Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

VSS Unity spaceplane completes second test flight

Watch Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company's VSS Unity complete its second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight to an altitude of 114,500ft and a speed of Mach 1.9.

Click here to watch video

06 June, 2018

Space Launch System - in numbers

Discover how engineers are outfitting the world’s most powerful rocket with sensors, cables and other equipment in this 2:40 video.

Click here to watch video

15 May, 2018

Blue Origin launches and lands New Shepard rocket

Watch Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space tourism company Blue Origin successfully launch and land a used rocket and capsule.

Click here to watch video

02 May, 2018


To watch more videos, click here

In which decade was the first military drone used?


Nanostring device offers engineers tiny force measurement

Vibrations of a Strained Phononic Crystal  (Image: Woogieworks)

Vibrations of a Strained Phononic Crystal (Image: Woogieworks)


French Engineers have developed a ‘nanostring device’, they say could be used to detect tiny forces, at the level of attonewtons, equivalent to the gravitational pull between humans.


Researchers in the Kippenberg lab at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne made a string 10nm thick and 1cm long, into which vibrations could be trapped around a central defect, a phononic crystal.


Measurements made on nanostring devices at room temperature reveal localized modes that vibrate at 1MHz for tens of minutes, corresponding to a quality factor of 800 million. Transposed onto a standard guitar string, an equivalent ‘note’ would play for a month.


By dint of their small mass and extreme quality factors, nanostrings similar to those developed in the Kippenberg lab are expected to have an important impact on traditional sensing applications. Operated as force sensors, for example, they are capable of detecting local disturbances at the level of attonewtons.


Another possible application, said the researchers, is to detect weak light forces. By coupling a nanostring to an optical waveguide, it can be used an ultrasensitive microphone, ‘hearing’ the sound of photons in a laser beam.


This measurement can be used to generate a non-classical state of light known as squeezed light, which can be used to enhance the sensitivity of an optical interferometer.


Researchers are now investigating if the same light field can ‘see’ the vacuum fluctuations of the nanostring as a consequence of its phonon-like nature. 


“Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle predicts that the two capabilities are commensurate,” said Dalziel Wilson, one of the researchers. “Operating at this so-called standard quantum limit offers the possibility of cooling a tangibly-sized mechanical object from room temperature to absolute zero, its motional ground state, the starting point for myriad quantum experiments.”


April 12, 2018

Written by Ben Sampson


Your email address:

Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

Marine Dumont, business development manager, Kistler Instruments outlines how innovation in dynamometers is enabling clearer images of Earth from satellites 
Click here to read more

Steve Drake, NDT market manager for Ashtead Technologies, describes how the rapid deployment of the latest borescope equipment to Africa helped a business aviation operator make tough decisions about a grounded aircraft 
Click here to read more

Hardware-in-the-loop systems have helped to reduce flight testing of Saab's latest fighter jet, writes National Instruments in this case study
Click here to read more

An experiment is set to be launched from the International Space Station this month which turns the normal approach to space on its head – instead of putting things into space, this experiment aims to test ways to take things out of space. 
Click here to read more

Ergonomics and human factors is vital in aircraft but can be overlooked during testing and development. Here Nick discusses the latest trends and developments in cockpit design and testing.
Click here to read more

Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the aerospace testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the aerospace testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email