The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts


Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs

  1. Novel optics for ultrafast cameras create new possibilities for imaging, Rob Matheson, August 13, 2018, MIT -- New novel photography optics can capture an image at multiple depths with one click. The traditional approach relies on the arrangement of optical components. According to the researchers, this new technique could open doors to new capabilities for time or depth-sensitive cameras. Specifically, the team designed new optics for an ultrafast sensor called a streak camera, which resolves images from ultrashort pulses of light. Streak cameras can make a trillion-frame-per-second video, scan through closed books and provide depth maps of a 3D scene. These cameras have relied on conventional optics requiring a very long lens. The new technique makes a light signal reflect back and forth with positioned mirrors inside the lens system. A fast imaging sensor captures a separate image at each reflection time. The result is a sequence of images, each corresponding to a different point in time. This new optics architecture includes a set of semireflective parallel mirrors that “fold” the focal length every time the light reflects between the mirrors. The team thus coined their technique “time-folded optics.” For the full article visit MIT.
  2. New Software Makes Smart Homes Even Smarter, Kenny Walter, August 13, 2018, Research & Development -- New software called, “foresee,” relies on user preferences to automatically control and coordinate all the connected appliances and electronics in a home. To use the software, the user must rank what’s important to them about living in their home. This will enable the energy management system to take those preferences and automatically adjust all the devices accordingly. The majority of homeowners usually prioritize comfortable air temperature, hot water, convenience, reduced costs and a low environmental impact in their homes. The researchers believe additional savings can be achieved by coordinating when and how a home’s appliances operate – regardless of their efficiency. During tests, the team used electronics and appliances, including an air conditioner, refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine. The tests used real-life weather data to simulate homes in Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; and Spokane, Washington. In every case, foresee was able to save energy. For more information visit Research & Development.  
  3. Terahertz technology creates new insight into how semiconductor lasers work, University of Leeds, August 13, 2018, EurekAlert -- Engineers working with terahertz frequency technology have been studying how individual frequencies are selected when a laser is on and how quickly the selection is made. The team’s results will underpin the future development of semiconductor lasers, including those used in public and private sector-owned telecommunications systems. It has been predicted that operating frequencies in semiconductor lasers stabilize on a timescale of a few nanoseconds and can change within a few hundred picoseconds. Until now, no detector has been able to measure and prove this precisely. Engineers have now used terahertz frequency quantum cascade lasers and technique, know as terahertz time-domain spectroscopy to understand this laser stabilization process. The technology can measure the wavelength of light in periods of femtoseconds – millionths of a nanosecond – giving unprecedented levels of detail. Now that researchers know the speed at which wavelengths change within lasers and what happens, more efficient devices can be built. For the full article check out EurekAlert.  
  4. 'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone, University of California, August 13, 2018, TechXplore -- Engineers have developed an approach to build soft, 3D stretchable electronics that have many functions and stay thin and small. As a proof-of-concept, the team built a stretchable electronic patch that can be worn on the skin, like a bandage and used to wirelessly monitor a variety of physical and electrical signals, such as respiration, body motion, temperature, eye movement, heart and brain activity and more. The device is roughly the same size and thickness of a U.S. dollar coin. The device can also be used to wirelessly control a robotic arm. It consists of four layers of interconnected, stretchable circuit boards. Each layer is built on a silicone elastomer substrate patterned with an “island-bridge” design. Each “island” is a small, rigid electronic part that’s attached to the elastomer. The islands are connected by stretchy “bridges” made of thin spring-shaped copper wires. The smart bandage can last for more than six months without any decrease in performance and can communicate with a smartphone or laptop up to 10 meters away. For the full article visit TechXplore.
  5. And lastly, the most popular Tektronix download of the week goes to 5 Things to Know About Calibration Certificates. Calibration certificates are provided as evidence of service for each instrument calibration. In this application note, you will learn five important things about a calibration certificate.


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