Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

A Standard for Scientific Data Files

This standard and the software that implements it facilitate collaboration among scientists.The term "Instrument Data File Set" (IDFS) denotes both software and an underlying concept of a prescribed format for files of scientific data and metadata. The IDFS was developed to satisfy a need, in the space science community, to maintain data and metadata in a format that promotes efficient use of the information and that facilitates access to the information, thereby enhancing the ability of scientists to engage in collaborative research. Within the space science community, the IDFS has become a standard by default.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Standardization


Software for Display and Analysis of Scientific Data

Data can be obtained from globally distributed archives, then displayed and analyzed quickly. The Southwest Data Display and Analysis System (SDDAS) is a flexible, extensible software system intended to support analysis of space physics data from multiple instruments and multiple spacecraft missions. SDDAS was developed in response to the need of space scientists to be able to gain access to data and to display data, without concern about data management details, so that they can focus their efforts on scientific research.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Data management


System Locates Lightning Strikes to Within Meters

Locations are determined from propagation times for electric and sonic fields.A system for determining the locations of nearby lightning strikes from electric-field and acoustic measurements has been developed and built. The system includes at least three receivers, each equipped with an antenna and a microphone. For each strike, the system measures the difference between the times of arrival of the electric-field and sonic (thunder) pulses at each receiver, computes the distance of the strike from the time difference and the speed of sound (about 320 m/s), then uses the distances to determine the location of the strike. The basic concept of this system is thus a variant and extension of the time-honored concept of estimating the distance of a lightning strike from the difference between the times of arrival of the visible flash and the audible thunder.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Measurements, Weather and climate, Acoustics, Test equipment and instrumentation


Flip-Chip W-Band Amplifier: a Prototype of Q-MMICs

Q-MMICs offer an economical alternative to MMICs.A prototype W-Band, low-noise amplifier has been fabricated by bump-bonding a high-speed, low-noise InP high-electron-mobility (HEMT) transistor onto the previously fabricated passive portion of the amplifier circuit on a GaAs substrate (see figure). The passive portion of the circuit can be regarded as a monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) that differs from a complete MMIC amplifier only in its lack of a single active device (the HEMT). Therefore, the bump-bonded combination of the active device and the passive portion of the circuit is characterized as a quasi-monolithic millimeter-wave integrated circuit (Q-MMIC).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Amplifiers, Fabrication


Measuring NO and OH Concentrations at High Pressure

An optoelectronic laboratory apparatus could be developed into a portable instrument.An apparatus based on line-of-sight resonant absorption of ultraviolet light yields measurement data from which one can calculate the concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) and of hydroxyl radicals (OH) in a laboratory flat flame at a pressure up to 30 atm ≈3 MPa). The basic measurement principle is distinct from the principles of laser-induced fluorescence and other laser diagnostic techniques; hence, the data generated by this apparatus could provide independent verification of data from laser-based instruments.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Optics, Nitrogen oxides, Test equipment and instrumentation


Automated Apparatus for Testing Gyroscopes

Except for initial setting of conditions, the entire testing process is automated.The Gyroscope Automated Testbed is a computer-controlled apparatus designed primarily for automated testing of vibratory gyroscopes. It can also be used to test other devices: By changing testing-system/tested-device interface circuitry that is part of the apparatus, one can set up the apparatus to test nonvibratory gyroscopes. The apparatus can also be used as a general-purpose noise-analysis system for characterizing a variety of devices in addition to gyroscopes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Automation, Test equipment and instrumentation


Electromechanical Testing of Microelectromechanical Devices

Devices would be probed at the wafer level before dicing and packaging.A method of electromechanical testing has been proposed for general diagnosis, evaluation of performance, and burn-in (accelerated life testing) of microelectromechanical devices. The tests would ordinarily be performed at the wafer level; that is, after the devices have been fabricated on wafers but before the wafers have been diced and the dies packaged. Alternatively or in addition, the tests could be performed at other stages of the fabrication process.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Microelectromechanical devices, Test procedures


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