Tech Briefs

Improved Method of Purifying Carbon Nanotubes

An improved method of removing the residues of fabrication from carbon nanotubes has been invented. These residues comprise amorphous carbon and metal particles that are produced during the growth process. Prior methods of removing the residues include a variety of processes that involved the use of halogens, oxygen, or air in both thermal and plasma processes. Each of the prior methods entails one or more disadvantages, including non-selectivity (removal or damage of nanotubes in addition to removal of the residues), the need to dispose of toxic wastes, and/or processing times as long as 24 hours or more. In contrast, the process described here does not include the use of toxic chemicals, the generation of toxic wastes, causes little or no damage to the carbon nanotubes, and involves processing times of less than 1 hour.

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Patterned Growth of Carbon Nanotubes or Nanofibers

Numerous parameters of deposition conditions, structures, and compositions affect what is grown. A method and apparatus for the growth of carbon nanotubes or nanofibers in a desired pattern has been invented. The essence of the method is to grow the nanotubes or nanofibers by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) onto a patterned catalyst supported by a substrate.

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Lightweight, Rack-Mountable Composite Cold Plate/Shelves

Rack-mountable composite-material structural components that would serve as both shelves and cold plates for removing heat from electronic or other equipment mounted on the shelves have been proposed as lightweight alternatives to allmetal cold plate/shelves now in use. A proposed cold plate/shelf would include a highly thermally conductive face sheet containing oriented graphite fibers bonded to an aluminum honeycomb core, plus an extruded stainless-steel substructure containing optimized flow passages for a cooling fluid, and an inlet and outlet that could be connected to standard manifold sections. To maximize heat-transfer efficiency, the extruded stainless-steel substructure would be connected directly to the face sheet. On the basis of a tentative design, the proposed composite cold plate/shelf would weigh about 38 percent less than does an all-aluminum cold plate in use or planned for use in some spacecraft and possibly aircraft. Although weight is a primary consideration, the tentative design offers the additional benefit of reduction of thickness to half that of the all-aluminum version.

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Open-Source Software for Modeling of Nanoelectronic Devices

The Nanoelectronic Modeling 3-D (NEMO 3-D) computer program has been upgraded to open-source status through elimination of license-restricted components. The present version functions equivalently to the version reported in “Software for Numerical Modeling of Nanoelectronic Devices” (NPO-30520), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 11 (November 2003), page 37. To recapitulate: NEMO 3-D performs numerical modeling of the electronic transport and structural properties of a semiconductor device that has overall dimensions of the order of tens of nanometers. The underlying mathematical model represents the quantum-mechanical behavior of the device resolved to the atomistic level of granularity. NEMO 3-D solves the applicable quantum matrix equation on a Beowulf- class cluster computer by use of a parallel-processing matrix·vector multiplication algorithm coupled to a Lanczos and/or Rayleigh-Ritz algorithm that solves for eigenvalues. A prior upgrade of NEMO 3-D incorporated a capability for a strain treatment, parameterized for bulk material properties of GaAs and InAs, for two tight-binding submodels. NEMO 3-D has been demonstrated in atomistic analyses of effects of disorder in alloys and, in particular, in bulk InxGa1-xAs and in In0.6Ga0.4As quantum dots.

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Software for Generating Strip Maps From SAR Data

Jurassicprok is a computer program that generates strip-map digital elevation models and other data products from raw data acquired by an airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) system. This software can process data from a variety of airborne SAR systems but is designed especially for the GeoSAR system, which is a dual-frequency (P- and X-band), single-pass interferometric SAR system for measuring elevation both at the bare ground surface and top of the vegetation canopy. Jurassicprok is a modified version of software developed previously for airborne-interferometric- SAR applications. The modifications were made to accommodate P-band interferometric processing, remove approximations that are not generally valid, and reduce processor-induced mapping errors to the centimeter level. Major additions and other improvements over the prior software include the following: A new, highly efficient multi-stagemodified wave-domain processing algorithm for accurately motion compensating ultra-wideband data; Adaptive regridding algorithms based on estimated noise and actual measured topography to reduce noise while maintaining spatial resolution; Exact expressions for height determination from interferogram data; Fully calibrated volumetric correlation data based on rigorous removal of geometric and signal-to-noise decorrelation terms; Strip range-Doppler image output in user-specified Doppler coordinates; An improved phase-unwrapping and absolute-phase-determination algorithm; A more flexible user interface with many additional processing options; Increased interferogram filtering options; and Ability to use disk space instead of random- access memory for some processing steps.

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Calibration Software for Use With Jurassicprok

The Jurassicprok Interferometric Calibration Software (also called “Calibration Processor” or simply “CP”) estimates the calibration parameters of an airborne synthetic- aperture-radar (SAR) system, the raw measurement data of which are processed by the Jurassicprok software described in the preceding article. Calibration parameters estimated by CP include time delays, baseline offsets, phase screens, and radiometric offsets. CP examines raw radar-pulse data, single-look complex image data, and digital elevation map data. For each type of data, CP compares the actual values with values expected on the basis of ground-truth data. CP then converts the differences between the actual and expected values into updates for the calibration parameters in an interferometric calibration file (ICF) and a radiometric calibration file (RCF) for the particular SAR system. The updated ICF and RCF are used as inputs to both Jurassicprok and to the companion Motion Measurement Processor software (described in the following article) for use in generating calibrated digital elevation maps.

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Software Processes SAR Motion-Measurement Data

Motion Measurement Processor (MMP) is one of three computer programs that are used together in the operation of a terrainmapping dual-frequency interferometric synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) system. The other two programs — Jurassicprok and Calibration Processor — are described in the two immediately preceding articles. MMP acquires all the motion and attitude data collected by onboard instrumentation systems, including radar, laser and camera metrology, inertial navigation systems, and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. MMP combines all this information and processes it into all the trajectory information needed to run Jurassicprok, which performs the interferometric processing and mapping functions. MMP includes several Kalman filters for combining and smoothing aircraft motion and attitude data, and least-squares inversion and filtering software tools for solving for interferometric baseline lengths. MMP synchronizes the motion and radar data. It combines the various measurement data into a unified, seven-dimensional reference system and puts out the resulting filtered trajectory and attitude data along with instructions for use of the data by Jurassicprok, as well as the command files used to operate Jurassicprok.

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