April 2007

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Filter Function for Wavefront Sensing Over a Field of View

A filter function has been derived as a means of optimally weighting the wavefront estimates obtained in image-based phase retrieval performed at multiple points distributed over the field of view of a telescope or other optical system. When the data obtained in wavefront sensing and,...

Briefs : Medical
Wearable Environmental and Physiological Sensing Unit

The wearable environmental and physiological sensing unit (WEPS) is a prototype of systems to be worn by emergency workers (e.g., firefighters and members of hazardous-material response teams) to increase their level of safety. The WEPS includes sensors that measure a few key physiological...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Broadband Phase Retrieval for Image-Based Wavefront Sensing

A focus-diverse phase-retrieval algorithm has been shown to perform adequately for the purpose of image-based wavefront sensing when (1) broadband light (typically spanning the visible spectrum) is used in forming the images by use of an optical system under test and (2) the assumption...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Iterative-Transform Phase Retrieval Using Adaptive Diversity

A phase-diverse iterative-transform phase-retrieval algorithm enables highspatial- frequency, high-dynamic-range, image-based wavefront sensing. [The terms "phase-diverse," "phase retrieval," "image-based," and "wavefront sensing" are defined in the first of the two immediately...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Wavefront Sensing With Switched Lenses for Defocus

In an alternative hardware design for an apparatus used in image-based wavefront sensing, defocus diversity is introduced by means of fixed lenses that are mounted in a filter wheel (see figure) so that they can be alternately switched into a position in front of the focal plane of an electronic...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Smooth Phase Interpolated Keying

Smooth phase interpolated keying (SPIK) is an improved method of computing smooth phase-modulation waveforms for radio communication systems that convey digital information. SPIK is applicable to a variety of phase-shift-keying (PSK) modulation schemes, including quaternary PSK (QPSK), octonary PSK (8PSK), and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Maintaining Stability During a Conducted-Ripple EMC Test

An improved technique, and electronic circuitry to implement the technique, have been developed for a military-standard electromagnetic- compatibility (EMC) test in which one analyzes susceptibility to low-frequncy ripple conducted into the equipment under test via a DC power line. In the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Photodiode Preamplifier for Preamplifier for Weak Signals

An improved preamplifier circuit has been designed for processing the output of an avalanche photodiode (APD) that is used in a high-resolution laser ranging system to detect laser pulses returning from a target. The improved circuit stands in contrast to prior such circuits in which the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Advanced High-Definition Video Cameras

A product line of high-definition color video cameras, now under development, offers a superior combination of desirable characteristics, including high frame rates, high resolutions, low power consumption, and compactness. Several of the cameras feature a 3,840 × 2,160-pixel format with progressive...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Circuit for Full Charging of Series Lithium-Ion Cells

An advanced charger has been proposed for a battery that comprises several lithium-ion cells in series. The proposal is directed toward charging the cells in as nearly an optimum manner as possible despite unit-to-unit differences among the nominally identical cells.

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Analog Nonvolatile Computer Memory Circuits

In nonvolatile random-access memory (RAM) circuits of a proposed type, digital data would be stored in analog form in ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FFETs). This type of memory circuit would offer advantages over prior volatile and nonvolatile types:

In a conventional complementary metal...
Briefs : Software
World Wind 3D Earth Viewing

World Wind allows users to zoom from satellite altitude down to any place on Earth, leveraging high-resolution LandSat imagery and SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) elevation data to experience Earth in visually rich 3D. In addition to Earth, World Wind can also visualize other planets, and there are already...

Briefs : Software
JavaGenes Molecular Evolution

JavaGenes is a general-purpose, evolutionary software system written in Java. It implements several versions of a genetic algorithm, simulated annealing, stochastic hill climbing, and other search techniques. This software has been used to evolve molecules, atomic force field parameters, digital circuits, Earth...

Briefs : Materials
Accounting for Uncertainties in Strengths of SiC MEMS Parts

A methodology has been devised for accounting for uncertainties in the strengths of silicon carbide structural components of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The methodology enables prediction of the probabilistic strengths of complexly shaped MEMS parts using data from tests of...

Briefs : Materials
Lithium Dinitramide as an Additive in Lithium Power Cells

Lithium dinitramide, LiN(NO2)2 has shown promise as an additive to nonaqueous electrolytes in rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium-ion-based electrochemical power cells. Such non-aqueous electrolytes consist of lithium salts dissolved in mixtures of organic...

Briefs : Materials
Ion-Conducting Organic/Inorganic Polymers

Ion-conducting polymers that are hybrids of organic and inorganic moieties and that are suitable for forming into solidelectrolyte membranes have been invented in an effort to improve upon the polymeric materials that have been used previously for such membranes. Examples of the prior materials include...

Briefs : Materials
MoO₃ Cathodes for High-Temperature Lithium Thin-Film Cells

MoO3 has shown promise as a cathode material that can extend the upper limit of operating temperature of rechargeable lithium thin-film electrochemical cells. Cells of this type are undergoing development for use as energy sources in cellular telephones, wireless medical...

Who's Who
Dr. Karen Jackson, Aerospace Engineer, Landing and Impact Research (LandIR) Facility

Dr. Karen JacksonIn a crash, keeping the occupants alive and uninjured is paramount. In order to study the dynamics of an impact, military and general aviation aircraft, like cars, must be tested for their ability to keep their riders safe. A part of Structural...

Products
Desktop 3D Scanner

NextEngine, Santa Monica, CA, offers the Desktop 3D Scanner, a full-color multi-laser scanner that scans complex shapes for CAD and 3D design applications on the desktop. About the size of a cereal box, the scanner connects directly to a PC via USB 2.0. It operates with proprietary MultiStripe Laser Triangulation (MLT)...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Motorcycle Design Optimized With Finite-Element Software
Sierra Design Engineering, Mount Aukum, California
BUB Enterprises, Grass Valley, California;
ALGOR, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A streamliner motorcycle designed and built by Sierra Design Engineering and BUB Enterprises achieved a new world-record speed...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Counterrotating-Shoulder Mechanism for Friction Stir Welding

A counterrotating-shoulder mechanism has been proposed as an alternative to the mechanism and fixtures used in conventional friction stir welding. The mechanism would internally react most or all of the forces and torques exerted on the workpiece, making it unnecessary to react the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Strain Gauges Indicate Differential-CTE-Induced Failures

A method of detecting mechanical failure induced by variation in temperature at an adhesive bond between two materials that have different coefficients of thermal expansion (CTEs) involves monitoring of strain-gauge readings. This method can be regarded as an exploitation of the prior...

Briefs : Medical
Antibodies Against Three Forms of Urokinase

Antibodies that bind to preselected regions of the urokinase molecule have been developed. These antibodies can be used to measure small quantities of each of three molecular forms of urokinase that could be contained in microsamples or conditioned media harvested from cultures of mammalian cells....

Briefs : Medical
Understanding and Counteracting Fatigue in Flight Crews

The materials included in the collection of documents describe the research of the NASA Ames Fatigue Countermeasures Group (FCG), which examines the extent to which fatigue, sleep loss, and circadian disruption affect flight-crew performance. The group was formed in 1980 — in response to...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser Scanning System Helps Validate Method for Repairing Space Shuttle Heat Shield
SLP-330 Laser Scanning Probe Laser Design
Minneapolis, MN
952-884-9648
www.laserdesign.com

The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia because of damage to its thermal protection system (TPS) during launch spurred a search for methods of...

Articles
Innovation in 3D PDF
Michael Kaplan
Director of Engineering
Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Systems Inc.
San Jose, CA

When I started graduate studies in 3D computer graphics in 1978, dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I still remember my shock the first time I saw a real-time 3D vector graphics system. That quick glimpse of the future...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Emhart Teknologies Presents “Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest Winners

Creating the future is about change, creativity, and risk - the core building blocks that foster innovation.

For the past five years, Emhart Teknologies has partnered with NASA Tech Briefs in challenging the engineering community through our “Create the...

Articles : Motion Control
Grand Prize Winner, “Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest

Winner of a hybrid automobile or $20,000

Designed by:David A. Torrey, Ph.D., P.E.

Advanced Energy Conversion LLC

Malta, NY

There is tremendous interest today in reducing the parasitic losses in engineered vehicle systems in order to improve fuel...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
First Prize Winner, “Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest

Winner of a Panasonic 42" plasma TV

Designed by:

Buck Albritton
GearMax
Ashland, VA
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sponsors,“Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest
Sponsors,“Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest

In today’s competitive marketplace, manufacturers need suppliers who not only deliver the parts required to build a product, but those who deliver support and consultation on how best to...

Sponsors,“Create the Future” 2006 Design Contest
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Balloon for Long-Duration, High-Altitude Flight at Venus

A document describes a 5.5-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon designed for carrying a scientific payload having a mass of 44 kg for at least six days at an altitude of about 55 km in the atmosphere of Venus. The requirement for floating at nearly constant altitude dictates the choice of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wide-Temperature-Range Integrated Operational Amplifier

A document discusses a silicon-oninsulator (SOI) complementary metal oxide/ semiconductor (CMOS) integrated- circuit operational amplifier to be replicated and incorporated into sensor and actuator systems of Mars- explorer robots. This amplifier is designed to function at a supply...

NASA Tech Needs
Environmentally Friendly Solvents

A specialty chemical company is seeking innovative green, renewable raw materials, products, and processes for replacement of existing non-environmentally friendly solvents while not compromising the performance or significantly increasing the costs. The solutions should be biodegradable, low/non- VOC, low...

Tech Needs
Quantifying Breast-Feeding Volume

A method is sought to provide a real-time quantitative measure of the volume of milk consumed as a baby breast-feeds. The solution must be safe, environmentally sound, non-invasive, retail for under $50, and should not interfere with mother- newborn bonding. It should be compatible with home use and relatively...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Thermographic Improvements Benefit Automotive Industry

Like most mature industries, the automotive industry is highly competitive. Customers demand quality, security, and economy. Competition requires increasingly fast times to market for new designs. Combining customer and competitive demands creates a dilemma: How to design and build the best...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) Imaging Aids Laser Tracking, Detection

As warfare becomes more asymmetric, civilians and other non-combatants become a larger percentage of the casualties, along with unintended property damage. The military, of course, hopes to avoid these types of casualties and destruction. With advancing technologies that enable...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space...

Products
3D Laser-Scanning Sensor

Perceptron (Plymouth, MI) offers the ScanWorks® hand-held 3D laser scanner that features a scanning rate of up to 458,000 points per second and can maintain a dense point resolution of approximately 14 microns. The device projects the sensor’s field of view onto the target scanning area to visualize the best scanning...

Products
Evaluation and Analysis Software

FARO Technologies (Lake Mary, FL) has released version 4.0 of its family of laser-scanning software: FARO Scene, FARO Scout, FARO Scout LT, and FARO Record. The user-friendly software packages are used for viewing, administrating, calibrating, filtering, and managing large, 3D point clouds collected with the FARO...

Products
Beam Shaper

SCHOTT North America (Elmsford, NY) offers the Beam Shaper laser technology, capable of shaping “square” light from an individual laser diode or rows of strings of laser diodes into a beam of light that has a round profile and offers homogeneous light dissemination. Two versions are available: for individual laser diodes with...

Products
Two-Axis Microgage

The Microgage 2D system from Pinpoint Laser Systems® (Newburyport, MA) measures the flatness of machinery and production equipment. The unit measures flatness of rolls, moving machinery stages, gantry systems, actuators, and moving equipment to a precision of 0.0001” and can operate over ranges of a few inches to 120’....

Products
Density Filters

Reynard Corp. (San Clemente, CA) provides Circular Variable Neutral Density (CVND) filters for use in optical systems to change light intensity from 100% to less than 0.1%. The filters are specified for linear optical density or transmission, may be sized to match the end-use, and are customizable in optical density gradient...

Products
Photomultiplier Tube

The Photonis Group (Lancaster, PA) has introduced the XP1322, a 13-mm-round photomultiplier tube featuring high gain and low noise that covers the spectral range of 270 to 650nm. The device is designed for applications such as scintillation counting, high-energy physics, life sciences, bioluminescence, and more. The unit...

Products
Integrated Spectrometer System

Headwall Photonics (Fitchburg, MA) offers the Raman ExplorerTM 532 Raman spectrometer. Featuring a retro-reflective concentric design, the device utilizes a 532-nm excitation laser for biological (pathogenic) and chemical threat assessment, spatial imaging, in-line process analysis of industrial...

Products
Structured Light Laser

The LasirisTM PowerLine laser from StockerYale, Inc. (Salem, NH) is a line generator for industrial and scientific applications. A thermoelectrically cooled laser, the device is able to emit up to 1 W at 810 nm and 500 mW at 670 nm. Features include uniform intensity distribution for line generators; pointing...

Products
X-Ray Sensor

LINX from Electron Tubes, Inc. (Rockaway, NJ) is a linear x-ray sensor that can be expanded to provide an array of any required length; x-rays are detected using a scintillator and photo-diode array. Detector pitch is 1.6 mm or 0.8 mm. The unit is housed in an aluminum alloy box that is lead screened to protect the electronics from...

Products
Fiber Optic Connectors

Tyco Electronics Corp. (Harrisburg, PA) introduced a line of sealed circular LC ODVA compliant fiber optic connectors, carrying an IP67 environmental sealing rating. The units resist moisture, temperature, and humidity, and may be used in remote interface applications in communication towers, antennae, and FTTX in passive...

Products
Software Interface

Gamma Scientific (San Diego, CA) offers SynthiColorTM, a software program that equips the company’s RS-5B spectrally programmable light source with interactive programmability and control. The software provides spectral synthesis, data handling and storage, spectral and colorimetric metrics, and high-speed matrix...

Products
LED Solid-State Lighting

Cree, Inc. (Durham, NC) released the white Cree XLamp® 7090 power LED. Available in volume quantities, the unit produces luminous flux of up to 95 lumens or 85 lumens per watt at 350 mA, and up to 160 lumens at 700 mA (typical luminous flux is 80 lumens at 350 mA, yielding 70 lumens per watt). Designed for general...

Products
Fiber Optic Attenuator Kit

Fiber optic attenuator kits from Timbercon, Inc. (Lake Oswego, OR) provide a means of producing multiple levels of attenuation for several fiber optical cables, and can conduct testing or processing where exact dB loss requirement has not yet been determined. The kits are offered in LC, SC, ST, FC, MU, and mixed...

Products
Gigabit Ethernet Camera

Prosilica (Burnaby, Canada) offers the GC Series, a line of ultra-compact gigabit Ethernet cameras for machine vision and industrial applications. With dimensions of 4.3 × 4.6 × 3.3 cm and a weight of 99 grams, features include region of interest readout, binning modes to 8 × 8 pixels, high frame rates, and various...

Products
Resonator Optics

Alpine Research Optics (ARO, Boulder, CO) provides off-the-shelf intracavity resonator optics for excimer lasers. These are rear high reflectors and uncoated output couplers for use with ArF (193 nm), KrF (248 nm), and XeCl (308 nm) excimer lasers. Both rear mirrors and output couplers are offered in 38.1 mm diameter MgF2...

Products
Picoseconds Amplifier Laser

Time-Bandwidth Products, Inc. (Westfield, MA) offers a compact and sealed OEM version of its picoseconds, high repetition rate DuettoTM laser system for industrial and scientific applications like material processing, micro machining, biological tissue manipulation, pump-probe spectroscopy, surface...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Capture Software and Systems for Gait Analysis and Biomedicine

Nowadays, there are many technologies available that are used to quantify the motion of humans and animals. However, recent innovations in optical motion capture systems have added unprecedented capabilities, allowing the same program to be used by clinicians to assess walking...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Hydraulic Safety Catchers Protect Spallation Neutron Source Shutter Operation

At full power, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), part of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN), will produce the world’s most intense pulsed neutron beams for neutron scattering research methods. With a full-power capability of 1.4 megawatts, the SNS...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Piston Pump Helps Drive Cotton Module Loading Procedure

World cotton production in 2006/07 is forecast at 115.7 million bales, and global cotton consumption is forecast at a record of nearly 121 million bales, with 13.2 million acres dedicated to cotton in the United States alone. Cotton is one of the most heavily traded commodities on the world...

Products : Motion Control
Optical Encoder Module

Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) introduced the AEDS-964x optical encoder modules, with resolutions of up to 360 lines per inch, for printing applications. The modules are used with a transmissive code strip to detect linear motion, or with an 11 mm optical radius transmissive code wheel for rotary motion. Features...

Products : Motion Control
Digital Torquemeter

S. Himmelstein and Co. (Hoffman Estates, IL) released the MCRT® 48200V Series Compact Digital Torquemeters, having no pots, switches, and requires no manual adjustment. The non-contact devices have full-scale ranges from 25 to 10,000 lbf-in. Two accuracy grades are available: 0.2% (Code N standard performance) and 0.15%...

Products : Motion Control
Multi-Axis Controllers & Drives

Festo Corp. (Hauppauge, NY) released the SEC-ACSMLC Multi-Axis Controller and SEC-SDD drive. Featuring the CoDeSys programming platform, the SEC-AC-SMLC is based on the IEC61131-3 standard, offering the programming languages of Relay Ladder Logic, Function Block Diagram, Structured Text, Instruction List,...

Products : Motion Control
Magnetic Brakes

Danaher Motion (Wood Dale, IL) released the Thomson-Deltran Power-Off Magnetic Brake (PMB) series of power-off DC, spring-set, multifunctional brakes. Nine standard frame sizes from 30 to 120 are available. Torque range is 45 lb-in to 4,250 lb-in (5 to 48 Nm), in diameters from 3.30 to 11.89". Operating voltages of 24, 90, and...

Products : Motion Control
Hybrid Linear Actuator

Haydon Switch & Instrument (Waterbury, CT) released size 8 hybrid linear actuators with encoder feedback. Encoder resolutions range from 120 to 330 cycles per revolution, or 480 to 1,200 pulses per revolution; encoder operating temperatures are -10 to 85°C. The optical incremental encoder design is available with...

Products : Motion Control
Incremental Encoder

From SICK STEGMANN, INC. (Dayton, OH), the DRS61 CoreTech® Incremental Encoders can be programmed the number of lines from 1 to 8,192, as well as the width of the zero pulse. The units are available in face mount flange, servo flange, blind or through hollow shaft with connector or cable outlet, TTL, or HTL interface...

Products : Motion Control
Torque Motor

Animatics Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) released the SM2315DT as part of the OEM Series of SmartMotors. The unit features an 8-pole rotor design with a high copper filling factor, and delivers 112 oz-in of peak torque while maintaining 57 oz-in of continuous torque with a maximum speed capability of 4,700 rpm. A servomotor, amplifier, and...

Products : Motion Control
Rotating Torque Sensor

The Model 01424 rotating torque sensor from Sensor Developments (Lake Orion, MI) uses a shaft-to-shaft configuration for in-line placement, and incorporates a digital non-contact wireless system that provides power to the rotating electronics mounted on the shaft, transmitting the signal back to the receiver in digital...