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Satellite Multiangle Spectropolarimetric Imaging of Aerosols

One instrument would implement a synergistic combination of multispectral, multiangle, and polarimetric techniques. A proposed remote-sensing instrument, to be carried aboard a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, would gather data on the spatial distribution and radiative characteristics of tropospheric aerosols. These data are needed for better understanding of the natural and anthropogenic origins of aerosols, and of the effects of aerosols on climate and atmospheric chemistry.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Measuring Attitude of a Large, Flexible, Orbiting Structure

A document summarizes a proposed metrology subsystem for precisely measuring the attitude of a large and flexible structure in space.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Interferometric System for Measuring Thickness of Sea Ice

Frequency- and spatial-domain VHF radar interferometry are used. The cryospheric advanced sensor (CAS) is a developmental airborne (and, potentially, spaceborne) radar based instrumentation system for measuring and mapping the thickness of sea ice. A planned future version of the system would also provide data on the thickness of snow covering sea ice. Frequent measurements of the thickness of polar ocean sea ice and its snow cover on a synoptic scale are critical to understanding global climate change and ocean circulation.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Magnetic Field Solvers

The Magnetic Field Solver computer program calculates the magnetic field generated by a group of collinear, cylindrical axisymmetric electromagnet coils. Given the current flowing in, and the number of turns, axial position, and axial and radial dimensions of each coil, the program calculates matrix coefficients for a finite-difference system of equations that approximates a two-dimensional partial differential equation for the magnetic potential contributed by the coil. The program iteratively solves these finite-difference equations by use of the modified incomplete Cholesky preconditioned-conjugate-gradient method. The total magnetic potential as a function of axial (z) and radial (r) position is then calculated as a sum of the magnetic potentials of the individual coils, using a high-accuracy interpolation scheme. Then the r and z components of the magnetic field as functions of r and z are calculated from the total magnetic potential by use of a high-accuracy finite-difference scheme. Notably, for the finite-difference calculations, the program generates nonuniform two-dimensional computational meshes from nonuniform one-dimensional meshes. Each mesh is generated in such a way as to minimize the numerical error for a benchmark one-dimensional magnetostatic problem.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Fiber-Optic Gratings for Lidar Measurements of Water Vapor

These are highly selective, lightweight, tunable optical filters. Narrow-band filters in the form of phase-shifted Fabry-Perot Bragg gratings incorporated into optical fibers are being developed for differential-absorption lidar (DIAL) instruments used to measure concentrations of atmospheric water vapor. The basic idea is to measure the relative amounts of pulsed laser light scattered from the atmosphere at two nearly equal wavelengths, one of which coincides with an absorption spectral peak of water molecules and the other corresponding to no water vapor absorption. As part of the DIAL measurement process, the scattered light is made to pass through a filter on the way to a photodetector. Omitting other details of DIAL for the sake of brevity, what is required of the filter is to provide a stop band that

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Anion-IntercalatingCathodes for High-Energy-Density Cells

A report discusses physicochemical issues affecting a fluoride-intercalating cathode that operates in conjunction with a lithium ion-intercalating anode in a rechargeable electrochemical cell described in a cited prior report. The instant report also discusses corresponding innovations made in solvent and electrolyte compositions since the prior report. The advantages of this cell, relative to other lithium-ion-based cells, are said to be greater potential (5 V vs. 4 V), and greater theoretical cathode specific capacity (0.9 to 2.2 A-h/g vs. about 0.18A-h/g). The discussion addresses a need for the solvent to be unreactive toward the lithium anode and to resist anodicoxidation at potentials greater than about 4.5 V vs. lithium; the pertinent innovation is the selection of propylene carbonate (PC) as a solvent having significantly more stability, relative to other solvents that have been tried. The discussion also addresses the need for an electrolyte additive, denoted an anion receptor, to complex the fluoride ion; the pertinent innovation is the selection of tris(hexafluoroisopropyl) borate as a superior alternative to the prior anion receptor, which was tris(pentafluorophenyl) borate.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Lightweight, Segmented, Mostly Silicon Telescope Mirror

A document presents the concept of a curved telescope primary reflector structure, made mostly of silicon, that would have an areal mass density = 1 kg/m2 and would be deployed in outer space, where it would be operated at a temperature in the cryogenic range. The concept provides for adjustment of the shape of the mirror to maintain the required precise optical surface figure despite the flexibility inherent in the ultra-lightweight design. The structure would include a thin mirror layer divided into hexagonal segments supported by flexure hinges on a lightweight two-layer backing structure. Each segment would also be supported at three points by sets of piezoelectric linear microactuators that could impose small displacements along the optical axis. The excitations applied to the aforementioned microactuators would be chosen to effect fine adjustments of the axial positions and the orientations of the segments relative to the supporting structure. Other piezoelectriclinear microactuators embedded in the backing structure would enable control of the displacements of the segmentsalong the hexagonal axes; they would also enable control of the curvature ofthe backing structure and, thus, additional control of the curvature of the reflector.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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