July 2006

Briefs : Medical
Implantable Wireless MEMS Sensors for Medical Uses

Sensors designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are being developed for several medical applications in outer space and on Earth.The designs of these sensors are based on a core design family of pressure sensors, small enough to fit into the...

Briefs : Medical
Dehydrating and Sterilizing Wastes Using Supercritical CO2

A relatively low-temperature process for dehydrating and sterilizing biohazardous wastes in an enclosed life-support system exploits (1) the superior mass-transport properties of supercritical fluids in general and (2) the demonstrated sterilizing property of supercritical CO2...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Airport Remote Tower Sensor Systems

Networks of video cameras, meteorological sensors, and ancillary electronic equipment are under development in collaboration among NASA Ames Research Center, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These networks are to be established at and near...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Embedded Sensors for Measuring Surface Regression

The development and evaluation of new hybrid and solid rocket motors requires accurate characterization of the propellant surface regression as a function of key operational parameters. These characteristics establish the propellant flow rate and are prime design drivers affecting the propulsion...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Range-Measuring Video Sensors

Optoelectronic sensors of a proposed type would perform the functions of both electronic cameras and triangulation- type laser range finders. That is to say, these sensors would both (1) generate ordinary video or snapshot digital images and (2) measure the distances to selected spots in the images. These sensors...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miniature Housings for Electronics With Standard Interfaces

A family of general-purpose miniature housings has been designed to contain diverse sensors, actuators, and drive circuits plus associated digital electronic readout and control circuits. Each housing fits within an envelope having dimensions of about 2-1.4 by 1-3.4 by 1.2 in. (about...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Receiver Would Control Phasing of a Phased-Array Antenna

In a proposed digital signal-processing technique, a radio receiver would control the phasing of a phased-array antenna to aim the peaks of the antenna radiation pattern toward desired signal sources while aiming the nulls of the pattern toward interfering signal sources. The technique was...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Modern Design of Resonant Edge-Slot Array Antennas

Resonant edge-slot (slotted-waveguide) array antennas can now be designed very accurately following a modern computational approach like that followed for some other microwave components. This modern approach makes it possible to design superior antennas at lower cost than was previously...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simplified Optics and Controls for Laser Communications

A document discusses an architecture of a spaceborne laser communication system that provides for a simplified control subsystem that stabilizes the line of sight in a desired direction.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Coherent Detection of High-Rate Optical PPM Signals

A method of coherent detection of highrate pulse-position modulation (PPM) on a received laser beam has been conceived as a means of reducing the deleterious effects of noise and atmospheric turbulence in free space optical communication using focal plane detector array technologies. In...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonically Actuated Tools for Abrading Rock Surfaces

An ultrasonic rock-abrasion tool (URAT) was developed using the same principle of ultrasonic/sonic actuation as that of the tools described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors (NPO-20856), Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 38...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Active Struts With Variable Spring Stiffness and Damping

Controllable active struts that would function as linear actuators with variable spring stiffness and damping have been proposed as components of advanced suspension systems of future wheeled ground vehicles. The contemplated advanced suspension systems would include computer-based control...

Briefs : Materials
Stability Enhancement of Polymeric Sensing Films Using Fillers

Experiments have shown the stability enhancement of polymeric sensing films on mixing the polymer with colloidal filler particles (submicron-sized) of carbon black, silver, titanium dioxide, and fumed silicon dioxide. The polymer films are candidates for potential use as sensing...

Briefs : Materials
Nanotube Dispersions Made With Charged Surfactant

Dispersions (including monodispersions) of nanotubes in water at relatively high concentrations have been formulated as prototypes of reagents for use in making fibers, films, and membranes based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Other than water, the ingredients of a dispersion of this...

Briefs : Materials
Aerogels for Thermal Insulation of Thermoelectric Devices

Silica aerogels have been shown to be attractive for use as thermal insulation materials for thermoelectric devices. It is desirable to thermally insulate the legs of thermoelectric devices to suppress lateral heat leaks that degrade thermal efficiency. Aerogels offer not only high...

Briefs : Materials
Low-Density, Creep Resistant Single Crystal Superalloys

Several recently formulated nickelbase superalloys have been developed with excellent high-temperature creep resistance, at lower densities than those of currently used nickel-base superalloys. These alloys are the latest products of a continuing effort to develop alloys that have even...

Briefs : Materials
Wire-Mesh-Based Sorber for Removing Contaminants From Air

A paper discusses an experimental regenerable sorber for removing CO2 and trace components — principally, volatile organic compounds, halocarbons, and NH3 — from spacecraft cabin air. This regenerable sorber is a prototype of what is intended to be a lightweight...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Estimation of Stability and Control Derivatives of an F-15

A technique for real-time estimation of stability and control derivatives (derivatives of moment coefficients with respect to control-surface deflection angles) was used to support a flight demonstration of a concept of an indirect-adaptive intelligent flight control system (IFCS)....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Excitations for Rapidly Estimating Flight-Control

A flight test on an F-15 airplane was performed to evaluate the utility of prescribed simultaneous independent surface excitations (PreSISE) for real-time estimation of flight-control parameters, including stability and control derivatives. The ability to extract these derivatives in nearly real...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tool for Coupling a Torque Wrench to a Round Cable Connector

A tool makes it possible to couple a torque wrench to an externally knurled, internally threaded, round cable connector. The purpose served by the tool is to facilitate the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Controlling Attitude of a Solar-Sail Spacecraft Using Vanes
A paper discusses a concept for controlling the attitude and thrust vector of a three-axis stabilized Solar Sail spacecraft using only four single degree of freedom articulated spar-tip vanes. The vanes, at the corners of the sail, would be turned to commanded angles about the diagonals of...
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Sensors for Using Times of Flight To Measure Flow Velocities

Thin-film sensors for measuring flow velocities in terms of times of flight are undergoing development. These sensors are very small and can be mounted flush with surfaces of airfoils, ducts, and other objects along which one might need to measure flows. Alternatively or in addition,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using Satellite Data in Weather Forecasting: I

The GOES Product Generation System (GPGS) is a set of computer codes and scripts that enable the assimilation of real-time Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data into regional weather forecasting mathematical models. The GPGS can be used to derive such geophysical parameters...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Alpha-Voltaic Sources Using Liquid Ga as Conversion Medium

A family of proposed miniature sources of power would exploit the direct conversion of the kinetic energy of a particles into electricity. In addition to having long operational lives, these sources are expected to operate with energy-conversion efficiencies from 70 to 90 percent.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ice-Borehole Probe

An instrumentation system has been developed for studying interactions between a glacier or ice sheet and the underlying rock and/or soil. Prior borehole imaging systems have been used in well-drilling and mineral-exploration applications and for studying relatively thin valley glaciers, but have not been used for studying...

Photonics Tech Briefs : Physical Sciences
White-Light Whispering-Gallery-Mode Optical Resonators

Whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators can be designed to exhibit continuous spectra over wide wavelength bands (in effect, white-light spectra), with ultrahigh values of the resonance quality factor (Q) that are nearly independent of frequency. White-light WGM resonators have...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Carbon-Nanotube Schottky Diodes

Schottky diodes based on semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes are being developed as essential components of the next generation of submillimeter-wave sensors and sources. Initial performance predictions have shown that the performance characteristics of these devices can exceed those of the...

Briefs : Software
Coordinating an Autonomous Earth- Observing Sensorweb
A system of software has been developed to coordinate the operation of an autonomous Earth-observing sensorweb. Sensorwebs are collections of sensor units scattered over large regions to gather data on spatial and temporal patterns of physical, chemical, or biological phenomena in those regions....
Briefs : Software
Using Dissimilarity Metrics to Identify Interesting Designs
A computer program helps to blend the power of automated-search software, which is able to generate large numbers of design solutions, with the insight of expert designers, who are able to identify preferred designs but do not have time to examine all the solutions. From among the many...
Briefs : Software
X-Windows PVT Widget Class

The X-Windows Process Validation Table (PVT) Widget Class ("Class" is used here in the object oriented programming sense of the word) was devised to simplify the task of implementing network registration services for Information Sharing Protocol (ISP) graphical user interface (GUI) computer programs. Heretofore, ISP...

Briefs : Software
Shuttle Data Center File- Processing Tool in Java

A Java-language computer program has been written to facilitate mining of data in files in the Shuttle Data Center (SDC) archives. This program can be executed on a variety of workstations or via Web-browser programs. This program is partly similar to prior C-language programs used for the same...

Briefs : Software
Statistical Evaluation of Utilization of the ISS

PayLoad Utilization Modeler (PLUM) is a statistical-modeling computer program used to evaluate the effectiveness of utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) in terms of the number of research facilities that can be operated within a specified interval of time. PLUM is designed to...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
30 Years of Electronics & Semiconductors

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from...

How Much Financing Does Your Growing Company Need?

How much money will your growing company need? The answer is, you want enough investment to grow the company to its potential, yet do not want to over-fund, giving up too much equity. You cannot raise funds without a reasonable estimate of what you need.

Briefs : Medical
Multiaxis, Lightweight, Computer-Controlled Exercise System

The multipurpose, multiaxial, isokinetic dynamometer (MMID) is a computer-controlled system of exercise machinery that can serve as a means for quantitatively assessing a subject’s muscle coordination, range of motion, strength, and overall physical condition with respect to a wide...

NEiNastran V9

Noran Engineering, Westminster, CA, has released NEiNastran V9 finite element analysis (FEA) software for engineering analysis and simulation. Performance enhancements include added support for model input files over 10 million lines in size, an enhanced Lanczos eigensolver, and improved performance for models with composite...

Who's Who
Dr. Jeff Jones, Lead for Exploration Medical Operations

At remote sites, the International Space Station, or missions to the Moon or Mars, illness and injury can be extremely serious. Far from hospitals, scientists and astronauts may find themselves dealing with medical situations for which they have no training. Telemedicine enables doctors and...

Application Briefs : Propulsion
Electromechanical System Provides Satellite Propulsion
Cold Gas Micro Thruster (CGMT)
Marotta Controls
Montville, NJ
Application Briefs : Software
Analysis Software Plans Inter-Planetary Trajectory Maneuvers
Satellite Tool Kit (STK) data analysis software
Analytical Graphics (AGI)
Exton, PA
Techs for License
Flexible, Formable, Paintable LCDs


Articles : Photonics/Optics
Distributed Intelligence Drives High-Energy Laser Manufacturing

Historically, high-energy (Joule-class) nanosecond YAG lasers have been confined primarily to laboratory research facilities and government labs. System designs were unique for each facility and the low number of systems worldwide made the learning curve for system improvement slow....

Articles : Photonics/Optics
DFM Your Device? Simulation Is the Answer

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) has taken off like a rocket in the electronics industry in recent years. Performing process and device simulations on CMOS transistors in a DFM flow have proven to be important in shortening the design cycle and reducing the production cost by improving yield. These are the...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
HBLEDs: Tackle Your Silicone Packaging Problems

It is widely known that the light emitting diode (LED) R&D and commercialization community is striving to produce higher power, bright-white-light LEDs. From both a temperature and UV-resistance standpoint, silicone is rapidly becoming the material of choice for the next-generation chip...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Simplified Optics and Controls for Laser Communications

A document discusses an architecture of a spaceborne laser communication system that provides for a simplified control subsystem that stabilizes the line of sight in a desired direction. Heretofore, a typical design for a spaceborne laser communication system has called for a high-bandwidth...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Coherent Detection of High-Rate Optical PPM Signals

A method of coherent detection of high-rate pulse-position modulation (PPM) on a received laser beam has been conceived as a means of reducing the deleterious effects of noise and atmospheric turbulence in free-space optical communication using focal-plane detector array technologies. In...

Raman Spectrometer

Lambda Solutions (Waltham, MA) has released the Dimension-P Series Raman spectrometers providing real-time analysis and monitoring in pharmaceutical or food processing quality control. The systems are operated via RamanSoft™ software that features proprietary algorithms and automation capability for data acquisition, data...

Color Cameras

PPT VISION (Minneapolis, MN) has added the IMPACT™ T28 and the IMPACT™ T24 to its line of IMPACT T-series color cameras designed for inline industrial vision applications. The IMPACT T28 provides a 1,600 × 1,200 pixel resolution and is suitable for color verification, label inspection, and real-time part sorting. The IMPACT...

Simulation Software

Liekki (Reston, VA) offers Liekki Application Designer (LAD) v3.1 software for power fiber laser and amplifier simulation. It includes tools for designing systems employing large mode area fibers. Using multimode propagation, the software can calculate the optical power propagation along the doped fiber for each mode in...

Confocal Optical Pens

Confocal chromatic optical pens from Micro Photonics (Irvine, CA) allow 30 different optical pen configurations for specific depth of field, spot size, working distance, object slope, and photometric efficiency. Users can choose from five magnifiers, ranging from 3.3-mm to 29-mm focal lengths, and six different chromatic...

Photon Image Sensor

Andor Technology (South Windsor, CT) has introduced the iXonEM + EMCCD camera that can detect single photon events without an image intensifier. It offers photon collection efficiencies of up to 95% QE, readout speeds up to 35 MHz, 14- and 16- bit digitization, and thermoelectric cooling to -100°C. The system’s vertical...

Green Laser Diode Modules

A line of green laser diode modules available from BEA Lasers (Elk Grove Village, IL) is suitable for spectroscopy, particle measurement, medical tissue analysis, interferometry, holography, robotic control, and flow visualization. The Model 2501 is a fixed-focus CW diode pumped laser diode module with a beam divergence...

Vibration Isolation Workstation

Kinetic Systems (Boston, MA) offers the MK26 vibration isolation workstation for ultra-low natural frequency applications. It utilizes the Minus K® vertical isolator, which uses a stiff spring and a negative-stiffness mechanism to provide vertical stiffness without affecting the static load-supporting capability....

Diode Laser System

TOPTICA Photonics AG (Graefelfing, Germany) offers the TA 100 single-mode output diode laser and amplifier systems, which may serve as a replacement for dye- or frequency-doubled solidstate lasers. The red-wavelength lasers provide a sensing range of 660 to 673 nm and an output power of 250 mW. The amplifier systems provide a...

Molded Glass Lenses

Moulded Optics GmbH (Schoffengrund, Germany) offers single-sided rod and blank-molded aspheric lenses made of crown, borosilicate, and high-refractive glass materials in diameter sizes from 2 mm to 100 mm. The aspheric first surface is molded and the spherical second surface is either ground and polished or molded. The lenses...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Alpha-Voltaic Sources Using Diamond as Conversion Medium

These units would offer long life and high energy-conversion efficiency.

A family of proposed miniature sources of power would exploit the direct conversion of the kinetic energy of a particles into electricity in diamond semiconductor diodes. These power sources would function...

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