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APPLICATIONS NEWS


For the latest applications news from the photonics industry go to www.electrooptics.com/applications


Black markings for Sabbath bikes with YAG laser


Titanium racing bikes made by Sabbath are to get black durable markings produced by a multimode Q-switched YAG laser.


Macclesfield based Sabbath does not paint or coat its titanium racing bikes because the metal does not rust. Decals can be added to the bikes but they will degrade over time. So Sabbath’s founder, Greg Roche, sought a way of marking the frames in a way that would last as long as the titanium. He approached laser marking specialist ES Technology. A multimode Q-switched YAG


laser was selected to mark the titanium frames. The laser produces a smooth, black shiny annealed graphic that will not degrade or wear off. ES turns around batches of various Sabbath frames in its jobshop.


Flir develops Superframing to avoid camera saturation


Flir has developed Superframing to avoid the problem of infrared camera saturation where image details are lost and temperature measurements become invalid. Infrared camera saturation is where an object or


scene’s temperature is beyond the range the camera is set to or at its upper end, leading to the areas of the object or scene, which are at lower temperature, being obscured. This can be particularly acute with mid wave infrared (MWIR) cameras. To overcome this, Superframing is where single pictures are combined into one to create an image more detailed than any one picture could be. Each picture will have been taken with a different exposure time. In IR cameras exposure time is related to the smallest temperature difference a camera can detect. The longer the exposure the greater the sensitivity, but high temperature areas can overwhelm the image. To avoid this problem Flir carries out Superframing by taking a number of images of a scene with progressively shorter exposure times in rapid succession.


Superframing enables more detailed thermal imaging


Flir has demonstrated this technology by taking two images of a Hawker Beechcraft King Air aircraft at 2 milliseconds and 30 microseconds. The images were taken with a Flir SC7000, a MWIR camera system, running at 170 frames per second at the full frame size of 640 x 512 pixels. The two images are separated by about a 40 millisecond interval, which means even the propeller movement is barely perceptible. The outcome is a picture that has far more temperature detail than with a single image.


ESA turns to Alexandrite laser for satellite-based lidar


A Nd:YAG laser that uses the gem stone Alexandrite could become a satellite-based laser radar (lidar) following European Space Agency funded work by UK-based Midaz. Midaz’s Alexandrite laser has delivered high pulse energy (>23mJ at 100Hz), which makes it useful for satellite-based remote sensing. Midaz develops and manufactures diode pumped solid state lasers with very high pulse repetition rates and high gain, single stage, amplifier modules. The Alexandrite laser


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is also expected to be useful for microscopy for biomedical imaging solutions and laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy for analysing materials at the molecular level. ‘What is remarkable about this laser technology demonstration is its exceptional high efficiency of greater than 31 per cent slope efficiency (equivalent to >40 per cent with respect to absorbed pump power) in a system still with considerable scope for further optimisation towards 60 per cent


ELECTRO OPTICS l FEBRUARY 2012


efficiency,’ Midaz chief technology officer professor Michael Damzen said. ‘The demonstrated efficiency is already an order of magnitude higher than lamp-pumped versions of the technology but the real significance is the opportunity diode-pumped Alexandrite offers to supersede Nd:YAG as the preferred laser source for space- based lidar remote sensing.’ In 2013 ESA will launch into orbit its ADM-Aeolus spacecraft that will use lidar to help measure global wind profiles from space.


ADM-Aeolus is ESA’s fourth Earth Explorer mission to be developed within the agency’s Living Planet Programme. Aeolus will be the first-ever satellite to directly observe wind profiles from space. The ESA funded work at Midaz was part of the agency’s Technology Research Programme and was overseen by its European Space Research and Technology Centre, which is based in the Netherlands. Midaz was provided with technical support from Kent- based lidar specialist Hovemere.


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Image: Flir Systems


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