Tech Briefs

Object-Oriented FITS File Interface for MATLAB

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The ability to read complicated Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) files in MATLAB was required for analyzing data from the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) cryovac test campaign for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project. This software was written to fill that specific need, but is more generally applicable.

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Space Station Research Explorer

This program presents experiments, facilities, and research results from the International Space Station in formats that could be easily understood by a wide audience. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The Space Station Research Explorer provides current information on International Space Station (ISS) experiments, facilities, and research results through video, photos, interactive media, and in-depth descriptions on iOS and Android devices.

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Integrated Circuit for Radio Astronomy Correlators Supporting Large Arrays of Antennas

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Radio telescopes that employ arrays of many antennas are in operation, and ever-larger ones are being designed and proposed. Signals from the antennas are combined by cross-correlation. While the cost of most components of the telescope is proportional to the number of antennas, N, the cost and power consumption of cross-correlation are proportional to N2, and dominate at sufficiently large N. As radio telescopes get larger, there is a need to provide digital-signal-processing electronics that are smaller and less power-hungry than would be implied by the extrapolation of existing designs.

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Fabrication of Silicon-Leg Isolated Bi-Cr Thermopiles

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The objective of this innovation was to develop a methodology of fabricating thermopile detectors using standard semiconductor fabrication techniques. The goal was to develop a fabrication process that minimized the roughening of the Si legs during patterning of the metallic couples, and to enable delineation of the Si legs without the use of highly toxic or carcinogenic chemicals. Another key requirement was at least 50% optical absorbance across the spectral band.

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Current Source Logic Gate

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio High-temperature electronic integrated circuits have been demonstrated in silicon carbide (SiC) depletion mode MESFETs. This process is only capable of producing depletion mode n-channel MESFET transistors. With only this type of transistor, designing a logic gate is a challenge. A previous logic gate design that can be constructed in the current process has performed well. This invention improves upon the previous design by increasing output voltage range and decreasing the physical layout size of a logic gate. This logic gate circuit consists of depletion mode MESFET/JFET transistors and resistors that can be constructed with SiC depletion mode n-channel MESFETs.

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Design of Double Layer Rectenna Array for Fault Isolation of Schottky Diode in Operation Beyond V-Band Frequencies

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Microwave power transmission using rectenna technology has attracted a strong interest in conjunction with wireless electric power delivery to infrastructure and subjects located at a remote place. A typical rectenna, which is a major component of the wireless power transmission technology, consists of an antenna, a Schottky diode, and low-pass filters for low-frequency electromagnetic wave isolation in the device. To obtain high efficiency, an electromagnetic wave is collected through a high-resonance antenna, and the AC mode of coupled wave energy is delivered to a Schottky diode that rectifies AC power into DC power. By connecting rectennas in series or parallel, or in mixed way — as well as enlarging the receiving area — the rectenna array can capture microwave energy into a desirable mode of high power.

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Hierarchical Support for Nanocatalysts

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This work focused on enhancing catalyst activity and durability by developing a method to control size, dispersion, and exposure. Existing nanocatalysts are typically fabricated in bulk or powder form. There are monolithic catalysts, but they rely on meso-porous materials as supports. Bulk nanocatalysts suffer from a lack of complete exposure to reagents, counteracting the benefits of the nanoparticles. Catalysts upon meso-porous support have limited exposure due to diffusion distances through the porous support. This requires higher catalyst loading, and may lead to particle coalescence and deactivation.

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