April 2006

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Semiautonomous Avionics-and-Sensors System for a UAV

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) — autonomous or remotely controlled pilotless aircraft — have been recently thrust into the spotlight for military applications, for homeland security, and as test beds for research. In addition to these functions, there are many space applications in which...

Briefs : Medical
Production of Tuber-Inducing Factor

A process for making a substance that regulates the growth of potatoes and some other economically important plants has been developed. The process also yields an economically important by-product: potatoes.

Briefs : Medical
Vacuum-Assisted, Constant-Force Exercise Device

The vacuum-assisted, constant-force exercise device (VACFED) has been proposed to fill a need for a safe, reliable exercise machine that would provide constant loads that could range from 20 to 250 lb (0.09 to 1.12 kN)

Products
RFC series of non-contact rotary sensors
Novotechnik U.S., Southborough, MA

, has introduced the RFC series of non-contact rotary sensors based on magnetic field technology that have no moving or mechanical parts attached to wear or break. A magnetic assembly affixed to the shaft is physically separated from the sensor with an embedded...

Who's Who
Kim Ballard, Computer Engineer, Electrical Design Branch

Engineers at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) developed the Laser Scaling and Measurement Device for Photographic Images – a camera attachment that uses laser technology – to assist scientists in determining the exact scale of any damages to the Space Shuttle's external tank when...

Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Custom-Built Machining Centers Create Telescope Mirrors
Custom horizontal machining centers
Mitsui Seiki USA
Franklin Lakes, NJ
201-337-1300
www.mitsuiseiki.com
Application Briefs : Software
PLM Software Enables NASA to Manage Collaborative Environment
ProductCenter™ product lifecycle management (PLM)
software
SofTech
Tewksbury, MA
978-640-6222
www.softech.com
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modification of a Limbed Robot to Favor Climbing

The figure shows the LEMUR IIb, which is a modified version of the LEMUR II — the second generation of the Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR). Except as described below, the LEMUR IIb hardware is mostly the same as that of the LEMUR II. The IIb and II versions differ in their...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Controlling Herds of Cooperative Robots

A document poses, and suggests a program of research for answering, questions of how to achieve autonomous operation of herds of cooperative robots to be used in exploration and/or colonization of remote planets. In a typical scenario, a flock of mobile sensory robots would be deployed in a previously...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Unitary Shaft-Angle and Shaft-Speed Sensor Assemblies

The figure depicts a unit that contains a rotary-position or a rotary-speed sensor, plus electronic circuitry necessary for its operation, all enclosed in a single housing with a shaft for coupling to an external rotary machine.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Arrays of Nano Tunnel Junctions as Infrared Image Sensors

Infrared image sensors based on high density rectangular planar arrays of nano tunnel junctions have been proposed. These sensors would differ fundamentally from prior infrared sensors based, variously, on bolometry or conventional semiconductor photodetection.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Programmable Pulse-Position- Modulation Encoder

A sensor system was proposed that would monitor spaceflight bioreactor parameters. Not only will this technology be invaluable in the space program for which it was developed, it will find applications in medical science and industrial laboratories as well.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Universal Controller for Spacecraft Mechanisms

An electronic control unit has been fabricated and tested that can be replicated as a universal interface between the electronic infrastructure of a spacecraft and a brushless-motor (or other electromechanical actuator) driven mechanism that performs a specific mechanical function within the overall...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
The Flostation — an Immersive Cyberspace System

A flostation is a computer-controlled apparatus that, along with one or more computer(s) and other computer-controlled equipment, is part of an immersive cyberspace system. The system is said to be “immersive” in two senses of the word: (1) It supports the body in a modified form neutral...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Algorithm for Aligning an Array of Receiving Radio Antennas

A digital-signal- processing algorithm (somewhat arbitrarily) called “SUMPLE” has been devised as a means of aligning the outputs of multiple receiving radio antennas in a large array for the purpose of receiving a weak signal transmitted by a single distant source. As used here,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Submarine Design Certified on FEA and Sensor Testing

Submarine design typically follows American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) code, which establishes properties such as hull thickness, frame stiffness, and porthole and hatch design. During certification, ABS evaluates whether a design follows the relevant codes and then certifies it or not on that...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Single-Chip T/R Module for 1.2 GHz

A single-chip CMOS-based (complementary-metal-oxide-semi-conductor-based) transmit/receive (T/R) module is being developed for L-band radar systems. Previous T/R module implementations required multiple chips employing different technologies (GaAs, Si, and others) combined with off-chip transmission lines and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Catalytic-Metal/ PdOₓ/SiC Schottky-Diode Gas Sensors

Miniaturized hydrogen- and hydrocarbon- gas sensors, heretofore often consisting of Schottky diodes based on catalytic metal in contact with SiC, can be improved by incorporating palladium oxide (PdOx, where 0≤x≤1) between the catalytic metal and the SiC.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Quantum-Dot Laser for Wavelengths of 1.8 to 2.3 µm

The most closely related prior III-V semiconductor lasers are based, variously, on strained InGaAs quantum wells and InAs quantum dots on InP substrates. The emission wavelengths of these prior devices are limited to about 2.1 µm because of critical quantum-well thickness limitations for these...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Tunable Filter Made From Three Coupled WGM Resonators

A tunable third-order band-pass optical filter has been constructed as an assembly of three coupled, tunable, whisperinggallery- mode resonators similar to the one described in “Whispering-Gallery- Mode Tunable Narrow-Band-Pass Filter” (NPO-30896), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 4 (April...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dynamic Pupil Masking for Phasing Telescope Mirror Segments

A method that would notably include dynamic pupil masking has been proposed as an enhanced version of a prior method of phasing the segments of a primary telescope mirror. The method would apply, more specifically, to a primary telescope mirror that comprises multiple segments mounted...

Briefs : Materials
Designing Cure Cycles for Matrix/Fiber Composite Parts

A methodology has been devised for designing cure cycles to be used in the fabrication of matrix/fiber composite parts (including laminated parts). As used here, “cure cycles” signifies schedules of elevated temperature and pressure as functions of time, chosen to obtain desired rates of...

Briefs : Software
Quantum Entanglement Molecular Absorption Spectrum Simulator

Quantum Entanglement Molecular Absorption Spectrum Simulator (QE-MASS) is a computer program for simulating twophoton molecular-absorption spectroscopy using quantum-entangled photons. More specifically, QE-MASS simulates the molecular absorption of two quantum-entangled photons...

Briefs : Software
FuzzObserver

Fuzzy Feature Observation Planner for Small Body Proximity Observations (FuzzObserver) is a developmental computer program, to be used along with other software, for autonomous planning of maneuvers of a spacecraft near an asteroid, comet, or other small astronomical body. Selection of terrain features and estimation of the position...

Briefs : Software
Internet Distribution of Spacecraft Telemetry Data

Remote Access Multi-mission Processing and Analysis Ground Environment (RAMPAGE) is a Java-language server computer program that enables near-real-time display of spacecraft telemetry data on any authorized client computer that has access to the Internet and is equipped with Web-browser...

Briefs : Software
Semi-Automated Identification of Rocks in Images

Rock Identification Toolkit Suite is a computer program that assists users in identifying and characterizing rocks shown in images returned by the Mars Explorer Rover mission. Included in the program are components for automated finding of rocks, interactive adjustments of outlines of rocks,...

Briefs : Software
Pattern-Recognition Algorithm for Locking Laser Frequency

A computer program serves as part of a feedback control system that locks the frequency of a laser to one of the spectral peaks of cesium atoms in an optical-absorption cell. The system analyzes a saturation absorption spectrum to find a target peak and commands a laser-frequency-control...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Precise Inertial Rotation Sensors for Spacecraft

A document describes a concept for an inertial sensor for measuring the rotation of an inertially stable spacecraft around its center of gravity to within 100 microarc- seconds or possibly even higher precision. Whereas a current proposal for a spacecraft-rotation sensor of this accuracy...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Silicon Modulator Brings Optical Computing A Step Closer

For decades, silicon has not been considered a favorable material for manipulating light. Electrical Engineering Professor Ray Chen at the University of Texas at Austin and Wei Jiang at Omega Optics in Austin recently developed an electrically driven, compact silicon modulator based on a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simulation Keeps Optical Transceiver Signals in Place

Problems emerge when electromagnetically “hot” optical transceivers are placed into systems that are bound by emissions limits. Because radiating transceivers are mounted externally or couple to inherent features of systems such as air vents, seams, and holes, they break the integrity of...

Articles : Motion Control
The Air Bearing Advantage in High-Precision Positioning

All moving objects possess six degrees of freedom — three linear and three rotary. The task of a linear motion guideway is to eliminate, as closely as possible, five of these degrees of freedom, leaving a single rotary or linear axis of motion. Air bearings are the purest and...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motion Control Research Center Develops Speed Control System for SRM Drives

The Center for Rapid Transit Systems at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) is an internationally recognized drive systems and motion control research group with expertise in the design, simulation, and control of switched reluctance motor (SRM) drives and power converter...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
“Pinball Wizards” Bank on Motion/Stress Analysis Software to Redesign Game

Stern Pinball of Melrose Park, IL, is the only manufacturer of coin-operated pinball machines in the world. Today, Stern’s pinball games are designed using sophisticated computer simulation software.

Products : Motion Control
DC/DC Converter

Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) has announced the DCP010507DB, a 1-W isolated, unregulated DC/DC converter, supporting an operating temperature range of -40 °C to 100 °C. The module provides thermal shutdown and short-circuit protection, and device-to-device synchronization control for applications with multiple converters.

Products : Motion Control
Non-Contact Transducer

Balluff (Florence, KY) offers the Micropulse™ BIW transducer that uses a patented, pulsed-inductive technology. It features a wear-free, non-contact design that can be used where linear pots are used, such as plastic injection molding machines, blow molding machines, stamping presses, and hydraulic motion bases. The...

Products : Motion Control
Accelerometers

Wilcoxon Research (Gaithersburg, MD) has introduced the 788A accelerometers that feature a sensitivity of 100 mV/g. The accelerometer is a single-axis sensor with an acceleration range of +50 g. High-frequency response measurements up to 10 kHz identify faults and improper machine operation. Typical noise is 4 mg at 100 Hz. The...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless DC Drive

Performance Motion Devices (Lincoln, MA) has announced the ION™ brushless DC drive, a network-connected motion control drive. The fully enclosed compact module provides network connectivity, power amplification, and motion control, and is available for brushless DC, DC brush, and microstepping motors. The module provides...

Products : Motion Control
Accelerometers

The LCM 100 accelerometer from Jewel Instruments (Manchester, NH) is designed for industrial, commercial, and aerospace applications. It is engineered with micro-machined components. The 0.5G to 4.0G device meets the needs of applications requiring 500G shock resistance and up to 500 Hz bandwidth. It is suitable for use in...

Products : Motion Control
Piezo Motor

New Scale Technologies (Victor, NY) offers the SQL Series SQUIGGLE piezo motor that measures 2.4 × 2.4mm and features a metal/ceramic composite construction. The motor holds position when power is turned off, conserving battery life. Standard models are available in 2.4-mm and 3.4-mm sizes, with customizable shaft lengths and travel...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Actuators

Festo Corp. (Hauppauge, NY) has introduced the DMES electromechanical linear actuators that provide a feed force of up to 3000 N. The lead screw of the actuators is non-backdriveable, eliminating the need for an additional braking mechanism in vertical applications. The lead screw is integrated within the actuator body,...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Torque Sensor

The Torkdisc® rotary torque sensor system from the Force/Torque Division of PCB Piezotronics (Depew, NY) is a compact, in-line rotary torque sensor for spindle qualification testing of machining center and other torque measurement applications where space is minimal. The sensor features high torsional stiffness and low...

Products : Motion Control
DC Gearmotors

PennEngineering® Motion Technologies (Harleysville, PA) offers PITTMAN® brush-commutated DC gearmotors with output torque to 175 oz-in with standard sintered steel spur gearing, and output torque to 500 oz-in by incorporating select gear ratios and high-strength gears. The Series GM8000 gearmotors are available with a range of 11...

Products : Motion Control
Peristaltic Pump

The Vector Series 3005 peristaltic pump from Wanner Engineering (Minneapolis, MN) features a lubricant-filled cavity for constant lubrication, and is capable of continuous duty pumping of harsh liquids at up to 200 PSI. A roller and shoe design requires less starting torque and creates less abrasion. The pump is available in a...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Encoder

Gurley Precision Instruments (Troy, NY) offers the R158 rotary incremental encoder that generates quadrature square waves at up to 1 million counts per revolution. It has an optional temperature range from -40 to 100 °C, and an optional radial/axial load of 60N/40N. A 1/4-cycle gated, once-per-rev index signal or full-cycle...

Products : Motion Control
Slide Latch

The A3 push-to-close slide latch from Southco (Concordville, PA) features a molded thermoplastic body and flexible locking options for secure latching of sheet metal and thin thermoplastic panels. It features an integrated lockplug housing, eliminating the need for a separate key cam lock. Both locking and non-locking versions snap...

Products : Motion Control
Gearbox

The PV Series gearbox from Parker Bayside, Electromechanical Automation (Port Washington, NY), offers a variety of output face options and high radial load and output torque. The gearbox uses precision-needle bearings to achieve high radial loads for use in conveyors, production machinery, packaging, automotive, and belt and pulley...

Products : Motion Control
Micro Brushless Motors

Sanyo DC Motor Division (Bensenville, IL) offers the PM Series brushless micro motor that incorporates a ceramic air bearing design, using air as a lubricant to solve problems encountered with typical motors lubricated with oil. The motors are available in a 20-mm size and are designed for applications requiring high speed...

Products : Motion Control
Hypoid Gearheads

Alpha Gear Drives (Bartlett, IL) has introduced a range of hollow-shaft right-angle hypoid gearheads for worm, bevel, or hypoid applications. The HG+ device is a low-backlash hypoid gearhead in a right-angel design that features high torque, speed, and gear ratios in a single-stage unit. The TK+ hypoid gearhead features a...

Products : Motion Control
Roller Bearings

SKF USA (Kulpsville, PA) offers cylindrical roller bearings with logarithmically crowned rollers that provide improved contact geometry between the roller and raceway, reducing stresses under high loads. The bearings feature a precision-honed inner and outer ring, raceways, and rollers for improved lubricant effectiveness. They...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Union

Duff-Norton (Charlotte, NC) offers the 1900 Series Rotary Union® that provides a rotating seal between fluids and a revolving roll or drum. Commonly conducted media are water, hot oils, chemicals, hydraulics, and air. The union is designed for very high pressure applications to 10,150 psi, and with maximum temperature ratings to...

Products : Motion Control
Nanopositioning Controller

PI, L.P. (Auburn, MA) has introduced the E-621.CR modular controller for piezo-driven nanopositioning systems that features high-bandwidth analog and networkable digital interfaces. The controller integrates a low-noise piezo power amplifier, a high-speed servo controller, sensor electronics for absolute-measuring...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless Motor

Maxon Precision Motors (Burlingame, CA) has introduced the EC-16 sterilizable brushless motor that has been assembled so that the coils are outside the rotor, providing good heat dissipation. Steam sterilization is specified at 273 °F at up to 2.3 bar for 20 minutes. The motor can be sterilized at least 100 times in an...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Transducer

SpaceAge Control (Palmdale, CA) has released the Series R rotary transducer that provides rotational measurements from 1 to 150 turns. The rugged device uses ThreadSensor™ technology for accurate and repeatable measurements in rotational sensing. Applications include potentiometers, encoders, resolvers, and synchros. Dual and...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
DPSS Micromachining Puts Shine on Industrial Molds

Lasers are now used to micromachine virtually every type of material, including metals, plastics, glass, and ceramics. Micromachining is a highly diverse market that uses flash-pumped, diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS), and excimer lasers. Excimer lasers provide more average power at shorter...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Silicon Modulator Brings Optical Computing A Step Closer

University of Texas at Austin and Omega Optics, Austin, Texas

For decades, silicon has not been considered a favorable material for manipulating light. Electrical Engineering Professor Ray Chen at the University of Texas at Austin and Wei Jiang at Omega Optics in Austin recently...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Simulation Keeps Optical Transceiver Signals in Place

Flomerics, Inc., Marlborough, Massachusetts

Problems emerge when electromagnetically “hot” optical transceivers are placed into systems that are bound by emissions limits. Because radiating transceivers are mounted externally or couple to inherent features of systems such as air...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Quantum-Dot Laser for Wavelengths of 1.8 to 2.3 μm

The figure depicts a proposed semiconductor laser, based on In(As)Sb quantum dots on a (001) InP substrate, that would operate in the wavelength range between 1.8 and 2.3 μm. InSb and InAsSb are the smallest-bandgap conventional III-V semiconductor materials, and the present proposal is an...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Tunable Filter Made From Three Coupled WGM Resonators

A tunable third-order band-pass optical filter has been constructed as an assembly of three coupled, tunable, whispering-gallery-mode resonators similar to the one described in “Whispering-Gallery-Mode Tunable Narrow-Band-Pass Filter” (NPO-30896), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 4 (April...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Dynamic Pupil Masking for Phasing Telescope Mirror Segments

A method that would notably include dynamic pupil masking has been proposed as an enhanced version of a prior method of phasing the segments of a primary telescope mirror. The method would apply, more specifically, to a primary telescope mirror that comprises multiple segments mounted...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Pattern-Recognition Algorithm for Locking Laser Frequency

A computer program serves as part of a feedback control system that locks the frequency of a laser to one of the spectral peaks of cesium atoms in an optical-absorption cell. The system analyzes a saturation absorption spectrum to find a target peak and commands a laser-frequency-control...

Products
Product of the Month: Transient Absorption Spectrometer

Designed for the study of ultrafast phenomena such as electronic deactivation, intersystem crossing, vibrational relaxation, internal conversion, and intra-molecular electron transfer, Newport Corp.’s (Irvine, CA) Helios is a pump-probe transient absorption spectrometer used to monitor...

Products
Fiber Laser

Aculight (Bothell, WA) built the polarized Picasso Model PF1550PM-30 fiber laser for military and commercial applications. The fiber laser produces 4- to 6-ns pulses at repetition rates from 50 kHz to 200 kHz with 1-W average output power. It generates maximum pulse energy of 20 μJ at 50 kHz. The unit’s 1.54-μm output is...

Products
Mini Spectrometer

Hamamatsu Corp.’s (Bridgewater, NJ) C10082MD is a compact spectrometer unit that is designed for spectral evaluation of light sources, industrial color measurement, and other applications. Its CMOS linear image sensor covers a wide spectral response range from 200 nm to 800 nm. Light is directed into the unit through a SMA...

Products
Short-Pulse Excimer Laser

Photon Machines (San Diego, CA) has introduced the ATLEX Series of excimer lasers, featuring a pre-ionization technique that delivers short pulse widths, high peak-power densities, and flat beams for laser micromachining. The laser was built with all-metal-ceramic tube construction with automatic gas filling and...

Products
Multi-Channel Framing Camera

The SIM Multi-Channel Framing Camera from Specialised Imaging Ltd. (Tring, Herts, UK) provides the choice of 4, 6, 8, or 16 separate optical channels. Effects such as parallax and shading are eliminated and the spatial resolution of >50 lp/mm is the same frame to frame and in both axes. The camera also offers users...

Products
LEDs

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ (San Jose, CA) Golden DRAGON LEDs offer bright daytime running light and low energy consumption. While thin-film technology ensures that almost all the light produced in the semiconductor chip is at the surface, a low forward voltage reduces the amount of power the LED needs. The company has added its ARGUS lens...

Products
Violet Laser Diode

Photonic Products (Hertsfordshire, UK) offers a lead-free, blue-violet wavelength (405 nm) laser diode from Sanyo, the DL-5146-152 405 nm. The device is a 35-mW CW, (50-mW pulsed) laser diode that incorporates an internal monitor photodiode to control device output. Designed for applications where a stable, controlled output...

Products
High-Speed CMOS Camera

The Cooke Corp.’s (Romulus, MI) pco.1200hs camera is a high-speed, 10-bit CMOS camera with integrated 1 GB, 2 GB, or 4 GB of RAM memory that enables image recording at rates up 1 GB/s. Designed for high-speed camera applications such as material testing, external crash tests, and super slow-motion movie clips, the camera...

Products
Galvanometer Scan Head

Nutfield Technology (Windham, NH) has introduced the XLR8-15 2-axis packaged scan head, the fastest 15-mm head in its class, according to the manufacturer. The scan head is designed to ease integration and manufacturing associated issues with laser scanning systems by reducing the need for specialized tooling and highly...

Products
Tunable Laser

Designed for optics testing, dBm Optics’ (Boulder, CO) Model 4200 Tunable Laser Source offers 2,000 nm/s tuning across 150 nm. A low-noise version is available for measurements requiring high dynamic range, such as the characterization of fiber-Bragg gratings. A high-power version, with greater than 8 dBm (6 mw) of output power...

Products
Laser Diode Drivers

Analog Modules (Longwood, FL) Model 772 pulsed laser diode driver is a highly efficient (>70 percent), compact (4.3 × 2.7 × 1.5"), lightweight (