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.

The Rise of the LED

LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular with consumers in the U.S. and worldwide. And as your business grows in this arena, LED testing becomes more and more important.

Just how popular are LEDs right now? LED lighting’s market penetration is growing quickly and impressively. With only an 11% penetration at the end of 2014, 2015 saw an 18% penetration, and 2016 is projected to end up with 26% penetration, more than a full quarter of the market. And by 2020, the LED penetration of the lighting market is expected to be a whopping 61%.

One huge reason for these remarkable gains in popularity is, of course, legislation. Developed nations around the globe have mandated the shift in response to calls to further shrink their country’s carbon footprint.

But there are other compelling reasons for the change. LED lights use significantly less electricity when compared with traditional lighting; in some cases, about 20% of what incandescent lighting uses up. This greater efficiency actually comes with other positives: LED lighting stays cooler, thus reducing the ambient temperature and HVAC cooling costs. And because LED bulbs have a much longer lifespan, maintenance costs are significantly reduced, in not only in the cost of bulbs, but also in the labor hours required, which add up significantly in larger buildings. These savings help offset the somewhat higher costs of LED bulbs, which is expected to go down as market share goes up.

Another area driving LED market growth is communications technology. The go-to screens on TVs and smartphones are LED, which creates a secondary market that is barely called secondary with a straight face.

All of this growth makes LED testing that much more relevant, and Gooch & Housego specializes in LED testing. Our OL 770, a high-speed, CCD-based spectroradiometer that can be customized to any LED measurement application, is the perfect instrument for measuring LED spectral and goniometric properties. For more information on this or any of our other precision optical components and light measurement instrumentation products, contact Gooch & Housego today at 800-899-3171, or contact them online.

Spectral Imaging Helps to Map Cellular Composition

Scientists at Colorado State University have created what Optics and Photonics News has called “the most exciting peer-reviewed optics research to have emerged over the past 12 months;” an innovative mass spectrometry imaging system that permits scientists to map cellular composition at the nanoscale and in 3D. The new device allows a visualization of cells in a hundred times the detail than before. While the new mass spectrometry device was created to aid in the research of cell response, the potential applications are almost endless.

How It Works

Attached to the spectrometer is an apparatus that creates a hot and dense beam of plasma when a 60-kilovolt pulse is discharged inside an argon-filled cylinder. The plasma serves as a gain medium to create UV laser pulses. When the laser hits the cell sample, the beam discharges ions from the cell’s surface. Researchers then separate and identify the structure of each ion. The team created unique software to then create a color-spectrum representation from the data that basically is akin to a topographical map for the cell’s structure.

Significant amounts of money are already going into the project, including $1 million from the National Institutes of Health as part of an award to the Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research, and more recently, an academic grant of $37 million from Siemens for further system engineering design of the software.

Future Innovations

Obviously, this latest innovation changes the playing field for mass spectrometry. This particular advancement demonstrates the importance of precision in light measurement and imaging – and Gooch & Housego is proud to be part of a constantly innovating field as we as an industry continue to break ground in many areas. With this in mind, Gooch & Housego will continue to manufacture the highest-quality precision optical components, spectral imaging, and light measurement instrumentation for applications in research, industry, and defense. Whatever your needs, contact Gooch & Housego today, at 800-899-3171, or contact them online.

The Importance of LEDs to Secondary Markets

The incandescent light bulb is no longer the light on the top of the hill. LED fixtures are getting more and more integral to lighting and LED costs are dropping, which means LED testing and quality assurance are becoming increasingly important as well.

General LED lighting, both commercial and residential, comprises about 57% of the total LED market of the $26 billion projected for 2018. This is despite the fact that home LED lighting is still cost-prohibitive to many consumers. The bulk of the growth is expected in commercial areas. Lighting can be up to 40% of a building’s total energy use, so when dealing with large commercial areas, the return on investment on LED lighting can be relatively quick, as LEDS use about 20% of the electricity to provide the same amount of light. What’s more, maintenance costs tend to go down as the lighting needs to be replaced far less often.

LED lighting will continue to grow in the residential market, though. The U.S. Federal Government outlawed the manufacturing of 40 and 60 watt incandescent light bulbs as of the end of 2013 and banned 75 and 100-watt incandescent bulbs the year before, although all still can be purchased. Eventually, the incandescent bulbs will cease to be an option.

Automotive Lights

In the automotive arena, LEDs are making inroads. LEDs now have been used in taillights for more than 10 years, but the interior and front exterior lights are only recently starting to be replaced by LEDs; the one holdout is the headlamps.

Cost is certainly a factor, with LEDs costing twice as much as halogen headlamps and one-and-a-half times more than HID xenon bulbs in many cases. While LEDs create highly-focused rays and are much more customizable to the needs of the car manufacturer, there are drawbacks. LED fixtures create heat at the base as electricity goes through, which means cooling systems must be installed in the headlamps. These cooling systems are one of the reasons the costs of LED headlamps are so much higher.

As innovation continues, it should be expected that the costs of LED headlamps will decrease, making their advantages that much more appealing and contributing to the overall eventual dominance of LED lighting throughout the entire car.

If you work with LED lighting in any industry, be sure to check out all of Gooch & Housego’s photonics technology, including their LED measurement instrumentation and testing services. Their expertise includes the development of prototypes to volume manufacturing and enables innovation in all sectors: aerospace & defense, industrial, life sciences, and scientific research. Please call 800-899-3171, or contact Gooch & Housego online, for more information.

Radiometer Helps to Capture the Recent Blizzard of 2016

Sometimes even non-technical people appreciate radiometers, even if they don’t understand what they are and what they do. Recently, radiometers helped create a buzz when they assisted in creating views from space of both winter storm Jonas and large brush fires in Australia.

While Facebook users were posting pictures of snowdrifts, snowmen, and children playing in the aftermath of one of worst blizzards in recent memory, NASA (on their official Facebook page) was posting images of the storm from vantage points in space.

And while shots from space sometimes minimize things happening on the Big Blue Marble, the photographs of the storm were truly awe-inspiring in the sheer size portrayed, as almost the entire northeast U.S. was blanketed by the massive white-cloud storm, which mirrored the white blanket of snow underneath it.

One image depicts how the Blizzard of 2016 was “continuing to pummel” the East Coast. Another showed how the storm was “impacting much of the mid-Atlantic states.” But perhaps the most technically fascinating image was one they didn’t bother to put on their Facebook page: Mashable shared this picture, which showed the storm at night, using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite, detecting “faint light signals, from city lights to moonlight.”

Another image shown in the Mashable article is from NASA’s recently added Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. This picture shows a 3D cutaway through the storm.

Meanwhile in Australia

As you know, Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere is dealing with summer while we in the northern hemisphere battle winter. Parts of Western Australia have witnessed huge brush fires already this year. NASA’s Earth Observatory posted, this time on its sister Facebook page, NASA Earth, a photo taken by the Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), along with the following description on its website:

  • “Red outlines indicate hot spots where VIIRS detected warm surface temperatures associated with the fire. Thick plumes of smoke, visible above a layer of clouds, stream south.”
  • “The fire burned so vigorously that it fueled its own weather by creating a pyrocumulus—or ‘fire cloud.’ Pyrocumulus clouds are similar to cumulus, but the heat that forces the air to rise (which leads to cooling and condensation of water vapor) comes from fire instead of the sun-warmed ground.”

Radiometers are becoming more and more important in all areas of research, and Gooch & Housego is proud to contribute to its development happening every day. If you’d like more information on our light measurement instrumentation for research, industry, and defense, contact us online.

The National Institute of Technology & Standards: Earth from Space

NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are using multi-spectral imaging from orbiting satellites to provide detailed observations of the Earth, such as how our planet reacts to otherwise imperceptible changes in the Sun’s output. The data derived can help scientists create better climate models, which, in turn, can help us better manage our planetary resources.

The Earth’s Radiation Budget

DSCOVR (the Deep Space Climate Observer), launched in 2015 in a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and the U.S. Air Force, features the NIST Advanced Radiometer. The NISTAR systematically measures whether the Earth keeps more radiation that it sends back into space.

Calibrating an EPIC Camera for Accuracy

NISTAR is certainly impressive, tracking the total amount of energy the sunlit side of Earth reflects and emits between the wavelengths of 0.2 and 100 micrometers, which goes from visible light to a significant portion of the infrared and ultraviolet bands. The NISTAR readings were used to help calibrate the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), and now NISTAR has topped the mission-mandated 1.5 percent absolute accuracy level.

Next up for NIST

Next up for NIST is the task of calibrating the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on a polar-orbiting weather satellite. Scientists hope that NIST will be successful in making it possible to measure three overlapping wavelength bands in order to distinguish the Earth’s radiant power from reflected solar energy. Once this is accomplished, climatologists will have much better data to study and from which to draw climate-impact conclusions. The first launch in the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), weather satellite series is slated for November 2016.

Spectral Imaging Innovations

The use of spectral imaging to improve image analysis, and specifically to allow discrimination between visually identical objects, is steadily growing. Gooch & Housego is proud to contribute to valuable research being done through multi-spectral and hyperspectral imaging, and can partner with you in your spectral imaging endeavors. For more information regarding all aspects of spectral imaging, contact Gooch & Housego today.