Tech Briefs

Solution Preserves Nucleic Acids in Body-Fluid Specimens

Specimens can be stored and transported at room temperature. A solution has been formulated to preserve deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) in specimens of blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids. Specimens of this type are collected for diagnostic molecular pathology, which is becoming the method of choice for diagnosis of many diseases. The solution makes it possible to store such specimens at room temperature, without risk of decomposition, for subsequent analysis in a laboratory that could be remote from the sampling location. Thus, the solution could be a means to bring the benefits of diagnostic molecular pathology to geographic regions where refrigeration equipment and diagnostic laboratories are not available.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Oligodeoxynucleotide Probes for Detecting Intact Cells

Cells can be detected, identified, and enumerated via chemiluminescence. A rapid, sensitive test using chemiluminescent oligodeoxynucleotide probes has been developed for detecting, identifying, and enumerating intact cells. The test is intended especially for use in detecting and enumerating bacteria and yeasts in potable water.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Imaging of ³-Irradiated Regions of a Crystal

Electron-trapping and photorefractive effects are exploited. A holographic technique has been devised for generating a visible display of the effect of exposure of a photorefractive crystal to γ-rays. The technique exploits the space charge that results from trapping of electrons in defects induced by  γ rays.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Digital Averaging Phasemeter for Heterodyne Interferometry

One instrument performs functions for which separate instruments were previously needed. A digital averaging phasemeter has been built for measuring the difference between the phases of the unknown and reference heterodyne signals in a heterodyne laser interferometer. This phasemeter performs well enough to enable interferometric measurements of distance with accuracy of the order of 100 pm and with the ability to track distance as it changes at a speed of as much as 50 cm/s. This phasemeter is unique in that it is a single, integral system capable of performing three major functions that, heretofore, have been performed by separate systems: (1) measurement of the fractional-cycle phase difference, (2) counting of multiple cycles of phase change, and (3) averaging of phase measurements over multiple cycles for improved resolution. This phasemeter also offers the advantage of making repeated measurements at a high rate: the phase is measured on every heterodyne cycle. Thus, for example, in measuring the relative phase of two signals having a heterodyne frequency of 10 kHz, the phasemeter would accumulate 10,000 measurements per second. At this high measurement rate, an accurate average phase determination can be made more quickly than is possible at a lower rate.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Part 2 of a Computational Study of a Drop-Laden Mixing Layer

This second of three reports on a computational study of a mixing layer laden with evaporating liquid drops presents the evaluation of Large Eddy Simulation (LES)models.The LES models were evaluated on an existing database that had been generated using Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS).The DNS method and the data- tively coated thin electroactive-polymer (EAP)films be developed for use in spaceborne microwave and optical systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Microwave-Spectral Signatures Would Reveal Concealed Objects

This technique should prove superior to conventional ground-probing radar. A proposed technique for locating concealed objects (especially small antipersonnel land mines) involves the acquisition and processing of spectral signatures over broad microwave frequency bands. This technique was conceived to overcome the weaknesses of older narrow-band electromagnetic techniques like ground-probing radar and low-frequency electromagnetic induction.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Demonstration of a Pyrotechnic Bolt-Retractor System

A paper describes a demonstration of the X-38 bolt-retractor system (BRS) on a spacecraft-simulating apparatus, called the Large Mobility Base, in NASA Flight Robotics Laboratory (FRL). The BRS design was proven safe by testing in NASA Pyrotechnic Shock Facility (PSF) before being demonstrated in the FRL. The paper describes the BRS, FRL, PSF, and interface hardware. Information on the bolt-retraction time and spacecraft-simulator acceleration, and an analysis of forces, are presented. The purpose of the demonstration was to show the capability of the FRL for testing of the use of pyrotechnics to separate stages of a spacecraft. Although a formal test was not performed because of schedule and budget constraints, the data in the report show that the BRS is a successful design concept and the FRL is suitable for future separation tests.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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