April 2010

Spurious interference limits the performance of many interferometric measurements. Digitally enhanced interferometry (DEI) improves measurement sensitivity by augmenting conventional heterodyne...

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their...

Specially designed focusing of light beams has been proposed as a means of improving the performances of optical buffers based on cells containing hot atomic vapors (e.g., rubidium...

The new iBeam smart ultra-compact diode laser series from TOPTICA Photonics (Victor, NY) features digital and analog modulation; autopulse; a graphical user interface (GUI); high power levels...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Selective Wavelength Photodiodes

Opto Diode Corporation (Newbury Park, CA) has introduced the ODD-660W selective wavelength photodiodes. The device operates from 550-720nm, with peak response at 660nm, and features a spectral bandwidth of...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Optical Vector Analyzer

Luna Technologies (Roanoke, VA) has introduced the Optical Vector Analyzer platform, (OVA 5000), a tool for loss, dispersion, and polarization measurements of modern optical networking equipment. It delivers single-...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Microscope Focus Controller

Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) has introduced a new focus-only control system for modern microscopes. The ES10ZE Focus Controller is suitable for applications involving extended focus or Z-stacking. The...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Camera Control Units

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (Irvine, CA) has added two new camera control units (CCUs) designed to operate with the remote head, high-definition IK-HD1. The IK-HD1 model has an added DVI-I output on the rear panel,...

Products: Photonics/Optics
SWIR InGaAs Digital Video Linescan Camera

Sensors Unlimited (Princeton, NJ) has introduced the SU-LDH shortwave infrared (SWIR) InGaAs digital video linescan camera featuring line rates for 1024 pixels from 1 to over 46,000 lines per second...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Optical Replication Process

OPCO (Fitchburg, MA) offers a replication process that reproduces complex optics. The process transfers the profile of a precision optical surface from a master, creating an exact duplicate on a variety of...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Miniature Spectrometers

The XR-Series of miniature spectrometers from Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) covers all wavelengths from ~200 - 1050 nm and are available for USB2000+, JAZEL2000, and USB4000. The XR-2 grafting option provides broad UVNIR...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Optical Spectrometer

Mcpherson (Chelmsford, MA) has developed a 248/130 grazing incidence wavelength dispersive optical spectrometer that analyzes spectral light in the ~1 to 300 nm wavelength region (4 to ~1200 eV). It is useful for the...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Non-Contact Laser Shutters

FlexSorb™ laser shutters from nmLaser Products (San Jose, CA) feature a high damage threshold, small size, and quiet operation. The moving part is a low-mass, flexible, ferromagnetic cantilever membrane that is...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Glass-Glass Photovoltaic Modules

Silicon Energy (Arlington, WA) and DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions (Wilmington, DE) have introduced glass-glass polycrystalline silicon (cSi) photovoltaic (PV) power-generating modules made with DuPont™...

Products: Photonics/Optics
RGB Laser Driver

Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, CA) has introduced the MAX3600, a 3-channel RGB laser driver that enables integration of high-resolution pico projectors into small-form-factor applications. Fabricated using Maxim’s...

In a perfect imaging system, light exists as a spherical wave that converges to form a point image. However, in practice wavefront aberrations act to perturb the wavefront from its ideal...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Boreoscope Camera

The FSC2 boreoscope camera from Schoelly Imaging (Worcester, MA) features an integrated LED light at the camera head, eliminating the need for light cables. The small CCU features auto white balance, variable brightness...

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Scalable Shutters

Vincent Associates (Rochester, NY) has introduced three DSS Shutter Series products: the DSS10 (10mm aperture), the DSS20 (20mm aperture), and the DSS 25 (25mm aperture). The DSS series does not require an external...

Specially designed focusing of light beams has been proposed as a means of improving the performances of optical buffers based on cells containing hot atomic vapors (e.g., rubidium...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Solar On/Off Grid Power Platform

Sunpods (San Jose, CA) has unveiled the SP-500 SunPods Solar Agriculture & Remote Site Power Systems, which are designed to provide solar power for on-grid and off-grid agricultural processing, wells,...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Optoelectronic Analyzer

CORDOUAN Technologies (Pessac, France) has developed the MIROMA© analyzer, a solution for laser metrology that performs high-resolution wavefront characterization, real-time analysis of laser beam profile,...

Products: Electronics & Computers
TRIO-UPS

Phoenix Contact, Middletown, PA, has introduced the TRIO-UPS uninterruptible power supply for use with industrial PCs. The UPS automatically restarts a PC in the event of an extended power outage. The UPS features an adjustable...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Rod-Type Lasers

EOLITE Systems (Pessac, France) has introduced the OCTOPUS laser for thin-film scribing and the BOREAS IR150 for high-powered cutting and drilling. OCTOPUS offers up to 16 fiber-delivery channels. Each beam provides light at...

Communications engineers today must design to accommodate changing missions, shorter product lifecycles, and increasing computer power. As a result, they create hybrid systems that include...

MEMS-based deformable mirrors
Boston Micromachines Corp.
Cambridge, MA
617-868-4178
www.bostonmicromachines.com

Boston Micromachines has been selected...

ANSYS® fluid dynamics software
ANSYS
Canonsburg, PA
724-746-3304
www.ansys.com

ANSYS fluid dynamics software has helped researchers at the...

NASA Tech Needs
Active Wing Shape Control Technology for Aircraft

NASA has long been recognized as a leader in aeronautics research and development that has greatly contributed to aircraft technology for safe and efficient air travel. A new focus is emerging in “green” aviation technologies that could potentially revolutionize aviation systems. One...

Dewetron Wakefield, RI

The DEWE-43 is an ultraportable data acquisition system that includes eight 24-bit dynamic analog input channels with >100 dB dynamic range; eight synchronous counters for...

Autodesk San Rafael, CA

The 2010 2D and 3D design and engineering software for manufacturers includes Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD Mechanical, and AutoCAD Electrical. Autodesk Inventor 2010 features...

Blue Ridge Numerics Charlottesville, VA

CFdesign 2010 computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software provides a CAD-driven design study environment to let engineers achieve pass-fail and what-if...

EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) comes in different forms, frequencies, and levels. Electronic equipment has different categories for both emissions and susceptibility. Under normal...

Stories abound of cost overruns, schedule delays, low reliability, and product failures related to development of large-scale systems and platforms. Despite focused efforts to reduce development...

The benefits of aquatic physical therapy and rehabilitation for those who have difficulty with weightbearing activities due to arthritis or injury, or those who are overweight,...

Tech Needs
Polymer/Carbon or Other Materials with Conductivity Approaching Copper and Aluminum

A company seeks a weight-saving alternative to sheets and wires of copper and aluminum that can operate at specific frequencies. The goal is to replace conductive casings, conductors, wires, grounding plates, and similar electronics structures with other...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Friction, Low-Profile, High-Moment Two-Axis Joint

The two-axis joint is a mechanical device that provides two-degrees-of-freedom motion between connected components. A compact, moment-resistant, twoaxis joint is used to connect an electromechanical actuator to its driven structural members. Due to the requirements of the overall mechanism,...

Tech Needs
Accurate Measurement Techniques for Deep-Bone Density and Structure

A company seeks a clinically useful technology with enough sensitivity to assess the microstructure of “spongy” bone that is found in the marrow cavities of whole bones. However, this technology must be for skeletal sites surrounded by layers of soft tissues, such as the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Multi-Axis Mechanism for Hand Controllers

A hand controller provides up to three axes of motion, and all required feel characteristics (stiffness and breakout torques) located inside a hollow handle within the grip of the hand. This is achieved using a miniature gimbal mechanism that allows for independent motion about one, two, or...

Techs for License
Fast, Quantitative Diagnostic Reader for Medical Tests

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

This medical reader can perform diagnostic tests on any bodily fluid that attenuates light, such as blood, urine, sputum, or other fluid. Thousands of potential tests are possible, including immunoassay, colorimetric/chromogenic tests, cholesterol, and...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetostrictive Brake

A magnetostrictive brake has been designed as a more energy-efficient alternative to a magnetic fail-safe brake in a robot. (In the specific application, “fail-safe” signifies that the brake is normally engaged;...

Techs for License
Low-Cost Nanomaterials Synthesis and Delivery Mechanism

Drayton Weissenfels Inc.

This platform technology produces ultra-small, water-dispersible nanomaterials that are easily incorporated into existing products and processes. The process is done under simple conditions and results in nanoparticles that are ultra-small (

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Motors

AMETEK Technical & Industrial Products (Harleysville, PA) offers the Pittman® Series 8540 30-mm brush-commutated DC motors that integrate bonded neodymium magnets and 7-slot straight armature to minimize cogging. The motors...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Active and Passive Hybrid Sensor

A hybrid ocean wind sensor (HOWS) can map ocean vector wind in low to hurricane-level winds, and non-precipitating and precipitating conditions. It can acquire active and passive measurements through a single aperture at two wavelengths, two polarizations, and multiple incidence angles. Its low profile, compact...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Encoders

Heidenhain Corp. (Schaumburg, IL) offers the 1000 Series rotary encoders with IP 64 protection and absolute position-value formation in a 35-mm-diameter housing size. The encoders are designed as single-encoder measurement...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quick-Response Thermal Actuator for Use as a Heat Switch

This work improves the performance of a heat switch, or a thermal actuator, by delivering heat to the actuator in a more efficient manner. The method uses a heat pipe as the plunger or plug instead of just using a solid piece of metal. The heat pipe could be one tailored for fast transient...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
MEMS Inclinometer

ASM Sensors (Elmhurst, IL) has introduced the PTAM20 Series POSITILT® MEMS inclinometer available in single- and dual-axis versions. It is available in a compact, flat housing and features a measurement range for the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
AlGaN Ultraviolet Detectors for Dual-Band UV Detection

This innovation comprises technology that has the ability to measure at least two ultraviolet (UV) bands using one detector without relying on any external optical filters. This allows users to build a miniature UVA and UVB monitor, as well as to develop compact, multicolor imaging...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Gearmotor

Midwest Motion Products (Watertown, MN) has released the Model MMP-D22-376H-24V GP52-195 BR-005 DC gearmotor with integral brake. Accepting any 24V DC source, including battery power, the encoder-compatible gearmotor/brake...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Servomotor Brakes

Nexen (Vadnais Heights, MN) has introduced the Eclipse line of servomotor brakes designed to mount to servomotors up to 20 horsepower. The spring-engaged brakes are equipped with a split-hub, zero-backlash clamp collar for...

Perlite is the most typical insulating powder used to separate the inner and outer shells of cryogenic tanks. The inner tank holds the low-temperature commodity, while the...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Stages

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) has introduced the PRO Series of side-sealed, hard-cover, ball-screw-driven linear stages available in 68 standard models with travels from 50 to 1500 mm. A variety of travels, widths, speeds, and load...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Directional Spherical Cherenkov Detector

A proposed radiation-detecting apparatus would provide information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of highly energetic incident subatomic particles. The apparatus was...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mechanically Commutated Drive

Maxon Motor (Fall River, MA) offers the RE 50 mechanically commutated drive that features an ironless rotor for detent-free running, and a combination of a two-pole neodymium permanent magnet with winding...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Thin-Film Thermometers as Heaters in Thermal Control Applications

A cryogenic sensor maintains calibration at ≈4.2 K to better than 2 mK (

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Servo Amplifier

Sanyo Denki America (Torrance, CA) offers the SANMOTION R high-speed EtherCAT interface AC servo amplifier that provides 100 Mbps communication. Multi-function software includes a motion simulation function that runs the same...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
System for Hydrogen Sensing

A low-power, wireless gas-sensing system is designed to safeguard the apparatus to which it is attached, as well as associated personnel. It also ensures the efficiency and operational integrity of the hydrogen-powered apparatus. This sensing system can be operated with lower power consumption (less than 30...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
K-Band Traveling-Wave Tube Amplifier

A new space-qualified, high-power, high-efficiency, K-band traveling-wave tube amplifier (TWTA), shown in the figure, will provide high-rate, high-capacity, direct-to-Earth communications for science data...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Encoder

Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) has introduced the AEAT-601B compact, integrated, incremental magnetic encoder for speed detection, knob control, and rotary encoder applications. Housed in a protective plastic housing, it...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Sideband-Separating, Millimeter-Wave Heterodyne Receiver

Researchers have demonstrated a sub-millimeter-wave spectrometer that combines extremely broad bandwidth with extremely high sensitivity and spectral resolution to enable future spacecraft to measure the composition of the Earth’s troposphere in three dimensions many times per day at...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Stage

The M660 high-speed, direct-driven piezomotor rotary stage from PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. (Auburn, MA) is designed using PILine® piezomotor drive technology. The stage reaches top speeds of 720 degrees/sec and resolution to...

A simplified load-following control scheme has been proposed for a fuel cell power system. The scheme could be used to control devices that are important parts of a fuel cell system...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Loosely Coupled GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation System for Range Safety

The Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) aims to replace the human element of range safety operations, as well as reduce reliance on expensive, downrange assets for launches of expendable launch vehicles (ELVs). The system consists of multiple navigation sensors and flight...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Modified Phasemeter for a Heterodyne Laser Interferometer

Modifications have been made in the design of instruments of the type described in “Digital Averaging Phasemeter for Heterodyne Interferometry” (NPO-30866), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 9 (September 2004), page 6a. To recapitulate: A phasemeter of this type measures the difference...

An improved design concept for coaxial propellant injectors for a rocket engine (or perhaps for a non-rocket combustion chamber) offers advantages of greater robustness, less...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Adaptable Diffraction Gratings With Wavefront Transformation

Diffraction gratings are optical components with regular patterns of grooves, which angularly disperse incoming light by wavelength. Traditional diffraction gratings have static planar, concave, or convex surfaces. However, if they could be made so that they can change the surface...

Briefs: Software
Natural-Language Parser for PBEM

A computer program called “Hunter” accepts, as input, a colloquial-English description of a set of policy-based-management rules, and parses that description into a form useable by policy-based enterprise management (PBEM) software.

Briefs: Software
Policy Process Editor for P³BM Software

A computer program enables generation, in the form of graphical representations of process flows with embedded natural-language policy statements, input to a suite of policy-, process-, and performancebased management (P3BM) software developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Like the...

Briefs: Software
A Quality System Database

A quality system database (QSD), and software to administer the database, were developed to support recording of administrative nonconformance activities that involve requirements for documentation of corrective and/or preventive actions, which can include ISO 9000 internal quality audits and customer complaints....

Briefs: Software
Trajectory Optimization: OTIS 4

The latest release of the Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation (OTIS4) allows users to simulate and optimize aerospace vehicle trajectories. With OTIS4, one can seamlessly generate optimal trajectories and parametric vehicle designs simultaneously. New features also allow OTIS4 to solve non-aerospace...

Briefs: Software
Computer Software Configuration Item-Specific Flight Software Image Transfer Script Generator

A K-shell UNIX script enables the International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Team (FCT) operators in NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston to transfer an entire or partial computer software configuration item (CSCI) from a flight...

A systematic experimental study has been performed to determine the effects of each of the operating conditions in a double-pulse laser ablation process that is used to produce...

Briefs: Materials
Thermogravimetric Analysis of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes

An improved protocol for thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) of samples of single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) material has been developed to increase the degree of consistency among results so that meaningful comparisons can be made among different samples. This improved TGA protocol is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robotic Arm Comprising Two Bending Segments

The figure shows several aspects of an experimental robotic manipulator that includes a housing from which protrudes a tendril- or tentacle-like arm 1 cm thick and 1 m long. The arm consists of two...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Foil Gas Thrust Bearings for High-Speed Turbomachinery

A methodology has been developed for the design and construction of simple foil thrust bearings intended for parametric performance testing and low marginal costs, supporting continued development of oil-free turbomachinery. A bearing backing plate is first machined and surface-ground to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Efficient Bit-to-Symbol Likelihood Mappings

This innovation is an efficient algorithm designed to perform bit-to-symbol and symbol-to-bit likelihood mappings that represent a significant portion of the complexity of an error-correction code decoder for high-order constellations. Recent implementation of the algorithm in hardware has yielded an...

NASA’s planetary missions have collected, and continue to collect, massive volumes of orbital imagery. The volume is such that it is difficult to manually review all of the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Capacity Maximizing Constellations

Some non-traditional signal constellations have been proposed for transmission of data over the Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) channel using such channel-capacity-approaching codes as low-density...

Mark Polansky enjoyed a successful 14-year career as an Air Force fighter pilot before joining NASA as an aerospace engineer and research pilot in 1992. Selected as an astronaut candidate in...

Podcasts
Mark Polansky, Astronaut, Johnson Space Center

Mark Polansky enjoyed a successful 14-year career as an Air Force fighter pilot before joining NASA as an aerospace engineer and research pilot in 1992. Selected as an astronaut candidate in April 1996, he has since flown three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station,...

New large cell prismatic electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLC) from Ioxus (Oneonta, NY) are for transportation and utility applications and are lower in cost for the overall system design. The...

Berkeley Lab researchers have found a new mechanism by which the photovoltaic effect can take place in semiconductor thin-films. This new route to energy production overcomes the bandgap...

Princeton University engineers have developed translucent, malleable, and electricity-conducting plastics, which could represent a low-cost alternative to indium tin...

Products: Green Design & Manufacturing
LED Edge-Lighting Solution

Global Lighting Technologies (GLT), Inc. (Brecksville, OH) now offers LED edge-lighting solutions that focus light into a high-performance backlight, or light guide. Because the LEDs are located on the edge of the...

Products: Green Design & Manufacturing
LED Bulb Replaces Incandescent Bulb

A 40-watt GE Energy Smart® LED bulb from GE Lighting (Cleveland, OH) will be available later this year or early 2011. The new LED bulb is expected to consume only 9 watts, provide a 77 percent energy...

To make large sheets of carbon available for light collection, Indiana University Bloomington chemists have attached what amounts to a 3D bramble patch to each side of the carbon sheet. The...

Question of the Week
Should human genes be patentable?

This week's question concerns the issue of gene patents. While some in the scientific community believe that human genes should not be exploited for commercial gain, others argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward.

What do you think? Should human genes be...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Electrical Current Stemming From Algae

Stanford scientists have harnessed a tiny electrical current from algae cells. They found it at the very source of energy production – photosynthesis - and it may be the first step toward generating high-efficiency bioelectricity that doesn't give off carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

New from Power Partners (Hudson, MA) is the PIL40U-C LED power supply, which provides 40W in a compact, IP66 wateproof case. Highly efficient (up to 88%) and with a high power factor rating (0.99 at...

News: Electronics & Computers
Paving the Way for Electromobility

Fraunhofer researchers are engineering wheel hub motors, which are integrated into a car's wheels, and could become the accepted drive concept for electric vehicles. The scientists are testing these...

Question of the Week
Should broadband providers be required to provide network neutrality?

This week's question concerns "net neutrality" -- providing equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over networks. Supporters of net neutrality argue that a policy is necessary to prevent providers from favoring or discriminating against certain Web sites and online...

Oregon State University researchers have made an important breakthrough in the use of continuous flow microreactors to produce thin film absorbers for solar cells - an innovative technology that could...

Products: Energy
Hybrid Energy System

The 5 kW Genverter diesel generator/inverter from WhisperPower (Drachten, The Netherlands) has lower noise levels, fewer emissions, and reduced energy consumption compared to currently available energy systems. The...

Researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley have discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water.

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