Communications

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on communications, from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Printable Metal Tags Turn Objects into Smart, Connected Devices

Printable metal tags have been developed that could be attached to everyday objects to turn them into “smart” Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The tags are made from...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optimetric Measurements Over Coherent Free-Space Optical Communication

High-precision ranging (optimetric) instruments are highly desired for both space navigation and communications as well as gravitational-based science missions. Traditionally, these measurements are made with instruments solely dedicated to ranging (i.e. Doppler shift of a...

Briefs : Communications
New Laser for Improving Telecommunications and Computing

The first laser based on the wave physics phenomenon called bound states in the continuum (BIC) has been developed. The technology could revolutionize the development of surface...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Using Sound Waves to Produce Optical Isolators

There are challenges involved when using magnetically responsive materials to achieve the one-way flow of light in a photonic chip, including the ability to place compact magnets on a chip. In...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment

Colloids — insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across — are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. Robots about...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
On-Chip Optical Filter Processes Wide Range of Light Wavelengths

MIT researchers have designed an optical filter on a chip that can process optical signals from across an extremely wide spectrum of light at once, something never before...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Photonic Communication Comes to Computer Chips

With novel optoelectronic chips and a new partnership with a top silicon-chip manufacturer, MIT spinout Ayar Labs aims to increase speed and reduce energy consumption in computing, starting with...

Briefs : Imaging
Conformal Metasurface Coating Eliminates Crosstalk and Shrinks Waveguides

Researchers have developed a method to simultaneously control diverse optical properties of dielectric waveguides by using a two-layer coating, each layer with a...

Briefs : Transportation
Air Traffic Management (ATM) System

As the demand for air transportation increases, the capacity of the current U.S. ATM system will eventually be stressed to its limits. New technologies in communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS),...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
“Soft Hardware” Cloth Has Built-In Electronic Devices

Optical fibers have been traditionally produced by making a cylindrical object called a preform — essentially, a scaled-up model of the fiber — and then heating it. Softened...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Faster Photons Could Make Data Totally Secure

Transferring data using light passed along fiber optic cables has become increasingly common over the past decades, but each pulse currently contains millions of photons. That means that in principle, a portion of these could be intercepted without detection. Secure data is already encrypted, but if...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Atomically Thin Device Transmits Signals Across a Broad Frequency Range

The challenge of miniaturizing devices and systems is also achieving a broader dynamic range of detection for small signals such as sound, vibration, and radio...

Briefs : Communications
Artificial Intelligence Senses People Through Walls

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used to teach wireless devices to sense people's postures and movement, even from the other side of a wall. RF-Pose uses a neural network to analyze...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Transmitter Protects Wireless Data from Hackers

Today, more than 8 billion devices are connected around the world, including medical devices, wearables, vehicles, and smart household and city technologies. Those devices are vulnerable to...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Antiferromagnetic-Based Memory Processes Data at Terahertz Speeds

Data travels down fiber-optic cables at frequencies of several terahertz. As soon as the data arrives on a PC or television, this speed must be throttled down to match the data processing speed of the device components; this speed currently is in the range of a few hundred...

Briefs : Communications
Rapidly Deployable Communications Platform

First responders often have trouble communicating with each other in emergencies. They may use different types of radios, they may be working in rural areas lacking wireless coverage, or they may be...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Keeping Data Fresh for Wireless Networks

For wireless networks that share time-sensitive information on the fly, it's not enough to transmit data quickly: that data also needs to be fresh. Consider the many sensors in your car. While it may...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
The Ultimate ‘Smell Test’: Device Sends Rotten Food Warning to Smartphones

When it comes to the “smell test,” the nose isn't always the best judge of food quality. Now in a study appearing in ACS’ journal Nano Letters, scientists...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Crystal-Free Formation of Non-Oxide Optical Fiber

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have devised a method for the creation of crystal-free non-oxide optical fiber preforms. Non-oxide fiber optics are extensively used in...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Material Brings Optical Communication onto Silicon Chips

An increase in computing performance has been achieved by squeezing ever more transistors into a tighter space on microchips. This downsizing has also meant packing the wiring within...

Briefs : Communications
Location Awareness Algorithm for Internet of Things Devices

Positioning of wireless devices is centralized, depending on “anchors” with known locations such as cell towers or GPS satellites to communicate directly with each device. As the number of devices increases, anchors must be installed at higher density. Centralized positioning can...

Briefs : Aerospace
Multi-Layer Wireless Sensor Construct for Use at Electrically Conductive Material Surfaces

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a SansEC Sensor technology for use with aerospace fuel delivery systems. The SansEC technology is a...

Briefs : Aerospace
Video Distribution & Storage Unit (VDSU)

Engineers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Services Projects Division (SSPD) have designed a high-performance, space-qualified video distribution and storage unit for Restore-L, a spacecraft that will rendezvous, grasp, refuel, and relocate client spacecraft. While previous...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Fabrication Process Produces Nanostructures for Electronic Devices

Demands for improved computer processing power have led researchers to explore both new processes and other materials beyond silicon to produce electronic components....

Briefs : Automotive
Ultra-Wide-Bandgap Power Electronics

Power electronics used for routing, control, and conversion of electrical power traditionally utilize silicon semiconductors. These systems tend to be bulky, require active cooling, and are inadequate for...

Briefs : Transportation
Using Vanadium Dioxide to Create Programmable Electronic Functions

Vanadium dioxide’s unique properties make it ideally suited for outperforming silicon and giving rise to a new generation of low-power electronic devices. This compound can...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sound Inaudible to Humans Can Be Recorded by Microphones

Microphones, from those in smartphones to hearing aids, are built specifically to hear the human voice — humans can’t hear at levels higher than 20 kHz, and microphones max out at...

Briefs : Communications
Handheld Tracking and Communications Device

Leaders of teams such as first responders must maintain situational awareness to effectively react, coordinate, and respond to circumstances that can often become hazardous. Effective communications and positional information of assets, including personnel, are critical to decision-makers in...

Briefs : Communications
Cup Cylindrical Waveguide Antenna

NASA Glenn’s cup cylindrical waveguide antenna (CCWA) is a short backfire microwave antenna capable of simultaneously supporting the transmission or reception of two distinct signals having opposite...

Briefs : Communications
Method and Associated Apparatus for Capturing, Servicing, and De-Orbiting Earth Satellites Using Robotics

Engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center have overcome limitations plaguing the satellite sector since its inception through the development of a robotic system allowing for the autonomous capture and servicing of in-orbit satellites. By...