Projects : Virtual Instrument
Virtual Instrumentation with LabVIEW
"The computer is the instrument." Created by National Instruments,
LabVIEW is an integrated development environment and graphical programming
language that has become the de facto industry standard for
instrumentation, control/automation, and data acquisition/analysis.
With built-in driver libraries for a wide range of I/O communication
protocols such as RS232, RS485, IEEE488, VXI, LabVIEW provides effortless
interfacing and connectivity with any standard-compliant instruments.
Its graphical programming language uses intuitive block diagrams as the
basic elements of a software program, which is ideal for rapid prototyping
and development of scientific and engineering applications.
With diverse backgrounds ranging from computer science to electrical
engineering to solid state physics, our experienced engineering team
provide LabVIEW-based instrumentation solutions that will meet any
specific project requirements. From interface selection, to custom
hardware design, to software development, we ensure tight integration and
quality control of every aspect of a project and its successful and timely
When Metal Oxide Technologies, Inc. (MetOx)
needed to develop a mission critical process control system, they chose to
contract the project to Chaogic Systems. MetOx is a startup company that
set out to manufacture high-temperature superconducting wires on a
commercial basis. Although still at its prototyping stage, the company's
patent pending manufacturing process is groundbreaking. The company is
expected to make major technological and social impact in the 21st
century, the significance of which could potentially rival the creation of
the Internet or the commercialization of the personal computer in the late
The manufacturing process involves dozens of monitoring, control, and
automation instruments and equipments, and hundreds of temperature,
pressure, gas/liquid flow data check points. All instruments are connected
to the master computer via various hardware interfaces and controlled by
the LabVIEW program developed by Chaogic Systems, and all data points are
continuously monitored and logged by the same program. In the case of a
number of critical system parameters that are unaccessible via commercially
available instruments, custom data acquisition hardware is designed and
interfaced to the master computer via National Instruments' FieldPoint
distributed I/O modules. Security control is implemented so that an
operator only has access to a defined set of operations depending on his
access level and/or area of expertise.
Due to the prototyping nature of the manufacturing process as well as NDA
restrictions, further technical details can not be disclosed at this time.
Suffices it to say, we are proud to be a driving force behind 21st century's
cutting edge science and technologies.
Ic Measurement System
One of the most important physical characteristics of superconducting wires is the Critical Current (Ic), the maximum amount of current a wire can carry before degrading
into non-superconducting state. In order to measure Ic, it requires precise control of current up to hundreds of Amps, and accurate readout of voltage at the Nanovolt
level. Fast real-time response is also important in order to avoid irreversible damage to the sample under test. It is challenging in terms of electronic engineering and
interface programming to build a robust and easy-to-operate Ic measurement system.
In the past years, MetOx relied on research/academic partners including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Los
Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for Ic measurements of their prototype wire samples, which involved physical delivery of samples by postal mail. However, with their
maturing manufacture process and increasing turn-around rate of test runs, it became apparent that an in-house Ic measurement system was vitally needed. With our proven
track records, Chaogic Systems was once again contracted to build such a system. For MetOx as a commercial organization, financial cost is also a concern besides technical
requirements. With these constrains in mind, we came up with a unique system design involving all "commodity off the shelf" parts and instruments for hardware
requirements, and LabVIEW as the software environment and interface programming language, which is perfectly suited for this type of application. In a time-frame of three
months, the system was built, tested, and delivered to MetOx. The system specifications include a maximum current output of 250 Amps with ~50 Miliamps of precision, and
voltage readout accuracy of ~50 Nanovolts with <10 Miliseconds of response time. Scientists and engineers at MetOx were also impressed with the system's intuitive
software control panel. As a matter of fact, the Ic measurement system built by Chaogic Systems redefines "state of the art" in the field, with both hardware
specifications and software interface exceeding similar systems operating at ORNL and LANL national laboratories.