May 2010

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Water Membrane Evaporator
A water membrane evaporator (WME) has been conceived and tested at Johnson Space Center as an alternative to the contamination-sensitive and corrosion-prone evaporators currently used for dissipating heat from space vehicles.
Briefs : Energy
Integrated Solar Concentrator and Shielded Radiator
A shielded radiator integrated within a solar concentrator was developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for applications that require protection from high ambient temperatures with little convective heat transfer. The innovation uses a reflective surface to deflect ambient thermal radiation,...
News : Government
Funding Opportunity for R&D in Solid-State Lighting

DOE recently announced two solid-state lighting (SSL) funding opportunities. DOE will select projects to receive up to $25 million to advance research, development, and market adoption of SSL technology. Up to $15 million is available for core technology research, and up to $10 million for...

Question of the Week
Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

This week's question concerns synthetic biology research. A study published online by the journal "Science" details how scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute recently developed the first viable cell controlled by a synthetic genome. According to the researchers, the cell is called synthetic...

News : Energy
Energy-Efficient Housing Research Partnerships

On behalf of the DOE’s Building America residential research program, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). Building America research teams will be selected to develop cost-effective solutions that improve the quality and energy efficiency of...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Fuel-Saving Paint System Based on Sharkskin

To lower the fuel consumption of airplanes and ships, it is necessary to reduce their flow resistance, or drag. A paint system from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM makes this possible. Along with lowering costs, it also reduces CO2 emissions.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

“It doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter where you go,

If it’s a million miles away, or just a mile up the road.

Take it in. Take it with you when you go.

Who says you can’t go home?”

So says New Jersey-born rocker Jon Bon Jovi in a hit song he penned several...

News : Energy
Manipulating Plant Growth Hormones Key for Biofuel Future

Auxin is a powerful plant growth hormone that tells plants how to grow, where to lay down roots, how to make tissues, and how to respond to light and gravity. Knowing how to manipulate auxin could have enormous implications for the production of biofuel - making plants grow faster and...

Question of the Week
Is time travel possible?

This week's question concerns the concept of time travel. Usually the topic of science fiction books and movies, two of the world's most respected physicists, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, assert that time travel could become a scientific reality. In a recent AOL Science article, both scientists cited Einstein's...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Improving Water Quality With Algae

According to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist, algae could remove nitrogen and phosphorus in livestock manure runoff - giving resource managers an eco-friendly option for reducing the level of agricultural pollutants that contaminate water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

News : Government
$33 Million in Funding for Biomass R&D

The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) jointly announced up to $33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products - subject to annual appropriations.

Features : Energy
Hermetic Feedthroughs: A Critical Component in New Flywheel Energy Storage Solutions

The phrase “everything old is new again” certainly applies to today’s flywheel technology. Forget the mechanical bearing, standard atmosphere 5,000 RPM steel behemoths of the past, many of today’s flywheel designs feature compact carbon fiber composite...

News : Energy
Purple Bacteria and Photovoltaics

Purple bacteria are single celled microscopic organisms that were among the first life forms on Earth. The tiny organisms live in aquatic environments and use sunlight as their source of energy. Neil Johnson, a physicist at the University of Miami, thinks its cellular arrangement could be adapted for use in...

Question of the Week
Should the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect the President’s energy plan?

This week’s question concerns the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a rig leased by BP Plc exploded and sank last week in the Gulf, many have indicated that the President may experience a setback in his plan to expand offshore drilling. The plan is...

News : Energy
Genetically Engineering Algae for Biodiesel

John Morgan, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University, is leading a portion of a federally funded effort based at Iowa State University aimed at creating genetically engineered algae for biodiesel production.

News : Energy
Bionic Coating for Fuel-Efficient Ships

The water fern salvinia molesta is extremely hydrophobic, surrounding itself by a flimsy skirt of air that prevents the plant from coming into contact with liquid. This inconspicuous plant could allow ships to have a 10 percent decrease in fuel consumption.

Products : Energy
LED Backlight Driver

Endicott Research Group (Endicott, NY) has introduced a new LED driver that can simultaneously and efficiently power up to 8 strings of high brightness LEDs (HBLEDs) and provides a total 50W of power.

Question of the Week
Will digital actors ever replace humans in Hollywood?

This week's question concerns the concept of "digital actors." They've appeared in "Avatar," "The Matrix," and "The Lord of the Rings," to name a few. And with the recent surge of 3D technology in filmmaking, it appears that digital actors will be working a lot more in Hollywood.


Products : Electronics & Computers
Source Code Analysis Tool

AdaCore (New York, NY) has released CodePeer, a source code analysis tool that detects run-time and logic errors in Ada programs. Serving as an efficient code reviewer, CodePeer identifies constructs that are likely

to lead to run-time errors such as buffer overflows, and it flags legal but suspect code typical...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Fanless Industrial Panel PC

The IPPC-8151S from Advantech (Cincinnati, OH) is a 15" XGA TFT LCD fanless industrial panel PC that features an Intel Celeron®M 1GHz CPU. It includes a tapered and food-safe rubber seal between the bezel and the chemical-resistant touch screen, and an optional fully sealed 316L stainless steel enclosure to satisfy...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using Microelectrode Arrays for Cerebral Applications

The fundamental understanding of cerebral systems and associated diseases relies on the electrical recording of single neuron activity. This requires in vivo interfacing with neurons using micrometer-scale electrodes. Traditionally, this challenging task is being performed using: single wire...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Designing and Implementing COM Express Modules

Computer-on-Module Express (COM Express) has become a widely accepted way to implement embedded computing solutions in a very compact form factor. The main principle of the COM Express standard is to implement the processor and memory on a small module (basic module size for the type 2 specification...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
How Cool Is That? Ensuring Effective Thermal Design

Proper thermal design of any electronics-based system is key to its long-term reliability. NASA engineering expertise in this area is renowned. The International Space Station (ISS) operates in a temperature environment from 250 degrees F (121 °C), down to a minus 250 degrees F (-157 °C),...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Managing a Network of Self-Encrypting Hard Drives

With high-profile data breaches making headlines regularly, organizations are carefully evaluating their options for protecting mobile data. For years, software full disk encryption, (FDE), has been the preferred means of addressing this threat. But widespread adoption has been hampered by the...

Products : Electronics & Computers
CompactDAQ Chassis

National Instruments (Austin, TX) has introduced the NI cDAQ-9174 four-slot and cDAQ-9178 eight-slot NI CompactDAQ chassis, suitable for mixed-signal data acquisition systems. The 9174 offers a smaller footprint and can measure up to 128 channels in a 16cm × 9cm x 9cm system. The 9178 features external BNC triggers to...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Real-Time Avionics Operating System

The ThreadX® real-time operating systems from Express Logic (San Diego, CA) have been integrated into Avidyne Corporations' DFC90 attitude-based digital flight control systems in Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft. The DFC90 is an integrated flight computer and control panel designed as a slide-in replacement for...

Products : Electronics & Computers
CompactPC® Multicore Board

Kontron (Poway, CA) has introduced the CP308 3U CompactPCI® multicore board with the CP308-MEDIA extension card, featuring the new HD digital display interface standard DisplayPort. It includes S/P-DIF-Out audio and stereo audio ports for Line In, Line Out, and Microphone. It also features the 45nm Intel®CoreTM2 Duo...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Microcontroller Tool Suite

LDRA (San Bruno, CA) has announced the integration of its LDRA tool suite and Microchip Technology’s MPLAB PIC18, PIC24, and dsPIC32/33 tool chains. Microchip’s PIC18, PIC24, and dsPIC32/33 families are 8- and 16-bit micro-controllers designed to provide optimal functionality in a low-overhead design. The...

Products : Electronics & Computers
BGA Socket

Ironwood Electronics (Burnsville, MN) now offers a BGA socket for 0.5mm pitch 51 pin BGA. The SG-BGA-7154 socket is designed for 4mm × 4mm × 0.8 mm package size and operates at bandwidths up to 10 GHz with less than 1 dB of insertion loss. The contact resistance is typically 20 milliohms per I/O. The socket connects all pins with 10...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Protocol Analyzer Mid-Bus Probe

Anew mid-bus probe for the Summit™ T3-16 Protocol Analyzer from LeCroy (Chestnut Ridge, NY) can be connected to systems that utilize the Intel® mid-bus probe footprint specification. The probe uses a full-size connector that supports PCle® x8 lanes at 8 GT/s. Two mid-bus probes can be connected to a Summit...

Products : Electronics & Computers
On-Chip Debug Solutions

Macraigor Systems (Brookline Village, MA) has ported their on-chip debug technology (OCDemon), GNU tools suite, and Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo platform to the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. The Cortex-A8 is ARM’s first superscalar processor featuring technology for enhanced code density and performance, NEON technology for...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Lightweight Spreader for SBCs

Advanced Digital Logic (San Diego, CA) has introduced the ADL945PC-LTSPREADER, a lightweight spreader for the ADL945PC family of single board computers. The ADL945PC-LTSPREADER is designed for any application where weight is important, such as mass conscious applications, UAV applications, handheld applications,...

USB CompuScope

GaGe, Lockport, IL, has introduced the USB CompuScope family of high-performance USB digitizers that includes three models featuring up to two input channels, up to 1.1 GS/s maximum sampling per channel, 12- or 14-bit vertical resolution, 128 MS of acquisition memory, and up to 1.2 GHz of input analog bandwidth. The digitizers...

Tech Needs
Real-Time Analysis and Reporting of Water-Borne Microorganisms

A company seeks a technology that enables monitoring of the microorganism content of stored potable water in real time, and reporting the water’s status to assure its continued potability even after storage times as long as a year. The apparatus must be small and lightweight,...

NASA Tech Needs
Technologies for Printed Electronics

An organization seeks printing technologies to produce higher-current miniature circuitry. Approaches of interest include reducing use of expensive inks, eliminating a plating step, and increasing adhesion to a variety of substrates. An additional area of interest is to enable multilayer structures for more...

Techs for License
Co-Extrusion Process Prevents Ingredient Co-Mingling

This co-extrusion process helps turn a batch process into a continuous production process, thus speeding the production line and enabling production of materials that otherwise might be difficult or impossible to produce using conventional extrusion and post-extrusion processing.

Techs for License
Shape-Memory Diaphragm Shutter Valve for Fluid Flow Interception and Icing Prevention

This valve for gases, liquids, or powdery materials has an extremely simple and low-cost structure. Opening and closing functions are generated by using shape-memory wires, which move a diaphragm shutter element. The shape memory can reshape the diaphragm to...

NASA Tech Needs
NASA Environmental Monitoring and Control Technology Needs

NASA’s long-duration human missions far from Earth and operation of closed-loop life support systems have critical needs for monitoring and control for environmental quality and certifying recycled life-support consumables. Monitoring technologies are employed to assure that the...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Innovative Waste Heat Recovery Systems and Improvements with Advanced Turbomachinery

The increasing cost of fuel and U.S. dependency on foreign fuel supplies has renewed interest in conserving energy and in generating electric power using otherwise wasted heat energy from prime mover processes. Such power generation systems are typically based...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Design Data Management Keeps Rover Circuit Boards in Check
Design data management system
DKB Resources
Santa Barbara, CA

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) contracted DKB Resources to support the design of many of the printed circuit boards (PCBs) on the Mars Exploration...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Lightning Monitoring System Helps Protect Shuttle
Genesis HighSpeed data acquisition products
Marlborough, MA

In order to protect the space shuttle from lightning strikes while it is outside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), being transported to the launch pad, and...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Centennial Challenges: NASA’s Prize Program for the “Citizen Inventor”

The Centennial Challenges are NASA’s prizes for the citizen inventor. Through open competitions, we seek novel solutions from diverse sources in technology challenges of interest to NASA and the nation. Competitions are open to anyone, and teams have included small...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Crossed, Small-Deflection Energy Analyzer for Wind/Temperature Spectrometer

Determination of neutral winds and ion drifts in low-Earth-orbit missions requires measurements of the angular and energy distributions of the flux of neutrals and ions entering the satellite from the ram direction. The magnitude and direction of the neutral-wind (or...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Three Methods of Detection of Hydrazines

Three proposed methods for measuring trace quantities of hydrazines involve ionization and detection of hydrazine derivatives. These methods are intended to overcome the limitations of prior hydrazine-detection methods.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cryogenic Moisture Apparatus

The Cryogenic Moisture Apparatus (CMA) is designed for quantifying the amount of moisture from the surrounding air that is taken up by cryogenic-tank-insulating material specimens while under typical conditions of use. More specifically, the CMA holds one face of the specimen at a desired low temperature (e.g., the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
A Transportable Gravity Gradiometer Based on Atom Interferometr y

A transportable atom interferometer-based gravity gradiometer has been developed at JPL to carry out measurements of Earth’s gravity field at ever finer spatial resolutions, and to facilitate high-resolution monitoring of temporal variations in the gravity field from ground- and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Instrument for Analysis of Greenland’s Glacier Mills

A new instrument is used to study the inner workings of Greenland’s glacier mills by riding the currents inside a glacier’s moulin. The West Greenland Moulin Explorer instrument was deployed into a tubular shaft to autonomously record temperature, pressure, 3D acceleration, and location....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wavefront Correction for Large, Flexible Antenna Reflector

A wavefront-correction system has been proposed as part of an outer-space radio communication system that would include a large, somewhat flexible main reflector antenna, a smaller subreflector antenna, and a small array feed at the focal plane of these two reflector antennas. Part of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Novel Microstrip-to-Waveguide Feed Employing a Double-Y Junction

Previous microstrip-to-waveguide transitions either required a hermetically sealed waveguide configuration, or a balun that needed to be tuned according to the frequency band of interest. In this design, the balun is realized using a double-Y junction to transition from microstrip...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Thin-Film Ferroelectric-Coupled Microstripline Phase Shifters With Reduced Device Hysteresis

This work deals with the performance of coupled microstripline phase shifters (CMPS) fabricated using BaxSr1-xTiO3 (BST) ferroelectric thin films. The CMPS were fabricated using commercially available pulsed laser...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Stage, 90-GHz, Low-Noise Amplifier

A device has been developed for coherent detection of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). A two-stage amplifier has been designed that covers 75–110 GHz. The device uses the emerging 35-nm InP HEMT technology recently developed at Northrop Grumman Corporation primarily for use at...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A 311-GHz Fundamental Oscillator Using InP HBT Technology

This oscillator uses a single-emitter 0.3-μm InP heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) device with maximum frequency of oscillation (fmax) greater than 500 GHz. Due to high conductor and substrate losses at submillimeter-wave frequencies, a primary challenge is to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
FPGA Coprocessor Design for an Onboard Multi-angle Spectro-Polarimetric Imager

A multi-angle spectro-polarimetric imager (MSPI) is an advanced camera system currently under development at JPL for possible future consideration on a satellite-based Aerosol-Cloud-Environment (ACE) interaction study. The light in the optical system is subjected to a...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Budget Office Toolbox

The Integrated Budget Office Toolbox (IBOT) combines budgeting, resource allocation, organizational funding, and reporting features in an automated, integrated tool that provides data from a single source for Johnson Space Center (JSC) personnel. Using a common interface, concurrent users can utilize the data...

Briefs : Software
PLOT3D Export Tool for Tecplot

The PLOT3D export tool for Tecplot solves the problem of modified data being impossible to output for use by another computational science solver. The PLOT3D Exporter add-on enables the use of the most commonly available visualization tools to engineers for output of a standard format. The exportation of PLOT3D...

Briefs : Software
Math Description Engine Software Development Kit

The Math Description Engine Software Development Kit (MDE SDK) can be used by software developers to make computer-rendered graphs more accessible to blind and visually-impaired users. The MDE SDK generates alternative graph descriptions in two forms: textual descriptions and non-verbal sound...

Briefs : Software
Astronaut Office Scheduling System Software

AOSS is a highly efficient scheduling application that uses various tools to schedule astronauts’ weekly appointment information. This program represents an integration of many technologies into a single application to facilitate schedule sharing and management. It is a Windows-based application...

Briefs : Software
ISS Solar Array Management

The International Space Station (ISS) Solar Array Management (SAM) software toolset provides the capabilities necessary to operate a spacecraft with complex solar array constraints. It monitors spacecraft telemetry and provides interpretations of solar array constraint data in an intuitive manner. The toolset provides...

Briefs : Software
Probabilistic Structural Analysis Program

NASA/NESSUS 6.2c is a general-purpose, probabilistic analysis program that computes probability of failure and probabilistic sensitivity measures of engineered systems. Because NASA/NESSUS uses highly computationally efficient and accurate analysis techniques, probabilistic solutions can be obtained even...

Briefs : Software
SPOT Program

A Spacecraft Position Optimal Tracking (SPOT) program was developed to process Global Positioning System (GPS) data, sent via telemetry from a spacecraft, to generate accurate navigation estimates of the vehicle position and velocity (state vector) using a Kalman filter. This program uses the GPS onboard receiver measurements to...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Hybrid System Architecture for Risk Analysis

A conceptual design has been announced of an expert-system computer program, and the development of a prototype of the program, intended for use as a project-management tool. The program integrates schedule and risk data for the purpose of determining the schedule applications of safety...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Turbomolecular Pumps for Holding Gases in Open Containers

Proposed special-purpose turbomolecular pumps denoted turbotraps would be designed, along with mating open containers, to prevent the escape of relatively slowly (thermal) moving gas molecules from the containers while allowing atoms moving at much greater speeds to pass through. In the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Serrating Nozzle Surfaces for Complete Transfer of Droplets

A method of ensuring the complete transfer of liquid droplets from nozzles in microfluidic devices to nearby surfaces involves relatively simple geometric modification of the nozzle surfaces. The method is especially applicable to nozzles in print heads and similar devices required to...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Triaxial Swirl Injector Element for Liquid-Fueled Engines

A triaxial injector is a single bi-propellant injection element located at the center of the injector body. The injector element consists of three nested, hydraulic swirl injectors. A small portion of the total fuel is injected through the central hydraulic injector, all of the oxidizer...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System for Packaging Planetary Samples for Return to Earth

A system is proposed for packaging material samples on a remote planet (especially Mars) in sealed sample tubes in preparation for later return to Earth. The sample tubes (Figure 1) would comprise (1) tubes initially having open tops and closed bottoms; (2) small, bellowslike collapsible...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Offset Compound Gear Drive

The Offset Compound Gear Drive is an in-line, discrete, two-speed device utilizing a special offset compound gear that has both an internal tooth configuration on the input end and external tooth configuration on the output end, thus allowing it to mesh in series, simultaneously, with both a smaller external tooth...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simple Check Valves for Microfluidic Devices

A simple design concept for check valves has been adopted for microfluidic devices that consist mostly of (1) deformable fluorocarbon polymer membranes sandwiched between (2) borosilicate float glass wafers into which channels, valve seats, and holes have been etched. The first microfluidic devices in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Dead-Volume Inlet for Vacuum Chamber

Gas introduction from near-ambient pressures to high vacuum traditionally is accomplished either by multi-stage differential pumping that allows for very rapid response, or by a capillary method that allows for a simple, single-stage introduction, but which often has a delayed response. Another means to...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Capillary-Based Static Phase Separator for Highly Variable Wetting Conditions

The invention, a static phase separator (SPS), uses airflow and capillary wetting characteristics to passively separate a two-phase (liquid and air) flow. The device accommodates highly variable liquid wetting characteristics. The resultant design allows for a range...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Heat Pipes Made From Magnesium

Magnesium has shown promise as a lighter-weight alternative to the aluminum alloys now used to make the main structural components of axially grooved heat pipes that contain ammonia as the working fluid. Magnesium heat-pipe structures can be fabricated by conventional processes that include extrusion,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Finned Carbon-Carbon Heat Pipe With Potassium Working Fluid

This elemental space radiator heat pipe is designed to operate in the 700 to 875 K temperature range. It consists of a C–C (carbon-carbon) shell made from poly-acrylonitride fibers that are woven in an angle interlock pattern and densified with pitch at high process temperature with...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ceramic Rail-Race Ball Bearings

Non-lubricated ball bearings featuring rail races have been proposed for use in mechanisms that are required to function in the presence of mineral dust particles in very low-pressure, dry environments with extended life. Like a conventional ball bearing, the proposed bearing would include an inner and an outer...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gimballing Spacecraft Thruster

A gimballing spacecraft reaction-control-system thruster was developed that consists of a small hydrogen/oxygen-burning rocket engine integrated with a Canfield joint. (Named after its inventor, a Canfield joint is a special gimbal mount that is strong and stable yet allows a wide range of motion.) One especially...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved OTEC System for a Submarine Robot

An ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), now undergoing development, is a less-massive, more-efficient means of exploiting the same basic principle as that of the proposed system described in “Alternative OTEC Scheme for a Submarine Robot” (NPO-43500), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Reflector Surface Error Compensation in Dual-Reflector Antennas

By probing the field on a small subreflector at a minimal number of points, the main reflector surface errors can be obtained and subsequently used to design a phase-correction subreflector that can compensate for main reflector errors. The compensating phase-error profile across...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Enriched Storable Oxidizers for Rocket Engines

The name “enriched storable oxidizers” (ESOs) has been coined for a family of optimized mixtures of between two and four oxidizer fluids. For most applications, the constituents of these mixtures would be nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Planar Submillimeter-Wave Mixer Technology With Integrated Antenna

High-performance mixers at terahertz frequencies require good matching between the coupling circuits such as antennas and local oscillators and the diode embedding impedance. With the availability of amplifiers at submillimeter wavelengths and the need to have multi-pixel imagers...

Briefs : Information Technology
Reactive Collision Avoidance Algorithm

The reactive collision avoidance (RCA) algorithm allows a spacecraft to find a fuel-optimal trajectory for avoiding an arbitrary number of colliding spacecraft in real time while accounting for acceleration limits. In addition to spacecraft, the technology can be used for vehicles that can accelerate in any...

Briefs : Information Technology
Modeling Common-Sense Decisions in Artificial Intelligence

A methodology has been conceived for efficient synthesis of dynamical models that simulate common-sense decision-making processes. This methodology is intended to contribute to the design of artificial-intelligence systems that could imitate human commonsense decision making or assist...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Graph-Based Path-Planning for Titan Balloons

A document describes a graph-based path-planning algorithm for balloons with vertical control authority and little or no horizontal control authority. The balloons are designed to explore celestial bodies with atmospheres, such as Titan, a moon of Saturn. The algorithm discussed enables the balloon to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanolaminate Membranes as Cylindrical Telescope Reflectors

A document discusses a proposal to use axially stretched metal nanolaminate membranes as lightweight parabolic cylindrical reflectors in the Dual Anamorphic Reflector Telescope (DART) — a planned spaceborne telescope in which the cylindrical reflectors would be arranged to obtain a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Fast Solution in Sparse LDA for Binary Classification

An algorithm that performs sparse linear discriminant analysis (Sparse-LDA) finds near-optimal solutions in far less time than the prior art when specialized to binary classification (of 2 classes). Sparse-LDA is a type of feature- or variable-selection problem with numerous applications in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Air-Sea Spray Airborne Radar Profiler Characterizes Energy Fluxes in Hurricanes

A report discusses ASAP (Air-sea Spray Airborne Profiler), a dual-wavelength radar profiler that provides measurement information about the droplet size distribution (DSD) of sea-spray, which can be used to estimate heat and moisture fluxes for hurricane research....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Large Telescope Segmented Primary Mirror Alignment

A document discusses a broadband (white light) point source, located at the telescope Cassegrain focus, which generates a cone of light limited by the hole in the secondary mirror (SM). It propagates to the aspheric null-mirror, which is optimized to make all the reflected rays to be normal to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simplified Night Sky Display System

A document describes a simple night sky display system that is portable, lightweight, and includes, at most, four components in its simplest configuration. The total volume of this system is no more than 106 cm3 in a disassembled state, and weighs no more than 20 kilograms. The four basic...

Who's Who
Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., Director, Marshall Space Flight Center

Robert Lightfoot Jr. began his career with NASA in 1989 as a test engineer and program manager for the space shuttle engine technology testbed program and the Russian RD-180 engine testing program. In 2002 he was named director of the Propulsion Test Directorate at Stennis Space...

Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., Director, Marshall Space Flight Center

Robert Lightfoot Jr. began his career with NASA in 1989 as a test engineer and program manager for the space shuttle engine technology testbed program and the Russian RD-180 engine testing program. In 2002 he was named director of the Propulsion Test Directorate at Stennis...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Demystifying Electro-Photonic Integrated Circuits

Fiber optic interconnects have enjoyed a relatively long history in long haul telecommunications due to their ability to transmit large quantities of data across great distances. As our society’s insatiable demand for communications bandwidth grows, we have seen the emerging necessity of...

Application Briefs : Lighting
Using Light to Reverse-Engineer a Steam Turbine

A turbine manufacturer wanted to get more power out of hundreds of turbines that were originally built and installed in the 1950s. The basic idea was to use the original outer casing but upgrade the internal components such as the blades and diaphragm. All of the components of the turbine needed to...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Widely Tunable Mode-Hop-Free External-Cavity Quantum Cascade Laser

The external-cavity quantum cascade laser (EC-QCL) system is based on an optical configuration of the Littrow type. It is a room-temperature, continuous- wave, widely tunable, mode-hop-free, mid-infrared, EC-QCL spectroscopic source. It has a single-mode tuning range of 155...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Non-Geiger-Mode Single-Photon Avalanche Detector With Low Excess Noise

This design constitutes a self-resetting (gain quenching), room-temperature operational semiconductor single-photon-sensitive detector that is sensitive to telecommunications optical wavelengths and is scalable to large areas (millimeter diameter) with high bandwidth and...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Using Whispering-Gallery-Mode Resonators for Refractometry

A method of determining the refractive and absorptive properties of optically transparent materials involves a combination of theoretical and experimental analysis of electromagnetic responses of whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) resonator disks made of those materials. The method was...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Product of the Month: Progressive-Scan Color Camera

The high-sensitivity IK-TF7 3CCD camera from Toshiba Imaging Systems (Irvine, CA) has been integrated into the new Micron III retinal imaging microscope, developed by Phoenix Research Labs (San Ramon, CA). The 3-chip, progressive-scan color camera features high resolution (1024 × 768 pixels)...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Illumination Design Software

LightTools® 7.0 illumination design and analysis software from Optical Research Associates (ORA®) (Pasadena, CA) supports Windows 7 and delivers expanded capabilities for both model construction and system analysis. Complex light source models can now be created instantly from any geometric object, including those...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Rugged Lenses

Resolve Optics (Chesham, UK) has introduced rugged lenses designed to meet and exceed environmental tests such as Def Stan 00-35 which includes vibration, shock, and bump testing over a temperature range of -40 °C to 70 °C. Lens optical coatings can be applied to meet a range of MIL Spec standards (including MIL-C-14806,...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Articulating Video Boreoscope

Titan Tool Supply (Buffalo, NY) has introduced the VJ7X1.5 articulating video boreoscope featuring onboard (standalone) image processing and battery-powered, portable operation. It has a high-resolution 2.4-inch TFT LCD screen with a sun visor and high-intensity LED lighting with adjustable brightness control. It...

Products : Photonics/Optics
High-Sensitivity Infrared Detectors

Cal Sensors (Santa Rosa, CA) has launched a line of IDA (Integrated Detector Assembly) lead selenide and lead sulfide high-sensitivity infrared detectors with integrated electronics enclosed within a compact, hermetically sealed TO-8 package. Covering the 1.0 to 5.5 μm infrared region, IDA detectors provide...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Image Dimension Measurement System

The IM-6000 Series image dimension measurement system from Keyence Corp. (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) includes an Intelligent Pattern Analysis Search System (iPASS) that locates, identifies, and measures parts placed anywhere within the unit’s 100mm field of view, eliminating the need for an x-y stage. A Part...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Single Photon Counting Module for 1064nm

The id400 from id Quantique (Geneva, Switzerland) is a photon counting module optimized for 1064nm wavelength. It includes an In-GaAsP/InP avalanche photodiode optimised for Geiger mode and a fast quenching electronic circuit. It comes with a control unit intended for APD temperature control and...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Temperature Controllers

VueMetrix (Martinsried, Germany) has introduced Vue-TEC-15 and Vue-TEC-24 temperature controllers that are microprocessor- controlled and feature advanced fault diagnostics, user-settable operational limits, and an extensive library of interface commands. They are switch mode DC/DC converters with smoothing filters to...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Compact LEDs

Mouser Electronics (Mansfield, TX) now stocks OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ OSLON SX LED series, mounted on an SMD ceramic LED package. The LEDs feature a 60° focused beam and are housed in a 3mm × 3mm package, with a life of 50,000 hours. Applications include LCD backlighting, camera flash, strobe light, and automotive...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Blue Laser Diodes

The CS405 and CS445 series blue laser diodes from Laser Components (Hudson, NH) are available in 405nm and 445nm wavelengths. They feature a stable beam profile, low noise level, minimal current consumption, and long lifespan. The diodes can be used as a light source in high-resolution printing technology and optical data...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Digital USB Microscope

Cole-Parmer (Veronon Hills, IL) offers a digital microscope that plugs into the USB port of PCs and laptops to view images with 10× up to 500× magnification. It features a polarizer to reduce glare on reflective items and six built-in lights with adjustable brightness. It also includes software for image and video...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Step-Down DC/DC Converter

Linear Technology (Milpitas, CA) has announced the LT3743, a synchronous step-down DC/DC converter designed to deliver constant current to drive high current LEDs. The device’s 5.5V to 36V input voltage range makes it suitable for applications including industrial, DLP projection, and architectural lighting. It...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Precision Linear Motor Stages

Dover, A Danaher Motion Company (Salem, NH), has introduced the MMG Mini-Mag line of precision linear motor stages. Four models are available that deliver 25mm, 50mm, 100mm, and 150mm travel, respectively. They provide uncompensated accuracy ranging from 2um to 8um and resolution ranging from 1.0um to 5nm. Each...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Polygonal Laser Scanner

Lincoln Laser Company (Phoenix, AZ) has introduced the KW Series polygonal laser scanner for material processing applications. The scanner uses a solid copper polygonal mirror that rotates to allow the laser beam to transfer rapidly from facet to facet, minimizing dwell time. It can handle beam power densities of 1,000...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Laser Diode ESD Protection

Pangolin Laser Systems (Orlando, FL) has introduced the L44 Series LASORB™ to protect laser diodes, photodiodes, and LEDs from single, multiple, and repeated ESD events of either positive or negative polarity. It also protects against reverse bias conditions. The LASORB mounts in a 2-pin, through-hole configuration,...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Adhesives and Sealants Literature

Henkel Corp. (Rocky Hill, CT) has introduced a six-page brochure of information about Loctite® adhesives and sealants for manufacturing photovoltaic and concentrating solar modules. The literature offers technical data on products for elastomeric bonding and sealing, rigid metal bonding, and junction box...


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