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A high vacuum cell was fabricated to optically examine cesium vapor. An internally triggered ampoule breaker apparatus supplies cesium once the system is under vacuum. A heater furnace supplies cesium at a controlled pressure. The centerpiece of the apparatus is a sealed sapphire window that can cycle to 1000°C enclosed in a furnace using a TvU temperature controller.
Developed and demonstrated techniques for reliably coiling a 50 micron diameter sapphire fiber around a small diameter core without breaking. The fiber was then sealed into a vacuum fitting and microdot fiber connectors attached to form a complete optical chemical sensor.
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An obsolete, tungsten mesh furnace was inexpensively put into working condition. The box furnace vacuum was repaired, and its mercury diffusion pump cleaned and converted to an oil diffusion pump. The high and low vacuum system was debugged and returned to original operating condition. The furnace was fitted with air cooled to avoid a major water facility hookup, and a VRT transformer incorporated to drive the furnace to 2000°C using a TvU temperature controller.
TvU was approached with the question as to whether a standard video camera could be operated in a vacuum. TvU demonstrated that the camera operated without problems under high vacuum, only having to be modified with a heat sink to the external structure to remove the heat generated by the electronics.
Tube furnace designed to image molten metal droplets.
This was a project for the FAA that developed a high intensity inset (buried) runway flasher. This inset flasher meets above runway flasher specifications, but is buried in the center of a runway so that planes and snowplows can operated over it. The flasher emits a directed bright flash to guide planes into the runway. The challenge was to guide a large amount of flash energy at a low forward angle through a small window.
The Air Force Research Laboratory came to TvU wanting to vibration test electronics under a wide variety of environmental conditions. TvU built a facility that could vibration test mounted equipment from 20 to 3000 Hz, in any gas at pressures from high vacuum to 1 atmosphere, and simultaneously at temperatures up to 1000°C.
After the Space Shuttle disaster, NASA solicited to modify a standard high speed camera so that it could operate with cooling, sealed in a low pressure environment. This type of camera was required to perform Back-to-Flight testing of shuttle components. TvU successfully sealed the multipin connected camera and provided umbilical internal cooling.
Last updated: July 2015