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Automated optical inspection of FAST’s reflector surface using drones and computer vision
Jianan Li, Shenwang Jiang, Liqiang Song, Peiran Peng, Feng Mu, et al.
Published Published online: 05 January 2023 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2023.001

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is the world ’ s largest single-dish radio telescope. Its large reflecting surface achieves unprecedented sensitivity but is prone to damage, such as dents and holes, caused by naturally-occurring falling objects. Hence, the timely and accurate detection of surface defects is crucial for FAST’s stable operation. Conventional manual inspection involves human inspectors climbing up and examining the large surface visually, a time-consuming and potentially unreliable process. To accelerate the inspection process and increase its accuracy, this work makes the first step towards automating the inspection of FAST by integrating deep-learning techniques with drone technology. First, a drone flies over the surface along a predetermined route. Since surface defects significantly vary in scale and show high inter-class similarity, directly applying existing deep detectors to detect defects on the drone imagery is highly prone to missing and misidentifying defects. As a remedy, we introduce cross-fusion, a dedicated plug-in operation for deep detectors that enables the adaptive fusion of multi-level features in a point-wise selective fashion, depending on local defect patterns. Consequently, strong semantics and fine-grained details are dynamically fused at different positions to support the accurate detection of defects of various scales and types. Our AI-powered drone-based automated inspection is time-efficient, reliable, and has good accessibility, which guarantees the long-term and stable operation of FAST.

Crystal plane engineering of MAPbI3 in epoxy-based materials for superior gamma-ray shielding performance
Kai Cui, Yang Li, Wenjing Wei, Qianqian Teng, Tianyu Zhang, et al.
Published Published online: 08 December 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.051

The rapid development of the aerospace and nuclear industries is accompanied by increased exposure to high-energy ionising radiation. Thus, the performance of radiation shielding materials needs to be improved to extend the service life of detectors and ensure the safety of personnel. The development of novel lightweight materials with high electron density has therefore become urgent to alleviate radiation risks. In this work, new MAPbI3/epoxy (CH3NH3PbI3/epoxy) composites were prepared via a crystal plane engineering strategy. These composites delivered excellent radiation shielding performance against 59.5 keV gamma rays. A high linear attenuation coefficient (1.887 cm−1) and mass attenuation coefficient (1.352 cm2 g−1) were achieved for a representative MAPbI3/epoxy composite, which was 10 times higher than that of the epoxy. Theoretical calculations indicate that the electron density of MAPbI3/epoxy composites significantly increases when the content ratio of the (110) plane in MAPbI3 increases. As a result, the chances of collision between the incident gamma rays and electrons in the MAPbI3/epoxy composites were enhanced. The present work provides a novel strategy for designing and developing high-efficiency radiation shielding materials.

Tip-induced bond weakening, tilting, and hopping of a single CO molecule on Cu(100)
Xiaoru Dong, Ben Yang, Rui Zhu, Ruipu Wang, Yang Zhang, et al.
Published Published online: 01 December 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.052

The interaction between a probing tip and an adsorbed molecule can significantly impact the molecular chemical structure and even induce its motion on the surface. In this study, the tip-induced bond weakening, tilting, and hopping processes of a single molecule were investigated by sub-nanometre resolved tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). We used single carbon monoxide (CO) molecules adsorbed on the Cu (100) surface as a model system for the investigation. The vibrational frequency of the C−O stretching mode is always redshifted as the tip approaches, revealing the weakening of the C−O bond owing to tip−molecule interactions. Further analyses of both the vibrational Stark effect and TERS imaging patterns suggest a delicate tilting phenomenon of the adsorbed CO molecule on Cu(100), which eventually leads to lateral hopping of the molecule. While a tilting orientation is found toward the hollow site along the [110] direction of the Cu(100) surface, the hopping event is more likely to proceed via the bridge site to the nearest Cu neighbour along the [100] or [010] direction. Our results provide deep insights into the microscopic mechanisms of tip−molecule interactions and tip-induced molecular motions on surfaces at the single-bond level.

Mid-infrared all-optical modulators based on an acetylene-filled hollow-core fiber
Kaiyuan Zheng, Shoulin Jiang, Feifan Chen, Yan Zhao, Shoufei Gao, et al.
Published Published online: 17 November 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.050

We report all-optical mid-infrared phase and intensity modulators based on the photo-thermal effect in an acetylene-filled anti-resonant hollow-core fiber. Optical absorption of the control beam promotes the gas molecules to a higher energy level, which induces localized heating through non-radiative relaxation and modulates the refractive index of the gas material and hence the accumulated phase of the signal beam propagating through the hollow-core fiber. By modulating the intensity of the control beam, the phase of the signal beam is modulated accordingly. By use of a 1.53 µm near-infrared control beam, all-optical phase modulation up to 2.2π rad is experimentally demonstrated at the signal wavelength of 3.35 µm. With the phase modulator placed in one arm of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, intensity modulation with on-off ratio of 25 dB is achieved. The gas-filled hollow-core-fiber modulators could operate over an ultra-broad wavelength band from near- to mid-infrared and have promising application in mid-infrared photonic systems.

Tilted Wave Fizeau Interferometer for flexible and robust asphere and freeform testing
Christian Schober, Rolf Beisswanger, Antonia Gronle, Christof Pruss, Wolfgang Osten
Published Published online: 28 October 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.048

Tilted Wave Interferometry (TWI) is a measurement technique for fast and flexible interferometric testing of aspheres and freeform surfaces. The first version of the tilted wave principle was implemented in a Twyman-Green type setup with separate reference arm, which is intrinsically susceptible to environmentally induced phase disturbances. In this contribution we present the TWI in a new robust common-path (Fizeau) configuration. The implementation of the Tilted Wave Fizeau Interferometer requires a new approach in illumination, calibration and evaluation. Measurements of two aspheres and a freeform surface show the flexibility and also the increased stability in both phase raw data and surface measurements, which leads to a reduced repeatability up to a factor of three. The novel configuration significantly relaxes the tolerances of the imaging optics used in the interferometer. We demonstrate this using simulations on calibration measurements, where we see an improvement of one order of magnitude compared to the classical Twyman-Green TWI approach and the capability to compensate higher order error contributions on the used optics.

FEM-based modeling of microsphere-enhanced interferometry
Tobias Pahl, Lucie Hüser, Sebastian Hagemeier, Peter Lehmann
Published Published online: 28 October 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.049

To improve the lateral resolution in microscopic imaging, microspheres are placed close to the object’ s surface in order to support the imaging process by optical near-field information. Although microsphere-assisted measurements are part of various recent studies, no generally accepted explanation for the effect of microspheres exists. Photonic nanojets, enhancement of the numerical aperture, whispering-gallery modes and evanescent waves are usually named reasons in context with microspheres, though none of these effects is proven to be decisive for the resolution enhancement. We present a simulation model of the complete microscopic imaging process of microsphere-enhanced interference microscopy including a rigorous treatment of the light scattering process at the surface of the specimen. The model consideres objective lenses of high numerical aperture providing 3D conical illumination and imaging. The enhanced resolution and magnification by the microsphere is analyzed with respect to the numerical aperture of the objective lenses. Further, we give a criterion for the achievable resolution and demonstrate that a local enhancement of the numerical aperture is the most likely reason for the resolution enhancement.

High-speed, large-area and high-precision fabrication of aspheric micro-lens array based on 12-bit direct laser writing lithography
Shiyi Luan, Fei Peng, Guoxing Zheng, Chengqun Gui, Yi Song, et al.
Published Published online: 19 September 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.047

Aspheric micro-lens array (AMLA), featured with low dispersion and diffraction-limited imaging quality, plays an important role in advanced optical imaging. Ideally, the fabrication of commercially applicable AMLAs should feature low cost, high precision, large area and high speed. However, these criteria have been achieved only partially with conventional fabrication process. Herein, we demonstrate the fabrication and characterization of AMLAs based on 12-bit direct laser writing lithography, which exhibits a high fabrication speed, large area, perfect lens shape control via a three-dimensional optical proximity correction and average surface roughness lower than 6 nm. In particular, the AMLAs can be flexibly designed with customized filling factor and arbitrary off-axis operation for each single micro-lens, and the proposed pattern transfer approach with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) suggests a low-cost way for mass manufacturing. An auto-stereoscopic-display flexible thin film with excellent display effect has been prepared by using above technology, which exhibits a new way to provide flexible auto-stereoscopic-display at low cost. In brief, the demonstrated fabrication of AMLAs based on direct laser writing lithography reduce the complexity of AMLA fabrication while significantly increasing their performance, suggesting a new route for high-quality three-dimentional optical manufacturing towards simplified fabrication process, high precision and large scale.

A quasi-3D Fano resonance cavity on optical fiber end-facet for high signal-to-noise ratio dip-and-read surface plasmon sensing
Xiaqing Sun, Zeyu Lei, Hao Zhong, Chenjia He, Sihang Liu, et al.
Published Published online: 18 September 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.046

Surface plasmon devices mounted at the end-facets of optical fibers are appealing candidates for rapid and point-of-care sensing applications, by offering a special dip-and-read operation mode. At present, these devices’ noise-equivalent limits-of-detection lag far behind the free-space counterparts, leaving them incapable of most biosensing applications. Here we report a quasi-3D Fano resonance cavity and its fabrication method to fundamentally improve the quality factor and coupling efficiency for fiber-coupled surface plasmon resonance. In this device, the Fano resonance combines the high coupling efficiency of a Fabry-Pérot etalon and the high quality factor resonance of a plasmonic crystal cavity. The quasi-3D device was fabricated on a planar substrate and transferred to a single-mode fiber end-facet, which requires a low-adhesion yet surface-plasmon-tunneling interface between the device and the planar substrate. Such an interface was realized with a nanocap-slit unit structure, of which the plasmonic crystal was consisted. A noise-equivalent limit of detection of ~ 10-7 RIU was experimentally obtained, allowing bovine serum albumin physical adsorption to be distinguished at ng mL-1 level concentrations. Therefore, breaking through the long-standing signal-to-noise ratio bottleneck, this work makes fiber end-facet surface plasmon devices into one of high sensitivity label-free sensing technologies. At the same time, it provides an enabling top-down fabrication technology for making 3D plasmonic structures on fiber end-facets at the nanometer scale.

‘Plug-and-play’ plasmonic metafibers for ultrafast fibre lasers
Lei Zhang, Huiru Zhang, Ni Tang, Xiren Chen, Fengjiang Liu, et al.
Published Published online: 02 September 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.045
Metafibers expand the functionalities of conventional optical fibres to unprecedented nanoscale light manipulations by integrating metasurfaces on the fibre tips, becoming an emerging light-coupling platform for both the nanoscience and fibre optics communities. Current metafibers remain proof-of-concept demonstrations that mostly explore isolated bare fibres owing to the lack of standard interfaces with universal fibre networks. Here, we develop methodologies for fabricating well-defined plasmonic metasurfaces directly on the end facets of commercial single -mode fibre jumpers using standard planar technologies and provide the first demonstration of their practical applications in the nonlinear plasmonic regime. Featuring plug-and-play connections with fibre circuitry and arbitrary metasurface landscapes, the metafibers with tunable plasmonic resonances are implemented into fibre laser cavities, yielding all-fibre sub-picosecond (minimum 513 fs) soliton mode locked lasers at optical wavelengths of 1.5 μm and 2 μm, demonstrating their unusual polarimetric nonlinear transfer functions and superior saturation absorption responses. The nanofabrication process flow is compatible with existing cleanroom technologies, offering metafibers an avenue to become a regular member of functionalised fibre components. This work paves the way toward the next generation of ultrafast lasers, optical frequency combs, and ultracompact ‘all-in-fibre’ optical systems.
Integrated self-referencing single shot digital holographic microscope and optical tweezer
Subhash Utadiya, Sachin Joshi, Nimit Patel, Chetna Patel, Mugdha Joglekar, et al.
Published Published online: 04 August 2022 , doi: 10.37188/lam.2022.037

Digital holographic microscopy is a single-shot technique for quantitative phase imaging of samples, yielding thickness profiles of phase objects. It provides sample features based on their morphology, leading to their classification and identification. However, observing samples, especially cells, in fluids using holographic microscopes is difficult without immobilizing the object. Optical tweezers can be used for sample immobilization in fluids. The present manuscript provides an overview of our ongoing work on the development of a compact, low-cost microscopy system for digital holographic imaging of optically trapped samples. Integration of digital holographic microscopy system with tweezers is realized by using the optical pickup unit extracted from DVD burners to trap microsamples, which are then holographically imaged using a highly compact self-referencing interferometer along with a low-cost, in-house developed quadrant photodiode, providing morphological and spectral information of trapped particles. The developed integrated module was tested using polystyrene microspheres as well as human erythrocytes. The investigated system offers a multitude of sample features, including physical and mechanical parameters and corner frequency information of the sample. These features were used for sample classification. The proposed technique has vast potential in opening up new avenues for low-cost, digital holographic imaging and analysis of immobilized samples in fluids and their classification.

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