Tech Briefs

3D X-Ray Luggage-Screening System

3D displays would help inspectors distinguish among objects at different depths. A three-dimensional (3D) x-ray luggage- screening system has been proposed to reduce the fatigue experienced by human inspectors and increase their ability to detect weapons and other contraband. The system and variants thereof could supplant thousands of x-ray scanners now in use at hundreds of airports in the United States and other countries. The device would be applicable to any security checkpoint application where current two-dimensional scanners are in use.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers

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Photodetector Arrays for Multicolor Visible/Infrared Imaging

Separate optical trains would not be needed for different wavelength bands. Monolithic focal-plane arrays of photodetectors capable of imaging the same scenes simultaneously in multiple wavelength bands in the visible and infrared spectral regions have been proposed. In prior visible/infrared imaging systems, it has been standard practice to use separate optical trains to form images in visible and infrared wavelength bands on separate visible- and infrared-photodetector arrays. Because the proposal would enable the detection of images in multiple wavelength bands on the same focal plane, the proposal would make it unnecessary to use multiple optical trains. Hence, multispectral imaging systems could be made more compact and the difficulties of aligning multiple optical trains would be eliminated.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers

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Algorithm for Automated Detection of Edges of Clouds

The algorithm has been shown to be reliable and robust. An algorithm processes cloud-physics data gathered in situ by an aircraft, along with reflectivity data gathered by ground-based radar, to determine whether the aircraft is inside or outside a cloud at a given time. A cloud edge is deemed to be detected when the in/out state changes, subject to a hysteresis constraint. Such determinations are important in continuing research on relationships among lightning, electric charges in clouds, and decay of electric fields with distance from cloud edges.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Exploiting Quantum Resonance to Solve Combinatorial Problems

Quantum resonance would be exploited in a proposed quantum-computing approach to the solution of combinatorial optimization problems. In quantum computing in general, one takes advantage of the fact that an algorithm cannot be decoupled from the physical effects available to implement it. Prior approaches to quantum computing have involved exploitation of only a subset of known quantum physical effects, notably including parallelism and entanglement, but not including resonance. In the proposed approach, one would utilize the combinatorial properties of tensor-product decomposability of unitary evolution of many-particle quantum systems for physically simulating solutions to NP-complete problems (a class of problems that are intractable with respect to classical methods of computation). In this approach, reinforcement and selection of a desired solution would be executed by means of quantum resonance. Classes of NP-complete problems that are important in practice and could be solved by the proposed approach include planning, scheduling, search, and optimal design.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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A Concept for Run-Time Support of the Chapel Language

A document presents a concept for run-time implementation of other concepts embodied in the Chapel programming language. (Now undergoing development, Chapel is intended to become a standard language for parallel computing that would surpass older such languages in both computational performance in the efficiency with which pre-existing code can be reused and new code written.) The aforementioned other concepts are those of distributions, domains, allocations, and access, as defined in a separate document called “A Semantic Framework for Domains and Distributions in Chapel” and linked to a language specification defined in another separate document called “Chapel Specification 0.3.” The concept presented in the instant report is recognition that a data domain that was invented for Chapel offers a novel approach to distributing and processing data in a massively parallel environment. The concept is offered as a starting point for development of working descriptions of functions and data structures that would be necessary to implement interfaces to a compiler for transforming the aforementioned other concepts from their representations in Chapel source code to their run-time implementations.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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System for Continuous Deaeration of Hydraulic Oil

The proportion of dissolved air is reliably maintained below 1 volume percent. A system for continuous, rapid deaeration of hydraulic oil has been built to replace a prior system that effected deaeration more slowly in a cyclic pressure/vacuum process. Such systems are needed because (1) hydraulic oil has an affinity for air, typically containing between 10 and 15 volume percent of air and (2) in the original application for which these systems were built, there is a requirement to keep the proportion of dissolved air below 1 volume percent because a greater proportion can lead to pump cavitation and excessive softness in hydraulic-actuator force-versus-displacement characteristics. In addition to overcoming several deficiencies of the prior deaeration system, the present system removes water from the oil.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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Tool for Two Types of Friction Stir Welding

The same mechanism could be used for conventional or selfreacting FSW. A tool that would be useable in both conventional and self-reacting friction stir welding (FSW) has been proposed. The tool would embody both a prior tooling concept for self-reacting FSW and an auto-adjustable pin-tool (APT) capability developed previously as an augmentation for conventional FSW.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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