LEDs Helping to Map the Bottom of the Ocean Floor

The ocean floor is truly our last frontier. More is known about the outer regions of the solar system than this vast dark labyrinth humming miles beneath our sandy feet and in the deep reaches of the sea. It’s a vibrant place, not just ecologically, but geographically, as underwater mountain ranges flex and contort. Lately, the mapping of this subterranean area has been getting a boost from an unlikely source: LEDs.

Created by a squad at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, a device called the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) is using LED-imaging software to noninvasively map the seafloor at a sublime level. More specifically, as the name suggests, a microscopic level. The seafloor offers some hyper-specific challenges for anyone trying to map it, most relating to instrument positioning and, in this case, LED calibration. Aquatic-based measurement instruments have always had issues with the versatile nature of the environment they are trying to capture, as well as the highly sensitive data that is necessary in an area that is not a lab.

But the scientists at Scripps in charge of the BUM used a multitude of techniques to overcome these obstacles and one of the foremost was focused LED lights. The scientists used a custom-designed set of six LED lights for short and ultra high-definition snapshots of the seafloor. This, in conjunction with microscopic lenses as well as fitted software to intake all appropriate (and rare) data, created a sophisticated piece of technology that can map the ocean floor while not disturbing it.

LEDs were critical in this process by accomplishing tasks common lighting elements could not. Enhanced imaging techniques and precisely guided angles are key in getting a reading on the ocean floor that is both consistent and deep. Andrew Mullen, a BUM administrator noted that “the system is capable of seeing features as small as single cells underwater.” This level of clarity, assisted with LED technology, is allowing the team to study coral reefs and underwater structures from as distant a landscape as the Red Sea to Maui. The discoveries found by enhanced imagery are helping our understanding of how underwater ecosystems survive and flourish.

In a time when corals are facing unprecedented challenges, anything related to improving LED calibration and performance can do to help their circumstance is more than welcomed. Future studies and research using BUM technology can improve our knowledge of the constant evolution of ocean bottoms, and. in theory, provide us with key information to protecting these natural areas. The world’s oceans are our planet’s largest biosystems, and by understanding them on a more precise microscopic level, we better understand and protect ourselves. LED lighting technology is at the forefront of this work and as LED calibration techniques improve, the hope of more accurate mapping continues to grow with it.

Product Spotlight: OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer for FDA Sunscreen Testing

As our awareness towards the damages of UV rays continues to grow, it’s become more obvious, as well as critical to the general public, that the use a proper sunscreen is essential. From skin cancer to simple skin damage, the issues that long-term and intense exposure to the sun can cause are myriad. But to mitigate these damages, a sunscreen is not guaranteed to be useful: quality controls can be scattershot and not all are created equally. Sunscreen can be an incredible resource for skin health, but only if it’s been created properly.

Given this quandary, enter the OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer. This incredible product from Gooch and Housego is the only portable instrument that meets FDA-level standards to test which sunscreens can be deemed “broad spectrum” in their application. Broad spectrum sunscreen is quantified as a substance that can protect from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause damage deep into your skin’s layers, and UVB rays can wreak havoc on the outer surfaces. But either way, both have the potential to cause damage, and the very best sunscreens are created with these risks in mind.

The OL 756 UV/VIS Spectroradiometer is designed to separate the imposters from the legitimate. Its design is rugged and portable, perfectly suited for road work. Battery operable over several hours, this spectroradiometer is among the top of its class in this line of cutting-edge ultraviolet light-testing products. As a self-contained double monochrometer, this product works in the 200 to 800 nm range.

And the applications are multifold; beyond the ability to measure UV exposure on skin and fabric, the device works for tanning beds, solar tests, and lamp UV systems. Contact us today at 800-899-3171 for pricing and more information. Also, please feel free to contact us online.

Product Spotlight: OL 455-6KSA Ultra-High Uniformity Calibration Standard

As an industry leader for over two decades in the highly specialized world of integrated spheres, Gooch & Housego is uniquely positioned to create some of the most progressive instruments on the planet within this arena. With a variety of ranges, forms, configurations, and applications, odds are we have a product that fits your need.

One of our newest entries in this realm of light measurement is the OL 455-6KSA Ultra-High Uniformity Calibration standard. This creation has an image sensor calibration capability that is unmatched within the marketplace due to an array of new features and useful instrumentation. Comparisons of uniformity when measured against our standard OL455-6 sphere show striking results. And with the continued boom in LED lighting, calibration from the use of consistent and exacting photometry will be crucial to remaining within the field.

The OL 455-6KSA has features such as an exceptionally distinctive elongated sphere design, which helps improve uniformity by a factor of 10. Also, the new automated variable aperture drive design allows for smaller seek times when targeting specific luminances: taking another step towards productivity in this sector of integrated spheres. Additionally, the stabilized monitor detector allows for a dependably stable temperature that reduces settling time as an increase or decrease in luminance is requested.

The end result of all these new features for the OL 455-6KSA include better image calibration, a more exacting accuracy, fully automated control, and a wider ambient temperature range. These improvements are remarkable and go a long way to the overall goal of improved calibration standards. As Gooch & Housego continues to vault into the very upper realms of integrating spheres and their theoretical technological ceilings, upgrades and products like the OL-455-6KSA will continue to be our pride and photometric wheelhouse. For more information on purchasing, contact us online, or contact Maureen Knowles at 407-422-3171, ext 206.

Understanding Standards for Hyperspectral Imaging

Standards are a fundamental key to the feasible usage of any piece light measurement instrumentation. Without calibration, high-tech lighting applications can become essentially useless. And as fields expand that look to incorporate some form of imaging or LED technology, the boundaries of what this calibration will be, and even mean, are going to be consistently pushed.
Perhaps nowhere has this been more true in recent years than in the realm of medical research. As researchers, scientists and doctors discover more and more techniques for deploying light wavelengths to both heal and diagnosis, so the specification for the devices they use will increasingly come under pressure.
With this in mind, researchers at National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, have been working with non-invasive screening techniques using hyperspectral imaging. Their work in clinical trials have shown that these methods are radically useful in determining damaged skin tissue without having to resort to the currently common practice of biopsies. Skin biopsies, while accurate, are painful and time-consuming for patients, but there is now some hope that this treatment will soon be a relic of a different age of medical practice as ultra-sensitive light imaging replaces it.
There’s one problem: we don’t have the data. Human skin reflectance is a very unfamiliar field to even the most studied researchers, and we have no usable library of what healthy skin should look like under ultraviolet and short-wave infrared light as compared to unhealthy. It is here that the NIST is putting out a call for help from communities that specialize in light measurement instrumentation, as well as medical research to pull together as much skin reflectance data as possible.

Once a suitable database can be built, the idea is that technicians specializing in this ultra-sensitive imaging process will have something to confirm their diagnosis against. Perhaps one day this process could even be automated. Doctors given the ability to see how diseased tissue is healing or morphing with a hyperspectral image would be tremendous step forward in the healthcare community. Skin itself presents some specific challenges (our biological signatures can be very unique), but with the increasing ability of light instruments, the level of detail available in scans is rising to a place that is medically useful. Machines such as the NIST’s Hyperspectral Image Projector (HIP) are on the cutting edge of this work, and supplemental products to improve its sensitivity and calibration ability will push the medical community further into the future.
Gooch & Housego instrument long involvement with NIST includes supporting their efforts in hyperspectral imaging and beyond. For more information, please call 800-899-3171, or you can contact us online.

LEDs Could Help the Deaf with Hearing Restore

The power and uses of LED technology continue to expand and surprise. The ability to hear would seem like an area where LEDs would never have any specific use, but alas, research by Tobias Moser at the University Medical Center Göttingen in Germany has shown there may be a breakthrough here after all, and LED calibration is at the very center of it.

Cochlear implants are, to put it mildly, not optimal. As useful as they are for the deaf and hearing impaired, they are far from being remarkable. Those who have a regular level of human hearing capabilities can distinguish between around 2000 different sound variations, whereas the deaf with cochlear implants can only discern between around 12. This imbalance is the problem. A recent article noted the similarity between the sound of human speech when filtered through a cochlear implant to what a Dalek sounds like from the Dr. Who series (EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!). Fuzzy and cackled, the implants allow for only some relief for the deaf.

But recent breakthroughs using LED technology may be reversing this, and, potentially, allowing those with hearing disabilities to begin to hear the world in its full beauty. The solution to this is expanding the number of sound variations and frequencies a cochlear implant can attune to. Mr. Tobias Moser believes this can be done by using ontogenetics. Each channel in a cochlear implant must stimulate a nerve in order to create a sound frequency to the listener; this has been traditionally done using electricity, but electricity often merges in human tissue, making for a muddled sound that isn’t of great use (hence, the only 12 useful channels).

Enter light, specifically LED technology. According to Moser: “You can focus light more conveniently than current.” And because of this, you can create additional frequencies and expand the number of sound variations that an implant can generate. Moser’s team is using micro-LED technology with the hopes of taking that dozen or so frequencies into the 100s. This optogenetic concept has shown to be useful in mice, and further trials are planned with the end goal of highly sophisticated LED-powered hearing implants.

According to Moser, these human trials are still years away, as they need to find ways to improve implanted micro-LEDs life capabilities. This is the kind of technology Gooch & Housego thrives in and hopes to push further into the future. Accurate and precise LED test and measurement will be crucial in fine tuning the capabilities of devices, such as cochlear implants. The future of LED technology is wide, and, hopefully, loud.

Deep Brain Imaging & Spectral Transmittance

The brain is complicated. Particularly at the cellular level, where neural pathways and connections are still an object of both mystery and great promise. To map the brain, as intricately as possible, is an elusive goal. But now, as technical ability begins to approach a level on par to that of the ambition in our neuroscience community, new advances are being made in brain mapping. Many of these new approaches are being spearheaded by near-infrared (NIR) detectors, which hinges on the detailed ability of spectral transmittance.

A recent paper by researchers at both the Columbia University and City College of New York outlined some of the promise they have found in recent tests. They describe how they have identified what they are terming a “golden window” for NIR light wavelengths that allows for maximum quality in deep brain imaging. This window, between NIR 1600–1870nm, succeeds in two areas where past imaging techniques (such as multiphoton microscopy) have struggled: light scattering and absorption. This technique allows overall for a deeper and clearer image of the cellular levels of the brain.

The team pointed out the difficulty overall in imaging the brain is due to its unique composition. A combination of water, low-protein, and ultra-dense neural pathways combine to make a formidable challenge. But through careful study, the researchers tested NIR ranges from 600 to 2500nm, and through research using rat brain tissue, found a golden window of light amplification. The optimism in this find was clear: “The golden window represents a significant advance over previous approaches and could have a great impact on the development of microscopy imaging techniques.”

The key to future advancement in this field of deep brain imagery will be controls and careful calibration. The NIR range settings are rather particular, and spectral transmittance will need to be precisely designed. But the understanding of the cellular levels of the brain is one of the great medical frontiers of our time, holding promise for diseases that have far been above our technical ability to treat. Researchers hope to take further steps using laser technology and more advanced equipment in order to expand our understanding of the brain, and Gooch & Housego has the tools and expertise to help you make that next great discovery.

New Detector Technology & White LEDs

As superior LED lighting takes over more and more area in the visible public and private spectrum, photometric standards and detection will become increasingly vital. Gooch & Housego is well-situated with the products and designs to work in this light technology environment. LEDs will continue towards a dominant place in the marketplace, and with the phasing out of incandescent bulbs becoming basically commonplace, LEDs are going to be sited as the new photometric standards.

A recent paper published in Nature, by a joint consortium of scientists from the Metrology Research Institute at Aalto University in Finland and MIKES Metrology at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, looked to explore the possible usable photometric standards when white LEDs were subjected to testing by a photometer called a predictable quantum efficient detector (PQED). What they found was this method takes photometric filters, commonly used in photometry, out of the equation. The new PQED method showed lower expanded uncertainty than customary filters.

It was also noted that even in the realm of photometric filters, if we calibrate said filters using LED lamps as compared to incandescent lamps, and then measure LED photometric standards, the maximum spectral mismatch ratio is significantly lowered (the authors found this be at a magnitude of around three). Although technical, these advances in photometric measurements were specifically noted by the authors to potentially have a “significant economic impact”.

And overall, the paper states clearly that their analysis shows it possible to create definitions based on sensible LED-based illumination sources for photometry. All of this is possible due to the main, and proven, advantages LED lighting provides over traditional incandescent lighting: stability, longer life-spans (of bulbs) and better energy use ratios. Photometric standards, in the general spirit of this published work, will set themselves on the LED spectrum, whether the means for doing so involves some variation with commonplace filters (unlikely) or more novel solutions such as was used here with the predictable quantum efficient detector (PQED).

Gooch & Housego has a long history in photometrics and stands at the vanguard of this changing technology. We offer an assortment of products related to further LED study and usage, and our innovation will continue to grow alongside this booming industry.

Gooch & Housego Partner, Nanocytomics, Pioneers in Earlier Cancer Detection

We have only just begun to realize the ways in which light measurement instrumentation will be able to assist in the fight against cancer. The cure for cancer is one of the essential human mysteries, with nothing that should be placed out of the realm of possibility. With that in mind, our partners at Nanocytomics have developed a specialized microscope they hope to bring to the market in 2017 to join this battle. As we sit currently, the best bet with most cancer treatments is considered to be early identification, and it is here where Nanocytomics looks to provide a boost.

The Partial Wave Spectroscopy microscope (PWS) will provide a non-invasive glimpse into cells at a nano level, where mutations can be spotted much earlier than current technology allows. This would be a particular use to cancers of the lungs, where tumors can go undedicated until a point where treatment can be much less successful. Low-risk patients, paradoxically, can stand at a greater risk of not being screened for lung tumors due to the current cost. But with the technology well into development by Dr. Vadim Backman, screening with the PWS would possibly be as simple as taking a small cell sample from patients’ cheeks.

The hope is that these non-invasive and practical light measurement instrumentation devices can uncover cancers early and easily, and at a low-cost, allowing those with no specific reason to be alert to a cancer to be tested anyway. This testing could revolutionize cancer treatment, receiving identification at an early cellular level as opposed to late in an advanced cancer stage.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal listed the work by Nanocytomics, a Gooch & Housego partner, as one of six medical technologies worth watching. And it’s clear to see why. Cancer cell detection using light measurement instrumentation is novel and groundbreaking. The National Cancer Institute states plainly that screening tests, such as low-dose helical computed tomography and sigmoidoscopy exams, can be effective in lowering overall mortality rates due to cancer, but also the tests themselves correspond to unkind side effects. These side effects, in turn, may dissuade a patient from a test barring it being absolutely necessary. The PWS and Nanocytomics hope to make this issue mute, and Gooch & Housego stands with them.

Get Excited for the Discovery of New Semiconducting Materials

The concept of a semiconductor was entered into the scientific mind nearly two centuries ago. Yet, discoveries and advances in the technology, specifically in regards to the materials in use, continue to this day. And some are quite noteworthy, not to mention critical to the evolution of electronics-based LEDs.

Recently, a study from Fumiyasu Oba, and his colleagues at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyoto University, running on a set of calculations, identified 11 materials never before reported to be functional semiconductors. Of particular note, among these 11 compounds, was calcium zinc nitride (CaZn2N2). The researchers looked specifically for compounds with top-level electrical conductivity, in hopes of isolating new materials for possible use in solar cells and LEDs, common in all modern screen-based technological equipment.

As the demand for LEDs and solar technologies continues to rocket upward, the demand for physically natural semiconductor materials needed to power them rises directly alongside. The cheaper and more environmentally friendly these materials can be, the better. And as the materials known for use as semiconductors expand beyond its current base, the further technology, with heavy reliance on semiconductors, has the potential to grow.

Currently, gallium nitride (GaN) and indium nitride (InN) are the main substances for use in LED-powered devices, such as televisions, cell phones, and computer screens. As these two are specifically linked and in demand, extraction and costs associated with obtaining them have naturally grown. Part of the concept behind Professor Oba’s test was to find compounds unknown, and, hence, less used, in modern semi conducting, and thus, locate alternative materials whose application and commonality in the natural world could be of a greater expanse. As this report shows, they have done just that. Calcium zinc nitride, specifically out of the 11 found, is both naturally abundant and benign.

LED testing will need to continue to prove the commercial and technical viability of using substances like calcium zinc nitride. Nevertheless, the very discovery of its use as a semiconductor compound is large news. Gooch & Housego has a wide array of products and knowledge that have the potential to be put into a variety of applications with this growing array of semiconductor substances, as well as simply LED testing itself. Continue browsing our website for more information, or call us at 800-899-3171.

Gooch & Housego Set to Demo Mantis at SID’s Automotive Lighting Conference

Gooch and Housego’s Light Measurement & Instrumentation division is proud to be a part of the Society for Information Display (SID) and its 23rd Annual Symposium and Expo in Livonia, Michigan on September 27th and 28th. A planned demo of the Mantis system, an ultra high-speed measuring device for illumination chromaticity and color temperature, is in the works.

This is the only event that brings together technology thought leaders in the automotive displays so there always something new to learn. For instance, in recent years the industry has introduced exciting advances in AR to their applications,” said Alex Fong, Vice President of Life Sciences from Gooch & Housego.

Gooch and Housego is a leader in the intricate world of lighting instrumentation and measurement. With products ranging in application from military, civilian, scientific, and educational, Gooch & Housego’s products are intricate, of the highest quality, and often unique to the market. Winner of the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Field of Innovation, the company has become internationally recognized as a leader in cutting-edge optical hardware and software.

Mantis is one G&H’s newest and most innovative products: the colorimeter/photometer produces unparalleled ultra-fast spatial uniformity, color and luminance measurements for use in everything from automotive to avionic and other displays. Weighing less than two pounds, rugged compact, it is perfect for quality laboratory and production line applications.

“It’s going to be a marvelous product exhibition,” Mr. Fong added.

Don’t miss it at the Gooch and Housego demonstration area in Livonia on September 27th and 28th.

About Gooch & Housego, Life Sciences and Instrumentation Division

In 1970, Optronic Laboratories was established as an optical radiation instrumentation, standards, and calibration laboratory. Forming the nucleus of the company were two former NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) physicists, who individually made significant contributions to the fields of spectroradiometry and electro-optical technology.  The company was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. In 1995, the company was acquired by Gooch & Housego but continued to do business under the Optronic Laboratories name. As of January 2010,  the company was merged with Chromodynamics to form the Life Sciences & Instrumentation division of Gooch & Housego. The 25,000 sq ft facility in Orlando, FL helps to broaden the well-known and trusted brand’s offerings and leverage Gooch & Housego’s extensive worldwide engineering, operations, sales, distribution, and support channels to enhance our response to our clients’ specific needs.