NASA Tech Needs
Making Metal Packaging Lighter

Because of increasing cost pressures on high-volume metal packaging, a manufacturer needs to make each unit weight of metal (steel and aluminum) go further. Technologies are sought that make metal packaging lighter and enhance the physical performance (like tensile strength, stiffness, etc). This could include, for...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Testing Equipment Helps NASA Prepare for Telescope Launch
National Instruments
Austin, TX

NASA’s next-generation successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), features the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), which is equipped with more...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Spectroscopy of Planetary Systems Made Possible by Focal Plane Detector
NIRSpec STM Focal Plane Detector
ITT Corp.
White Plains, NY

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in 2013 with the goal of discovering the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe. On...

Articles : RF & Microwave Electronics
GPS Receiver RF Front-End Enables Use of a Laptop PC for Soft Baseband Processing

Software techniques for use in the global positioning system (GPS)1,2 have recently captured the growing interest of communication and navigation engineers. Thanks to very-largescale integration (VLSI) development, powerful CPUs and DSPs are now capable...

Briefs : Materials
Coating Thermoelectric Devices To Suppress Sublimation

A technique for suppressing sublimation of key elements from skutterudite compounds in advanced thermoelectric devices has been demonstrated. The essence of the technique is to cover what would otherwise be the exposed skutterudite surface of such a device with a thin, continuous film of a...

Briefs : Materials
Rapid Fabrication of Carbide Matrix/Carbon Fiber Composites

Composites of zirconium carbide matrix material reinforced with carbon fibers can be fabricated relatively rapidly in a process that includes a melt infiltration step. Heretofore, these and other ceramic matrix composites have been made in a chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) process...

Briefs : Materials
Ultrahigh-Temperature Ceramics

Figure 1. Examples of UHTC Components areshown that have been tested in the NASA AmesArc Jet facility to evaluate the materialsresponse in a simulated reentry environment.The cone and wedge models are representativeof the scale and geometries anticipated for useon UHTC sharp leading-edge vehicles.Ultrahigh...

Briefs : Materials
Improved C/SiC Ceramic Composites Made Using PIP

Improved carbon-fiber- reinforced SiC ceramic-matrix composite (C/SiC CMC) materials, suitable for fabrication of thick-section structural components, are producible by use of a combination of raw materials and processing conditions different from such combinations used in the prior art. In...

Briefs : Materials
Coating Carbon Fibers With Platinum

A process for coating carbon fibers with platinum has been developed. The process may also be adaptable to coating carbon fibers with other noble and refractory metals, including rhenium and iridium. The coated carbon fibers would be used as ingredients of matrix/fiber composite materials that would resist...

Briefs : Materials
Nanorod-Based Fast-Response Pressure-Sensitive Paints

A proposed program of research and development would be devoted to exploitation of nanomaterials in pressuresensitive paints (PSPs), which are used on wind-tunnel models for mapping surface pressures associated with flow fields. Heretofore, some success has been achieved in measuring...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Microrectenna: A Terahertz Antenna and Rectifier on a Chip

A microrectenna that would operate at a frequency of 2.5 THz has been designed and partially fabricated. The circuit is intended to be a prototype of an extremely compact device that could be used to convert radio-beamed power to DC to drive microdevices (see Figure 1).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
MCM Polarimetric Radiometers for Planar Arrays

A polarimetric radiometer that operates at a frequency of 40 GHz has been designed and built as a prototype of multiple identical units that could be arranged in a planar array for scientific measurements. Such an array is planned for use in studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Band, Low-Loss Microwave Window

A window for a high-sensitivity microwave receiving system allows microwave radiation to pass through to a cryogenically cooled microwave feed system in a vacuum chamber, while keeping ambient air out of the chamber and helping to keep the interior of the chamber cold. The microwave feed system comprises a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
WGM-Based Photonic Local Oscillators and Modulators

Photonic local oscillators and modulators that include whispering-gallery- mode (WGM) optical resonators have been proposed as power-efficient devices for generating and detecting radiation at frequencies of the order of a terahertz. These devices are intended especially to satisfy anticipated...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Aperture-Coupled Thin-Membrane L-Band Antenna

The upper part of the figure depicts an aperture-coupled L-band antenna comprising patterned metal conductor films supported on two thin polyimide membranes separated by an air gap. In this antenna, power is coupled from a microstrip line on the lower surface of the lower membrane, through a slot in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Focal-Plane Arrays of Quantum-Dot Infrared Photodetectors

Focal-plane arrays of semiconductor quantum-dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs) are being developed as superior alternatives to prior infrared imagers, including imagers based on HgCdTe devices and, especially, those based on quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs). HgCdTe devices...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Laser Range and Bearing Finder With No Moving Parts

A proposed laser-based instrument would quickly measure the approximate distance and approximate direction to the closest target within its field of view. The instrument would not contain any moving parts and its mode of operation would not entail scanning over of its field of view. Typically,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miniature L-Band Radar Transceiver

A miniature L-band transceiver that operates at a carrier frequency of 1.25 GHz has been developed as part of a generic radar electronics module (REM) that would constitute one unit in an array of many identical units in a very-large-aperture phased-array antenna. NASA and the Department of Defense are...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cathodoluminescent Source of Intense White Light

The device shown in the figure exploits cathodoluminescence to generate intense light in the visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum. This device is suitable for use as a source of white light for general illumination or microscopy or as a broad-band light source for spectroscopy. Unlike...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Robotic Vision-Based Localization in an Urban Environment

A system of electronic hardware and software, now undergoing development, automatically estimates the location of a robotic land vehicle in an urban environment using a somewhat imprecise map, which has been generated in advance from aerial imagery. This system does not utilize the Global...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reverse-Tangent Injection in a Centrifugal Compressor

Injection of working fluid into a centrifugal compressor in the reverse tangent direction has been invented as a way of preventing flow instabilities (stall and surge) or restoring stability when stall or surge has already commenced. If not suppressed, such instabilities interrupt the smooth...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Capacitors Would Help Protect Against Hypervelocity Impacts

A proposal investigates alternatives to the present "bumper" method of protecting spacecraft against impacts of meteoroids and orbital debris. The proposed method is based on a British highvoltage- capacitance technique for protecting armored vehicles against shapedcharge warheads.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Diaphragm Pump With Resonant Piezoelectric Drive

A diaphragm pump driven by a piezoelectric actuator is undergoing development. This pump is intended to be a prototype of lightweight, highly reliable pumps for circulating cooling liquids in protective garments and high-power electronic circuits, and perhaps for some medical applications. The...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Quick-Release Pin Mechanism

An improved quick-release pin mechanism supplants a prior such mechanism in which the pin bears a shear load to hold two objects together. The prior mechanism, of a ball-locking design, can fail when vibrations cause balls to fall out. The load-bearing pin is an outer tube with a handle at one end (hereafter...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for High-Rate Fabrication of Alumina Nanotemplates

An anodizing process, at an early stage of development at the time of reporting the information for this article, has shown promise as a means of fabricating alumina nanotemplates integrated with silicon wafers. Alumina nanotemplates are basically layers of alumina, typically several...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fluorine-Based DRIE of Fused Silica

A process of deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) using a fluorine-based gas mixture enhanced by induction-coupled plasma (ICP) has been demonstrated to be effective in forming high-aspect-ratio three-dimensional patterns in fused silica. The patterns are defined in part by an etch mask in the form of a thick,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mechanical Alloying for Making Thermoelectric Compounds

An economical room-temperature mechanical alloying process has been shown to be an effective means of making a homogeneous powder that can be hot-pressed to synthesize a thermoelectric material having reproducible chemical composition. The thermoelectric materials to which the technique has...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
An Automated Flying-Insect Detection System

An automated flying-insect detection system (AFIDS) was developed as a proof-of-concept instrument for real-time detection and identification of flying insects. This type of system has use in public health and homeland-security decision support, agriculture and military pest management, and/or...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Blackbody Cavity for Calibrations at 200 to 273 K

A laboratory blackbody cavity has been designed and built for calibrating infrared radiometers used to measure radiant temperatures in the range from about 200 to about 273 K. In this below-room- temperature range, scattering of background infrared radiation from room-temperature surfaces could,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Calligraphic Poling of Ferroelectric Material

Calligraphic poling is a technique for generating an arbitrary, possibly complex pattern of localized reversal in the direction of permanent polarization in a wafer of LiNbO3 or other ferroelectric material. The technique is so named because it involves a writing process in which a sharp...


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