Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses...

Products: Photonics/Optics

Stratophase (Romsey, UK) introduces the Spectrosens sensing unit for biochemial detection of toxins, viruses, and bacteria in real-time. Based on an optical silicon micro-chip with an integral...

Products: Photonics/Optics

EyeSpector Version 1.5 software from Vision Components GmbH (Ettlingen, Germany) is suitable for a variety of gauging, inspection, orientation, color inspection, and recognition tasks. The Eye-Spector works with...

Products: Photonics/Optics

Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, UK) introduces the PM-NEOLD 635nm photon laser diode modules with an integral “Near End of Life Detection” feature that alerts users when a laser diode approaches the end of its...

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Simulating Heat Pump Performance

Air-source heat pumps typically deliver 1 1/2 to three times more heating energy to a home than the electric energy they consume. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers are working to improve the performance of air-source heat pumps even further by providing engineers with...

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Techs of the Week

A toolkit facilitates quick development of Honeywell Communications Interface (HCI) and OPC-compliant servers. The kit includes a time-out indicator (TOI) feature to overcome situations wherein real-time process control systems become suspended indefinitely or for long time periods. An intermediary object between the client and...

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Computers and Cell Division

Computational biologists at Virginia Tech have mathematically modeled the process that regulates cell division in a common bacterium. The model was developed to confirm hypotheses, provide new insights, and identify gaps in the scientists' understanding of the molecular machinery that governs replication of DNA and...

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Mighty Mouse

Using embryonic stem cells from mice, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers have prompted the growth of healthy, functioning muscle cells in mice afflicted with a human model of muscular dystrophy. This is the first time transplanted embryonic stem cells have been shown to restore function to defective muscles...

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NASA Briefs

The John H. Glenn Research Center has developed a process and benchtop-scale apparatus to detect proteins associated with specific microbes in water. Possible applications include testing of blood and other bodily fluids in medical laboratories, and testing for microbial contamination of liquids. A sample can be prepared and analyzed...

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Tech Needs of the Week

An organization seeks to replace a portion of the starch currently used in its snack foods with protein. While proteins provide the same caloric load as carbohydrates, they are metabolized much more slowly. One potential difficulty is the protein's reaction to heat, which is used to bake or fry many foods. Heat can cause...

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Taming Ebola

The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and during outbreaks kills 50 - 90 percent of its human victims. Due to its virulent nature, and lack of vaccines or treatments, scientists studying the agent have had to work under stringent biocontainment protocols, limiting research to a few highly specialized labs and hampering the...

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Optical Fiber

Scientists from the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials in the Department of Physics at the University of Bath in England have discovered a method to cut the production cycle for hollow-core optical fibers from a week to a single day. Initial tests also show that the new optical fiber outperforms other fibers, making it a...

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Carbon Nanopipettes

Engineers and physicians at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a carbon nanopipette thousands of times thinner than a human hair that measures electric current and delivers fluids into cells. The tiny carbon-based tool can probe cells with minimal intrusion and injects fluids without damaging or inhibiting cell...

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Techs of the Week

A modular direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) cartridge and stack design offers flexible assembly, efficiency improvements, and higher performance in methanol fuel cell assemblies. Conductive polymer micro DMFC plates with different flow field designs were evaluated to determine their performance efficiencies. Higher power...

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Silicon Nanowires

Energy lost as heat during the production of electricity could be harnessed through silicon nanowires synthesized via a technique developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley. Scientists believe the technology could produce massive savings on...

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Mapping Tool

Tracking the location of resources such as hospitals, fire stations, transportation equipment, and water during an emergency situation can be life-saving. The Geographic Tool for Visualization and Collaboration (GTVC) was initially developed for military applications, and has recently been modified by the Georgia Tech Research...

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Current Attractions

Each month, NTB highlights tech briefs related to a particular area of technology in a special section known as Technology Focus. Here's an Insider look at the January focus on Sensors.

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Tech Needs of the Week

An organization seeks a rapid, inexpensive, and reliable test that can detect even small levels of acrylamide in foods. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen that appears naturally all through nature. It is also found in larger concentrations when any food is cooked and carbonized. The solution should be cost-effective to use...

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Touching the Cosmos

NASA introduced a new book, "Touch the Invisible Sky," at a ceremony at the National Federation of the Blind. Images of nebulae, stars, and galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based telescopes are brought to the fingertips of the blind. Each image is...

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Current Attractions

Scientists remain in an ongoing quest to validate the Big Bang theory tracing the early history of the universe. The NASA Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite was designed to study radiation patterns from the first few moments after the universe was formed, in an effort to unravel the mystery of the Big Bang.

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Fragile X Syndrome

Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have made progress in unlocking the secrets behind the Fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of inherited mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism.

"I think we've discovered a core mechanism underlying Fragile X syndrome," said Dr....

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Electric Motor Drive Magnets

A permanent magnet alloy being developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, promises high- temperature performance for next-generation drive motors for electric vehicles. The alloy retains much of its magnetic strength at 200°C to help make electric drive motors more...

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Current Attractions

Objet Geometries, Billerica, MA, has introduced the Connex500™ multi-material 3D printer based on the company's PolyJet Matrix™ technology, which provides simultaneous jetting of multiple model materials. The system, which was named NASA Tech Briefs' Product of the Month for January, enables the printing of parts and...

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Techs of the Week

An improved ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) for industrial proximity sensor applications provides ease of programmability, embedded trimming capability, and dual slope temperature compensation. This ASIC design enables inductive proximity sensor/switches to be easily programmed after full assembly in production...

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Organic Transistors

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have successfully fabricated high- performance field effect transistors using thin films of Carbon 60, also known as fullerene. The new devices - which have electron- mobility values higher than amorphous silicon, low threshold voltages, large on-off ratios, and high...

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Technology Business Briefs

US Patents for Sale

High-Speed Technique for Noise Reduction, Compression & Pattern Recognition. Three issued US patents for sale.

Click here for more info.

Digital Video Encoding and Transmission System. Two issued US patents for sale. Click here for more info.

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Gas Sensor

An international team of researchers, led by Professor Akintundle Ibitayo Akiniwande, are developing a tiny sensor that could be used to detect minute quantities of hazardous gases, including toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents, more quickly than current devices. A key factor in the team's success is their ability...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company is looking for technologies to prevent garbage bags from falling into garbage cans during usage. The technology should be economical and appropriate for a low-cost, high-volume consumer product. Possible approaches include adhesives that do not leave behind residue, electrostatic approaches, frames at the top of...

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Swollen Solution

Magnetic therapy is an alternative method for treating multiple conditions. Thomas Skalak, a biomedical engineering professor at the University of Virginia, has been researching its effectiveness. Skalak's lab focuses on microcirculation research - the study of blood flow through the body's tiniest blood vessels. Skalak set out...

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