The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.
This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at http://technology.nasa.gov.
Modulated X-ray Source
While medical imaging has advanced over the years, X-ray sources have remained relatively unchanged. Standard X-ray tubes are driven by a hot filament that emits electrons, which strike a target to generate radiation. Most X-ray equipment designers have not considered how a more functional X-ray source could enable other imaging and therapy innovations. Originally developed for deep-space astronomy and communication applications, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Modulated X-ray Source (MXS) technology replaces the hot filament with simple light-emitting diode (LED), photocathode, and electron multiplier components. Applications include precise, customized dose control to minimize radiation exposure in medical imaging; X-ray-based communication; and chemical and material identification and analysis.
Goddard Technology Transfer Office
Watch a live webcast on Goddard’s Modulated X-ray Source technology featuring Dr. Keith Gendreau on July 17. Visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar221 to register for the free presentation.
Extended-Range RFID and Sensor Tag
Johnson Space Center has developed a technology that enhances the performance of surface acoustic wave radio frequency (SAW RF) tags for passive radio frequency identification (RFID) and sensor applications. This innovation significantly extends operational range without requiring additional transmit power. Applications for this technology include real-time location systems for first responders, hospital patient tracking, and vehicle and container tracking. The inherent temperature- and pressure-sensitive qualities of the SAW RF components also render this device ideal for remote sensing applications.
Johnson Technology Transfer Office
High-Temperature, Low-Melt-Viscosity Imide Resins for Liquid Molding
Glenn Research Center has developed high-temperature, low-melt-viscosity imide resins for composite fabrication into aerospace components. Produced by a solvent-free melt process, these resins exhibit high glass transition temperatures, low-melt viscosities, long pot-life, and are amenable to resin transfer molding (RTM) and vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM).
The resins also can be made into powder prepregs with unlimited out-time by melting the resin powders so that they fuse onto fibers. Their high-temperature capability, performing above 300 °C, exceeds conventional RTM resins for aerospace applications, such as airframe vanes, ducts, and bushings; missiles; rockets; and aircraft propulsion. They can be cured in 2 hours without releasing any volatiles.