Connecting Nanoparticles to Form Reversible Color Modifications

Going a step beyond the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) concept, in which the emissive electroluminescent layer of a light-emitting diode (LED) is a film of organic compound that emits light in response to an electric current, researchers are making great strides in LED testing with nanoparticles. Scientists recently developed a method to employ standard electrical switching techniques to create color displays from pairs of nanoparticles that produce different colors of the spectrum. This innovative technology has ramifications for luminaires, solid state lighting, and just about all lighting applications.

The research has come out of Rice University’s Smalley-Curl Institute and was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Welch Foundation, the American Chemical Society, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Smalley-Curl Institute.

Electrochemically Constructed Drawbridges

Electrochemically-constructed drawbridges can be opened and closed merely by applying or removing the voltage in light-activated nanoparticles. The traditional use of gold nanoparticles has many benefits but historically has been limited thus far regarding the creation of distinct reversible colors. Naturally, then, researchers are pleased about the new possibilities.

How Electrochemical Nanoparticle Color Switching Works

Here’s how the color switching works: Pairs of metal nanoparticles absorb light and convert it into plasmons (a quantum measurement of plasma oscillation), which then scatter to a frequency on the spectrum. What’s more, minor changes in the back-and-forth motion of the plasmon shifts the color, with bigger frequencies meaning more distinct changes in color. Researchers have found that gold nanoparticles can produce a variety of colors while remaining very stable. The price of gold is not a large issue as it only takes an infinitesimal amount of gold to create an incredibly bright color.

To state it simply, the process is the creation of an electrochemical bridge across the inter-particle gap that produces a completely reversible transition between the capacitive and conductive plasmonic couplings.

Far-Reaching Ramifications

Electrochemically bridging nanoparticles to form reversible color modifications has ramifications for all kinds of LED testing, including CIE 127, LM-79, LM-80. To stay on top of the latest innovations in spectroradiometers that test night vision compatibility, record measurements (LED, OLED, IRED and display), detect spectral response, measure internal and external quantum efficiencies, and more, contact Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171.

Green Buildings (and Blue, Red, and Any Other Color Building) Can Now Convert Solar Light into Energy

When are green buildings not green? When they’re any other color. That’s right: Researchers have advanced the science of solar photovoltaics (PV) by creating a light-absorbing surface that can be fabricated into just about any shape, pattern, design, or color.

Because the new solar-light-absorbing surface is intended to be highly customizable for varied applications, it is able to dispel the old system of minimal aesthetic value, and instead, promote unique designs and congruous visuals on buildings. And, as an added benefit, this design flexibility of these new materials should translate into higher adoption rates for energy-saving PV installations.

The key to this innovation in detector spectral response technology is a surface layered with selective solar absorbers. Traditionally, conventional absorbers have always been black or dark blue in order to maximize efficiency by retaining heat and, therefore, minimizing the emission of infrared light. And, understandably, not every building owner wants black or dark blue solar PV apparatuses on the side of the building it it’s roof.

The newly created light-absorbing surface is covered with multiple layers of transparent dielectric materials that are able to reflect light of almost any specific color. The thickness of these layers determine which shades are absorbed, and a transparent dielectric layer is used to unify the consistency of the thickness and create the ability for the PV to absorb the spectrum. The result is a highly customizable product that should appeal to engineers, designers, and architects alike.

Taking Innovations to Market

Researchers are hoping their new PV application will soon be ready for mass-market use. When that happens, you’ll see it everywhere. Or, maybe, it will be there, but you won’t notice it.

Gooch & Housego is an integrated supplier of critical photonic solutions, such as our OL 750 detector spectral response system for the aerospace and defense, industrial, life science, and scientific research sectors. Gooch & Housego has expansive capabilities and offerings for spectral imaging applications, so contact them today to learn how they can help you innovate in your space by calling 800-889-3171, or contact them online.

Radiometers & Their Role in Measuring India’s Floods

Scientists around the world were able to gather a substantial amount of data during a period of deadly floods in India in late 2015. Through the use of satellites and their onboard radiometers, the space agency collected vast amounts of information regarding the storms that caused the flooding.

Two slow-moving tropical low-pressure systems caused extreme rainfall and resultant severe flooding in southeastern India. Death reports due to the flooding reached 70. But as the two systems dumped their significant payloads, NASA and its global partners recorded the data with multiple satellites.

Using a Dozen Satellites

NASA used what’s called Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) to combine data from 12 satellites, including:

  • DMSP (Defense Mapping Satellite Program) satellites from the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • GCOM-W from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
  • Megha-Tropiques from the Centre National D’etudies Spatiales (CNES) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • NOAA series from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Suomi-NPP from NOAA-NASA.
  • MetOps from the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

All the radiometers on board each of the 12 satellites are inter-calibrated with information from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory’s GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM data is public and is accessible here.

Other Catastrophes

Earlier in 2015, IMERG data recorded an incident of extremely heavy bicoastal rainfall in Australia due to Cyclone Quang impacting the northwestern portion of Australia and another low-pressure system over the country’s southeastern regions. This event caused at least four deaths. In another instance, IMERG data captured historic rainfall levels in North and South Carolina, as well as the Bahamas, because of Hurricane Joaquin. The list goes on and on; you can see current IMERG readings here.

Perhaps soon, scientists will be able to do even more with data in terms of early warnings and other preventive measures. In the meantime, Gooch & Housego will continue to supply researchers and scientists with the very best photonic and radiometer technology. For more information, call Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171.

LEDs as Pain Relief?

There is new research that could take light where it’s never been before: LEDs are now being tested as a source of pain relief. Of course, this LED testing is more complex than merely shining a light on a sore knee. But this fascinating new possibility has profound and wide-reaching implications for medical care.

Researchers are currently developing and testing a brand-new biocompatible device that seeks to make it simpler to determine the exact neurological basis of pain. The flexible, implantable LED device eventually may not only help determine why a patient has pain but also help to alleviate the pain.

Through what is known as optogenetics, which is the process of using light to direct neurons and other cells that have been genetically modified. Specifically, scientists are using optogenetics to derive control over precisely targeted neurons to activate light-sensitive proteins.

In order to get around the limitations of remote light sources and the use of fiber optics, these optogeneticists used fully implantable, yet minimally invasive, technologies to achieve optogenetic manipulation of both the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system in laboratory mice.

So what were the findings? The results indicated that the device can be inserted and then employed to manipulate neural circuits known to be involved in creating the perception of pain, at least in mice, if not humans. Fascinatingly, the process involves controlling neurons at the DNA level. By flashing an LED, the new device decides which neurons fire and which ones don’t.

Committed to Furthering Research

Gooch & Housego is pleased to witness the growth of technology in all its forms for the betterment of all, and firmly committed to supplying exceptional optical materials and photonic components that enable such cutting-edge science.

You need the very best materials and processes to push the limits of knowledge, and Gooch & Housego supports you with the instruments & systems to do just that. If you’d like to have the best photonic instruments and materials for your work or research, call LED testing leaders, Gooch & Housego, today at 800-899-3171.

A New Look Offered into Our Oceans

Did you realize that the sea surface temperature affects the Earth’s atmosphere? Not only can ocean temperatures contribute to the study of global warming, but they also can influence the formation of major storm events. Interestingly, a lot of what we know about how our oceans change comes from information gathered by satellites in our planet’s orbit. These satellites collect data on the amount of light the oceans emit and reflect to keep track of surface temperatures through ocean-color radiometry. And as you likely would expect, proper calibration services, including the detection equipment, is crucial.

The enormous amount of data involved is delivered from multiple satellite sensors over decades of time to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Optical Buoy (MOBY), an automated radiometric system bobbing in the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii.

Of course, the instruments and data-collection system on MOBY itself has to be thoroughly characterized and calibrated, a complicated job for many reasons. Radiometric cross checks help provide robust traceability to the International System of Units (SI). What’s more, a three-month-long rotation of duplicate systems makes it possible to perform scheduled maintenance and repairs on MOBY.

While MOBY has long exceeded its expected lifespan, it continues to provide critical data and is expected to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. The fact that it still can provide accurate data is due to the rigorous calibration efforts employed by the buoy’s caretakers.

Calibration is of vital importance when dealing with your sensitive data. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure your technology is properly calibrated. With more than four decades of experience in photonics system design and manufacturing, Gooch & Housego has a global reputation as the expert in spectroradiometry for both instrumentation and calibration services, measurements from 200 nm to 30 µm in particular. They offer full product engineering, design, and manufacturing quick-turn capabilities, with specialized expertise in opto-mechanics and photonics systems. Gooch & Housego’s staff of expert engineers have many years of experience with demanding commercial product delivery, as well as custom-designed and OEM solutions. Call Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171 to talk about your needs for calibration services.

Standards in Hyperspectral Imaging

Within applications including environmental monitoring, medical imaging, and manufacturing, the demand for high-quality hyperspectral imaging is higher than ever.

But as the interest in spectral imaging increases, so does the need for the establishment of international standards.

Standards come in a wide variety: performance and calibration specifications, measurement and recording data formats, universal nomenclature and best practices, just to name a few. Standards are critically important in creating an environment with established reference points for all individuals, research groups, corporations and all other entities that utilize hyperspectral imaging technology. Such common ground is necessary to optimize innovation and understanding, and Gooch & Housego is proud to contribute to a community-based effort to establish international standards that will eventually lead to the realization of the full potential of hyperspectral imaging.

Spectral Imaging & Synthesis Product Development

Gooch & Housego offers the latest innovative and high-performance imaging and illumination solutions for multispectral and hyperspectral imaging applications for uses including the life sciences, medical screening, and remote sensing, as well as security and defense. Check out these innovative offerings:

  • The Gooch & Housego OL 490 Agile Light Source is a breakthrough product that employs Texas Instruments DLP® technology to produce an entirely programmable spectral emission from monochromatic band-passes and continua.
  • The Gooch & Housego HSi Series Hyperspectral Imaging Platforms utilize proprietary Acousto-Optic tunable filter (AOTF) technology to create high-quality diffraction-limited images with dynamically variable band-pass at previously unrealized speeds.
  • The SpecCam Imaging Photometer is a ruggedized infrared camera that is optimized to detect variations in materials, specific compounds, contaminants, and minerals through the use of detailed real-time images of moving or stationary samples. Each individual pixel in a SpecCam image has spectral information that is waiting to be used to spotlight any changes.
  • The PhiLumina VNIR400-PL2 is a lower-cost, fast (USB-3) and portable visible and near infrared (VNIR) scanning hyperspectral imaging system that is ready to capture, process, validate and save important data. It is a versatile and economical system that is well-suited for field use as well as laboratory use.

For more information on their complete line of spectral imaging and synthesis products, please call Gooch & Housego at 800-899-3171, or contact them online.

Spectral Imaging Captures the Earth’s Ailments

Scientists have sent spectral imaging satellites to circle other planets in our solar system; surprisingly, though, mapping with spectrometers and other imaging devices has only relatively recently begun for Earth.

Droughts and Floods

In January 2015, NASA launched a $916 million observatory called SMAP (for Soil Moisture Active Passive). Intended to measure soil moisture through active radar and passive radiometry, SMAP helps scientists predicts droughts. And such data goes quite a long way in forecasting seasonal crop yields, so SMAP can even forecast famines.

Scientists even say that the technology would have prevented the 2012 Midwest drought from doing so much damage, at least in terms of planning, as farmers would have been advised to expect substantially lower crop outputs.

But SMAP isn’t only about predicting droughts. It also can help predict floods by mapping saturated grounds that are unable to hold additional groundwater, meaning a landslide or flood might occur if additional rains come before the water dissipates.

Global Carbon Dioxide

But it’s not just water that satellites are mapping. They’re tracking greenhouse gases, too.

It’s estimated that human activity produces roughly 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. While plants and oceans absorb about half of this, a potential tipping point of too much CO2 just isn’t known. The good news is that in July 2014, NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, which can precisely measure (to one molecule per million) how much carbon dioxide is being released or absorbed in any particular spot on Earth. As climatologists track amounts of CO2 they gain a better understanding of the cause-and-effect factors at play.

Even More Mapping

NASA is scheduled to begin five more environmentally-focused missions in the near future, with satellites set to monitor the water cycle, hurricanes and climate change. What’s more, miniature CubeSats will be deployed from the International Space Station and other space vehicles to help as well.

As a supplier of optics and subassemblies, Gooch & Housego is proud to be part of an industry that is doing its part to ensure the long-term health of our planet. For more information on our various product lines, including spectral imaging, please contact Gooch & Housego today at 407-422-3171.

Exoplanets Coming into Focus Thanks to ‘Orbiting Rainbows’

NASA recently launched a new project to detect exoplanets, and if it’s successful, it will be a breakthrough. The plan, which takes place in Earth’s orbit and is called Orbiting Rainbows, employs multiple lasers to turn a cloud of small reflective particles into an optical surface. If it succeeds, Orbiting Rainbows will be a relatively inexpensive and novel alternative to standard optical mirrors.

As a granular imager, Orbiting Rainbows will use lasers to form an optical surface out of micron-sized glass particles, making a “cloud optic” with an adjustable focal point.

Orbiting Rainbows looks promising for the spectral imaging of exoplanets, what with tight angular resolution of ~100 milliarcseconds, as well as innovative radar systems for remote sensing.

Down to Earth Solutions

But if you’re involved with spectral imaging here on Earth, you’ll want to use most innovative and high-quality photonic technology on the planet.

Gooch & Housego’s solid-state acousto-optic tunable filter (AOTF) technology, for example, allows rapid sequential and non-sequential center wavelength access, selectable bandwidth sizes, and speeds 1,000 times faster than comparable technologies. What’s more, to maximize speed the technology also allows direct triggering of camera hardware after each wavelength is acquired, meaning that you can acquire hyperspectral data sets as quickly as the camera can acquire images.

Why Go with Gooch & Housego?

Gooch & Housego is a manufacturer of precision optical components and assemblies in a wide variety of materials for applications in research, industry and defense. You’ll also find precision optical finishes on engineered parts, including crystals. Gooch & Houego’s products for laser cavity and beam conditioning include active and passive components and nonlinear crystals, and the company’s custom lenses and housed subassemblies are used in transmission and imaging. And much of Gooch & Hosuego’s business involves creating high quality, custom optics for volume OEM applications and unique optics for research.

If you are looking for optimal solutions to meet your most challenging application requirements, such as spectral imaging systems, whether down to Earth or our out of this world, contact Gooch & Housego today at 407-422-3171. Gooch & Housego helps leading organizations all over the globe deliver tailored and innovative photonics technologies solutions to meet precise requirements.”

Satellite Allows Us to See the Big Picture of Earth

There’s a camera taking pictures of you every day. But don’t let that bother you. Try to see the big picture – the really big picture. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, which NASA launched in February 2015, is monitoring Earth’s conditions through a high-resolution camera and a radiometer.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took command of the satellite shortly after it went into orbit. And what an orbit it is! DSCOVR is the United States’ first operational satellite in deep space, orbiting one million miles from Earth.

Measuring Solar Wind

Not too long ago, Lloyds of London predicted that the most extreme space weather storms could create up to $2.6 trillion in damages, affecting 20 to 40 million people in the United States. We’re talking electrical power grids going down, gas and oil pipelines corroding, and GPS systems going on the fritz (which would impair any search and rescue efforts). Lloyds said the recovery time would be measured in years.

DSCOVR provides high-quality measurements of solar wind conditions, helping the NOAA better monitor space weather, and provide more timely warnings if the need arises.

Checking Earth’s Radiation Budget

DSCOVR also is carrying an instrument called the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR). This tool measures the Earth’s radiation budget, which is whether the globe is retaining or expelling the right amount of the solar energy it naturally takes in.

NISTAR is what’s known as an active cavity radiometer, meaning it’s designed to measure the energy reflected and emitted from the entire sunlit face of the Earth This measurement should help scientists better understand the effects of changes to Earth’s reflected and emitted radiation, whether caused by humans or naturally occurring.

The mission also features a polychromatic imaging camera, an electron spectrometer and a pulse height analyzer. But while the data from all those instruments will likely prove invaluable, the coolest part is the daily pictures of Earth, which you can check out here. And, if you want, consider it a selfie and use it as your profile pic.

For more information on radiometers and our other products and services, please reach out to Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171, or contact us online.

LEDs in Hospitals: Improved Patient Health & Energy Savings

Can LED lighting help a hospital be a better hospital? The answer, in fact, is yes.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country are testing LED systems and coming around to the fact that the installation of LED lighting will not only reduce costs and operating expenses in the long run but also can promote patient well-being.

When a hospital is considering making the switch to more efficient LED lights, typically the primary motivation is energy savings. On average, 45% of a hospital’s electrical load can be attributed to lighting. In addition to operational benefits of LED lights (increased visual acuity and cooler operational temperatures), the medical community has identified several other benefits:

  • Proper lighting can help alleviate seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition related to the decrease in sunlight in the winter months.
  • Elimination of flickering lights, which can have a deleterious effect on individuals who fall within the autism spectrum.
  • Blue lighting, according to some research, may help patients with Alzheimer’s to sleep better.
  • Dynamic lighting is one element of a multi-pronged approach to help put MRI patients at ease during the procedure.

What’s more, areas with little natural light can be made “healthier” by biodynamic lighting systems that change the hue of the lighting to match the time of day outside. And like the lighting on a cross-country red-eye flight, dimming during the overnight hours promotes the body’s own circadian rhythm, which also is known to affect health.

So why haven’t we seen these necessary changes take place? Basically, it’s a financial issue for healthcare facilities and hospital boards. Historically, funding for LED testing and systems has been virtually nonexistent – even though the installation of LED lighting systems leads to decreased energy consumption, reduced air conditioning costs, fewer maintenance costs and less facility downtime.

But as more and more health professionals and hospital administrators begin to understand the science behind biodynamic LED lighting, we will likely see an upswing in facilities that are adopting the technology.

And that change, ultimately, may make a small but significant contribution to the health of all patients. At Gooch & Housego, we offer a variety of LED testing such as the OL 770-LED that allows lighting manufacturers to ensure their products will meet all necessary industry standards. For more information on our products and services, please call us at 800-899-3171, or contact us online.