Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIST micro-positioner may help send messages from the stars

11.11.2002


Phoning home from 93 billion miles away--only E.T. and other science fiction characters can do that. But with the help of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) know-how, reality soon may catch up with imagination.

Conceptual designs for a "realistic interstellar explorer," or RISE -- a highly autonomous craft that would travel far beyond this solar system to collect scientific data -- call for a laser-based communications link to Earth that relies in part on a recent NIST invention called a Parallel Cantilever Bi-axial Micro-Positioner. The prototype NIST device acts as a mechanical filter that generates very straight lines by screening out all other motions. Primarily intended for use in the delicate assembly and alignment of optoelectronic devices and applications in micro- and nano-manufacturing, the micro-positioner in a different application offers a promising means for meeting the demanding range, mass and power requirements for the RISE.

In its interstellar role, the micro-positioner would be used to position a lens that steers a laser beam communication link toward Earth. The beam must be pointed precisely because the distances would be, well, astronomical. The RISE is envisioned as having a range up to 1,000 Astronomical Units (AU)--1,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun, or 93 billion miles.



A recent paper by researchers at NIST and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (which is designing the RISE) concluded that an optical communications downlink spanning 1,000 AU is technically feasible in the next decade if these new technologies can be sufficiently refined. For example, the current range of the NIST micro-positioner would have to be improved by a factor of nearly 10.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov/

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht New technology for ultra-smooth polymer films
28.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Diamond watch components
18.06.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>