August 2014

News : Electronics & Computers
Electronic Noses Detect Chemical Warfare Gases

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a prototype electronic "nose" for the detection of chemical warfare gases, mainly nerve gas, such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun.

News : Electronics & Computers
What Limits Computers From Getting Smaller and More Powerful?

Computers have radically transformed industry, commerce, entertainment, and governance while shrinking to become ubiquitous handheld portals to the world.

News : Semiconductors & ICs
Fundamental Chemistry Could Help Extend Moore's Law

Over the years, computer chips have gotten smaller thanks to advances in materials science and manufacturing technologies. This march of progress, the doubling of transistors on a microprocessor roughly every two years, is called Moore's Law. But there's one component of the chip-making process...

News : Medical
Prosthetic Arm Controlled by Imagining a Motion

Controlling a prosthetic arm by just imagining a motion may be possible through the work of Mexican scientists at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies. First, it is necessary to know if there is a memory pattern in the amputee's brain in order to know how the arm moved. The pattern is then...

Question of the Week
Would You Use A Biometric System to Make Your Purchases?

Many consumers are making transactions today with contactless cards and mobile payments. Quixter, a biometric system developed in Sweden, allows consumers to make purchases quickly by reading vein patterns in their palm. The shopper holds his or her hand over the device after entering the...

Who's Who
Scott Jensen, Aerospace Technologist (AST) Electronics Engineer, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

Scott Jensen and his team developed the Valve Health Monitoring System (VHMS), a technology designed for detecting deterioration in the mechanical integrity of high-geared ball valves and linearly actuated valves. Beyond valve monitoring, the...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA Tests Robot Swarms for Autonomous Movement

NASA engineers and interns are testing a group of robots and related software that will show whether it's possible for autonomous machines to scurry about an alien world such as the Moon, searching for and gathering resources just as an ant colony does.

News : Materials
Water Splitter Runs on AAA Battery

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Create Energy-Absorbing Material

Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations.

A team of engineers and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has found a way to design and fabricate, at the microscale, new cushioning materials...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
DARPA Teams With Industry to Create Spaceplane

DARPA has created an Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) to create a new paradigm for more routine, responsive, and affordable space operations. In an important step toward that goal, DARPA has awarded prime contracts for Phase 1 of XS-1 to three companies: The Boeing Company (working with Blue Origin,...

News : Imaging
Custom Surface Inspection System for Safety-Critical Processes

Researchers have engineered a high-precision modular inspection system that can be adapted on a customer-specific basis and integrated into the production process. Before a workpiece leaves the production plant, it is subjected to rigorous inspection. For safety-critical applications...

News : Aerospace
NASA 3D Printing Technique Creates Metal Spacecraft Parts

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are implementing a printing process that transitions from one metal or alloy to another in a single object. JPL scientists have been developing a technique to address this problem since 2010. An effort to improve the methods of combining...

Question of the Week
Would You Use a Wearable Baby Monitor?

A new technology from Sproutling, a startup founded by former Apple and Google engineers, is a wearable baby monitor. By strapping the device around an infant's ankle, parents can determine their child's heart rate, movement, and mood. The environmental sensor also measures the humidity, noise levels, and...

News : Energy
Researchers Develop Solar Technologies, Origami-Style

As a high school student at a study program in Japan, Brian Trease would fold wrappers from fast-food cheeseburgers into cranes. He loved discovering different origami techniques in library books.

Today, Trease, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Laser Technology to Make 2020 Mission to Mars

NASA announced recently that laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been selected for its new Mars mission in 2020. SuperCam, which builds upon the successful capabilities demonstrated aboard the Curiosity Rover during NASA’s current Mars Mission, will allow...

News : Materials
Secret of Eumelanin’s Ability to Absorb Broad Spectrum of Light Uncovered

Melanin — and specifically, the form called eumelanin — is the primary pigment that gives humans the coloring of their skin, hair, and eyes. It protects the body from the hazards of ultraviolet and other radiation that can damage cells and lead to skin cancer. But...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Physicists Create Water Tractor Beam

Physicists at The Australian National University have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.

The group discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling...

News : Electronics & Computers
New Circuits Can Function at Temperatures Above 650°F

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius — or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the functioning of processors,...

News : Semiconductors & ICs
Engineers Hope to Create Electronics That Stretch at the Molecular Level

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego are asking what might be possible if semiconductor materials were flexible and stretchable without sacrificing electronic function?

20W High Density DC-DC Converters

Artesyn Embedded Technologies (Tempe, AZ), formerly Emerson Network Power's Embedded Computing & Power business, has announced the new AXA series of compact 20W high power density DC-DC converters. Artesyn AXA series modules cover an ultra-wide 4:1 input voltage range of 9 to 36 VDC and 18 to 75 VDC. The...

Fanless Transportation Computers

Kontron (Poway, CA) has launched TRACe™, its new family of operational computers designed specifically for the transportation market. The first platform is the TRACe™ B304-TR, which is an EN50155-certified fanless transportation computer designed to make customization easy to meet application-specific...


LEMO (Rohnert Park, CA) has added a new connector size to its M Series. The new MM connectors are the most compact in the lightweight M Series product line. The MM connectors are available with 3 or 4 contacts and are some of the smallest IP68 connectors that LEMO offers. With this very small connector, LEMO completes the M series...

Raspberry Pi Model B Enclosure

Hammond Manufacturing (Cheektowaga, NY) has developed a new molded enclosure specifically designed to house the Raspberry Pi Model B credit card sized computer. The 1593HAM is available in translucent blue, grey and black. The Raspberry Pi board clips into the base and, in turn, the top half of the enclosure then...

Question of the Week
Are You Encouraged by Robots' Increasing Role in the Workplace?

A recent Pew Research Center and Elon University report of nearly 1,900 technology experts suggests that the rise of robots in the workplace could bring both disruptions and benefits. As artificial intelligence replace jobs in factories and shop floors, some pros say that the...

News : Imaging
NASA Engineer Set to Complete First 3D-Printed Space Cameras

By the end of September, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is expected to complete the first imaging telescopes ever assembled almost exclusively from 3D-manufactured components.

Under his multi-pronged project, funded by Goddard’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD)...

News : Imaging
Researchers Extract Audio from Visual Information

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, the team was able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed...

News : Motion Control
NASA Begins Engine Test of Space Launch System Rocket

Engineers are preparing to test parts of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will send humans to space. They installed an RS-25 engine on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center. The Stennis team will perform developmental and flight certification testing of the RS-25 engine, a...

News : Test & Measurement
Airbags Take the Weight in Load Tests of Aircraft

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Flight Loads Laboratory completed structural evaluations on a modified Gulfstream G-III aircraft that will serve as a test bed for the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) project. The loads tests assisted engineers in predicting the levels of...

News : Automotive
Students Learn On-the-Fly Engineering in Solar Car Competition

Nine teams of solar powered model cars competed during the inaugural Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) competition held at the STEM Education and Outreach Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. The JSS is a nationwide competition funded by the Army Educational Outreach Program, which...

News : Aerospace
Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Geysers and More on Saturn Moon

Scientists using mission data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests it is possible for liquid water to reach from the moon’s underground sea all the way to its surface.

News : Imaging
Acoustic Bottle Bends Paths of Sound Waves

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories.

The acoustic “bottle” features a...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
'Active' Surfaces Control How Particles Move

Researchers at MIT and in Saudi Arabia have developed a new way of making surfaces that can actively control how fluids or particles move across them. The work might enable new kinds of biomedical or microfluidic devices, or solar panels that could automatically clean themselves of dust and...

Question of the Week
Will Apps Like Timeful Improve Your Time Management Skills?

Timeful, a new iPhone app, syncs traditional time management tools, such as calendars and to-do lists. The app also reveals progress on tasks and illuminates how users are spending their hours at work and at home. The technology calculates how much time one needs to perform specific...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Army to Get New IED Detector Technology

Detecting improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan requires constant, intensive monitoring using rugged equipment. When Sandia researchers first demonstrated a modified miniature synthetic aperture radar (MiniSAR) system to do just that, some experts didn't believe it. But those early doubts are long...

Tiny Laser Sensor Heightens Bomb Detection Sensitivity

A team of researchers led by Xiang Zhang, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, has found a way to dramatically increase the sensitivity of a light-based plasmon sensor to detect incredibly minute concentrations of explosives. The researchers noted that the sensor could...

Army Develops First-of-Its Kind Phase-Coherent Fiber Laser Array System

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Computational and Information Science Directorate's Intelligent Optics Team, and partners, recently developed, engineered, demonstrated and delivered the world's first known working Adaptive Phase Coherent Fiber Laser Array system, which...

Articles : Lighting
Heat Pipe Solutions for LED Devices

LEDs are experiencing increasing acceptance and growth across many market segments. Part of this growth is due to new, higher-power LEDs that can be packaged in increasingly small areas. However, increased...

Articles : Lighting Technology
LED Phosphor Application

The most common, and cost-effective, method of delivering white light from an LED is to combine a blue “pump” LED source under a layer of phosphor or phosphor blends to achieve the desired spectrum. While there are relatively few manufacturers of high-quality blue LED die, there are a substantial number of companies...

Application Briefs : Lighting
Lighting Design Firm Wins Award for Innovative Theater Illumination

GE Lighting, East Cleveland, OH

Schuler Shook Inc., Chicago, IL

During this year’s Lightfair International in Las Vegas, Nevada, GE Lighting announced the winner of its 31st annual international GE Edison Award. This award recognizes excellence and quality in...

Application Briefs : Lighting
Dynamic Lighting Control Saves Energy, Reinforces Energetic Atmosphere

AWeber Communications in Chalfont, PA thrives on creative energy. From free-form office space, to tube slide transports, to a dynamic lighting control system that automatically responds to the outdoor environment, AWeber offices combine playfulness with productivity and...

Application Briefs : Lighting
LED Drives Savings in Manufacturing & Distribution Lighting

What do you do when you move your manufacturing and main distribution center into a new facility, and your business is built on providing key components to LED lighting OEMs? If you’re Thomas Research Products (TRP), a leading supplier of LED drivers in North America, along with LED...

Briefs : Lighting
Gallium Nitride Nanowire Tips Function as LEDs

A team of researchers has demonstrated that atomic force microscope (AFM) probe tips made from its near-perfect gallium nitride nanowires are superior in many respects to standard silicon or platinum tips in measurements of critical importance to microchip fabrication, nanobiotechnology, and other...

Briefs : Lighting
New Technique Makes LEDs Brighter, More Resilient

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new processing technique that makes light emitting diodes (LEDs) brighter and more resilient by coating the semiconductor material gallium nitride (GaN) with a layer of phosphorus-derived acid.

News : Lighting
Light-Emitting Properties of Quantum Dots Can Help Harvest Sunlight

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that the superior...

News : Lighting
NIST Studies Why Quantum Dots Suffer from ‘Fluorescence Intermittency’

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), working in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, have found that a particular species of quantum dots that weren't commonly thought to blink, do. Although the blinks are short — on the...

News : Lighting
Novel Nanoparticle Production Method Could Lead to Better Lights, Lenses, Solar Cells

Sandia National Laboratories has come up with an inexpensive way to synthesize titanium-dioxide nanoparticles and is seeking partners who can demonstrate the process at industrial scale for everything from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

News : Lighting
Researchers Determine LEDs Are Safe for Skin

There was a time when no one thought about light bulbs; when one blew, you simply screwed in another one. Nowadays, it’s more complicated, as energy efficiency concerns have given rise to a slew of options, including incandescent, compact fluorescent lights, and light emitting diodes.

Products : Lighting
Tetrapod Quantum Dot Samples

Quantum Materials Corp. (San Marcos, TX) announced that it has shipped Tetrapod Quantum Dots in sample quantities to a diversified leading Asian-based electronics manufacturer. Tetrapod Quantum Dots are an advanced nanoscale material that improves the performance and energy efficiency of very high-resolution...

Products : Lighting
LED Light Engines

Norlux (Carol Stream, IL) LED design services for OEMs recently created 8 families of standard light engines for TRP, ready to drop into existing luminaires. Depending on the model, color temperature options range from 2700K to 5000K, most with 83 CRI or better. Each LED board can be matched to a complementary TRP driver for a...

Products : Lighting
SOLA II LED Based Light Engines

Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA) is partnering with Lumencor Inc. to offer the SOLA II Series of LED-based light engines as an addition to its range of photonics instruments. The Sola II light engines are intense, white-light solid state illuminators for bio analysis and microscopy applications. With their unique...

Products : Lighting
LED Circuits

Heraeus Precious Metals (West Conshohocken, PA) is pleased to announce the continuing performance growth and reliability of CelcionTM. CelcionTM is a thick film material system designed to produce electronic circuits for LED lighting on aluminum substrates. It is a highly efficient alternative to traditional...

Articles : Motion Control
Redundant Sensors Improve Precision and Reliability

Some machine processes, such as presses, can require extreme accuracy in applying and holding force on an object. A popular way to measure force is via load cells. But what do you do when the accuracy required by a particular application is higher than that guaranteed by the load cell...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motion Control System Gives Farmers a Hands-Free Approach in Vehicles

The important job of a farmer requires long hours of field work. The often monotonous tasks of driving agricultural vehicles to work long rows in the field — whether it be planting, maintenance, or harvesting — is undeniably arduous and fraught with potential for human...

Briefs : Motion Control
Compact Active Vibration Control System

This innovation consists of an analog controller, diamond-shaped patch actuator, and point sensors (such as accelerometers). The actuator is designed to couple to the flexural response of the structure in the same manner as a group of point sensors. This results in a co-located transducer pair. The signals...

Briefs : Motion Control
Deep Throttling Turbopump

Advancement in space exploration necessitates deep throttling of liquid cryogenic rocket engines. Both lunar and Martian robotic and human exploration require engines that can be deep throttled,can start and restart, have a long life, and require minimal maintenance. An engine that is capable of deep throttling at low...

Briefs : Motion Control
Analyzing Rollover Stability of Capsules With Airbags Using LS-Dyna

As NASA moves towards developing technologies needed to implement its new Exploration program, studies conducted for Apollo in the 1960s to understand the rollover stability of capsules landing are being revisited. Although rigid body kinematics analyses of the rollover behavior...

Briefs : Motion Control
Test Fixture for Isolation of Vibration Shaker from G-Loading

The first step in implementing the capability to test sensitive launch vehicle instruments in a combined environment has been completed. The test environment consists of specific vibration spectra induced under sustained Gs, using NASTAR’s ATFS-400 centrifuge. Fixtures allow...

Briefs : Motion Control
Rotary Series Elastic Actuator

In order to perform human-like movement, an actuator is placed at each degree of freedom (DOF) in a humanoid robot. Additionally, these actuators must be packaged in an arrangement that approximates human structure and appearance. In this innovation, a rotary actuator assembly incorporates a brushless DC motor, a...

Vision-Correcting Display Replaces Reading Glasses

UC Berkeley computer and vision scientists are developing computer algorithms to compensate for an individual’s visual impairment. The researchers have created vision-correcting displays that enable users to see text and images clearly without wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.


NASA 3D-Printing Process Transitions from Metal to Metal

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are implementing a 3D-printing process that transitions from one metal or alloy to another in a single object.

"You can have a continuous transition from alloy to alloy to alloy, and you can study a wide range of...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Motor Stages

Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) offers HLD117 linear motor stages for microscope automation. They feature repeatability of 0.15 μm, scanning speeds of up to 300 mm per second, and low-velocity ripple even at speeds down to one micron per second. A low-profile, flat-top design and ultra-quiet operation make the stage suited...

Motion Control and Automation Technology : Motion Control
Position Sensors

ams AG (Raleigh, NC) has introduced the 47 Series magnetic position sensors featuring a technology capable of producing accurate angle measurements of rotors spinning at high speed. The sensors feature DAEC™ (Dynamic Angle Error Compensation), a patent-pending technology that eliminates the measurement error attributable to...

Products : Motion Control
Part Gripper

The EGP from SCHUNK (Morrisville, NC) is an electric small part gripper that weighs 110 g, and has a stroke of 3 mm per finger. The gripping force can be adjusted on two stages, and its maximum gripping force amounts to 40 N. The gripper can handle workpieces of up to 200 g. Its closing time amounts to 0.09 s. The maintenance-free...

Products : Motion Control
Optical Encoders

POSITAL-FRABA America (Hamilton, NJ) has introduced optical encoders with EtherCAT that provide high-speed data for positioning and speed control with cycle times of up to 62 μs. Using a distributed clock function, they allow users to synchronize axes with a deviation of <1 μs. The EtherCAT encoders support cable...

Products : Motion Control
Encoder System

The ATOM™ non-contact optical linear and rotary incremental encoder system from Renishaw (Hoffman Estates, IL) combines miniaturization with dirt immunity and signal stability. It features a readhead as small as 6.7 x 12.7 x 20.5 mm, and uses filtering optics with Auto Gain Control (AGC) and Auto Offset Control (AOC). The system...

Motion Control and Automation Technology : Motion Control
Machine Automation Controller

Omron Automation and Safety (Schaumburg, IL) offers the Sysmac NJ machine automation controller that provides direct connectivity to SQL databases, including Microsoft SQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, and Firebird. It combines logic, motion, vision, and database connectivity into a single platform. It helps users...

Briefs : Medical
Prediction of Visual Acuity from Wavefront Aberrations

Visual acuity (clearness of vision) usually is measured by an eye doctor using an eye chart. It measures the smallest letters that can be reliably identified by the patient at a specified distance. The traditional test requires the patient to look and report which letters they see.

Articles : Test & Measurement
Three Things You Can’t Measure if Your Oscilloscope Doesn’t Have Enough Memory

Modern oscilloscopes come equipped with a host of different attributes, and many vendors tout their latest additions as “must have” features. With so many attributes and marketing messages, recalling the importance of a long-held attribute such as memory depth...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
ASICs Support Orion’s Onboard Data Network
TTEthernet switch
TTTech North America
Andover, MA

Radiation-tolerant Ethernet backbone ASICs, developed by Honeywell Aerospace and based on TTTech’s TTEthernet switch and end system chip IP cores, are ready for the first NASA Orion...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Etching System Enhances NASA’s Device Fabrication Capabilities
VERSALINE® Deep Silicon Etch™ System
St. Petersburg, FL

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, recently installed a VERSALINE Deep Silicon Etch system to expand its...

Application Briefs : Imaging
CMOS Imagers Will Help Study the Sun in SoloHI Mission
CMOS imager engineering units
SRI International
Menlo Park, CA

SRI International, working with TowerJazz (Newport Beach, CA), has delivered the first complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imager engineering units to the Naval...

Articles : Energy
Solar Refrigerators Store Life-Saving Vaccines

NASA Technology

Over the years, NASA has advanced photovoltaic (PV) technology in order to advance many of its missions. This renewable source of energy is produced when certain...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Swan Seal

This seal features dual sealing capabilities: a face seal and an axial seal. The name swan seal is derived from its cross section, which resembles a swan. Most injector designs require fuel to be delivered from an inlet fitting, through a feed arm, to the injector tip. Temperature variation from the inlet to the tip, from the cool fuel...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric Actuated Valve for Operation in Extreme Conditions

The extreme conditions on Venus (460 °C and 92 atm) prevent the use of any of the existing science instruments outside of the lander. To transfer a sample into the lander, a pneumatic mechanism was conceived that could bring sample powder into the lander. The mechanism is...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Field-Reconfigurable Manipulator for Rovers

Robotic technologies will be deeply involved in any future human mission to the Moon. Prior to human arrival, robots will survey and explore the lunar surface, establish infrastructure, and assemble and test habitat modules. Once humans have arrived, the robots must be able to assist human...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight, Flexible, Freezable Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

For space exploration missions that may require extended stays and extensive extra-vehicular activity (EVA) operations, the temperature control system must be lightweight, rugged, non-venting, and repairable in space.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Balloon End Fitting Seal

Typical lighter-than-air vehicles utilizing a superpressure design such as balloons, aerostats, or blimps, have one or more fittings attached to the gas containment skin that can serve as load attachment points or inflation/vent ports. These fittings are often sealed to the skin with a silicone gasket and a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Composite Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrust chambers are being used for in-space propulsion. To increase the performance of radiation-cooled engines, improved chamber materials are needed that will allow higher operating conditions (pressure and temperature), better resistance to oxidation,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Integrally Woven Fiber Architecture for Composite Turbine Blades

Composite turbine blades are currently fabricated by laying up multiple layers of fibers in the form of either unidirectional prepregs or thin woven cloth. Composites formed in this manner have poor through-thickness strength. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to form...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Assembly and Packaging to Mass-Produce Carbon Nanotube Vacuum Microdevices and Circuits

Field-emission electron sources using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being targeted for low-power vacuum microelectronic applications for harsh-environment operation (high temperature, pressure, and corrosive atmosphere). While CNTs have demonstrated excellent...

Briefs : Materials
High-Efficiency, Easy-to-Manufacture Engineered Nanomaterials for Thermoelectric Applications

Stated generally, reducing the dimensionality of bulk-scale thermoelectric (TE) materials is theoretically and practically understood to be a viable route for maintaining/increasing phonon scattering, and maintaining/increasing electrical conductivity...

Briefs : Materials
Refractory Open-Cell Foam Fuel Matrix for High-Efficiency Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

A tricarbide foam fuel material has been developed that can operate at temperatures near 3,000 °C, without substantial hydrogen erosion, while providing highly efficient heat transfer to the coolant or propellant. A tricarbide foam fuel matrix of zirconium...

Briefs : Materials
Hydrazine Absorbent/Detoxification Pad

A new chemistry was developed for existing hydrazine absorbent/detoxification pads. Enhancements include faster reaction rates, weight reduction, a color change that indicates spill occurrence, and another color change that indicates successful hydrazine degradation. The previous spill control pad, using...

Briefs : Materials
Nanotechnology Approach to Lightweight, Multifunctional Polyethylene Composite Materials

Of several ideas being pursued by NASA for the reduction of radiation dosage to astronauts, the use of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based composite materials for both radiation shielding and micrometeorite shielding appears to be...

Briefs : Materials
Electrostrictive Polymers

A new class of electroactive polymeric blend materials has been created that offers both sensing and actuation dual functionality. The blend is comprised of two components where one has sensing capability, and the other has actuating capability. These innovative materials provide significant field-induced strain, high...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
COVE: A CubeSat Payload Processor

The COVE (CubeSat Onboard processing Validation Experiment) Payload Processor is JPL’s first on-orbit demonstration with the Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA (field-programmable gate array). The electronics payload is designed to provide a platform for advanced data processing applications while conforming to CubeSat...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dynamic Range Enhancement of High-Speed Data Acquisition Systems

The innovation is a technique to overcome hardware limitations of common high-speed data acquisition systems in order to be able to measure electronic signals with high dynamic range, wide bandwidth, and high frequency.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
HALT Technique to Predict the Reliability of Solder Joints in a Shorter Duration

The Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) process subjects test articles to accelerated combined environments of thermal, dynamic, voltage, and current to find weak links in a given product design. The technique assesses fatigue reliability of electronic packaging...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
GaN Schottky Diode-Based Frequency Multiplier

State-of-the-art GaAs Schottky diode technology, which is being used for local oscillators (LOs) in heterodyne receivers and transmitters for radar applications, has limitations in terms of power-handling capabilities. That makes it difficult to generate necessary LO power to drive multi-pixel...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Steady-State Thermal Test Methodology

This innovation provides the following thermal properties data from a single steady-state test run: the effective thermal conductivity value (ke) for the full temperature difference, and multiple thermal conductivity values (λ) for intermediate temperatures. The test specimen (or material) is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Silicon Carbide Power Processing Unit for Hall Effect Thrusters

A high-efficiency, rad-hard, 3.5-kW SiC power supply was developed for the power processing unit (PPU) of Hall effect thrusters. This work specifically targets the design of a PPU power supply for the HiVHAC (High Voltage Hall Accelerator) thruster. The PPU power supply under...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Intensity-Calibrated Hydrogen Flame Spectrum

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses large quantities of liquid hydrogen and has expended significant effort in the development, testing, installation, and maintenance of hydrogen fire detectors based on ultraviolet, near-infrared, mid-infrared, and/or far-infrared flame...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Exciting and Detecting Electromagnetic Energy in a High-Temperature Microwave Cavity

There is a need to perform accurate, high-temperature, complex dielectric constant measurements at microwave frequencies on materials, such as those on the surface of Venus (surface temperature 460 °C). One approach is to excite and detect a TE10n...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hollow aErothermal Ablation and Temperature (HEAT) Sensor for Tracking Isotherm Through TPS Material

The Hollow aErothermal Ablation and Temperature (HEAT) sensor is a multifunction sensor designed to track an isotherm by making an independent transient measurement at a defined location in the sensor that is equal to the temperature at which its...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hydrogen Measurement in a Cryogen Flow Stream Reduces Waste of Helium

The purpose of this research was to develop an improved method for measuring hydrogen concentrations in a cryogen flow stream to minimize helium waste during the purge process. Currently, this type of measurement is performed manually with a sniffer, and involves obtaining...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Noncontact DC and AC Magnetostrictive Current Sensor

At the time of this reporting, there have been no effective methods of monitoring current in conductors in space without breaking the circuit or making contact with the conductor. In space, reliability rules all designs, and breaking a circuit to insert a sensor to monitor current would reduce...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Method and Apparatus for Determining Propellant Mass in Microgravity by Capacitance Measurements

Propellant mass gauging in microgravity has posed a challenge for decades. Various methods have been applied, including ultrasonic, capacitance probes, point level sensors, thermal detectors (thermistors, thermocouples, etc.), Michelson...

Briefs : Information Technology
Computer Modeling for Generation of Synthetic Radio Reflection-Transmission Tomography (RRTT) Data

Numerical algorithms capable of generating synthetic radio tomography data (reflection transmission data) for asteroids, comets, and other near-Earth orbits (NEOs) were developed. Future missions to main asteroid belt objects, NEOs, and other small...

Briefs : Information Technology
Designing Planning Information for Automation into PRL

Automation and autonomy are key elements in realizing the vision for space exploration. The NASA Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) has been developing several core autonomy capabilities, one of which is called a procedure representation language (PRL). PRL can be...

Briefs : Information Technology
The OCO-2 Level 2 Retrieval Algorithm

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) strives for trace gas observations with unprecedented accuracy and precision. This requires a retrieval algorithm with many major improvements over existing retrieval software in the representation of the transfer of solar radiation through the atmosphere and instrument,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Ionospheric Slant TEC Analysis Using GNSS-Based Estimation (IonoSTAGE)

As signals emitted by global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) propagate toward users on or near the surface of the Earth, they experience delay due to the presence of charged particles in the ionosphere. Currently, ionospheric delay is the largest source of GNSS...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Preparation, Planning, and Concept Demo of a Technique to Find ≈7-to-10-m Near Earth Asteroids

A paper describes a new technique designed to increase significantly the sensitivity for finding and tracking small, dim, and fast-moving near Earth asteroids (NEAs). The technique relies on a combined use of a novel data processing approach and a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Implementation of a Terrain Radiometric Correction for UAVSAR

A paper discusses a calibration method suited to correct variations of UAVSAR (unmanned aerial vehicle synthetic aperture radar) backscatter with topography. To use radar backscatter to estimate forest biomass on terrain with slopes, it is necessary to remove the effect of topography....

Briefs : Information Technology
Picoradian Staring Astrometry Using a Simple Staring Telescope

A document describes solutions to problems of astrometry at the microarc-second (picoradian) level using a simple staring telescope. The problems include field-dependent beam-walk on the telescope’s mirrors, pixel position irregularity and distortion over time, non-flat intra-pixel...

Briefs : Information Technology
Missing Value Imputation in Astronomical Time-Series Data

A document describes a solution to missing flux values in time-domain optical and radio astronomical survey data that form “light curves.” The technique incorporates a priori astronomical knowledge into a missing value imputation technique. It is assumed that missing values in...

Product of the Month: August 2014

Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA, has announced the HP DL380z Virtual Workstation that provides secure, remote access to workstation-class applications from a variety of devices, including thin clients, notebooks, and tablets. The workstation combines HP’s server technology, NVIDIA® virtualization...

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