July 2007

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Radar Interferometer for Topographic Mapping of Glaciers and Ice Sheets

A report discusses Ka-band (35-GHz) radar for mapping the surface topography of glaciers and ice sheets at high spatial resolution and high vertical accuracy, independent of cloud cover, with a swath-width of 70 km. The system is a single- pass, single-platform...

Products
Origin 8

OriginLab Corp., Northampton, MA, has announced Origin 8 Windows-based data analysis and graphing software that operates around a revamped workbook space, which allows results of an analysis to be placed into a worksheet within a raw data’s workbook. Parameter values, statistics, and related analysis graphs are available whenever...

Who's Who
Karen Whitley, Expandable Structures for Exploration Task Lead

Karen WhitleyNASA plans to return to the Moon by 2020. For a sustained lunar presence, however, astronauts need habitats that can support them and their experments. To this end, researchers at NASA Langley, working with NASA contractor ILC Dover (Frederica, DE), are developing the...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Battery Power Source Options for Mission-Critical Applications

Selecting power source technology for mission critical devices is crucial to ensure success. Whether it is a monitor at the bottom of the ocean, a drill system at 30,000 feet into the Earth’s crust, or hand warmers on an astronaut in Earth orbit, the cost of failure in these...

Application Briefs : Energy
Power Complex Protects NASA Test Equipment
Centralized Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Lee Technologies
Fairfax, VA
703-968-0300
www.leetechnologies.com

NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS, is NASA’s primary site for rocket propulsion testing. It is also home to the Applied Research and...

Application Briefs : Physical Sciences
Diving Equipment Helps Expedition Team Uncover Microbial Adaptation to Harsh Environments
CODE Rebreathers and SSV Lifejackets
Aqua Lung
Vista, CA
760- 597-5000

The High Lakes Project (HLP) is funded by a grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute to the SETI/NAI team. The HLP is an endeavor involving a team of expert...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miniature Intelligent Sensor Module

An electronic unit denoted the Miniature Intelligent Sensor Module performs sensor signal conditioning functions and local processing of sensor data. The unit includes four channels of analog input/output circuitry, a processor, volatile and nonvolatile memory, and two Ethernet communication ports, all housed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
“Smart” Sensor Module

An assembly that contains a sensor, sensor signal conditioning circuitry, a sensor-readout analog-to-digital converter (ADC), data-storage circuitry, and a microprocessor that runs special-purpose software and communicates with one or more external computer(s) has been developed as a prototype of "smart" sensor modules...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Portable Apparatus for Electrochemical Sensing of Ethylene

A small, lightweight, portable apparatus based on an electrochemical sensing principle has been developed for monitoring low concentrations of ethylene in air. Ethylene has long been known to be produced by plants and to stimulate the growth and other aspects of the development of plants...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flight Qualified Micro Sun Sensor

A prototype small, lightweight micro Sun sensor (MSS) has been flight qualified as part of the attitude- determination system of a spacecraft or for Mars surface operations. The MSS has previously been reported at a very early stage of development in NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 1 (January 2004).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Increasing Linear Dynamic Range of a CMOS Image Sensor

A generic design and a corresponding operating sequence have been developed for increasing the linear-response dynamic range of a complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. The design provides for linear calibrated dual-gain pixels that operate at high gain at a low signal...

Briefs : Materials
Norbornene-Based Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Cells

Norbornene-based polymers have shown promise as solid electrolytes for lithium-based rechargeable electrochemical cells. These polymers are characterized as single-ion conductors.

Briefs : Materials
Making Single-Source Precursors of Ternary Semiconductors

&A synthesis route has been developed for the commercial manufacture of single- source precursors of chalcopyrite semiconductor absorber layers of thin-film solar photovoltaic cells. The semiconductors in question are denoted by the general formula...

Briefs : Materials
Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes for Fuel Cells

Poly-4 -vinylpyridinebisulfate (P4VPBS) is a polymeric salt that has shown promise as a water-free proton-conducting material (solid electrolyte) suitable for use in membrane/electrode assemblies in fuel cells. Heretofore, proton-conducting membranes in fuel cells have been made from...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Mo/Ti Diffusion Bonding for Making Thermoelectric Devices

An all-solid-state diffusion bonding process that exploits the eutectoid reaction between molybdenum and titanium has been developed for use in fabricating thermoelectric devices based on skutterudite compounds. In essence, the process is one of heating a flat piece of pure titanium in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Photodetectors on Coronagraph Mask for Pointing Control

It has been proposed to install a symmetrical array of photodetectors about the center of the mask of a coronagraph of the type used to search for planets orbiting remote stars. The purpose of this installation is to utilize the light from a star under observation as a guide in pointing the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Energy-Density, Low-Temperature Li/CFₓ Primary Cells

High-energy-density primary (nonrechargeable) electrochemical cells capable of relatively high discharge currents at temperatures as low as –40 °C have been developed through modification of the chemistry of commercial Li/CFx cells and batteries. The commercial...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
G⁴-FETs as Universal and Programmable Logic Gates

An analysis of a patented generic silicon-on-insulator (SOI) electronic device called a G4-FET has revealed that the device could be designed to function as a universal and programmable logic gate. The universality and programmability could be exploited to design logic circuits...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simulation of Heat Generation in Analyzing Thermoelastic Instability in Disk Brakes

During a vehicle's braking action, a wheel's kinetic energy is transformed into heat, which doesn't dissipate fast enough into the air stream from the brake to the brake disk. Thus, one of a disk brake's material properties — thermal conductivity —...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Buried Nanochannels From Nanowire Patterns

A method of fabricating channels having widths of tens of nanometers in silicon substrates and burying the channels under overlying layers of dielectric materials has been demonstrated. With further refinement, the method might be useful for fabricating nanochannels for manipulation and...

Briefs : Medical
Infrared Imaging System for Studying Brain Function

A proposed special-purpose infrared imaging system would be a compact, portable, less-expensive alternative to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) systems heretofore used to study brain function. Whereas a typical fMRI system fills a large room, and must be magnetically isolated, this...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Diamond Smoothing Tools

Diamond smoothing tools have been proposed for use in conjunction with diamond cutting tools that are used in many finish-machining operations. Diamond machining (including finishing) is often used, for example, in fabrication of precise metal mirrors.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Rarefying Spectra of Whispering-Gallery-Mode Resonators

A method of cleaning the mode spectra of whispering - gallery - mode (WGM) optical resonators has been devised to make such resonators more suitable for use as narrow-band optical filters. The method applies, more specifically, to millimeter- sized whispering - gallery - mode optical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Slot-Antenna/ Permanent-Magnet Device for Generating Plasma

A device that includes a rectangular - waveguide / slot - antenna structure and permanent magnets has been devised as a means of generating a substantially uniform plasma over a relatively large area, using relatively low input power and a low gas flow rate. The device utilizes electron...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Large-Area Permanent-Magnet ECR Plasma Source

A 40-cm-diameter plasma device has been developed as a source of ions for material-processing and ion-thruster applications. Like the device described in the immediately preceding article, this device utilizes electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) excited by microwave power in a magnetic field to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Broadband Achromatic Telecentric Lens

Lens works with a matched spectrometer for applications covering the entire solar-reflected spectrum.

A new type of lens design features broadband achromatic performance as well as telecentricity, using a minimum number of spherical elements. With appropriate modifications, the lens design form can...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electro-Optical Modulator Bias Control Using Bipolar Pulses

An improved method has been devised for controlling the DC bias applied to an electro-optical crystal that is part of a Mach-Zehnder modulator that generates low-duty-cycle optical pulses for a pulseposition modulation (PPM) optical datacommunication system. In such a system, it is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fiber-Optic Strain Gauge With High Resolution And Update Rate

An improved fiber-optic strain gauge is capable of measuring strains in the approximate range of 0 to 50 microstrains with a resolution of 0.1 microstrain. (To some extent, the resolution of the strain gauge can be tailored and may be extensible to 0.01 microstrain.) The total cost of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Temperature-Corrected Model of Turbulence in Hot Jet Flows

An improved correction has been developed to increase the accuracy with which certain formulations of computational fluid dynamics predict mixing in shear layers of hot jet flows. The CFD formulations in question are those derived from the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations closed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Mars-Approach Navigation Using In Situ Orbiters

A document discusses the continuing development of a navigation system that would enable a spacecraft to approach Mars on a trajectory precise enough to enable the spacecraft to land within 1 km of a specified location on the Martian surface. This degree of accuracy would represent an...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Efficient Optimization of Low-Thrust Spacecraft Trajectories

A paper describes a computationally efficient method of optimizing trajectories of spacecraft driven by propulsion systems that generate low thrusts and, hence, must be operated for long times. A common goal in trajectory-optimization problems is to find minimum-time, minimum-fuel, or...

Briefs : Information Technology
Generative Representations for Automated Design of Robots

A method of automated design of complex, modular robots involves an evolutionary process in which generative representations of designs are used. The term "generative representations" as used here signifies, loosely, representations that consist of or include algorithms, computer...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cylindrical Asymmetrical Capacitors for Use in Outer Space

A report proposes that cylindrical asymmetrical capacitors (CACs) be used to generate small thrusts for precise maneuvering of spacecraft on long missions. The report notes that it has been known for decades that when high voltages are applied to CACs in air, thrusts are generated...

Briefs : Information Technology
Protecting Against Faults in JPL Spacecraft

A paper discusses techniques for protecting against faults in spacecraft designed and operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The paper addresses, more specifically, faultprotection requirements and techniques common to most JPL spacecraft (in contradistinction to unique, mission specific...

Briefs : Information Technology
Enhanced Elliptic Grid Generation

An enhanced method of elliptic grid generation has been invented. Whereas prior methods require user input of certain grid parameters, this method provides for these parameters to be determined automatically.

Briefs : Information Technology
Automated Knowledge Discovery From Simulators

A computational method, SimLearn, has been devised to facilitate efficient knowledge discovery from simulators. Simulators are complex computer programs used in science and engineering to model diverse phenomena such as fluid flow, gravitational interactions, coupled mechanical systems, and nuclear,...

NASA Tech Needs
Orthobiologics to Treat Spine-Related Diseases

This organization seeks new orthobiologic technologies that stimulate bone growth, provide a growth scaffolding, and promote bone healing through osteoinduction (bone formation is actively induced) and osteoconduction (where a scaffold facilitates bone repair passively) in spinal fusion repairs....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithm Optimally Allocates Actuation of a Spacecraft

A report presents an algorithm that solves the following problem: Allocate the force and/or torque to be exerted by each thruster and reaction-wheel assembly on a spacecraft for best performance, defined as minimizing the error between (1) the total force and torque commanded by the...

NASA Tech Needs
Maintain Food Crispiness from Freezer Storage to Microwave Preparation

Methods are sought to replicate the texture of crunchy food in a convenience food stored in a freezer and prepared in a microwave oven. All ingredient-based solutions must be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for human consumption. Cost must be within 1 to 2 cents per pound...

Techs for License
Reusable, Dry Adhesive Material Utilizing Vertically Aligned Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Array

A novel dry adhesive is being developed that can mimic the hairs on a gecko's foot using vertically aligned multiwalled carbon nanotube (CNT) array. The use of CNT array as dry adhesive material allows reproducing biological adhesion structures and...

Techs for License
Reusable Adhesive Thermal Interface Material (TIM) To Improve the Contact Thermal Conductance

Current TIM technologies include thermal greases or pastes, phase change materials, solders and thermally conductive adhesive tapes. The thermal conductivity of the best thermal greases available in the market are on the order of 10^5 W/m^2 -K. However,...

Techs for License
Opportunity to Collaborate in a New CNT Array Adhesion Tape

A US government funded company is seeking industry support for further testing and development of its carbon nanotube (CNT) adhesive. The time frame for testing is the 3th quarter of 2007.

Techs for License
Multi-Purpose Split-Duct System for Cables

The cable industry uses cylindrical one-piece ducting, but installing cables in such a duct is labor-intensive, difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. This split-duct system features a patented extrusion manufactured from highimpact ABS plastic. The duct sections are hinged together along a...

Techs for License
Method of Making Textile Articles Impregnated with Predetermined Levels of Antibacterial Activity

This invention is a method for impregnating textiles with a predetermined amount of durable antibacterial materials (inorganic compound). BacterProof™ is a patented method for embedding an inorganic compound that kills both grampositive and...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Embedded Security: Down to the Silicon

Embedded applications are increasingly going online. With the introduction of new embedded technologies that utilize a wide variety of communications options from Ethernet to Wi-Fi and ZigBee, there is a pressing need to secure these applications against the same problems that are inherent in any networked...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Next-Gen Networks Drive AdvancedTCA Deployments

The evolution of technology and the never-ending thirst for higher bandwidth from industries and applications are pushing the limits of existing standards. The latest processors run faster and integrate more features, thus requiring greater power, more efficient cooling design, and a larger board...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Secure Your Embedded Wireless Network

Connecting devices like medical instruments, weigh scales, printers, sensors, and other embedded devices to wireless networks allows the user to gain unprecedented freedom and mobility without the need for cumbersome cabling. Traditionally, many of these devices have been confined to a certain area, and the...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Encapsulated Video “Brick” Bolsters Video Surveillance Along Boarder

Increasingly dependent on continuous video monitoring and recording, even today's more sophisticated security surveillance systems are often plagued by reliability problems. In some ways, more complex video systems are susceptible to signal and other dependability problems...

Products : Electronics & Computers
UDE 2.0.7 and UAD2 Debug Tools for Microcontrollers

A debug tool specially tailored to support the individual features of Infineon's new scalable XC2200 microcontoller family was recently released by PLS Development Tools (San Jose, CA). Infineon used the modular components-based Universal Debug Engine (UDE) 2.0.7 and the Universal Access Device...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Double-Sided Press-Fit Contacts for Mezzanine Applications

ERNI Electronics (Midlothian, VA) offers a portfolio of connectors from its unshrouded header system series (STL family). The singleor double-row versions are available in many different connection lengths and termination types including press-fit, dip-solder, THR, as well as right-angle...

Products : Electronics & Computers
16-bit A/D Transient Recorder PCI Cards

Strategic Test (Woburn, MA) has released six new Transient Recorder cards in the UF2- 4700 series. Using multiple 16-bit ADC's for true simultaneous sampling, the UF2-4700 cards are available with a choice of maximum sampling rates of 100 kS/s, 250 kS/s, and 500 kS/s, and come in 8- or 16- channel...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Single-Board Computer Delivers High-Performance I/O

Mosaic Industries (Newark, CA) has released the PDQ Board™, a compact I/O-rich single board computer. The PDQ Board™ includes 1 megabyte of memory, a Motorola 68HCS12 processor, dozens of analog and digital I/O lines, and versatile serial communications links onto a 2.5"...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Lead-Free Solder Paste for Varying Manufacturing Climates

Multicore® LF600, a halide-free, no-clean Pb-free solder paste from Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany), has been designed for humidity-resistance, making it best suited for varying manufacturing climates. Its formula allows for printing and reflow performance in regions where...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Quality Checking Software for RINEX Data

Leica Geosystems (St. Gallen, Switzerland) has introduced GNSS QC Version 1.3 (V1.3- Windows® Vista® compatible), a stand-alone software that runs alongside Leica GPS Spider or similar reference station software programs to perform automatic quality checking and reporting of the logged RINEX data....

Products : Electronics & Computers
RGB/DVI/Video Converter Boards for TFT LCDs

The new PRISMA II series of RGB/DVI/ Video Converter Boards from Apollo Display Technologies (Ronkonkoma, NY) provides a range of solutions with analog control for connecting TFT LCDs to standard graphics and video interfaces. Input signals such as analog RGB, analog video or DVI are automatically...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Automated Manufacturing Test Software for Wavesat WiMAX Chipsets

LitePoint (Sunnyvale. CA) has released the IQfact manufacturing test software for WiMAX products based on Wavesat chipsets. This turnkey software package runs on IQmax-500 R&D and IQmax-100 WiMAX manufacturing one-box test solutions.

Products : Electronics & Computers
JEDEC-Compliant Double-Data-Rate-Configurable Integrated Register Device

Inphi® (Westlake Village, CA) released the INSSTE32882, a JEDEC compliant Double Data Rate (DDR3) Configurable Integrated Register device from the Inphi ExacTik® Family of timing devices. The INSSTE32882 supports all existing DDR3- 800, DDR3-1066, and DDR3-1333...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Mini PCI Fieldbus Cards for Industrial PCs

Beckhoff Automation (Verl, Germany) has released Mini PCI fieldbus cards for PROFIBUS, CANopen, DeviceNet and Ethernet networks. With the Mini PC cards, the newest Beckhoff Industrial PCs, including the C69xx cabinet PCs and the CP62xx or CP72xx Control Panel PCs, are equipped to integrate additional...

Briefs : Materials
Removing Bioactive Contaminants by Use of Atomic Oxygen

A method of removing endotoxins and other biologically active organic compounds from the surfaces of solid objects is based on exposure of the objects to monatomic oxygen generated in oxygen plasmas. The mon- atomic oxygen reacts strongly and preferentially with the organic contaminants to...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Monolithic Diffraction Grating Arrays Enable Wide-Bandwidth Single-Shot Spectrometers

For the last forty years, manufacturing technology for diffraction gratings has not changed significantly. Mechanical ruling and interferometric (holographic) exposure have been the two predominant approaches used to fabricate gratings. Both approaches provide...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
InGaAs SWIR Imagers Optimize Semiconductor Inspection

As the volume of consumer electronics increases, semiconductor fabrication plants are manufacturing larger and larger wafers to handle the demand (e.g., 300 mm substrates). The escalating value of these larger wafers is driving the industry to employ more advanced imaging technologies for...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Electro-Optical Modulator Bias Control Using Bipolar Pulses

An improved method has been devised for controlling the DC bias applied to an electro-optical crystal that is part of a Mach-Zehnder modulator that generates low-duty-cycle optical pulses for a pulse-position modulation (PPM) optical data-communication system. In such a system, it is...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Optic Strain Gauge With High Resolution And Update Rate

An improved fiber-optic strain gauge is capable of measuring strains in the approximate range of 0 to 50 microstrains with a resolution of 0.1 microstrain. (To some extent, the resolution of the strain gauge can be tailored and may be extensible to 0.01 microstrain.) The total cost of...

Products
Product of the Month: Optical Receiver Stress Test Set

Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced the N4917A optical receiver stress test set to provide repeatable conformance and characterization test results. The design allows users to accurately characterize and verify standard conformance of receiver optical subassemblies and...

Products
Fiber Optical Switches

Laser Components IG (Hudson, NH) has introduced a series of fiber optical switches with core diameters of up to 600 μm. The "mol 1×N" and "mol 2×N" feature switching times of two milliseconds and low signal loss (less than 0.5 dB). The switches are available in various configurations, and come with or without a...

Products
Positioning and Scanning System

The P-363 PicoCubeTM positioning and scanning system from PI L.P. (Auburn, MA) is designed to provide ultra-high resolution and positional stability together with its E-536 driver/controller. Features of the P-363 include a high-speed XYZ scanner for AFM/SPM and manipulation tool for nanotechnology,...

Products
LED Backlighting

CI Lumen Industries (Hauppauge, NY) has introduced a light-emitting-diode (LED) backlighting solution for display panels. The technology, applicable for military or industrial end-uses, conserves power, features heat-relevant elevated brightness levels, and may be applied to LCD panels produced by other manufacturers. Developed...

Products
Diode Laser

Point Source (Hamble, UK) offers a 20-mW blue diode laser with a TEM00 true Gaussian beam, a higher power version of their range of iFLEX2000TM fiber-coupled lasers. The laser beam conditioning is performed using a single mode fiber, reducing beam astigmatism and spatial noise. The device employs a forward...

Products
Raman Spectrometer

The SE1000 Raman spectrometer from Mesophotonics (Southampton, UK) allows users to perform non-invasive, non-destructive analysis of materials with no sample preparation. The technique reports information on the molecular structure, identifying the material under scrutiny. It performs Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)...

Products
CCD Cameras

Lumenera Corp. (Ottawa, Canada) released the Lm family of mini-CCD USB 2.0 cameras for industrial markets. The Lm075, Lm135, and Lm165 function in low light conditions and where space is restricted. The cameras measure 44 × 44 × 56 mm, have fast frame at VGA through megapixel resolution, and include industrial locking USB and GPI/O...

Products
Pulsed Solid-State Laser

The TruPulse laser from TRUMPF (Farmington, CT) is a pulsed solid-state laser that allows the average power to be briefly exceeded and increases the pulse frequency. The product range is based on a modular supply structure, and the average power ranges from 20 to 150 watts at a maximum pulse power of up to 10 kilowatts....

Products
Portable Microscope/Camera

Aven (Ann Arbor, MI) offers the iLoupeTM, a portable digital-field microscope/camera. The microscope aspect is constructed by attaching the removable microscopic module, which features lens magnifications from 60× to 150×, to a digital Canon SD600 six-megapixel camera. Applications include forensics,...

Products
Scintillation Crystals

SAES Getters Group (Liante, Italy) has introduced the Lu(Y)AP scintillation crystal for next-generation Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners. The Lu(Y)AP scintillation material features improved energy resolution, a decay time of 20 ns, and high stopping power and temperature performance for use in medical imaging...