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Domain Compilation for Embedded Real-Time Planning

Robustness is increased at the price of a moderate increase in complexity.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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Simulation of Laser Cooling and Trapping in Engineering Applications

This design instrument shows good agreement with experimental measurements. An advanced computer code is undergoing development for numerically simulating laser cooling and trapping of large numbers of atoms. The code is expected to be useful in practical engineering applications and to contribute to understanding of the roles that light, atomic collisions, background pressure, and numbers of particles play in experiments using laser-cooled and -trapped atoms. The code is based on semiclassical theories of the forces exerted on atoms by magnetic and optical fields. Whereas computer codes developed previously for the same purpose account for only a few physical mechanisms, this code incorporates many more physical mechanisms (including atomic collisions, sub-Doppler cooling mechanisms, Stark and Zeeman energy shifts, gravitation, and evanescent-wave phenomena) that affect laser-matter interactions and the cooling of atoms to submillikelvin temperatures. Moreover, whereas the prior codes can simulate the interactions of at most a few atoms with a resonant light field, the number of atoms that can be included in a simulation by the present code is limited only by computer memory. Hence, the present code represents more nearly completely the complex physics involved when using laser-cooled and -trapped atoms in engineering applications.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Photonics, Briefs

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Semiautomated, Reproducible Batch Processing of Soy

Processing conditions are selectable and are consistent from batch to batch. A computer-controlled apparatus processes batches of soybeans into one or more of a variety of food products, under conditions that can be chosen by the user and reproduced from batch to batch. Examples of products include soy milk, tofu, okara (an insoluble protein and fiber byproduct of soy milk), and whey. Most processing steps take place without intervention by the user. This apparatus was developed for use in research on processing of soy. It is also a prototype of other soy-processing apparatuses for research, industrial, and home use.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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30 Years of Test & Measurement

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from industry leaders on the past, present, and future of each technology. This month, we take a look at the past 30 years of Test & Measurement.

Posted in: Articles

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Powder-Collection System for Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corer

Powder is blown from the drill/rock interface to sampling locations. A system for collecting samples of powdered rock has been devised for use in conjunction with an ultrasonic/sonic drill/corer (USDC) — a lightweight, lowpower apparatus designed to cut into, and acquire samples of, rock or other hard material for scientific analysis. The USDC was described in "Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors" (), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 38. To recapitulate: The USDC includes a drill bit, corer, or other tool bit, in which ultrasonic and sonic vibrations are excited by an electronically driven piezoelectric actuator. The USDC advances into the rock or other material of interest by means of a hammering action and a resulting chiseling action at the tip of the tool bit. The hammering and chiseling actions are so effective that unlike in conventional twist drilling, a negligible amount of axial force is needed to make the USDC advance into the material. Also unlike a conventional twist drill, the USDC operates without need for torsional restraint, lubricant, or a sharp bit.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Rayleigh Scattering for Measuring Flow in a Nozzle Testing Facility

The facility can test nozzles up to 8.75-in. (22.2-cm) in diameter. A molecular Rayleigh scattering based air density measurement system was built in a large nozzle and engine component test facility for surveying supersonic plumes from jet-engine exhaust. The facility (see Figure 1) can test nozzles up to 8.75 in. (22.2-cm) in diameter. It is enclosed in a 7.5-ft (2.3- m) diameter tank where ambient pressure is adjusted to simulate engine operation up to an altitude of 48,000 ft (14,630 m). The measurement technique depends on the light scattering by gas molecules present in the air; no artificial seeding is required. Commercially available particle-based techniques, such as laser Doppler velocimetry and particle image velocimetry, were avoided for such reasons as requirement of extremely large volume of seed particles; undesirable coating of every flow passages, model, and test windows with seed particles; and measurement errors from seed particles not following the flow. The molecular Rayleigh-scattering-based technique avoids all of these problems; however, a different set of obstacles associated with cleaning of dust particles, avoidance of stray light, and protection of the optical components from the facility vibration need to be addressed

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs

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Interferometer for Low Uncertainty Vector Metrology

Accuracy is increased; time and cost are reduced. The figure is a simplified schematic diagram of a tilt-sensing unequal-path interferometer set up to measure the orientation of the normal vector of one surface of a cube mounted on a structure under test. This interferometer has been named a “theoferometer” to express both its interferometric nature and the intention to use it instead of an autocollimating theodolite.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs

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