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Expertise

Introduction

MJC Optical Technology specializes in the development of custom sensors and test systems that utilize non-contact and non-destructive optical techniques, as well as in the development of custom scientific and technical software. By using our services, you can tap into our considerable experience in all these fields and free yourself to hone your competitive edge on running your production process or experiments.

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Optical sensing techniques

Optics is the basis of many effective, non-contact, and non-destructive sensing techniques that can be used in a wide range of applications. These techniques are not merely efficient and tireless substitutes for visual examination and inspection but can perform well in applications where visual inspection can do little or nothing.

Optical techniques for characterization of materials

Our expertise includes development of optical techniques for non-contact (remote) and non-destructive determination of the properties of materials. We specialize in techniques that are based on light scattering and absorption. A brief list of properties which can be determined by using these techniques includes

  • composition
  • structure
  • concentration
  • particle size and shape
  • particle size distribution
  • surface texture and finish.

One can examine materials in gaseous, liquid, and solid forms. These materials can be natural (Fig. 1) or synthetic.

{Phyto}(Full size ~40 kB)

Fig. 1. Optical techniques permit comprehensive characterization of small particles, such as the marine phytoplankton cells shown here. Such cells are the primary source of food for animal life in the sea as well as the primary source of oxygen. Phytoplankton can alter the spectral content of sun light back-scattered by seawater. This alteration can be detected from space, permitting efficient monitoring of the ocean productivity.

There are off-the-shelf sensors and measuring systems that utilize these techniques and may be suitable for your application. Ask us to assist you in selecting such a system.

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Optical techniques for non-destructive testing

Our expertise also includes development of optical techniques for non-destructive testing. These techniques can be very effective in detection and location of

  • surface flaws and defects in transparent, translucent, and opaque materials
  • sub-surface defects in transparent and translucent materials (Fig. 2). Techniques based on infrared thermography (mapping of surface temperature) can detect sub-surface defects in many opaque materials.

{Photo of defect}(Full size ~ 60 kB)

Fig. 2. Optical techniques permit efficient detection of defects in transparent and translucent plastics, such as this crack (a short thin horizontal line at the center of the image) in knurled plastic tubing. The crack, difficult to spot visually under normal illumination, is clearly visible when appropriately illuminated. High contrast of the image creates excellent conditions for efficient detection of such defects by an automated sensor system. The image is published with permission of a client.

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Custom optical sensors

Optical sensors for material characterization and non-destructive testing have many industrial, medical, and scientific applications. For example, sensors that utilize light scattering for characterizing small particles have applications in such diverse fields as combustion control, washing machine control, medical diagnostics, meteorology, and oceanography. In industrial applications, sensors can provide invaluable data for efficient process and quality control, may be used to activate alarms or otherwise alert personnel, and / or activate devices which remove defective items.

Whether your look for a developer of a sensor or a turn-key sensor system, for a system integrator, or merely for an objective opinion, your projects can benefit from our experience. A page on developing a sensor system details how we may work with you on such projects

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Custom technical and scientific software

Software development plays a key role in developing most sensor and test systems today. It also considerably accelerates development and optimization of sensing technologies. Please contact us to find how your engineering or research projects can benefit from our expertise in developing technical and scientific software in C++, FORTRAN, and Microsoft Excel™. Please also see our software products.

Our software development expertise includes:

  • modeling of physical processes and phenomena such as light scattering, absorption, and attenuation, image transmission in turbid media, heat transfer, and dissolution of gases in liquids
  • developing database software for data processing and archival applications.

{Object in turbid water}(Full set ~ 79 kB)

Fig. 3. This simulated image of a test pattern in turbid water, as viewed by a range-gating imager, has been generated by software developed by MJC Optical Technology. Although the simulated image is blurred by light scattered by turbid water, the pattern can clearly be discerned. With a conventional imaging system the resolution is much lower. The image is published with permission of a client.

By working on many scientific and technical software projects, we have gained extensive knowledge of mathematical methods and numerical algorithms for modeling of physical processes. Our expertise includes imaging geometry, recursive algorithms for Bessel and other special functions, spectral algorithms of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and Fast Hankel Transform (FHT), as well as statistical and simulation methods.

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