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Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
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2006 Product of the Year Winners

The 12th annual NASA Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented April 23rd at a special reception and dinner in New York City. See the June issue for photos and highlights of the awards presentation. Here are the top three winners, chosen by you, the readers of NTB:

Posted in: UpFront

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Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

A Bose-Einstein condensate is adiabatically compressed to drive coherent spin-mixing evolution. An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping mechanism of this atom laser is based on spinor dynamics in a Bose-Einstein condensate. By virtue of the angular- momentum conserving collisions that generate the two beams, the number of atoms in one beam is correlated with the number of atoms in the other beam. Such correlations are intimately linked to entanglement and squeezing in atomic ensembles, and atom lasers like this one could be used in exploring related aspects of Bose-Einstein condensates, and as components of future sensors relying on atom interferometry.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

Relatively inexpensive optical components could be used in free-space optical communications. A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further development, active optics would be used to reduce wavefront aberrations of about one wave or less in telescopes having aperture diameters of the order of meters or tens of meters. Although this remaining amount of aberration would be considered excessive in scientific applications in which diffraction-limited performance is required, it would be acceptable for freespace optical-communication applications at wavelengths of the order of 1 μm.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

This laser is relatively insensitive to vibration. A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Lasers of similar design would be suitable for use in terrestrial laboratories engaged in atomic-clock and atomic-physics research.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Balloon for Long-Duration, High-Altitude Flight at Venus

A document describes a 5.5-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon designed for carrying a scientific payload having a mass of 44 kg for at least six days at an altitude of about 55 km in the atmosphere of Venus. The requirement for floating at nearly constant altitude dictates the choice of a mass-efficient spherical super-pressure balloon that tracks a constant atmospheric density. Therefore, the balloon is of a conventional spherical super-pressure type, except that it is made of materials chosen to minimize solar radiant heating and withstand the corrosive sulfuric acid aerosol of the Venusian atmosphere.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Environmentally Friendly Solvents

A specialty chemical company is seeking innovative green, renewable raw materials, products, and processes for replacement of existing non-environmentally friendly solvents while not compromising the performance or significantly increasing the costs. The solutions should be biodegradable, low/non- VOC, low toxicity, and economically competitive. Sources for renewable raw material solutions may include glycerol, sugars, furfural, succinic acid, and bioethanol.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Quantifying Breast-Feeding Volume

A method is sought to provide a real-time quantitative measure of the volume of milk consumed as a baby breast-feeds. The solution must be safe, environmentally sound, non-invasive, retail for under $50, and should not interfere with mother- newborn bonding. It should be compatible with home use and relatively small in size, and should show results in a specific standard or some calibrated multi-point scale.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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