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The Advantages of LWIR SLS Thermal Cameras

A relatively new type of photon detector material for infrared cameras offers a solution for scientists and engineers who need to record fast thermal transients or capture crisp still images of high speed objects or events. This material, called Type II Strained Layer Superlattice, or SLS, can match or exceed most of the performance of analogous detector materials such as indium antimonide (InSb) or mercury cadmium telluride (MCT). This article compares LWIR SLS detectors to MWIR InSb and LWIR MCT detectors, with specific attention to their integration times, temperature ranges, filtering needs, and uniformity.

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Electronics & Computers

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High-Bandwidth, Wide Field-of-View, Ultra-Sensitive, Radiation-Hardened, Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) Receiver

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Every LiDAR design faces the classic balancing act of signal versus noise. In order to maximize the range of a LiDAR, a receiver must amplify fractions of a micro-amp of photo current into a usable range for signal processing to occur, but without adding significant amounts of noise. Additionally, LiDAR receiver designs must exhibit very wide dynamic ranges because of the uncertainty in return signal amplitude. Meeting all these requirements in a small size, weight, and power form factor while keeping costs low is a major challenge.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers

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Magnetometer for Vectorized Field Sensing via Zero-Field, Spin-Dependent Recombination in Silicon Carbide Microelectronics

This self-calibrating, solid-state-based magnetometer is intended for miniaturized applications in high-temperature and high-radiation environments. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The proposed technology involves the sensitive detection of magnetic fields using the zero-field, spin-dependent recombination (SDR) phenomenon that naturally arises from atomic-scale, deep-level defects intrinsic to silicon carbide (SiC) microelectronics. The SDR phenomenon enables the fabrication of SiC-based magnetic field sensing diodes that are ideal for the development of miniaturized and purely electrical-based magnetometers.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers

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Ethernet-to-HRDL Conversion Design

Dual Ethernet inputs are multiplexed into a single HRDL stream to accommodate Ethernet-based ISS instruments. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The International Space Station (ISS) uses a fiber optic High Rate Data Link (HRDL) standard for transferring data. ISS experiments, however, may prefer an Ethernet interface. This design allows ISS instruments to keep their Ethernet interface by converting the Ethernet data format into a format compatible with the ISS. The Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) incorporated this design on the ISS in 2010. The design was described with VHDL code. It has been implemented with an Actel RTAX Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). This FPGA is part of the Express Logics Carrier (ELC) onboard the ISS.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers

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Flash LIDAR Emulator

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The Flash LIDAR Emulator is a computer system designed to be functionally equivalent to a Flash LIDAR sensor camera. The system has the same hardware interfaces as the sensor, and produces images of comparable quality to the flash LIDAR sensor in real time (30 frames per second). The emulator is then used as a substitute for the LIDAR camera during development and testing of the software algorithms and hardware systems that interface with the camera. The emulator software was custom-developed entirely in-house, and integrates tools and techniques from several computer fields, including parallel processing, ray-tracing, geometric optimization, CPU optimization, CameraLink interfaces, lowlevel networking, and GPU-based general computing. The software was designed to run on an 8-processor Dell workstation with an NVIDIA graphics card to support general-purpose GPU computing, and CameraLink and network interfaces to support the hardware interfaces of the Flash LIDAR camera.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers

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Nanotube-Based Device Cooling System

These cooling systems can be used for electronic devices in the computer manufacturing, thermal management, and semiconductor industries. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being studied for use in high-strength/lowweight composites and other applications. Recent research on thermal dissipation materials for high-power electronic devices is generating a lot of interest in various industries. Carbon nano tubes have attracted much attention due to their extraordinary mechanical and unique electronic properties. Computer chips have been subjected to higher and higher thermal loads, and it is challenging to find new ways to perform heat dissipation. As a result, heat dissipation demand for computer systems is increasing dramatically.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management

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Architecture for an Intermediate-Frequency Digital Downconversion and Data Distribution Network

Developed originally for Deep Space Network downlink receivers, applications include high-speed digital receivers for cellular networks. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) is looking to modernize aging downlink receivers for telemetry, tracking, and radio science. It is looking to replace multiple types of custom-built, special-purpose receivers with a unified receiver architecture that can support the various downlink data types. As part of this modernization, it is desired to only digitize the data once and then distribute the data using commercial switching network technology to multiple back-end receiver processing hardware and software. The main problem to be solved is how to distribute efficiently and flexibly high-bandwidth intermediate-frequency (100 to 600 MHz) digitized signals across a signal processing center for use in the DSN.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers

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