Tech Briefs

A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Test & Measurement
CHEBY Toolkit for Processing and Editing Chebyshev Files

This software fits trajectory ephemerides and thrust profiles with a Chebyshev polynomial representation, and stores this fit in data files suitable for upload to a spacecraft. In addition, a number of utility modules are provided to assist with inspection and diagnosis of issues with data...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Single-Crystal SiGe/Sapphire Epitaxy

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new low-temperature method of SiGe/sapphire growth that produces the same single-crystal films with much less thermal loading effort to the substrate. This eliminates the time-consuming and costly high heating, long thermal soak times, and interfacial Si layer....

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Micro-Mirror Optical Tracking and Ranging System

An innovative optical sensing and tracking system was designed to detect, track, and determine object distance and direction in a wide, full, solid angle (160 × 160°) with an extremely high...

Briefs : Materials
Method Increases Adhesive Properties of Silicone

Geckos, spiders, and beetles have special adhesive elements on their feet, enabling them to easily run along ceilings or walls. The science of bionics tries to imitate and control such...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Biometric-Based User Authentication

Rapid adoption of mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablet computers has increased the range of applications and data on mobile devices. The use of these devices to communicate sensitive or confidential data requires, among other things, strong front-end user authentication procedures and/or protocols...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ultrasensitive Chip-Based Sensors

An optical whispering gallery mode resonator was developed that can spin light around the circumference of a tiny sphere millions of times, creating an ultrasensitive, microchip-based sensor for multiple applications.

Briefs : Materials
Thermal-Compensating Optics Housing

Existing optics mounts sandwich the optic axially between two metal components, which can lead to optical surface damage and misalignment when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Thermal-compensating...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Capacitive Pressure Sensor System and Packaging

Pressure sensors play an important role in engine maintenance and monitoring systems by diagnosing problems before they happen. To capture the most accurate data, however, these sensors must be...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Voltage Power Line Multi-Sensor System

Government infrastructure facilities such as water treatment facilities, power plants, laboratories, and the like may be targets for terrorist attacks. Similarly, oil pipelines, power grids,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Scalable Manufacturing Process for Creating Spools of Graphene

For many researchers, graphene is ideal for use in filtration membranes. A single sheet of graphene resembles atomically thin chicken wire, and is composed of carbon atoms joined...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Steering-Mirror-Assisted Laser Fine Pointing

Pointing precision is a critical element of instrumentation for optical communications and ranging in space, affecting laser design, link power budgets, and SWaP. While star trackers possess...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Self-Powering Sensor Using a Nano-Energy Harvester

Existing nanosensor technologies depend on an external power source (typically a battery) to operate. Chemical and biological sensors based on nanowire or nanotube technologies exhibit...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Film Blocks Electromagnetic Interference

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can harm smartphones, tablets, chips, drones, wearables, aircraft, and human health. EMI is increasing with the explosive proliferation of devices that generate it. A technique was developed to produce relatively low-cost EMI-blocking composite films.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Printing Technology Uses Sound Waves to Control Size of Liquid Droplets

Liquid droplets are used in many applications, from printing ink on paper to creating microcapsules for drug delivery. Inkjet printing is the most common technique used...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Plasma Generator Using Spiral Conductors

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a patented SansEC sensor technology for use in many different areas, including tall structures and wind turbines. The SansEC technology is a proven wireless sensing platform capable of measuring the electrical impedance of physical matter in proximity to the...

Briefs : Aerospace
Rocket Nozzle Side-Load Analysis Software

Lateral nozzle forces are known to cause severe structural damage during testing of any new rocket engine configuration under development. While three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD)...

Briefs : Software
Selecting a Software Programming Platform

Software development and testing comprises about half of the control system design and integration effort, so a programming platform that can ease and speed the process is vital. Such PC-based...

Briefs : Materials
Ultrathin, Ultralight “Nanocardboard” Recovers Shape After Bending

When choosing materials to make something, tradeoffs need to be made among properties such as thickness, stiffness, and weight. A new material called nanocardboard was...

Briefs : Materials
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) 370 Resin for High-Temperature Applications

RTM370 imide resin was developed to address the limitations of conventional imide resins, which are generated from commercially available symmetrical biphenyl...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing Technique Helps Inkjet Printers Deliver Ink More Evenly

When a coffee mug leaves a ring, the outer edges of that ring are darker than the inside of the ring. That's because the solute is separated from the liquid during the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Designing Self-Propelled, Chemically Active Sheets

Researchers have created a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that moves autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The integrated system utilizes a chemical reaction to activate the fluid...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs : Aerospace
Foot Pedal Controller

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Briefs : Communications
Tiny Robots Grow Bio-inspired Shapes

Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, the biological...

Briefs : Motion Control
Artificial Joint Restores Wrist-Like Movements

For patients missing a hand, one of the biggest challenges to regaining a high level of function is the inability to rotate one's wrist (pronate and supinate). These are essential movements...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Imaging System Makes Back Surgery Safer, Faster, Less Expensive

Researchers at Dartmouth have found a way to make back surgery safer, faster, and more cost effective. MRIs and CT scans can help surgeons identify spine problems such as...

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