February 2007


Nanotech Briefs(R) magazine is now accepting nominations for its third annual Nano 50 awards competition. The Nano 50 recognizes the top 50

technologies, innovators, and products with the greatest potential to advance the commercialization of nanotechnology.

There is no cost to submit a...

Natural-Gas Autos

Researchers have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at a density of 180 times their own volume and at one- seventh the pressure of conventional natural gas tanks. The briquettes are the first technology to meet the 180 to 1 storage to volume target set by the U.S. Department of...

Disposable Sensor

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a disposable sensor for detecting hazardous uranium ions, with sensitivity that rivals the performance of much more sophisticated laboratory instruments.According to the researchers, the sensor provides a fast, on-site test for assessing uranium...

Tech Needs

A fluorescent coating is needed to alter emitted wavelength from UV LEDs.

The goal of this project is to create a white light source with a uniform spectral output. Due to size and power constraints, LEDs are the preferred light source.

To respond to this Tech Need, click here.


According to a recent report based on some of the first observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, fluids that flowed through cracks penetrating underground rock on ancient Mars may have produced conditions to support possible habitats for microbial life.

Robotic Exoskeleton

Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M, Ann Arbor, MI) developed a robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system that could help users regain limb function. Healthy subjects first wore the exoskeleton to measure how the device affected ankle function before researchers tested the device on disabled...

Viral Traps

Biologists at Yale University (New Haven, CT) are developing a process to trap viruses in habitats that force their extinction. Viruses are chemically lured into the wrong cells, thus preventing virus reproduction and alleviating disease. The research was conducted on phi-6 virus populations in environments containing different...


Three families of liquid-crystal polyester are available that can be used in the form of shaped articles, and can be prepared from the melt phase by extrusion, injection molding, compression molding, or other convenient means.

View this technology here.

Analog Circuits

Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised new analog circuits that will not drain power or create bottlenecks like previous models. The new class of analog circuits eliminates operational amplifiers while maintaining virtually all benefits of operational-amplifier-based circuits. The MIT circuits...

Steering Unit

Case New Holland (CNH, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) has lessened the level of steering noise in the cabs of its 821 Case brand and LW190 brand wheel loaders by utilizing Char-Lynn Series 20 steering control unit from Eaton Hydraulics (Eden Prairie, MN). The cab noise issue was great enough to hold the assembly line while the matter...

Moth Gyroscopes

A joint effort between University of Washington (Seattle, WA) and Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) researchers has revealed gyroscope-like structures in tobacco horn moth antennae that could lead to mechanical equivalents for miniature flying robots. The discovery allows the researchers to understand neural...

Nano 50â„¢ Awards

Nanotech Briefs magazine is now accepting nominations for its third annual Nano 50 awards competition. The Nano 50 recognizes the top 50 technologies, innovators, and products with the greatest potential to advance the commercialization of nanotechnology.

Event Alert

Free Webinar: Join us and other engineering professionals at the "Adobe and Alibre Technology Seminar" on Wednesday, February 28. Alibre, Inc. and Adobe Inc. are coming together to provide an informative online seminar that reviews how other leading-edge companies have used new and affordable technology to redefine their design...

Current Attractions

The Air Force's Technology Horizons magazine is now Defense Tech Briefs (DTB),providing engineers with a one-stop source for the latest advances and tech transfer opportunities from Defense Department R&D programs. Commercially promising inventions resulting from this work are reported in DTB magazine, published...

Tech Needs

Technologies are needed for the economical production of polymers that are based on today's generally accepted standards for "green" chemistry. Of particular interest are chemistries that produce safe chemicals, and/or that use safer solvents and auxiliaries, and/or that produce chemicals designed for degradation.

Click here...

X-Ray Vision

Brown University researchers are creating a technology that will allow doctors and scientists to see inside living humans and animals, and watch their bones move in 3D as they run, fly, jump, swim, and slither. This high-resolution, high-speed imaging system will contribute to better treatments for knee, shoulder, wrist, and back...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Advances in Measurement of Skin Friction in Airflow

The surface interferometric skin-friction (SISF) measurement system is an instrument for determining the distribution of surface shear stress (skin friction) on a wind-tunnel model. The SISF system utilizes the established oil-film interference method, along with advanced image-data-processing...

Who's Who
Ginger N. Flores, LOCAD Project Manager, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Diagnosis on Earth is a fairly simple procedure, done at any hospital or medical center. In space flight, however, where doctors and even basic medical equipment may be lacking, falling ill is a serious matter for both astronaut and ground control. Using...


United Electronics Industries, Canton, MA, has introduced the UEILogger series of data loggers and recorders. The logger "Cube" contains the logger engine and either three or six I/O slots. The logger is matched to the user's application by installing the appropriate I/O boards from more than 20 different available boards. A...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Calibration Test Set for a Phase-Comparison Digital Tracker

An apparatus that generates four signals at a frequency of 7.1 GHz having precisely controlled relative phases and equal amplitudes has been designed and built. This apparatus is intended mainly for use in computer-controlled automated calibration and testing of a phase-comparison...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Arrays of Miniature Microphones for Aeroacoustic Testing

A phased-array system comprised of custom-made and commercially available microelectromechanical system (MEMS) silicon microphones and custom ancillary hardware has been developed for use in aeroacoustic testing in hard-walled and acoustically treated wind tunnels. Recent advances in the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wireless Acoustic Measurement System

A prototype wireless acoustic measurement system (WAMS) is one of two main subsystems of the Acoustic Prediction/ Measurement Tool, which comprises software, acoustic instrumentation, and electronic hardware combined to afford integrated capabilities for predicting and measuring noise emitted by rocket and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spiral Orbit Tribometer

The spiral orbit tribometer (SOT) bridges the gap between full-scale life testing and typically unrealistic accelerated life testing of ball-bearing lubricants in conjunction with bearing ball and race materials. The SOT operates under realistic conditions and quickly produces results, thereby providing information that...

Briefs : Information Technology
Predicting Rocket or Jet Noise in Real Time

A semi-empirical theoretical model and a C++ computer program that implements the model have been developed for use in predicting the noise generated by a rocket or jet engine. The computer program, entitled the Realtime Rocket and Jet Engine Noise Analysis and Prediction Software, is one of two main...

Briefs : Software
Computational Workbench for Multibody Dynamics

PyCraft is a computer program that provides an interactive, workbench-like computing environment for developing and testing algorithms for multibody dynamics. Examples of multibody dynamic systems amenable to analysis with the help of PyCraft include land vehicles, spacecraft, robots, and...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
SiC Multi-Chip Power Modules as Power-System Building Blocks

The term “SiC MCPMs” (wherein “MCPM” signifies “multi-chip power module”) denotes electronic power-supply modules containing multiple silicon carbide power devices and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) control integrated-circuit chips. SiC MCPMs are being developed as building...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Power, High-Efficiency Ka-Band Space Traveling-Wave Tube

The L-3 Communications Model 999H traveling-wave tube (TWT) has been demonstrated to generate an output power of 144 W at 60-percent overall efficiency in continuous-wave operation over the frequency band from 31.8 to 32.3 GHz. The best TWT heretofore commercially available for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Gratings and Random Reflectors for Near-Infrared PIN Diodes

Crossed diffraction gratings and random reflectors have been proposed as means to increase the quantum efficiencies of InGaAs/InP positive/intrinsic/ negative (PIN) diodes designed to operate as near-infrared photodetectors. The proposal is meant especially to apply to focal-plane...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Aerial Videography From Locally Launched Rockets

A method of quickly collecting digital imagery of ground areas from video cameras carried aboard locally launched rockets has been developed. The method can be used, for example, to record rare or episodic events or to gather image data to guide decisions regarding treatment of agricultural fields...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Optically Transparent Split-Ring Antennas for 1 to 10 GHz

Split-ring antennas made from optically transparent, electrically conductive films have been invented for applications in which there are requirements for compact antennas capable of operation over much or all of the frequency band from 1 to 10 GHz. Primary examples of such applications...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Power-Amplifier Module for 145 to 165 GHz

A power-amplifier module that operates in the frequency range of 145 to 165 GHz has been designed and constructed as a combination of (1) a previously developed monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier and (2) a waveguide module. The amplifier chip was needed for driving a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ice-Penetrating Robot for Scientific Exploration

The cryo-hydro integrated robotic penetrator system (CHIRPS) is a partially developed instrumentation system that includes a probe designed to deeply penetrate the Europan ice sheet in a search for signs of life. The CHIRPS could also be used on Earth for similar exploration of the polar ice caps...

Briefs : Software
Automated Design of Restraint Layer of an Inflatable Vessel

A Mathcad computer program largely automates the design and analysis of the restraint layer (the primary load-bearing layer) of an inflatable vessel that consists of one or more sections having cylindrical, toroidal, and/or spherical shape(s). A restraint layer typically comprises...

Briefs : Software
TMS for Instantiating a Knowledge Base With Incomplete Data

A computer program that belongs to the class known among software experts as output truth-maintenance systems (output TMSs) has been devised as one of a number of software tools for reducing the size of the knowledge base that must be searched during execution of...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Flights of Future Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft

Marshall Aerospace Vehicle Representation in C (MAVERIC) is a computer program for generic, low-to-high-fidelity simulation of the flight(s) of one or more launch vehicle(s) or spacecraft. MAVERIC is designed to accommodate multi-staged vehicles, powered serially or in parallel, with...

Briefs : Software
Control Code for Bearingless Switched-Reluctance Motor

A computer program has been devised for controlling a machine that is an integral combination of magnetic bearings and a switched-reluctance motor. The motor contains an eightpole stator and a hybrid rotor, which has both (1) a circular lamination stack for levitation and (2) a six-pole...

Briefs : Software
Machine Aided Indexing and the NASA Thesaurus

Machine Aided Indexing (MAI) is a Web-based application program for aiding the indexing of literature in the NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Database. MAI was designed to be a convenient, fully interactive tool for determining the subject matter of documents and identifying keywords....

Briefs : Software
Arbitrating Control of Control and Display Units

The ARINC 739 Switch is a computer program that arbitrates control of two multi-function control and display units (MCDUs) between (1) a commercial flight-management computer (FMC) and (2) NASA software used in research on transport aircraft. (MCDUs are the primary interfaces between pilots and...

Briefs : Software
Web-Based Software for Managing Research

aeroCOMPASS is a software system, originally designed to aid in the management of wind tunnels at Langley Research Center, that could be adapted to provide similar aid to other enterprises in which research is performed in common laboratory facilities by users who may be geographically dispersed. Included...

Briefs : Software
Driver Code for Adaptive Optics

A special-purpose computer code for a deformable-mirror adaptive-optics control system transmits pixel-registered control from (1) a personal computer running software that generates the control data to (2) a circuit board with 128 digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that generate voltages to drive the...

Briefs : Materials
Ceramic Paste for Patching High-Temperature Insulation

A ceramic paste that can be applied relatively easily, either by itself or in combination with one or more layer(s) of high temperature ceramic fabrics, such as silicon carbide or zirconia, has been invented as a means of patching cracks or holes in the reinforced carbon-carbon forward...

Briefs : Materials
Protective Skins for Aerogel Monoliths

A method of imparting relatively hard protective outer skins to aerogel monoliths has been developed. Even more than aerogel beads, aerogel monoliths are attractive as thermal-insulation materials, but the commercial utilization of aerogel monoliths in thermal-insulation panels has been inhibited by their...

Briefs : Materials
Fabrication of Polyimide-Matrix/Carbon and Boron-Fiber Tape

The term "HYCARB" denotes a hybrid composite of polyimide matrices reinforced with carbon and boron fibers. HYCARB and an improved process for fabricating dry HYCARB tapes have been invented in a continuing effort to develop lightweight, strong composite materials for aerospace...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Asymmetric Bulkheads for Cylindrical Pressure Vessels

Asymmetric bulkheads are proposed for the ends of vertically oriented cylindrical pressure vessels. These bulkheads, which would feature both convex and concave contours, would offer advantages over purely convex, purely concave, and flat bulkheads (see figure). Intended originally to be...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Code Assesses Risks Posed by Meteoroids and Orbital Debris

BUMPER II version 1.92e is a computer code for assessing the risk of damage from impacts of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on the International Space Station (ISS), including those parts of the ISS covered by shielding that affords partial protection against such impacts. (Other...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Regulating Water-Separator System for Fuel Cells

A proposed system would perform multiple coordinated functions in regulating the pressure of the oxidant gas (usually, pure oxygen) flowing to a fuel-cell stack and in removing excess product water that is generated in the normal fuel-cell operation. The system could function in the presence...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Advancing Step-Tap Drills

Self-advancing tool bits that are hybrids of drills and stepped taps make it possible to form threaded holes wider than about 1/2 in. (about 13 mm) without applying any more axial force than is necessary for forming narrower pilot holes. These self-advancing stepped-tap drills were invented for use by space-suited...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Array of Bolometers for Submillimeter-Wavelength Operation

A feed-horn-coupled monolithic array of micromesh bolometers is undergoing development for use in a photometric camera. The array is designed for conducting astrophysical observations in a wavelength band centered at 350 μm. The bolometers are improved versions of previously developed...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Delta-Doped CCDs as Detector Arrays in Mass Spectrometers

Delta-doped, back-illuminated charge-coupled devices (CCDs) are used as detector arrays in high-performance double- focusing miniature mass spectrometers of Mattauch-Herzog design (described below). The uses of delta-doped CCD detector arrays eliminates the need for microchannel plates...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Arrays of Bundles of Carbon Nanotubes as Field Emitters

Experiments have shown that with suitable choices of critical dimensions, planar arrays of bundles of carbon nanotubes (see figure) can serve as high-current-density field emitter (cold-cathode) electron sources. Whereas some hot-cathode electron sources must be operated at supply...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Staggering Inflation To Stabilize Attitude of a Solar Sail

A document presents computational simulation studies of a concept for stabilizing the attitude of a spacecraft during deployment of such structures as a solar sail or other structures supported by inflatable booms. Specifically, the solar sail considered in this paper is a square sail...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Bare Conductive Tether for Decelerating a Spacecraft

A document describes a prototype of electrically conductive tethers to be used primarily to decelerate spacecraft and/or generate electric power for the spacecraft. Like prior such tethers, this tether is designed so that when it is deployed from a spacecraft in orbit, its motion across the...

Articles : Medical
Emerging Trends in Medical Diagnostics and Therapy

New technologies are providing doctors and patients with more options for treatment and improved quality of life than ever before. Procedures once entailing long recovery times and scarring may now be done almost painlessly and without significant disfigurement. Drug therapies are being tailored...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Clearer Images on Near Infrared Camera Made Possible with Filters

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in 2013 and aims to unravel the history of earlier galaxies, linking the Big Bang to the Milky Way Galaxy. JWST’s Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) is a filter-based instrument covering the spectral range of 0.6 to 5.0...

Application Briefs : Communications
Software-Defined Radio Software Aids Development of Space Telecommunications

NASA’s John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, has chosen the Green Hills Platform for Software Defined Radio (SDR) — with Spectrum Signal’s flexComm™ SDR- 4000 communications platform — for the rapid design, development, and refinement of its...

Innovation Through Evolutionary Concepts and Opportunities

Robert Schnyder Director of Marketing Sunstone Circuits Mulino, ORIf one looks at the development of Internet commerce in terms of generational growth, from the initial World Wide Web to the current Web 2.0, one sees that successful Internet-based companies not only are innovating to...

Tech Needs
New Coating Chemistries with Excellent Outdoor Durability

A multinational advanced materials company is seeking wet coating technologies that show excellent weathering and durability. The coatings need to be applied to glass substrates. The coating needs to have excellent outdoor durability in excess of 10 years, have a hardness of at least 2H,...

Tech Needs
Flame-Resistant Fastening Between Two Fabrics

A flame-resistant fastening between two fabrics is sought, and must be simple to operate. The connection should resist frequent flexing, and must have a breaking strength of 120 kilogram-force. If folded cross-wise, it must withstand 40 kilogram- force, and may need to stand up to direct flame for 50...

Techs for License
Board Design Test Vehicle

The Board Design Test Vehicle is a method for objective evaluation and qualification of supplier capabilities for the fabrication of multilayer printed circuit boards. It is used to analyze and assess technical capability and reliability of products that are provided by a supplier, and provides a mechanism for supplier...

Techs for License
Flexible Gas-Tight Film

The clay film “Claist,” which comprises a natural or synthetic clay as a main component, exhibits uniform orientation of clay particle laminates. It is flexible, has a mechanical strength sufficient for use as a self-standing film, and has a structure in which laminates of clay particles are highly oriented. The...

Articles : Motion Control
Incorporating Intelligent Energy Savings and Predictive Maintenance in a Soft Start

Electric motors consume approximately one quarter of the electricity in the U.S. and are the main motive force in our commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and appliances. Everyone knows reducing energy consumption has become a priority for the U.S. Many...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Slide Guide Used in Fluorescence Microscope

In the USA and other developed countries, cancer is responsible for 25% of all deaths. In spite of the most recent advances in cancer research, by far the best curative treatment for the disease is early detection. Such technology revolves around quick identification of malignant cells, necessitating...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
High Flow Valve Used in Optic Processing Line

As the race to fulfill the ever-increasing demand for fiber optic assemblies began, the need for a fully automatic assembly line has come into focus. Individual filaments must be connected in such a way that the light traveling from strand to strand is not degraded. Owens Design (Fremont, CA)...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motion Controller Helps Test for Hard Disk Defects

Hard disks were originally intended for computers in ultra-clean, ultra-safe data offices; by the 21st century, hard disks had moved beyond the office, finding their way into digital cameras, video recorders, PDAs, and cell phones. With the ubiquity of hard disks comes the risk that any number...

Products : Motion Control
Valve Motor

Eaton Corp. (Cleveland, OH) released the HP30 high-pressure disc valve motor for mobile off-highway applications requiring up to 30,000 in-lbs of intermittent torque. Options include a hydraulic parking brake offering up to 3,570 Nm of static holding torque. The device includes bearing pack, break, output shaft, and port mounts....

Products : Motion Control
Fringe Tracing Software

Engineering Synthesis Design, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) released the IntelliWave ™ interferometric measurement software package to monitor fringe change in fluid flow and thermodynamic analysis applications. The software allows for parallelism, angle, ROC, tool offset, homogeneity, and absolute measurements. Users can monitor...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Stages

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) released the ALAR series of direct-drive, large-aperture rotary stages. Coming in five aperture sizes (100, 150, 200, 250, and 325 mm), the units are designed for angular positioning and velocity control, and feature zero backlash, no gear wear, or gear vibration. Features include 45 – 300 rpm continuous...

Products : Motion Control
Ball Bearing Mounts

Asymmetric Fasteners, Inc. (Hackettstown, NJ) released the Torksleeve B mounting for ball bearings, compatible with roller, needle, linear, or plain bearing types. The unit provides quick assembly time, is compact, and lightweight. The unit also rebuilds in the field, and mounts to metal or plastic walls. The asymmetric...


On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation