Imaging

Device and Method of Scintillating Quantum Dots for Radiation Imaging

Potential applications include medical imaging and aircraft inspection.

NASA’s Langley Re search Center has developed Scintillating Quantum Dots for Imaging X-rays (SQDIX) technology that enables the creation of x-ray detectors that are more sensitive than current x-ray detectors. In addition to superior sensitivity, SQDIX also offers the promise of reducing the cost of x-ray detectors by at least a factor of 10. Simply stated, SQDIX has the potential to change the way that x-ray detection is done.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Sensors, Performance upgrades, Product development, X-ray inspections
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CUDA Framework for Linear Time-Invariant Control of Adaptive Optics Systems

The predictor used here is computed directly from a measured open-loop disturbance sequence using an efficient subspace identification algorithm.

Current science objectives, such as high-contrast imaging of exoplanets, have led to the development of high-order adaptive optics (AO) systems possessing several thousand deformable mirror (DM) actuators. These systems typically rely on integrator-based control architectures, where the temporal error rejection bandwidth is limited by the computational latency between wavefront measurement and application of the DM commands. In many systems, this latency is the driving factor behind residual wavefront error.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, Mirrors, Adaptive control, Architecture, Optics
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Invertible Time Invariant Linear Filtering (InTILF) Method for Pattern Detection and Modeling of Stochastic One- or Two-Dimensional Data

This tool can analyze and model surface metrology data for polishing-tool fabricators.

X-ray astronomy offers the opportunity to observe important phenomena, including the early accretion of massive black holes and detecting diffuse ionized intergalactic gas that is heated to X-ray temperatures (>106). One of the technical challenges facing X-ray astronomy is fabricating optics that are properly shaped and smooth enough to produce quality images. Surface defects on the order of the wavelength of the observed spectrum and up to the size of the optical surface must be polished out of the mirrors without leaving a detectable pattern because the detectable signal is on the order of magnitude of the noise. This leads to a cycle of polishing and metrology that adds time and expense to optics fabrication.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Fabrication, Radiation
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One-Micron (1064-nm) Planar External Cavity Laser (PLANEX)

Ahighly reliable, very low-phase, and low-amplitude-noise laser is required as an oscillator for the LISA mission. A commercial product made by Redfern Integrated Optics met these requirements (1550-nm PLANEX External Cavity Laser), but it operated at 1.5 microns, not the required LISA wavelength of 1 micron. An ultra-low-noise External Cavity Laser was produced at a wavelength of 1 micron, and was integrated in a butterfly package. The goal is to eventually use this laser in the LISA and GRACE-II missions.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers, Waveguides, Spacecraft
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Stereoscopic Imaging in Hypersonic Boundary Layers Using Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence

This technique offers a more complete visualization of high-speed flowfields than standard imaging methods.

Stereoscopic time-resolved visualization of three-dimensional structures in a hypersonic flow was performed for the first time in NASA Langley Research Center’s 31-inch Mach 10 Air Tunnel. Nitric oxide (NO) was seeded into hypersonic boundary layer flows that were designed to transition from laminar to turbulent. A laser excitation and multiple-camera imaging scheme was used to obtain raw images containing three-dimensional spatial information. The images were processed in a computer visualization environment to provide stereoscopic image pairs that could be viewed several ways, including using the cross-eyed viewing method, with the aid of a stereoscope, as animated image pairs (i.e., wiggle stereoscopy), or as anaglyph images through conventional red/blue 3D glasses.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Computational fluid dynamics, Imaging and visualization, Lasers
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Compact, Lightweight, Athermal, Nanocomposite Telescopes with Freeform Optics

Small space missions such as CubeSats frequently require telescopes with highly sophisticated optical systems that are also low in mass and cost. The very limited spacecraft volume and mass limits also preclude adjustments to maintain critical alignment with change in temperature. Existing systems, especially those that employ folded optical paths with freeform optics, are expensive to fabricate. The optics, and support and metering structures, are also heavy due to the use of high-density material such as glass, aluminum, or nickel.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, Downsizing, Optics, Nanomaterials, Satellites
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3D Imaging Laser System

The system achieves high-resolution, real-time, three-dimensional imaging using an innovative single lens system.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a non-scanning, 3D imaging laser system that uses a simple lens system to simultaneously generate a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of optical (light) spots to illuminate an object, surface, or image to generate a topographic profile.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Terrain
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Smart Image Enhancement Process

Applications include improving pilot vision, real-time digital enhancement of videos, medical imaging, and thermal and night vision for surveillance systems.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an automatic measurement and control method for smart image enhancement. Pilots, doctors, and photographers will benefit from this innovation that offers a new approach to image processing. Initial advantages will be seen in improved medical imaging and nighttime photography. Standard image enhancement software is unable to improve poor quality conditions such as low light, poor clarity, and fog-like conditions. The technology consists of a set of comprehensive methods that performs well across a wide range of conditions encountered in arbitrary images. Conditions include large variations in lighting, scene characteristics, and atmospheric (or underwater) turbidity variations. NASA is seeking market insights on commercialization of this new technology, and welcomes interest from potential producers, users, and licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Measurements, Imaging and visualization
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Compact Thermal Neutron Imaging System Using Axisymmetric Focusing Mirrors

This technology uses grazing incidence reflective optics to produce focused beams of neutrons from commercially available sources.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed novel neutron grazing incidence optics for use with small-scale portable neutron generators. The technology was developed to enable the use of commercially available neutron generators for applications requiring high flux densities, including high-performance imaging and analysis. Nested grazing incidence mirror optics, with high collection efficiency, are used to produce divergent, parallel, or convergent neutron beams. Ray tracing simulations of the system (with source-object separation of 10 m for 5 meV neutrons) show nearly an order of magnitude neutron flux increase on a 1-mm-diameter object. The technology is a result of joint development efforts between NASA and MIT researchers seeking to maximize neutron flux from diffuse sources for imaging and testing applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Mirrors, Imaging and visualization
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High-Speed Edge-Detecting Circuit for Use with Linear Image Sensor

Applications include supersonic jets, manufacturing, lane line tracking for vehicle control, bar code scanners, and digital photography.

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

A new smart camera developed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center has the ability to process and transmit valuable edge location data for the images that it captures — at a rate of over 900 frames per second. The camera was designed to operate as a component in an inlet shock detection system for supersonic jets. A supersonic jet cannot function properly unless the airflow entering the machine is compressed and slowed to subsonic speed in the inlet before it reaches the engine. When supersonic air is compressed, it forms shock waves that can destroy the turbofan and surrounding components unless they are pinpointed and adjusted. This smart camera uses an edge detection signal processing circuit to determine the exact location of shock waves, and sends the location information via an onboard microcontroller or external digital interface. This highly customizable camera’s ability to quickly identify precise location data makes it ideal for a variety of other applications where high-speed edge detection is needed.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Hypersonic and supersonic aircraft
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