Gravitational Wave Study Continues

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) is a collaboration of more than 1,000 scientists worldwide working toward a common goal: searching for gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are barely noticeable ripples in spacetime caused by black-hole binary systems and predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity 100 years ago in 1916. LIGO was launched in 2002, but research has recently been catapulted forward with the development of a new technique that nearly doubles the sensitivity of the equipment used to detect these spacetime ripples.

Gooch & Housego, leaders in light measurement instrumentation, is looking forward to the progress LIGO is generating toward the search for gravitational waves by exploiting “squeezed light” and quantum entanglement to detect any passing gravity waves, but first, here is a brief breakdown on the science of measuring gravitational waves and the breakthrough of squeezed states of light.

To measure any passing gravitational waves, an inferometer is utilized. As the photodetector on the interferometer measures distances with a light beam, any variation in the measured distance suggests a recording of a ripple in spacetime. These ripples are minute, and measuring their presence requires extremely sensitive interferometers.

Presently, interferometers are faulted due to interference issues: at frequencies above several hundred hertz, the vacuum (zero-point) fluctuations of the electromagnetic field experiences very good sensitivity, but not perfect. The precise measurement of gravitational waves is invalid with very good sensitivity; it needs to be more accurate and precise.

By injecting squeezed light – light with photo-electron currents with extremely low noise – into the vacuum, sensitivity issues are alleviated and gravitational waves are able to be measured much more accurately. The squeezed states of light create entangled photons between the interferometer’s two mirrors. “Entangled” is a gentle misnomer since the subatomic particles are only invisibly connected, post-collision. This entangled state leads the particles to act as a single object. Therefore, measuring the state of one particle automatically gives the state for its entangled partner. On a much grander scale, “entangled” disturbances in one area of the universe can immediately affect other parts of the universe.

Advanced LIGO, due to be implemented in the near future, plans on incorporating the “squeezed light” approach to its upgraded interferometers. As technology advances, it moves closer to understanding the universe and all its surprises – such as learning about space by studying subatomic particles. Learn more about light measurement instrumentation by contacting Gooch & Housego at (800) 899-3171, and browse our website for information pertaining to the technological tools, services, and resources we offer.

How Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is Changing Biology

The world of biology has recently been granted a peek into the future with the enhancement of intensified Raman spectroscopy. This spectral imaging technique, known as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), increases Raman spectroscopy by as much as 6 to 14 orders of magnitude. This application will give researchers and scientists the ability to pinpoint with precision many of the targets they have blindly searched out in the past.

SERS has been studied for approximately 40 years, and its repercussions in molecular biology are astonishing. However, two concerns for SERS exist: it does not work on arbitrary molecules, and it often lacks the reproducibility of results. To counter the issue of reproducibility, chemists have begun using aggregating agents to enhance the signals.

These modified signals make it much simpler to detect microscopic particles using a variety of methods. One of these are shell-isolated nanoparticle-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SHINERS) – orbs of noble metal with an ultrathin glass coating. The coating prevents chemical reactions between metal and the analyte solution as it counteracts oxidation on the metal surface. If, instead of glass, the nanoparticle was magnetized and sported a noble metal coating, it could attract nearby particles after exposure to a specific solution.

Paired with lab-on-a-chip technology – a microprocessing device designed for the analysis of several lab functions on minuscule fluid amounts – SERS is able to detect an abundance of analytes, such as anti-cancer drugs, food contaminants, pollutants and pesticides, and narcotics, controlled substances, and their metabolites in any bodily fluid. Medium to large biomolecules, such as nucleic acids or cell membranes and their constituents, are measurable using intrinsic and extrinsic schemes. Intrinsic methods have the propensity of denaturing when binding to the metal; the possibility of functionalizing the surfaces of the SERS substrate may exist. Extrinsic methods allow detection in limits much lower than possibly permitted.

The importance of SERS has many implications, such as:

  • The detection of nucleic acid sequences hybridized with complementary targets to identify viruses and bacteria and the detection of disease.
  • The ability to forensically identify criminal suspects.
  • The detection of target antigens or antibodies using immunoassay platforms to identify drugs, for food quality control purposes, to monitor the environment, and for clinical diagnostics.
  • A sandwich assay technique allows the single-walled carbon nanotubes (which deliver immense Raman signals) to detect specific analytes at femtomolar concentrations.
  • Finding and identifying bacteria will revolutionize health care because the most effective antibiotics are those targeted to specific bacteria. When the bacteria is identified within 3-4 hours rather than 3-4 days using this efficient, inexpensive technique, it saves more than time and money; it saves lives.

The ability to reveal the microscopic world and conquer it will be much more feasible with the progress of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. To learn more about spectral imaging and our line of products, services, and resources, please browse our website. Feel free to contact us at (800) 899-3171 to speak with one of our technology professionals.

Spectroscopy Evolves to Help Prostate Cancer Surgery

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in seven men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during his lifetime. Like some other cancers, prostate cancer can be deadly as it may cause few or no symptoms initially, and it can ultimately spread to the bones, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body. Fortunately, doctors are now helping in the fight against prostate cancer not with a scalpel or drugs, but with a spectroradiometer.

How It Works

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers are using a spectroradiometer to measure light reflectance; that is, the light intensity backscattered from the human cells.

Researchers are utilizing the device to assess tissue specimens and compare those results with those of the pathological examination in determining the boundaries to which the cancer has spread during a radical prostatectomy procedure. Because the spectroradiometer can help surgeons better discern between healthy and cancerous tissue, this new technique, which currently has an accuracy rate of 85%, could pave the way for widespread real-time tissue evaluation during the surgical procedure.

The researchers culled a specific group of patients for the study: Those with intermediate- or high-risk prostate cancer who were recommended for a radical prostatectomy, which is the removal of the prostate. During surgery, researchers would use the spectroradiometer on the just-excised prostate to try to correlate the benign and malignant portions with what the surgeons found from the pathological evidence.

Why This Is Important

Radical prostatectomies not only remove the cancerous gland, but also some of the connected tissue. Because of the limitations of evaluating the state of the tissue up until now, surgeons could have missed some of the cancer cells that, historically, have been less detectable. Now, with the additional help of a spectroradiometer, surgeons will be able to more completely remove all cancer cells and have a higher rate of surgical success and long-term results.

And because the spectroradiometer is a noninvasive procedural additive, what had been a very bleak scenario may have brightened up just a little bit.

If you’d like more information on spectroradiometers for your application, contact Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171, or you can contact us online.

Product Spotlight: The MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/ Photometer

If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to measuring luminance, chromaticity, and color temperature, you don’t need to look any further than Gooch & Housego’s MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer.

The high-speed, production-ready MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer delivers unmatched high-resolution CCD-based spatial color and luminance measurements for entire scenes and areas. The MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer achieves this through the utilization of a proprietary calibrated-pixels technique.

While the MANTIS is compact, rugged, and weighs less than two pounds, it makes no sacrifices when it comes to output, offering full-field luminance, and color measurements of lighting and displays. It has a high-speed GigE interface, provides tristimulus color coordinates (XYZ and x, y, Y), Pass/Fail regions of interest, and affords multiple data outputs including 3D luminance plotting.

Because the MANTIS offers rapid data capture of an entire scene/device and delivers reliable solid-state operation due to its lack of moving parts, it is extremely cost effective when time is money.

Technical Specification of the MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer

The camera resolution is an impressive 2750 x 2200, and is available with the following objective lenses: 20 mm, 50 mm, 60 mm micro, 85 mm, and 105 mm micro.

The color-coordination accuracy is (CIE 1931 x,y) ± 0.00035 and the luminance accuracy is (Y) ± 4%.

Safety compliance is IEC-61010, and the emission/immunity compliance is CE.

Applications for the MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer

You’ll find the MANTIS has a variety of possible applications, including automotive (dashboard, display, interior, or exterior lighting), aircraft (cabin lighting and avionics), architectural (lighting and illumination design), and civil (roadway lighting), just to name a few.

A companion device for the MANTIS is the OL 458-4F, a NIST-traceable integrating Led-based sphere calibration standard. The OL 458-4F, which has an optics head and power supply, precisely calibrates imaging colorimeters and photometers, as well as microphotometers, telephotometers, and image intensifiers for spectroradiometric, radiometric, or photometric response. The OL 458-4F facilitates remote location of either unit and enables precise placement to provide a radiating source that is stable, amazingly accurate, and stable.

No matter what your application requirements for calibration services, Gooch & Housego can help. Contact us today for more information at 800-899-3171, or contact us online.

LEDs in Fishing Nets Helps to Eliminate Sea Turtle Deaths

turtle-863336_1280For some people, LED testing has never been so important: a commercial fishing company in Peru has successfully tested the use of LED lights in their fishing nets to reduce the number of sea turtle entanglements and, ultimately, deaths.

Unfortunately, commercial fishing nets don’t only trap fish. Other species of aquatic-based wildlife regularly get caught up in the netting and die as a result, a circumstance known as bycatching. Because of the number of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) that were being caught in their nets, researchers tested using nets with LED lights installed.

The results were impressive: Using generalized additive model analysis to account for environmental variables, researchers saw a reduction of 64% in the number of turtles caught.

What’s more, the scientists were happy to report the relatively low cost required to outfit the nets with LED lighting, noting that costs would be even further reduced as the scale was increased.

The research received funding from the Peruvian nonprofit ProDelphinus, the U.K. government’s Darwin Initiative, the University of Exeter in England, and the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Gooch & Housego is a leader in LED testing and LED spectral analysis. The OL 770-LED Test and Measurement System is a high-speed, CCD-based spectroradiometer that can be customized to any LED measurement application. It is both lightweight and portable, and it delivers high-precision, fast, and accurate research-grade measurements to meet the most demanding product applications. Best of all, the 770 stays within your budget without compromising quality, consistency, and precision.

Available with a wide variety of accessories, the 770 is the perfect instrument for measuring LED spectral and goniometric properties. With the addition of the appropriate input optics, it is possible to measure and report parameters such as Condition A/B and TLF as well as viewing angle and electrical characterization information such as LIV when coupled with a Keithley source meter or G&H power supply. The 770 also has unique triggering capabilities for high-speed production type environments, making it a go-to device for LED testing. For more information, contact Gooch & Housego at 407-422-3171 or 800-899-3171.

NIR Light Technique to Help Underdeveloped Lungs in Premature Babies

A recent article by Lee Dubay in BioOptics World looked at how spectral imaging is being used by researchers as they create and measure the effectiveness of noninvasive optical techniques to enhance the diagnosis of patients, and in this case, premature babies, using different wavelengths of light.

The principal researcher, Emilie Krite Svanberg of Lund University in Lund, Sweden, is an anesthesiologist seeking to measure the amount of oxygen in a baby’s lungs via near-infrared laser light. Currently, doctors use x-rays to measure the amount of oxygen, putting these small patients at a higher risk of developing cancer due to the radiation they are exposed to during an x-ray. The babies lungs struggle to get the amount of oxygen needed because they are underdeveloped.

“The basic principle of the method,” according to the BioOptics World piece, “is to send light of a certain wavelength into the body, and then measure how much of the light can be retrieved. Based on this, it is possible to calculate the oxygen supply.”

The near-infrared light wavelength used with the technique is exactly 760.445 nm, so the utmost in precision is required. These precise measurements help doctors determine what course of action is best for the babies, such as inflating a collapsed lung. As it turns out, the near-infrared light scanning technology could assist with this procedure as well.

“Today, the method requires one person to hold a measuring instrument against the baby’s chest, while another sits by the computer, registering the results. Our goal is to simplify this technology,” Krite Svanberg is quoted as saying in BioOptics World. “We hope that the measurements will be possible to perform automatically, by using small transmitters attached to the baby’s chest. This would enable measuring the lung function continuously, in a way that is completely safe and that doesn’t bother the child.”

Gooch & Housego is proud to make its own contributions to helping the medical community and its patients through innovations in spectral imaging. Gooch & Housego is applying its acousto-optic tunable AOTF filter-based HSi-440C spectral imaging system to imaging traditionally stained clinical pathology samples to which additional transmission stains labeling multiple specific biomarkers have been added. Because of this, the HSi-440C has now been implemented in cervical cancer detection and shown to provide the pathologist with significant additional information to aid in more accurate interpretation. For more information, please contact us at 407-422-3171 or 800-899-3171.

Was Einstein Right? Gravitational Waves Detected

albert-einstein-1165218_1280You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate the latest bombshell discovery jointly discovered by Caltech and MIT. But if you are an astrophysicist, your head is probably still spinning. Researchers from the two institutions jointly observed gravitational waves, a finding that has implications for everything from grand theories of the universe’s origin to the relatively mundane arena of calibration services.

If you don’t know what gravitational waves are, then check out this definition: “In physics, gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from the source. Predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation.”

Researchers announced their finding at a Washington, D.C. press conference held this past February 11. The event was hosted by the National Science Foundation, which is the primary funding arm of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). The twin LIGO observatories were designed, constructed, and are currently jointly run by both the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

According to the scientists, the discovery occurred September 14, 2015 at a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. by both of LIGO detectors. Amazingly, the gravitational waves were emitted in a fraction of a second during the combining of two black holes to make a single, more massive one, an occurrence that had been theorized but not directly observed until now.

This discovery is important because gravitational waves aren’t changed by interactions with matter, which isn’t true for light waves. This means that gravitational waves can provide what is considered “pure” data about the objects and events that caused their creation.

“Our observation of gravitational waves accomplishes an ambitious goal set out over five decades ago to directly detect this elusive phenomenon and better understand the universe, and, fittingly, Einstein’s legacy on the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity,” said LIGO Laboratory executive director David Reitze, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, in a statement.

It is expected that, with gravitational waves now observed, great changes will come, all the way down to calibration services. And since calibration services is a specialty of Gooch & Housego’s, we look forward to the changes to come. In the meantime, reach out to us today for your calibration needs. You can call 800-899-3171, or contact us online.

Metrology, Light Measurement, & Its Implications

Optical metrology, the science of using light in order to create pinpoint measurements, is one of the hottest emerging fields for scientific innovation and advancement. Optical metrology is growing, in part, because of its dependence on other areas of science and technology depending on the establishment and use of calibration standards.

It is the nature of light that makes it invaluable for measurement, and its ability to predictably and consistently manipulate the oscillation of light within the visible and invisible spectrums make it perfect for measuring either size or time with the utmost precision.

What’s more, scientists and researchers are measuring light itself, using these measurements of laser strength, ultraviolet radiation levels, and more to further refine the design, manufacture, and operation of highly sensitive equipment for applications in the medical, aerospace, and other fields.

With that in mind, here are a couple of examples of how optical metrology and calibration standards impact specific areas of research and innovation.

Photovoltaics

Photovoltaic, or solar cell, technology continues to advance. Optical metrology and calibration standards let researchers evaluate innovations in photovoltaic technology in terms of operational efficiency.

LEDs

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, also are a hotspot for calibration standards. As previously mentioned, optical metrology is in some cases utilized in the measurement of light itself. Because of the shift in lighting standards from incandescent bulbs and fluorescent fixtures toward solid-state lighting, the LED market has been exploding with growth. And as an expected result, LED testing for efficiency and performance has become a cornerstone of development for the lighting industry. In addition, increased use of LED lighting in medical equipment and facilities has furthered the need for calibration standards.

Gooch & Housego specializes in light measurement and calibration standards and solutions. Our expertise crosses a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies, which also includes crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, fiber optics, DFB laser modules, precision optics (thin-film coating, birefringent optics, non-linear, planar and aspheric), and RF driver electronics. Call us today for more information at 800-899-3171, or contact us online.

Night Vision Market Expected to Grow to $7.7 Billion in 2020

Buoyed by the military,  the night vision market certainly is booming. Globally, the night vision market will reach $7.7 billion by 2020, says market research firm MarketsandMarkets. This healthy forecast takes into account a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent to build on the $5.1 billion the market saw in 2015.

Most of the market share will be in North America, but the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow strongly as well. “The increasing military expenditure, along with rising need for technologically advanced night vision devices is driving the growth of the market,” states the report. “The night vision devices are used in various applications such as surveillance, military, security, hunting, navigation, hidden object detection, paranormal research, and others.”

Gooch & Housego’s Night Vision Testing Products

Gooch & Housego is well-positioned to grow right along with the rest of the global night vision market. The company’s OL 770-NVS and OL 750-NVG systems are designed specifically for certification of NVIS-compatible displays and lighting components per MIL-STD-3009/ MIL-L-85762A.

The Gooch & Housego OL 770-NVS night vision display test and measurement system allows for NVIS-compatible testing of tungsten backlit devices without additional system calibrations and filters. It uses a concave, aberration-corrected grating spectrograph designed to specifically target the wavelength range defined in MIL-L-86762A Appendix B / MIL-STD-3009. What’s more, it employs a TE-cooled, back-thinned detector.

Gooch & Housego’s OL 750-NVG is a specifically configured version of the OL 750 Spectroradiometer for NVG compatibility measurements. This comprehensive turnkey system incorporates direct viewing imaging optics and exceeds the requirements of MIL-L-85762A. As with all of Gooch & Housego’s spectroradiometers, an optional built-in photometer is available. Additionally, all necessary calibration software is provided. The OL 750-NVG’s modular design accommodates expansion to other applications, including detector spectral response (DSR) and source spectral analysis (SSA) from 200 nm to 30 µm.

As a world leader in light measurement solutions, Gooch & Housego’s instruments and systems provide accurate, repeatable, research-grade measurements in the UV-VIS-NIR-IR wavelength ranges. Contact us today for more information.

LEDs Go Far Beyond Lighting

LED testing is sure to become increasingly critical as the implementation of LEDs is going far beyond lighting with an ever-growing diversity of applications that currently includes water-quality monitoring, the curing of adhesives and inks, and medical treatment.

UV-C LEDs can effectively monitor irradiation levels and can monitor wastewater treatment. Not only that, but the LEDs are proving to be both less costly and more reliable. In marine environments, UV-C LEDs can prevent bacteria from forming biofilms on optical and acoustic sensors. What’s more, it is expected that these LEDs will eventually be utilized for large-scale water treatment.

Medical Advances with LEDs

Kidney dialysis is seeing an upgrade as well: LEDs emitting at 280 nm can measure uric acid absorption, which is the how the effectiveness of dialysis is checked. In the past, patients had to undergo blood tests. Perhaps even more impressive is the use of near-UV LEDs to eradicate pathogens in blood intended for transfusion. The European-based process involves adding a specific compound to the blood and then activating it with the LED. Hospitals are now using blue LEDs to treat jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) in newborns. The blue LEDs are more efficient than the fluorescent lamps previously used for the treatments. These LEDS are even being manufactured in fiber-optic blankets to make the treatment less clinical and more soothing to the infants.

The 280 nm LEDs have a completely different use in exciting fluorescence in oil, which is particularly useful in oil-spill scenarios. These LEDs can even detect specific oil types to aid in selecting the proper clean-up methods. And the near-UV LEDs have been found to be excellent for curing adhesives and inks. The long-lasting LEDs are less expensive operationally as they use much less electricity, and the ability to accurately direct the light means less of a chance of stray light damaging sensitive electronic components.

Gooch & Housego and LED Testing

Remember that Gooch & Housego specializes in LED testing. We offer a high-speed, CCD-based spectroradiometer that can be customized to any LED measurement application, making it ideal for measuring LED spectral and goniometric properties.  For more information on this or any of our other light measurement instrumentation products, contact Gooch & Housego today.