Manufacturing & Prototyping

High-Temperature Superconducting Bolometric Devices on Amorphous Silicon Nitride Membranes

Applications include defense-related infrared launch detection and night vision. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California There has been a great deal of interest in building bolometers from hightemperature superconductors due to their high transition temperatures and the associated ease of cooling. High-temperature superconducting (high Tc) bolometers are difficult to fabricate because the standard method of thermal isolation is not compatible with these materials. A method is described that allows a standard thermal isolation technique (using amorphous silicon nitride membranes) to be used with high-temperature superconductors.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Conductivity


Uniformly Etched Lateral Gratings Applied to Pre-existing Ridge Waveguides

New technology is 100 times smaller and has fewer components with possibly the same performance. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California There is great difficulty in implementing lateral gratings in GaSb-based lasers. Commercially, single-frequency GaSb lasers have been fabricated using metal gratings deposited laterally to the ridge-waveguide (RWG) stripe. The disadvantage of this is that the laser performance is compromised by additional optical loss due to radiation absorption by the metal. Fabricating lasers in this way limits the potential for high-power performance. A better method is to etch gratings into the semiconductor, but generally, patterning these grating structures is difficult because of nonuniformity of the grating pattern and etching difficulty due to sub-micrometer dimensions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Waveguides, Fabrication, Metals


High-Precision Thin Film Metal Liftoff Technique

This process can be used by industries that need to fabricate microelectronic devices and superconducting sensors. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The objective of this work was to develop a thin film metal liftoff process that would allow one to accurately pattern two-micron-wide (or wider) features. The goal of this innovation was to pattern thin metal films on silicon substrates. The thin metal films can be deposited using physical vapor deposition techniques. The metallic films to be lifted off were deposited via DC magnetron sputtering, in which the mean free path of the metal atoms to be deposited is on the order of one micron. Thus, the deposited metal could conformally coat structures to fill in gaps that were greater than approximately one micron tall.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Metals, Polymers


Process for 3D Printer Filament Fabrication

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Conventional filament extrusion processes are unsuitable for recycling materials on the International Space Station due to requirements for continuous monitoring and tuning, as well as poor filament dimensional control. The Positrusion process recycles scrap or waste thermoplastics into filament for 3D fused filament fabrication (FFF) printers.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Recycling, Fabrication, Plastics


Products of Tomorrow: December 2015

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.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Imaging and visualization, Medical, health, and wellness, Commercial aircraft


Product of the Month: December 2015

Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, introduced series E36100 compact DC power supplies that offer LAN and USB interfaces and reliable power for testing and validating designs. Five models feature up to 100 V or 5 A output. Design and validation engineers can use the supplies to power devices under test (DUTs) during manual tests or automated sequences. The devices’ compact form factor (2U, ¼-rack) enables use on a bench or in a rack, and standard LAN (LXI Core) and USB interfaces connect the power supplies to a computer. An intuitive on-screen menu system enables users to perform manual tasks quickly, and overvoltage and overcurrent detection protects DUTs. Each of the five models comes standard with measurement capability for very small currents, a high-contrast OLED display enabling users to view the screen from anywhere, low noise power, overvoltage and overcurrent load protection, front and rear output terminals, and USB control. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Imaging Software

ARM-based Z series Smart Cameras from Vision Components (Ettlingen, Germany/ Hudson, NH) are now available with HALCON Embedded software. The software features an integrated development environment and a comprehensive library for blob analysis, morphology, matching, measuring, and identification.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping


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