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Examining the Unique World of Electro-optics

Engineers usually think of electronics and optics as combinations of light source (LED or laser), perhaps a lens, and an optical sensor such as a phototransistor. However, new technologies integrate lasers, MEMS devices, sensors and more into a single system or even a monolithic component to enable unique capabilities.

The high levels of integration and widespread use of MEMS structures (in many cases) is enabling new electro-optical devices that would be difficult or impossible to implement otherwise. These can function as RF/microwave devices, optical devices, sophisticated sensors, medical devices, and advanced yet tiny test-and-measurement systems.


Optics, Electronics Combine for Non-Invasive, Accurate Arthritis Assessment

Tests are underway on an optically based, multi-wavelength system that allows for fast, accurate, noninvasive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Innovative Breathalyzer Calibration Instrument Blends Optics, Electronics  

Conventional calibration of “breathalyzers” is difficult and error-prone. A laser-driven optical-electronic system implements a radically different and more-precise approach to this metrology challenge.

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MEMS Array Forms Controllable, All-Optical Photonic Switch Matrix        

Using an innovative, no-loss technique for combining smaller optical-MEMS arrays, researchers built and fully evaluated an electronically controlled, 240-input × 240-output, all-optical switching matrix.

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Forget the Spark Plug: Use a Laser to Ignite ICE Gasoline                   

A research team replaced the conventional spark-plug ignition of the gasoline engine with a laser-based system, yielding improvements in engine performance and reduced emissions.

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