LED to be the Exclusive Lighting Aboard the Chinese Space Station

China is working diligently on a space station known as Tiangong programme, which is slated to be completed in 2022. One of the recent announcements revolving around the technology of this space station is that it will be using LED lighting exclusively.This includes a variety of LED lighting, including spotlights for missions and docking, as well as lighting used inside the space station for tasks such as reading lamps for the astronauts. LED lighting is extremely small, lightweight, and energy efficient making it a great option for China’s new space station.

China has Been Using LED Lighting for Quite Some Time

This is not the first application of LED lighting for the Chinese space program. In fact, China used LEDs on the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft in 2008. This was the spacecraft that sent 3 astronauts into space for the country’s first spacewalk.

Benefits of LED Lighting in Space

There are a whole host of benefits of LED lighting being used in space. When conventional lighting is used in space, it requires pressurized gases with a high voltage current, while LED lighting does not. Without these pressurized gases, it is much safer to use LED lighting while in space to prevent potential issues with high voltage current. The China space program began to look at LED lighting in 2003, but did not think the technology had advanced enough to be useful until 2008. In testing, Chinese scientists used spectroradiometers to ensure that the LEDs would remain reliable and stable, even while being exposed to radiation as well as extreme hot and cold temperatures, which are commonplace in space.

Gooch & Housego OL 770 Spectroradiometer

Just as was the case with China space travel, spectroradiometers are extremely beneficial for LED testing and measurement gathering. The OL-770-LED test and measurement system is a high-speed system that can be customized to a variety of applications. For more information on this spectroradiometer, contact Gooch & Housego by phone at 800-899-5412 or email at orlandosales@goochandhousego.com.

Thermal Camera Opens the Door to Consumers’ Application Choice

Detector spectral response has been around for quite some time, but thanks to recent technological developments, thermal imagers that can fit in our pockets are now available. A new thermal infrared camera called the MTC is so small that it can easily fit inside a cell phone or other mobile device.

  • New OEM Product – Micro Thermal Camera: The new micro thermal camera (MTC) developed by FLIR features the latest in technological breakthroughs that offers engineers a way to utilize low-cost options, while allowing small, mobile devices to be equipped with thermal imaging capabilities.
  • Price of Thermal Imagers are Dropping: In the past, the average consumer could simply not afford thermal imagers. However, in the past several years, prices for noncommercial versions of these devices have began to fall significantly.
  • New MTC Offers Whole Host of Uses: The new MTC is so small that it can easily fit inside a smartphone, which opens up huge opportunities for applications in areas such as home maintenance, energy efficiency, personal safety, mechanical repairs, and more.
  • Many Challenges in Bringing MTC to Market: In the development of the MTC, FLIR had to overcome a variety of challenges. The company wanted to ensure that the thermal camera was small enough to be used with mobile phones, which brought up a whole host of difficulties. The size of the MTC measures only 10mm high, consumes less than 150 mW of power and a weight only .55g. This combination allows the device to be run by standard mobile phones.

The first product that FLIR developed was for the iPhone that helps to create a thermal camera system, complete with a free app to control the camera. This allows users to capture both video and still thermal images, as well as a temperature sensor for spot readings.

It remains to be seen how various industries will use micro thermal imaging technology, but as the price continues to drop, industries are bound to take notice and begin to use this type of technology in all sorts of applications.

At Gooch & Housego, we are continually amazed with the technology advances in the thermal imaging industry. One challenge when using thermal imagers is accurately assessing the spectral response of your thermal imaging sensor. In regards to imaging detector spectral response, Gooch & Housego has developed the OL 750, which makes this process incredibly easy. Contact us today at (407) 422-1371 to learn more about how the OL 750 can help assess the accuracy of thermal imagers.

SPIE Calling for Input from Photonics Industry on new ITAR Rules

Starting May 5th, a comment period of 60 days is being introduced to allow photonics companies to offer input regarding controlling the export of various photonics and optics technologies. The export of these technologies is regulated through Category XII of the US Munitions List, which is overseen by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The International Society for optics and photonics, SPIE, is concerned that the current proposal could be detrimental for US companies. A SPIE official was quoted as saying the proposal has “broad implications for the US optics and photonics industry both now and into the future.” Gooch and Housego’s Sr. Vice President of Life Sciences & Instrumentation Alex Fong says that “This is a critical opportunity to ensure both competitiveness and growth for the industry.”

Industry veterans worry that the current, as well as any subsequent additions to the regulations, are stifling global competitiveness. SPIE  hosted a webinar on May 12 for companies in the photonic and optics communities so they could voice concerns and understand the implications of additional regulations under ITAR. Companies have until July 6th to make comments on the proposed new Category XII rules, which ultimately govern ITAR.

The economic impact of further regulation could have a lasting effect on US based companies.  Currently, companies based abroad are able to sell freely and are then able to generate and invest profits back into businesses to further fuel innovation. If US-based companies are forced to adhere to additional regulations, officials with SPIE and other lobbying groups are worried that non-US companies may outpace the growth of American companies in these sectors. It is important for US companies in this industry to ensure their voices are heard prior to the July 6th deadline.

Gooch & Housego is an industry leader in light measurement solutions a variety of fields, such Aerospace & Defense, Life Sciences, and Industrial and Scientific industries. For more information about Gooch & Housego’s range of products and services, please contact our team by calling 800-899-3171.

Could Coal be Replaced as the Energy Supplier of America One Day?

Across the country, energy companies are turning away from coal, and towards natural gas and solar power as ways to generate energy more efficiently, while being much safer for the environment.

In 2014, PV or solar-powered energy accounted for .5% of the country’s electricity, while natural gas accounted for a respectable 27%, according to the US Energy Information Administration. While the energy produced from PV may seem like a minuscule amount with the costs of solar and natural gas plummeting, it’s no question that more companies will be moving away from coal and towards these greener alternatives.

Solar Industry is Booming

According to the EIA, there was an increase of 100% in PV generation from 2013 to 2014.  This represented the largest growth rate for any energy source in the time period–more than natural gas, as well as wind.

Big Business Getting Behind Solar Energy

Companies around the country are beginning to take notice of the benefits both, from a public relations standpoint, as well as cost savings that can be seen by utilizing solar technology. Apple recently announced that they are investing in an $800+ million farm that will power their California facilities. Other companies, such as Walmart and Starwood Hotels, are also looking to use solar panels to power their operations around the country and ultimately, around the world.

One of the driving forces behind solar growth has been tax credits. Companies are seeing that they can save significant money in not only energy costs, but also in tax liabilities through utilizing solar energy. Hopefully government agencies will continue to offer these tax credits, which have undoubtedly had a huge effect on the growth of renewable energy sources. With some of these tax credits set to expire soon, renewing this legislation should be high on the to-do list of every politician.

Use Gooch & Housego’s OL750 to Measure PV Efficiency

One of the difficulties when utilizing solar energy is determining PV efficiency. Gooch & Housego has solved this problem by creating the OL750 spectroradiometer, which can easily measure the PV efficiency of your solar cells. As more companies turn to solar power for energy generation, it will become even more important to ensure that solar facilities are performing efficiently.

OLED Breakdown: What is it and How’s it Different?

While you may have heard of OLED technology, you likely don’t understand how truly revolutionary it will be for all types of displays. OLED, which stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes, is an offshoot of traditional LED technology. LEDs are light sources that produce light by inserting electrons into small holes in a display’s emissive layer.

OLED technology was first used in 1987 by researchers at Kodak. Rather than using a wide array of small LED bulbs, OLED uses a thin layer of light emitting film material. This allows the display to appear much brighter while utilizing less energy compared to traditional LED displays.

Why is OLED Technology So Great?

OLED technology offers a variety of benefits compared to standard LED displays. We’ve listed a few benefits below that will hopefully allow you to truly understand how revolutionary this new technology will be to the television industry, as well as with all sorts of other displays.

  • Better Quality of Picture: Since OLED technology utilizes its own color filters, it will be able to produce much deeper and brighter blacks, as well as a variety of richer colors. Also, the refresh rate on OLED displays is much faster than LED screens in addition to the ability to offer a much wider viewing angle compared to LED technology.
  • Lower Power Usage: LED devices must have an LED back light as well as an LCD shutter, both of which are not required with OLED displays. Another way that OLED devices save energy is due to the fact that they can turn a pixel completely off to produce black, whereas an LED display must close a shutter, which requires more energy.
  • More Durable and Lighter: With the reduction of the back light and LCD shutter, OLED devices can be manufactured to be much lighter and more durable than LED devices. Also, the OLED films are much more durable compared to LED bulbs which can be prone to failure.

How Can You Measure How Well Your OLED Display is Performing?

Thanks to technology from Gooch & Housego, you can measure the effectiveness of your OLED display with the 770VIS-DMS Display Measurement System. If you have any questions about OLED technology, or our OLED display measurement system, do not hesitate to contact us today by calling (800) 899-3171.

New Infrared Technology Helps Improve Military Effectiveness

A key goal of the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Senors Directorate is to provide systems that provide a clear view through all types of obscured atmospheric conditions, day or night, with Night Vision Imaging Systems, often referred to by the NVIS acronym. This group of US Army engineers constantly works to develop new ways for soldiers to see, even in the most challenging of environments.

Infrared Technology Helps to Establish Intent

Seeing in compromising conditions is extremely important for our military personnel. Not only is it important to see, but it is also important to be able to establish intent to determine if a subject is a danger to our military. Determining with precision whether an individual or group could be carrying weapons could prevent catastrophic damage to one or more of our beloved US soldiers.

Army Looking at Improved Infrared Sensors

The US Army is constantly looking at ways to improve the sensors and resolution of night vision instruments that are being used in combat. It is always a constant battle to develop systems that are extremely accurate, yet inexpensive and rugged enough for the rigors of daily military activity.

Thankfully, recent innovations in infrared technology are offering promising developments for some of the problems faced by today’s military. These include improvements in long- and medium-wave IR wavelengths that run 8 to 15, as well as 3 to 8 µm, respectively. Technology is also improving for short-wave infrared applications, extending to night vision, which is helping to allow military personnel to better see through smoke and fog.

Increase in Use of Infrared Sensors Opens Doors for Military

As the auto industry has begun to use more infrared sensors for backup cameras and ultimately driverless vehicles, the price for this technology has finally started to come down.  This has allowed the military to utilize these types of technology much more affordably than in years past.

Future “Bright” for Infrared Technologies

The future is indeed bright for a variety of applications, like night vision, SWIR imaging, as well as MWIR and LWIR sensing technologies. While the popularity of this technology will undoubtedly mean great things for the military, it will also allow more applications for these incredible technologies to be utilized in all sorts of other industries. G&H’s OL 750 series detector spectral response characterization solutions are central to the development of these innovations. In addition, our OL 770-NVS platform is the go to system for ensuring compatibility of displays on instruments used with such new night vision technologies. For more information about this technology and its applications, please call Gooch & Housego at 1-800-899-3171.

LED Smart Shoes Can Turn Anyone Into a Dance Machine

Remember the shoes that were a huge hit with kids a few years ago? They lit up when activated by pressure applied to the bottom of the sole. Thanks to advancements in LED testing, a startup company located in Japan by the name of No New Folk Studio, has created a programmable shoe called the Orphe. The new shoes have 100 full-color LEDs, along with motion sensors and a Bluetooth module to be used by dancers looking for a bit of an “edge” on the dance floor.

LEDs Can be Controlled in Different Ways

The LEDs in these super cool shoes can be controlled in two primary ways. The first is through a smartphone app that communicates with the shoes through Bluetooth, while the second option allows the user to program the app to respond in various ways based on the wearer’s dance moves.

Shoes Go Beyond Merely a LED Light Show

Not only can the shoes produce a breathtaking light show, but they can also be used to control external devices. Representatives from the company that created the Orphe indicate that the shoes could be used to function as game controllers, musical instruments and much more.

Company officials hope that users will get creative and actually create macros to share with others to help build a strong community around this new product.  A community of rabid followers could use this technology to do some amazing things in the marketplace that go far beyond a simple shoe that lights up.

Shoes Are Relatively Affordable

Currently, the shoes can be purchased through an Indiegogo campaign.  If users purchase the shoes by way of an early bird pledge, they will run $270, but the price will eventually jump to $330. Shipments of the Orphe shoes should be expected to be delivered sometime in December of this year. For more information about these unique shoes, check out the No New Folk Indiegogo page. And for more information on LED testing or other services at Gooch and Housego, please call us at (407) 422-3171.

Energy Generation Through Fully Transparent Solar Energy Cells

Researchers at the University of Michigan may have just come up with a way to develop the world’s very first completely transparent solar cell. With the scores of glass buildings that dot the landscape in most metropolitan areas, it is no doubt that transparent solar energy cells could be used all over the world, calling for a higher demand of spectroradiometers.

Previous Attempts At Energy Generation Through Glass Proved Unattractive

Companies have attempted in the past to harvest energy through solar panels placed on glass windows of large buildings, but the outcome has been less than stellar. In fact, the main complaint with these options in the past was that the glass became too dark once solar energy cells were attached to the windows. Researchers from the University of Michigan may have a better alternative.

Solar Energy Cells Without Sacrificing Natural Light

Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a way to generate energy without any degradation in terms of visibility. This allows workers in offices around the country to continue to enjoy their nice views while also being able to harness energy from the vast swaths of glass that are present on many large buildings across the country. In this study, researchers did not create a solar cell, but rather a completely transparent luminescent solar concentrator, which was then used to absorb certain UV rays and energy from light frequencies that are not seen by the naked eye. This energy was then picked up through small channels that line the edges of the glass or window material and directed to small standard solar cells, which generated electricity.

Work Is Still Necessary Before This Technology is Ready for the Market

There is still significant work that needs to happen before this product is ready to hit the market, but as spectroradiometer providers, we’re always excited to see advances in technology that could point us towards a world where we are able to generate more energy through environmental friendly methods like solar power.