January 2005

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Sensors for Pointing Moving Instruments Toward Each Other

Optoelectronic sensor systems are being developed for use in maintaining fixed relative orientations of two scientific- instrument platforms that are in relative motion. In the original intended application, the platforms would be two spacecraft flying in formation and separated by a long...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Cathode Structure for a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

An improved cathode structure on a membrane/electrode assembly has been developed for a direct methanol fuel cell, in a continuing effort to realize practical power systems containing such fuel cells. This cathode structure is intended particularly to afford better cell performance at a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Anode for a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

A modified chemical composition has been devised to improve the performance of the anode of a direct methanol fuel cell. The main feature of the modified composition is the incorporation of hydrous ruthenium oxide into the anode structure. This modification can reduce the internal electrical...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
X-Band, 17-Watt Solid-State Power Amplifier

An advanced solid-state power amplifier that can generate an output power of as much as 17 W at a design operating frequency of 8.4 GHz has been designed and constructed as a smaller, lighter, less expensive alternative to traveling-wave-tube X-band amplifiers and to prior solid-state X-band power...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Upgrading the Space Shuttle Caution and Warning System

A report describes the history and the continuing evolution of an avionic system aboard the space shuttle, denoted the caution and warning system, that generates visual and auditory displays to alert astronauts to malfunctions. The report focuses mainly on planned human-factors-oriented...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fractal Reference Signals in Pulse-Width Modulation

A report proposes the use of waveforms having fractal shapes reminiscent of sawteeth (in contradistinction to conventional regular sawtooth waveforms) as reference signals for pulse-width modulation in control systems for thrusters of spacecraft flying in formation.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Powder-Collection System for Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corer

A system for collecting samples of powdered rock has been devised for use in conjunction with an ultrasonic/sonic drill/corer (USDC) — a lightweight, low-power apparatus designed to cut into, and acquire samples of, rock or other hard material for scientific analysis. The USDC was...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Semiautomated, Reproducible Batch Processing of Soy

A computer-controlled apparatus processes batches of soybeans into one or more of a variety of food products, under conditions that can be chosen by the user and reproduced from batch to batch. Examples of products include soy milk, tofu, okara (an insoluble protein and fiber byproduct of soy...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simulation of Laser Cooling and Trapping in Engineering Applications

An advanced computer code is undergoing development for numerically simulating laser cooling and trapping of large numbers of atoms. The code is expected to be useful in practical engineering applications and to contribute to understanding of the roles that light, atomic...

Briefs : Information Technology
Domain Compilation for Embedded Real-Time Planning

A recently conceived approach to automated real-time control of the actions of a robotic system enables an embedded real-time planning algorithm to develop plans that are more robust than they would otherwise be, without imposing an excessive computational burden. This approach occupies a middle...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method of Real-Time Principal-Component Analysis

Dominant element-based gradient descent and dynamic initial learning rate (DOGEDYN) is a method of sequential principal component analysis (PCA) that is well suited for such applications as data compression and extraction of features from sets of data. In comparison with a prior method of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Insect-Inspired Flight Control for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Flight-control and navigation systems inspired by the structure and function of the visual system and brain of insects have been proposed for a class of developmental miniature robotic aircraft called “biomorphic flyers” described earlier in “Development of Biomorphic Flyers”...

Briefs : Information Technology
Semantic Metrics for Analysis of Software

A recently conceived suite of object-oriented software metrics focus is on semantic aspects of software, in contradistinction to traditional software metrics, which focus on syntactic aspects of software. Semantic metrics represent a more human-oriented view of software than do syntactic metrics. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Development of Software for a Lidar-Altimeter Processor

A report describes the development of software for a digital processor that operates in conjunction with a finite-impulse-response (FIR) chip in a spaceborne lidar altimeter.Processing is started by a laserfire interrupt signal that is repeated at intervals of 25 ms. For the purpose of...

Briefs : Materials
Molybdate Coatings for Protecting Aluminum Against Corrosion

These coatings show promise, but further development is needed. Conversion coatings that comprise mixtures of molybdates and several additives have been subjected to a variety of tests to evaluate their effectiveness in protecting aluminum and alloys of aluminum against corrosion....

Briefs : Materials
Synthesizing Diamond From Liquid Feedstock

A relatively economical method of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) has been developed for synthesizing diamond crystals and films. Unlike prior CVD methods for synthesizing diamond, this method does not require precisely proportioned flows of compressed gas feedstocks or the use of electrical discharges...

Briefs : Materials
Modifying Silicates for Better Dispersion in Nanocomposites

An improved chemical modification has been developed to enhance the dispersion of layered silicate particles in the formulation of a polymer/silicate nanocomposite material. The modification involves, among other things, the co-exchange of an alkyl ammonium ion and a monoprotonated...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fiber-Optic Sensor Would Monitor Growth of Polymer Film

A proposed optoelectronic sensor system would measure the increase in thickness of a film of parylene (a thermoplastic polymer made from para-xylene) during growth of the film in a vapor deposition process. By enabling real-time monitoring of film thickness, the system would make it...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pd/CeO2/SiC Chemical Sensors

The incorporation of nanostructured interfacial layers of CeO2 has been proposed to enhance the performances of Pd/SiC Schottky diodes used to sense hydrogen and hydrocarbons at high temperatures. If successful, this development could prove beneficial in numerous applications in which there are...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microparticle Flow Sensor

The microparticle flow sensor (MFS) is a system for identifying and counting microscopic particles entrained in a flowing liquid. The MFS includes a transparent, optoelectronically instrumented laminar-flow chamber (see figure) and a computer for processing instrument-readout data. The MFS could be used to count...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Scattering-Type Surface-Plasmon-Resonance Biosensors

Biosensors of a proposed type would exploit scattering of light by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Related prior biosensors exploit absorption of light by SPR. Relative to the prior SPR biosensors, the proposed SPR biosensors would offer greater sensitivity — in some cases, enough...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Diode-Laser-Based Spectrometer for Sensing Gases

A diode-laser-based spectrometer has been developed for measuring concentrations of gases and is intended particularly for use in analyzing and monitoring combustion processes under microgravitational conditions in a drop tower or a spacecraft.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hydrogen Peroxide Enhances Removal of NOx From Flue Gases

Pilot scale experiments have demonstrated a method of reducing the amounts of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emitted by industrial boilers and powerplant combustors that involves (1) injection of H2O2 into flue gases and (2) treatment of the flue gases by caustic wet scrubbing like that...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Real-Time Simulation of Aeroheating the Hyper-X Airplane

A capability for real-time computational simulation of aeroheating has been developed in support of the Hyper-X program, which is directed toward demonstrating the feasibility of operating an air-breathing ramjet/scramjet engine at mach 5, mach 7, and mach 10. The simulation software will...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Subsurface Ice Probe

The subsurface ice probe (SIPR) is a proposed apparatus that would bore into ice to depths as great as hundreds of meters by melting the ice and pumping the samples of meltwater to the surface. Originally intended for use in exploration of subsurface ice on Mars and other remote planets, the SIPR could also be used on Earth...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Large Fluvial Fans and Exploration for Hydrocarbons

A report discusses the geological phenomena known, variously, as modern large (or large modern) fluvial fans or large continental fans, from a perspective of exploring for hydrocarbons.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Doping-Induced Interband Gain in InAs/AlSb Quantum Wells

A paper describes a computational study of effects of doping in a quantum well (QW) comprising a 10-nm-thick layer of InAs sandwiched between two 21-nm-thick AlSb layers.

Briefs : Software
Tools for Designing and Analyzing Structures

Structural Design and Analysis Toolset is a collection of approximately 26 Microsoft Excel spreadsheet programs, each of which performs calculations within a different subdiscipline of structural design and analysis.

Briefs : Software
Interactive Display of Scenes With Annotations

ThreeDView was developed primarily as a component of the Science Activity Planner (SAP) software, wherein it is to be used to display annotated images of terrain acquired by exploratory robots on Mars and possibly other remote planets. The images can be generated from sets of multiple-texture image...

Briefs : Software
Solving Common Mathematical Problems

Mathematical Solutions Toolset is a collection of five software programs that rapidly solve some common mathematical problems.

Briefs : Software
Tools for Basic Statistical Analysis

Statistical Analysis Toolset is a collection of eight Microsoft Excel spreadsheet programs, each of which performs calculations pertaining to an aspect of statistical analysis.

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Program Calculates Forces in Bolted Structural Joints

A mathematical model of a structure is first created by approximating its load-bearing members with representative finite elements, then NASTRAN calculates the forces and moments that each finite element contributes to grid points located throughout the structure. The user selects the finite...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Synchrotron High-Speed Magnet Monitoring Using Ethernet-Based System

Since the 1930s, synchrotrons have become essential in the widely diverse fields of scientific research and engineering development, including chemistry, biology, material science, and microelectronic engineering. Some synchrotron radiation applications include:

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Integrated Structural Analysis and Test Program

An integrated structural-analysis and structure-testing computer program is being developed in order to:

Automate repetitive processes in testing and analysis; Accelerate pre-test analysis; Accelerate reporting of tests; Facilitate planning of tests; Improve execution of tests; Create a...
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Organic Light-Emitting Diode Displays for High-End Audio Systems

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology comprises organic thin films that, when placed between two conductors, can serve as a display. This technology requires very little power and produces radiant, self-luminous displays that do not require backlighting, resulting in thin,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using Laser-Induced Incandescence To Measure Soot in Exhaust

An instrumentation system exploits laser-induced incandescence (LII) to measure the concentration of soot particles in an exhaust stream from an engine, furnace, or industrial process that burns hydrocarbon fuel. In comparison with LII soot-concentration-measuring systems that have...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Software Enables Advanced Modeling of Backlights for Flat Panel Displays

This enhanced illumination design and analysis program, called LightTools® 5.1, enables easy and accurate modeling of sophisticated backlights for flat panel displays. It can simulate the surface textures used for backlights, with built-in flexibility to vary the shape,...

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