Written by active authorities from academia and industry, this edition brings a fresh look to many essential topics, including devices, subsystems, systems and networks. This book is intended for research scientists, engineers and students with an interest in the topic of free-space laser communications. In the new, full color ThirdEdition of this landmark book, two new chapters have been written to cover the advances in the field of photonics. This book provides a comprehensive introduction into photonics, from the electrodynamic and quantum mechanic fundamentals to the level of photonic components and building blocks such as lasers, amplifiers, modulators, waveguides, and detectors.
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- Laser applications
- The Best Place to Make Undersea Cables Might Be ... in Space
- Making Stuff in Space: Off-Earth Manufacturing Is Just Getting Started
- How space technology benefits the Earth
- Electro-Optics in the Pittsburgh Region
- NASA spinoff technologies
- Frequently Asked Questions about Gaia
- Company History
- Future and trends of laser technology
- Looking for other ways to read this?
Laser applicationsVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Andrew Ng Teaches AI Strategy for the Enterprise (CxOTalk #365)
Space is a dangerous place for humans: Microgravity sets our fluids wandering and weakens muscles, radiation tears through DNA and the harsh vacuum outside is an ever-present threat. But for materials that show incredible strength, transmit information with barely any loss, form enormous crystals or even grow into organs, the harshness of space can be the perfect construction zone.
As the cost of spaceflight goes down, more of these materials may become cost-effective to make or study in space. And soon, more and more people might be carrying around objects built off the planet. We make steel by heating things up at high temperature and maybe, depending on the steel, [in a] high-pressure environment. We can quench things; we can make things cold to make different materials or improve on those materials.
In space, microgravity lets materials grow without encountering walls, and it allows them to mix evenly and hold together without traditional supports. And a nearby ultrahigh vacuum helps things form without impurities.
The International Space Station is falling at a constant rate around the Earth, which everyone on board experiences as a lack of gravity; on the station, you're always in free fall. That environment, called microgravity, comes in handy for growing things that need to expand evenly in every direction or avoid the contamination of touching an enclosure's walls. Microgravity is of particular interest to people who create materials for miniaturized devices and computers, researchers told Space.
Building in microgravity can reduce those defects. The first major candidate for making money on something made in space today, a special type of fiber-optic cable called ZBLAN, is a good example: When manufactured in microgravity, the thin cable is less likely to develop tiny crystals that increase signal loss. When built without those flaws, the cable can be orders of magnitude better at transmitting light over long distances, such as for telecommunications, lasers and high-speed internet.
The fiber is light enough — and can demand a high enough price — that sending the materials to manufacture it in space may be able to pay off commercially. Made In Space sent a microwave-size machine to the space station in December to test making at least feet meters of the cable, and another company is also developing a space station test payload.
Researchers mentioned a third with technology on the way, too. So, whatever you are going to be making in space that you're going to be sending down to Earth has to be incredibly valuable but also available per unit of mass. Fiber amplifiers, there's lasers for cutting, drilling and surgery … infrared imaging, remote IR. As the cost of sending things to space continues to decrease, experimenters can envision a number of other scenarios in which the space station environment could be key to manufacturing.
For instance, a substance called gallium nitride, used to make LEDs, is difficult to solidify in large amounts at a time because its two constituent molecules don't always bind perfectly in order, leading to defects.
Reducing the movement of the melted fluid as hotter and less-dense fluid rises, which occurs because of gravity, can decrease those defects — as can preventing the highly reactive substance from touching the sides of its container, according to Randy Giles, chief scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Someday, substances like that could benefit from in-space creation.
The Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, a device that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency operates on the space station, is an example of the kind of setup that could avoid a container altogether, Giles said. The furnace can melt and solidify materials while levitating them in place using electrodes. Experiments performed years ago using NASA's now-retired space shuttle orbiters also have provided reasons for optimism.
Researchers pulled a stainless-steel disk called the Wake Shield Facility behind the shuttle, creating a vacuum in its wake that's 1, to 10, times emptier than what is possible on Earth. Experimenters used this cleaner vacuum of outer space to make thinner, purer samples of materials like semiconductors.
A large proportion of semiconductor components made on the ground end up being rejected because of impurities interrupting the matrix of atoms. As Rush put it, "If you have a piece of lint in your computer chip, it's not going to work very well.
Microgravity offers a promising environment for manufacturing, as it's free from the stirring of convection that sinks heavier material down through a solution. In microgravity, crystals can grow larger; in one experiment, crystals made from proteins grew to be 6 cubic millimeters, on average, compared with 0.
Once grown, those crystals can be analyzed to determine the proteins' 3D structures, which can help inform new strategies for drug discovery.
Growing other crystals, like those used to manufacture drugs or those that can detect gamma-rays and neutrons , in space so that they're bigger and purer can make the resulting material higher-quality.
The same holds true for metals. While metals made from a single element, like iron, can be useful, they can gain strength, flexibility or other special features when they incorporate other elements.
For example, integrating carbon, and small amounts of other metals, with iron creates the much stronger and harder steel. Metals that are a combination of elements are called alloys, and some can form only in a low-gravity environment. Because materials in microgravity don't crystallize as quickly — such as the ZBLAN cable — you can even coax substances such as metal into amorphous, glass-like forms.
Those metallic glasses can be molded at lower temperatures than ordinary metals can, and their noncrystallized structure makes them extra strong and resistant to corrosion. Department of Energy and the California Institute of Technology — mixes three or more metals to gain twice the strength of titanium. While some metal alloys and glasses can be made on Earth, others can be developed — in large quantities, at least — only in the embrace of microgravity.
Such alloys and metallic glasses could someday form strong, easily molded spacecraft debris shields, paneling, mirrors and more, as well as contribute to manufacturing on Earth, experts say. Space provides this strange, double-edged construction zone: It lets researchers test out materials to see how they withstand a harsh environment with powerful radiation and extreme temperature changes, but it also provides a particularly calm locale, gravity-wise, compared with Earth. Humans don't fare well in space over time, but it might be an ideal place to grow parts of them — organs, that is.
Cells can grow into larger networks without gravity pulling them down into their container as would happen on Earth. That vessel was developed to simulate an aspect of microgravity on Earth by continuously rotating at just the right speed to counter a substance's slow sedimentation down through a nutrient solution. But the larger a sample gets, the more energy you need to spend keeping its cells from hitting the bottom — a perturbation that can break up burgeoning colonies.
In free fall in space, such cells can form much larger tissues. Some current work on growing tissue in space focuses on making sure engineered tissues have an adequate blood supply; otherwise, they'll die from the inside out.
While it's certainly more speculative, this is actually another plausible reason for private companies to get into the space industry, MacDonald said. It's hard to imagine routinely growing organs in space, but that's one of many possible money-making avenues as it becomes less expensive to put things in orbit. But now we're kind of turning the corner on that. I think it's a very, very exciting time to be really exploring that. Another source of excitement for in-space manufacturing is building things for space that will never be constrained by the pull of Earth's gravity — or the crushing push of a rocket launch.
But the company's vision is much grander: Large-scale structures, like space telescopes or solar panels, could be printed in space instead of being folded up to launch into orbit. And visitors to other worlds could someday use the resources locally available to print shelters and other components, traveling only with the digital blueprints.
Building in space will require a sound understanding of how materials react in space and how to get raw materials, as well as a rethinking of what can be used in a 3D printer or as the basis for space-made materials, researchers told Space. And it does require combining and understanding not only the machine's capabilities, but the materials' qualities and properties for what you need to make. But whether microgravity-based materials research looks into building for Earth or for space, this area of investigation is making strange and wonderful things that have never been seen on the ground at those quantities or of that quality.
It's a little like small satellites were 10 years ago. People could see that it was very exciting, and we were beginning to do experiments, but I think the really exciting stuff is still to come.
Email Sarah Lewin at slewin space. Original article on Space. Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community space. Protein and virus crystals, many of which were grown on the U.
The crystals range in size from a few hundred microns along their edge to more than a millimeter. Crystals grown in microgravity environments can grow larger and purer than crystals on Earth, making it easier for scientists to analyze their underlying components.
Image credit: NASA Free fall The International Space Station is falling at a constant rate around the Earth, which everyone on board experiences as a lack of gravity; on the station, you're always in free fall.
VCSELs are get common in medical technology, industrial processes, smartphones, and automated driving. The key to the 5G cellular network are new antennas that are manufactured using laser technology. The entrants for the Start-up Award are turning to imaging, 3D imaging, fiber-optic systems, and ultrashort pulse technology. Ideas in the area of lasers and laser systems for production have one goal: The tool should be more flexible and precise.
The Best Place to Make Undersea Cables Might Be ... in Space
The core skills at the time were centered on manufacturing scientific optical components and crystalline materials. These skills are still very much at the cornerstone of the current operations at Ilminster with global sales of acousto-optics, crystal optics and precision optics. At these locations, the founders developed crystal growth techniques for military applications such as sonar and missile domes. In , this group formed Cleveland Crystals. In addition, we have the capability to provide many standard metal and dielectric optical coatings either on our standard substrates or customer supplied material. Founded in the company specializes in laser welded photonic packaging technology to produce lasers, detectors, high frequency receivers and transmitters and numerous customer specific designs. The acquisition included equipment, technology and expertise related to Czochralski growth of Tellurium Dioxide and Lithium Niobate crystals as well as design, fabrication and assembly technology related to finished components.
Making Stuff in Space: Off-Earth Manufacturing Is Just Getting Started
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Modern manufacturing is being revolutionized by the use of optics, which can both improve current manufacturing capabilities and enable new ones. Light can be used to process or probe materials remotely, even through windows isolating harsh or vacuum environments. With no surface contact, there is no contamination of the process by the probe beam and no wear of tool edges.
Space is a dangerous place for humans: Microgravity sets our fluids wandering and weakens muscles, radiation tears through DNA and the harsh vacuum outside is an ever-present threat. But for materials that show incredible strength, transmit information with barely any loss, form enormous crystals or even grow into organs, the harshness of space can be the perfect construction zone. As the cost of spaceflight goes down, more of these materials may become cost-effective to make or study in space. And soon, more and more people might be carrying around objects built off the planet. We make steel by heating things up at high temperature and maybe, depending on the steel, [in a] high-pressure environment. We can quench things; we can make things cold to make different materials or improve on those materials. In space, microgravity lets materials grow without encountering walls, and it allows them to mix evenly and hold together without traditional supports.
How space technology benefits the Earth
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The purpose of this paper is to clarify and explain current and potential benefits of space-based capabilities for life on Earth from environmental, social, and economic perspectives, including:. In what follows, we describe nearly 30 types of activities that either confer significant benefits now, or could provide positive impacts in the coming decades. The world already benefits greatly from space technology, especially in terms of communications, positioning services, Earth observation, and economic activity related to government-funded space programs. Since then, we have witnessed humans land on the Moon, flights of the Space Shuttle , construction of the International Space Station ISS , and the launch of more than 8, space objects , including dozens of exploration missions to every corner of the Solar System. In March, the US announced an accelerated schedule to permanently return humans to the Moon in Many other nations are also focused on a return to the Moon. One reason for this recent explosion in space-related activity is the plunging cost of launch to low Earth orbit LEO. Launching to LEO in the past has been among the most expensive element of any space endeavor. Other technologies, such as manufacturing materials in space from resources found on the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, could further improve the economics of space activities by dramatically reducing the amount, and hence cost, of material launched from Earth.
Electro-Optics in the Pittsburgh Region
A technical definition of electro-optics describes a technology associated with components, devices and systems designed to interact between the electromagnetic and visible light spectrum and the electronic state. This definition states that electro-optics uses applied electrical fields to generate and control optical radiation. In the simplest sense, electro-optics is a technology based around the conversion of electricity into light and light into electricity. Human sight is perhaps the closest model for the conceptual processes involved in electro-optics. Two primary categories of electro-optics exist: outside-in mechanisms, which include imaging and sighting devices, and inside-out mechanisms, which typically involve laser applications. More broadly, electro-optics also often is used to encompass laser, optics, fiber-optics and photonics. Typical electro-optic devices include concave and convex mirrors, convergent and divergent lenses, prisms, beam-splitters, optical filters, resonators, sensors and lasers.
NASA spinoff technologies
Lasers deliver coherent , monochromatic, well-controlled, and precisely directed light beams. Although lasers make poor choices for general-purpose illumination, they are ideal for concentrating light in space, time, or particular wavelengths. For example, many people were first introduced to lasers by concerts in the early s that incorporated laser light shows, in which moving laser beams of different colours projected changing patterns on planetarium domes, concert-hall ceilings, or outdoor clouds. Most laser applications fall into one of a few broad categories: 1 transmission and processing of information, 2 precise delivery of energy , and 3 alignment, measurement, and imaging. These categories cover diverse applications, from pinpoint energy delivery for delicate surgery to heavy-duty welding and from the mundane alignment of suspended ceilings to laboratory measurements of atomic properties. The ability to focus laser beams onto very small spots and to switch them on and off billions of times per second makes lasers important tools in telecommunications and information processing.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gaia
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Like the Fates pinching the thread of life, a robotic arm unspooled a thin copper wire for a self-assembling satellite dish. Nearby, a plastic bar, carved as a lattice to shrink its weight, stretched across the ceiling, demonstrating how a 3D printer might eventually crank out rods for massive solar panels.
Future and trends of laser technology
The Spinoff publication has documented more than 2, technologies over time. In , notable science fiction author Robert A.
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