Tech Briefs

Printed Circuit Board Design Software Helps Create New Energy Solutions

Founded in 2006, Eagle Harbor Technologies (EHT) delivers high-quality pulsed power solutions to organizations such as the Department of Energy (DoE), NASA, and the United States Navy. From its headquarters in Seattle, WA, EHT offers a full suite of pulsed power products to commercial and research markets. These organizations depend on high-voltage nanosecond pulse generation, advanced plasma sources, and fusion energy technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Electric power, Supplier assessment

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Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Princeton University researchers have built a device in which a single electron can pass its quantum information to a particle of light. The particle of light, or photon, then acts as a messenger to carry the information to other electrons, creating connections that form the circuits of a quantum computer.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Product development

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Method and System for Air Traffic Rerouting for Airspace Constraint Resolution

NASA's National Airspace System Constraint Evaluation and Notification Tool (NASCENT) is a dynamic constraint avoidance system that automatically analyzes routes of aircraft flying, or to be flown, in or near constraint regions, and attempts to find more time- and fuel-efficient reroutes around current and predicted constraints. NASCENT provides an evaluation of avoidance routes that saves more than a user-specified number of minutes of wind-corrected flying time savings for all the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs or Centers) in the National Airspace System (NAS) simultaneously. The dynamic constraint avoidance route system continuously analyzes all flights and provides reroute advisories that are dynamically updated in real time. This system includes a graphical user interface that allows users to visualize, evaluate, modify if necessary, and implement proposed reroutes.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Human machine interface (HMI), Data management, Automation, Air traffic control

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Timeline Builder Assistant

Current human spaceflight requirements limit the number of hours a crewmember can be outside of the habitation unit to 8 hours in a 48-hour period, and 24 hours in a seven-day period. This time must be appropriately balanced to complete science, exploration, and maintenance tasks. Off-days can be used for site transit (traverse), crew rest, or intra-vehicular activities (IVA). The “building blocks” approach to mission design organizes crewmember activities for extra-vehicular activities (EVA) at each investigation site based on the types of tasks that must be completed and the tools required to complete each task. Building blocks colocate payload and crewmember information for timeline construction. Similar tasks or tasks that accomplish similar goals are grouped into blocks and distributed according to EVA requirements for a specified number of days, including allocations for site arrival activities and departure preparations.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Logistics, Personnel, Spacecraft

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Material Combination Enables Transistor Gate Length of 1 Nanometer

The laws of physics have set a 5-nanometer threshold on the size of transistor gates among conventional semiconductors, about one-quarter the size of high-end, 20-nanometer-gate transistors now on the market. Researchers from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Downsizing, Transistors, Nanomaterials, Semiconductors

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Standardized Heating Method to Trigger and Prevent Thermal Runaway Propagation in Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells are increasingly used in high-voltage and high-capacity modules. The Li-ion chemistry has the highest energy density of all rechargeable battery chemistries, but associated with that energy is the issue of catastrophic thermal runaway with a fire. With recent incidents in the commercial aerospace and electronics sectors, methods are required to prevent cell-to-cell thermal runaway propagation. The goal of this work was to achieve a common method for triggering a single cell in a Li-ion battery module into thermal runaway, determine if one can consistently obtain this thermal runaway event, and design mitigation measures to address propagation of the thermal runaway to other cells in the module.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Battery cell chemistry, Lithium-ion batteries, Fire prevention, Risk assessments

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Micro-Lid for Sealing a Sample Reservoir for Micro-Extraction Systems

Improved micro-extraction systems could be useful for military remote sensing using microfluidics.Great strides are taken to miniaturize spaceflight instrumentation, particularly analytical systems such as liquid chromatographs, gas chromatographs, and mass spectrometers. With miniaturization of instruments, large amounts of samples are no longer required. Therefore, a lesser quantity of sample from the environment needs to be acquired and extracted. Current practices of sample extraction are large in volume and consume an enormous amount of power, which is inconsistent for microfluidic instruments in development. These consume minute amounts of power and are of low mass. There have been efforts to create micro-sample extraction systems; however, a downfall of those systems is the inability to automatically close sample reservoirs.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Containers, Seals and gaskets, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

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