April 2005

Briefs : Medical
Replaceable Microfluidic Cartridges for a PCR Biosensor

The figure depicts a replaceable microfluidic cartridge that is a component of a miniature biosensor that detects target deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences. The biosensor utilizes (1) polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) to multiply the amount of DNA to be detected, (2) fluorogenic...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
One-Dimensional Photonic Crystal Superprisms

Theoretical calculations indicate that it should be possible for one-dimensional (1D) photonic crystals (see figure) to exhibit giant dispersions known as the superprism effect. Previously, three-dimensional (3D) photonic crystal superprisms have demonstrated strong wavelength dispersion — about 500...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Depth-Penetrating Luminescence Thermography of Thermal-Barrier Coatings

A thermographic method has been developed for measuring temperatures at predetermined depths within dielectric material layers — especially thermal-barrier coatings. This method will help satisfy a need for noncontact measurement of through-the-thickness temperature...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microfocus/Polycapillary-Optic Crystallographic X-Ray System

A system that generates an intense, nearly collimated, nearly monochromatic, small-diameter x-ray beam has been developed for use in macromolecular crystallography. A conventional x-ray system for macromolecular crystallography includes a rotating anode x-ray source, which is massive...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Atomic Clock Based on Opto-Electronic Oscillator

A proposed highly accurate clock or oscillator would be based on the concept of an opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) stabilized to an atomic transition. Opto-electronic oscillators, which have been described in a number of prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, generate signals at frequencies in the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fault-Tolerant Heat Exchanger

A compact, lightweight heat exchanger has been designed to be fault-tolerant in the sense that a single-point leak would not cause mixing of heat-transfer fluids. This particular heat exchanger is intended to be part of the temperature-regulation system for habitable modules of the International Space Station and to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automatic Focus Adjustment of a Microscope
AUTOFOCUS is a computer program for use in a control system that automatically adjusts the position of an instrument arm that carries a microscope equipped with an electronic camera.
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Gas-Tolerant Device Senses Electrical Conductivity of Liquid

The figure depicts a device for measuring the electrical conductivity of a flowing liquid. Unlike prior such devices, this one does not trap gas bubbles entrained in the liquid.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Optimizing Parameters for Deep-Space Optical Communication
A paper discusses the optimization of the parameters of a high-rate, deep-space optical communication link that utilizes pulse-position modulation (PPM) and an error-correcting code (ECC).
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Advanced Three-Dimensional Display System

A desktop-scale, computer-controlled display system, initially developed for NASA and now known as the VolumeViewer®, generates three-dimensional (3D) images of 3D objects in a display volume. This system differs fundamentally from stereoscopic and holographic display systems: The images generated by...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Full-Circle Resolver-to-Linear-Analog Converter

A circuit generates sinusoidal excitation signals for a shaft-angle resolver and, like the arctangent circuit described in the preceding article, generates an analog voltage proportional to the shaft angle. The disadvantages of the circuit described in the preceding article arise from the fact that...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Continuous, Full-Circle Arctangent Circuit

A circuit generates an analog voltage proportional to an angle, in response to two sinusoidal input voltages having magnitudes proportional to the sine and cosine of the angle, respectively. That is to say, given input voltages proportional to sin(ωt)sin(θ) and sin(ωt)cos(θ) [where θ denotes the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Aperture-Efficiency Horn Antenna

A horn antenna (see Figure 1) has been developed to satisfy requirements specific to its use as an essential component of a high-efficiency Ka-band amplifier: The combination of the horn antenna and an associated microstrip-patch antenna array is required to function as a spatial power divider that feeds 25...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
CdZnTe Image Detectors for Hard-X-Ray Telescopes

Arrays of CdZnTe photodetectors and associated electronic circuitry have been built and tested in a continuing effort to develop focal-plane image sensor systems for hard-x-ray telescopes. Each array contains 24 by 44 pixels at a pitch of 498 µm. The detector designs are optimized to obtain low...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Growing Aligned Carbon Nanotubes for Interconnections in ICs

A process for growing multiwalled carbon nanotubes anchored at specified locations and aligned along specified directions has been invented. Typically, one would grow a number of the nanotubes oriented perpendicularly to a silicon integrated-circuit (IC) substrate, starting from (and...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Multilayer Composite Pressure Vessels

A method has been devised to enable the fabrication of lightweight pressure vessels from multilayer composite materials. This method is related to, but not the same as, the method described in “Making a Metal-Lined Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessel” (MFS-31814), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 29, No. 3...

Briefs : Information Technology
Application of the Hilbert-Huang Transform to Financial Data
A paper discusses the application of the Hilbert-Huang transform (HHT) method to time-series financial-market data. The method was described, variously without and with the HHT name, in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles and supporting documents.
Briefs : Information Technology
Mapping From an Instrumented Glove to a Robot Hand

An algorithm has been developed to solve the problem of mapping from (1) a glove instrumented with joint-angle sensors to (2) an anthropomorphic robot hand. Such a mapping is needed to generate control signals to make the robot hand mimic the configuration of the hand of a human attempting to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Measuring Low-Order Aberrations in a Segmented Telescope

The in-focus PSF optimizer (IPO) is an algorithm for use in monitoring and controlling the alignment of the segments of a segmented-mirror astronomical telescope. IPO is so named because it computes wavefront aberrations of the telescope from digitized point-spread functions (PSFs)...

Briefs : Information Technology
Support for User Interfaces for Distributed Systems
An extensible Java™ software framework supports the construction and operation of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for distributed computing systems typified by ground control systems that send commands to, and receive telemetric data from, spacecraft.
Briefs : Information Technology
Software Template for Instruction in Mathematics
Intelligent Math Tutor (IMT) is a software system that serves as a template for creating software for teaching mathematics.
Briefs : Information Technology
Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program

The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is the software tool for use in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for planning rover operations and generating command sequences for accomplishing those operations.

Briefs : Information Technology
Generating Mosaics of Astronomical Images
"Montage" is the name of a service of the National Virtual Observatory (NVO), and of software being developed to implement the service via the World Wide Web.
Briefs : Information Technology
FastScript3D a Companion to Java 3D
FastScript3D is a computer program, written in the Java 3D™ programming language, that establishes an alternative language that helps users who lack expertise in Java 3D to use Java 3D for constructing three-dimensional (3D)-appearing graphics.
Briefs : Materials
Multi-Layer Laminated Thin Films for Inflatable Structures

Special-purpose balloons and other inflatable structures would be constructed as flexible laminates of multiple thin polymeric films interspersed with layers of adhesive, according to a proposal. In the original intended application, the laminate would serve as the envelope of the Titan...

Briefs : Materials
Nanostructured MnO2-Based Cathodes for Li-Ion/Polymer Cells

Nanostructured MnO2-based cathodes for Li-ion/polymer electrochemical cells have been investigated in a continuing effort to develop safe, highenergy-density, reliable, low-toxicity, rechargeable batteries for a variety of applications in NASA programs and in mass-produced...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nanoactuators Based on Electrostatic Forces on Dielectrics

Nanoactuators of a proposed type would exploit the forces exerted by electric fields on dielectric materials. As used here, “nanoactuators” includes motors, manipulators, and other active mechanisms that have dimensions of the order of nanometers and/or are designed to manipulate...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Step Laser Ranging for Precise Tracking of a Spacecraft
A document proposes a two-step laser ranging technique for precise tracking of a coasting interplanetary spacecraft to determine the degree to which leakage of fuel, solar wind, and/or solar-radiation pressure causes it to deviate from a purely gravitational trajectory.
Briefs : Software
Support for User Interfaces for Distributed Systems
An extensible Java™ software framework supports the construction and operation of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for distributed computing systems typified by ground control systems that send commands to, and receive telemetric data from, spacecraft. Heretofore, such GUIs have been custom...
Briefs : Software
Software Template for Instruction in Mathematics
Intelligent Math Tutor (IMT) is a software system that serves as a template for creating software for teaching mathematics. IMT can be easily connected to artificial-intelligence software and other analysis software through input and output of files. IMT provides an easy-to-use interface for...
Briefs : Software
Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program

The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is the software tool for use in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for planning rover operations and generating command sequences for accomplishing those operations. RSVP combines three-dimensional (3D) visualization for immersive exploration...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Vibrations in a Complex Loaded Structure
The Dynamic Response Computation (DIRECT) computer program simulates vibrations induced in a complex structure by applied dynamic loads. Developed to enable rapid analysis of launch- and landing-induced vibrations and stresses in a space shuttle, DIRECT also can be used to analyze dynamic...
Briefs : Software
Simulating Descent and Landing of a Spacecraft
The Dynamics Simulator for Entry, Descent, and Surface landing (DSENDS) software performs high-fidelity simulation of the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) of a spacecraft into the atmosphere and onto the surface of a planet or a smaller body. DSENDS is an extension of the DShell and DARTS programs...
Briefs : Software
Generating Mosaics of Astronomical Images
"Montage" is the name of a service of the National Virtual Observatory (NVO), and of software being developed to implement the service via the World Wide Web. Montage generates science-grade custom mosaics of astronomical images on demand from input files that comply with the Flexible Image Transport System...
Briefs : Software
FastScript3D a Companion to Java 3D
FastScript3D is a computer program, written in the Java 3D™ programming language, that establishes an alternative language that helps users who lack expertise in Java 3D to use Java 3D for constructing three-dimensional (3D)-appearing graphics. The FastScript3D language provides a set of simple, intuitive,...
Briefs : Software
Automatic Focus Adjustment of a Microscope
AUTOFOCUS is a computer program for use in a control system that automatically adjusts the position of an instrument arm that carries a microscope equipped with an electronic camera. In the original intended application of AUTOFOCUS, the imaging microscope would be carried by an exploratory robotic vehicle...
Briefs : Medical
Texturing Blood-Glucose-Monitoring Optics Using Oxygen Beams

A method has been invented for utilizing directed, hyperthermal oxygen atoms and ions for texturing tips of polymeric optical fibers or other polymeric optical components for use in optical measurement of concentration of glucose in blood. The required texture of the sensory surface of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Thermal Imaging Cameras Improve Cattle Assessment Systems

Many feeder cattle companies currently conduct “slaughterability” assessments by sending cattle through a chute and photographing them from above with a CCTV or visible light camera that is connected to a computer system. The system’s software then examines the machine-vision image...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Low-Shear Microencapsulation and Electrostatic Coating

A report presents additional information on the topic of a microencapsulation electrostatic processing system. Information in the report includes micrographs of some microcapsules, a set of diagrams that schematically depict the steps of an encapsulation process, and brief descriptions of...

Briefs : Motion Control
Precision Stages Enable Analytical Measurement of Jet-Able Fluids

Precision X-Y stages were developed for integration into a new analytical measurement tool for use in the development of digital inks or other fluids to be jetted from ink jet print heads. The Drop Watcher III system provides repeatable and exact measurements of drop formation...

Briefs : Motion Control
Computer Simulation Ensures Motorcycle Stability

In the area of maintaining conventional motorcycle stability, engineers have established a series of tests that measure the wobble, weave, and kickback of every new model before it is released for production. While physical testing provides a nearly perfect measurement of a prototype or production...

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