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Microfluidics, Chromatography, and Atomic-Force Microscopy

Capillary and shear effects are exploited to transport small quantities of liquids. A Raman-and-atomic-force microscope (RAFM) has been shown to be capable of performing several liquid-transfer and sensory functions essential for the operation of a microfluidic “laboratory on a chip” that would be used to perform rapid, sensitive chromatographic and spectro-chemical analyses of unprecedentedly small quantities of liquids. The most novel aspect of this development lies in the exploitation of capillary and shear effects at the atomic-force-microscope (AFM) tip to produce shear-driven flow of liquids along open microchannels of a microfluidic device. The RAFM can also be used to perform such functions as imaging liquids in microchannels; removing liquid samples from channels for very sensitive, tip-localized spectrochemical analyses; measuring a quantity of liquid adhering to the tip; and dip-pen deposition from a chromatographic device.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Pattern-Recognition System for Approaching a Known Target

Multiple image features are utilized in a multiphase data-fusion process. A closed-loop pattern-recognition system is designed to provide guidance for maneuvering a small exploratory robotic vehicle (rover) on Mars to return to a landed spacecraft to deliver soil and rock samples that the spacecraft would subsequently bring back to Earth. The system could be adapted to terrestrial use in guiding mobile robots to approach known structures that humans could not approach safely, for such purposes as reconnaissance in military or law-enforcement applications, terrestrial scientific exploration, and removal of explosive or other hazardous items.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Orchestrator Telemetry Processing Pipeline

A multi-platform architecture is used to build and manage a telemetry-processing pipeline. Orchestrator is a software application infrastructure for telemetry monitoring, logging, processing, and distribution. The architecture has been applied to support operations of a variety of planetary rovers. Built in Java with the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, Orchestrator can run on most commonly used operating systems. The pipeline supports configurable parallel processing that can significantly reduce the time needed to process a large volume of data products.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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Scheme for Quantum Computing Immune to Decoherence

The spintronic encodings of this scheme are more efficient than those of a prior scheme. A constructive scheme has been devised to enable mapping of any quantum computation into a spintronic circuit in which the computation is encoded in a basis that is, in principle, immune to quantum decoherence. The scheme is implemented by an algorithm that utilizes multiple physical spins to encode each logical bit in such a way that collective errors affecting all the physical spins do not disturb the logical bit. The scheme is expected to be of use to experimenters working on spintronic implementations of quantum logic.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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Spin-Stabilized Microsatellites With Solar Concentrators

A document proposes the development of spin-stabilized microsatellites powered by solar photovoltaic cells aided by solar concentrators. Each such satellite would have a cylindrical or other axisymmetric main body with solar cells mounted in a circumferential beltlike array on its exterior surface. The solar concentrator would be a halo-like outrigger cylindrical Fresnel lens array that would be deployed from and would surround the main body, connected to the main body via spokes or similar structural members.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Phase Calibration of Antenna Arrays Aimed at Spacecraft

A document describes a method of calibrating phase differences among ground antennas in an array so that the maximumintensity direction of the far-field interference pattern of the array coincides with the direction for aiming the antennas to enable radio communication with a distant spacecraft. The method pertains to an array typically comprising between two and four 34- m (or similar size) antennas. The antennas are first calibrated pair-wise to maximize the uplink power received at a different spacecraft that is close enough for communication via a single ground antenna.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers

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Ring Bus Architecture for a Solid-State Recorder

A document concisely describes a ring bus architecture for a proposed solid-state recorder (SSR) that would serve as buffer of data to be transmitted from a spacecraft to Earth. This architecture would afford fault tolerance needed for reliable operation in an anticipated high-radiation environment in which traditional SSRs cannot operate reliably. Features of the architecture include one or more controller boards and multiple memory boards interconnected in a ringlike topology. The interconnections would be high-speed serial links complying with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard 1393 (which pertains to a spaceborne fiber-optic data bus).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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