 yotta Y 1021 zetta Z 1018 exa E 1015 peta P 1012 tera T 109 ...
Diode-Pumped Lasers: Performance, Reliability Enhance ApplicationsDiode-Pumped Lasers: Performance, Reliability Enhance Applications
Arnd Krueger and Scott White, MKS/Spectra-Physics
Neodymium-doped crystals and glasses such as Nd:YAG (neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet) have long been used as laser gain materials. Optically pumped, they produce an output wavelength close to 1...
Ultraviolet Filters: Past and PresentUltraviolet Filters: Past and Present
Sarah Locknar, PhD, Omega Optical LLC, an Omega Optical Holdings company
In their earliest forms, UV bandpass filters that were optimized for wavelengths less than 400 nm, such as the Schott UG or the Hoya U-series, were constructed of absorbing compounds in glass. Such...
Common Infrared Optical Materials and Coatings: A Guide to Properties, Performance, and ApplicationsCommon Infrared Optical Materials and Coatings: A Guide to Properties, Performance, and Applications
Jeffrey L. Tosi and Kumar M. Khajurivala, Janos Technology LLC
The optical materials selected for an optical system depend upon the application, the required system performance and the environment in which the system is to perform; thus the materials’...
Optical Materials: Double-Sided Lapping and PolishingOptical Materials: Double-Sided Lapping and Polishing
Michael Naselaris, Sydor Optics Inc.
Double-sided processing is a batch-type process that uses planetary action — generally with loose, abrasive particles suspended in a liquid vehicle — to abrade material almost equally...
Thin-Film Coatings: A Buyers' GuideThin-Film Coatings: A Buyers' Guide
Trey Turner and Roger Kirschner, Research Electro-Optics Inc. (REO)
What are thin-film coatings? The purpose of any optical thin-film coating is to modify the transmittance and reflectance properties of the substrate material to which they are applied. Most coatings...
Lasers: Understanding the BasicsLasers: Understanding the Basics
Coherent Inc.
Over 60 years have passed since the first demonstration of a laser in 1960. After the initial spark of interest, lasers were for a while categorized as “a solution waiting for a problem,”...
Excimer Optics: High Power Demands High ReliabilityExcimer Optics: High Power Demands High Reliability
Michael A. Case, Teledyne Princeton Instruments, Business Unit of Teledyne Technologies
The first high-reflectance mirror coatings for the UV and vacuum UV (VUV) were of the Al + MgF2 type produced in the late 1950s. Coatings of this design are still used today for multigas cavity...
Interferometry: Measuring with LightInterferometry: Measuring with Light
Zygo Corporation
An interferometer is an instrument that compares the position or surface structure of two objects. The basic two-beam division of amplitude interferometer components consists of a light source, a...
Integrating Spheres: Collecting and Uniformly Distributing LightIntegrating Spheres: Collecting and Uniformly Distributing Light
Greg McKee, Labsphere Inc.
An integrating sphere’s function is to spatially integrate radiant flux (light). However, before one can optimize a sphere design for a particular application, it is important to understand how...
Light-Emitting Diodes: A PrimerLight-Emitting Diodes: A Primer
Opto Diode Corporation, An ITW company
The wavelength range of commercially available LEDs with single-element output power of at least 5 mW is 275 to 950 nm. Each wavelength range is made from a specific semiconductor material family,...

Photonics Handbook

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