Special Coverage

Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces

Cooling Lasers with Thin-Film Thermoelectric Coolers

Laser diodes for telecommunications have traditionally used thermoelectric coolers (TECs) for precision temperature control to improve diode output levels and maintain wavelength integrity. A major trend for photonics in telecommunications has been the move to more integrated packaging that is smaller and simpler in structure in order to lower costs. This, in turn, has opened the door for higher volume manufacturing. In the course of this transition, conventional TEC solutions have become increasingly difficult to implement as conventional bulk thermoelectric technology has not kept pace with the size and power density requirements for next generation devices.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics


Nanotechnology Innovations Advance Electronics, Materials, and Manufacturing

While nanotechnology has been around for many years, there continues to be more revolutionary developments using nanoscale breakthroughs. Some of the most promising innovations include new techniques in nano-based manufacturing of both devices and nanoparticles, nano-based textiles that have potential in military and battery technology applications, and new technologies that can replace traditional electronics devices with smaller, more cost-efficient options.

Posted in: Articles


Teleoperation of Unmanned Vehicles Using Immersive Telepresence

In order to extend the usefulness of small, unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to a wider range of missions, techniques are being developed to enable high-speed teleoperated control. Our goal is to quadruple the speed of teleoperated UGVs compared to currently deployed models. The key limitation is not mechanical, but in the capability of the operator to maintain situational awareness and control at higher speeds. To address these issues, we are developing technologies for immersive teleoperation and driver-assist behaviors.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles


Advances in Magnetic Bearings

In this age of environmental consciousness, OEMs around the world are competing to build better, safer, and greener machines. In striving toward such lofty goals, many industries are rediscovering a fundamental principle — magnetics. Magnetic bearings improve reliability, reduce friction, minimize vibration, and offer advanced health monitoring and diagnostics — all without the disadvantages of lubricants.

Posted in: Features, Articles


Hermetic Feedthroughs: A Critical Component in New Flywheel Energy Storage Solutions

The phrase “everything old is new again” certainly applies to today’s flywheel technology. Forget the mechanical bearing, standard atmosphere 5,000 RPM steel behemoths of the past, many of today’s flywheel designs feature compact carbon fiber composite rotors on magnetic bearings, turning in a vacuum at up to 60,000 RPM.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy


Using Microelectrode Arrays for Cerebral Applications

The fundamental understanding of cerebral systems and associated diseases relies on the electrical recording of single neuron activity. This requires in vivo interfacing with neurons using micrometer-scale electrodes. Traditionally, this challenging task is being performed using: single wire electrodes, probes containing small ensembles of electrodes or, more recently, multi-electrode arrays. These electrode arrangements have the potential to gather signals in three-dimensional space and to provide important laminar information. However, the types of arrays that have been proposed so far are either restricted to sampling in a given plane or have difficulty in collecting data in complex regions, such as those found in highly convoluted cortices. Moreover, state-of-the-art micro-electrode systems are not (yet) suitable for obtaining highly stable signals over extended recording periods. In some cases, the probes are just too bulky to follow cortical motion in chronic applications. Also, the damage inflicted to tissue and the way tissue responds to the presence of a foreign body are presently restrictive to chronic neural recordings. Such a chronic use is, however, highly needed, since it allows the study of changes in population activity at single neuron level and at the interaction level with learning, memory and training.

Posted in: Articles, Articles


How Cool Is That? Ensuring Effective Thermal Design

Proper thermal design of any electronics-based system is key to its long-term reliability. NASA engineering expertise in this area is renowned. The International Space Station (ISS) operates in a temperature environment from 250 degrees F (121 °C), down to a minus 250 degrees F (-157 °C), while maintaining a survivable internal temperature. Yet, in the commercial electronics industry many systems engineers have limited knowledge about thermal design. Furthermore, military and industrial customers with wide temperature range applications, want to save money by using commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment.

Posted in: Articles, Articles


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