Andrei Haeff and the Amazing Microwave Amplifier

How history forgot this pioneer of the traveling-wave tube

11 min read
Photo of  Andrei “Andy” Haeff
Photo: The Andrei V. Haeff Papers

photo of Andy Haeff Patent Pending Recognition: The patent Haeff filed in 1933 for a primitive type of traveling-wave tube has been largely ignored. Photo,top: The Andrei V. Haeff Papers; Illustration, bottom: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

An intense-looking young man stepped out of his engineering lab at Caltech to watch what was happening. In the university’s nearby high-voltage laboratory, gigantic bolts of electricity were leaping eerily from outlandish equipment. It was 1931, and a Hollywood crew was filming the spark-filled special effects for the creation scene in Boris Karloff’s first Frankenstein movie. The serious-minded young engineer loved cinema, but as he walked back to his bench in the Kellogg Radiation Laboratory, he probably had no idea that a new kind of vacuum tube he was working on would in time revolutionize the movie business, enabling TV broadcasters to bounce Frankenstein and countless other films off satellites straight into people’s homes.

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Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid to Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base where astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

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Trilobite-Inspired Camera Boasts Huge Depth of Field

New camera relies on “metalenses” that could be fabricated using a standard CMOS foundry

3 min read
Black and white image showing different white box shapes in rows

Scanning electron microscope image of the titanium oxide nanopillars that make up the metalens. The scale is 500 nanometers (nm).

NIST

Inspired by the eyes of extinct trilobites, researchers have created a miniature camera with a record-setting depth of field—the distance over which a camera can produce sharp images in a single photo. Their new study reveals that with the aid of artificial intelligence, their device can simultaneously image objects as near as 3 centimeters and as far away as 1.7 kilometers.

Five hundred million years ago, the oceans teemed with horseshoe-crab-like trilobites. Among the most successful of all early animals, these armored invertebrates lived on Earth for roughly 270 million years before going extinct.

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