RF & Microwave Electronics

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

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality

Accurately measuring semiconductor properties of materials in small volumes helps engineers determine the range of applications for which these materials may be suitable in the...

More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
Briefs : Aerospace
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a new means of avoiding and mitigating icing events for aircraft flying above 14,000 feet, dramatically improving aviation...

Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Briefs : Software
Algorithm Predicts How Electromagnetic Waves Interact with Materials at the Smallest Scales

Magnetic materials can attract or repel each other based on their polar orientation — positive and negative ends attract each other, while two positives or two negatives repel. When an electromagnetic signal like a radio wave passes through such...

Briefs : Communications
Graphene-Silicon Devices for Optoelectronics Applications
Graphene-Silicon Devices for Optoelectronics Applications

Silicon is a naturally occurring material commonly used as a semiconductor in electronic devices; however, researchers have exhausted the potential of devices with semiconductors made...

Graphene-Silicon Devices for Optoelectronics Applications
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat

Directly converting electrical power to heat is easy; however, converting heat into electrical power is not as easy. To address this issue, a tiny silicon-based device was developed that can...

Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
High-Performance, Current-Steering Digital-to-Analog Converter
High-Performance, Current-Steering Digital-to-Analog Converter

A current-steering digital-to-analog converter (DAC) was developed that achieves improved switching times (up to 75% faster) in high-speed (gigahertz), high-resolution (8-14...

High-Performance, Current-Steering Digital-to-Analog Converter
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Detect Ultra Rare Proteins in Blood Using a Cellphone Camera
Detect Ultra Rare Proteins in Blood Using a Cellphone Camera

One of the frontiers of medical diagnostics is the race for more sensitive blood tests. The ability to detect extremely rare proteins could make a life-saving difference for many...

Detect Ultra Rare Proteins in Blood Using a Cellphone Camera
Briefs : Communications
Multiplexing of Wireless Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors
Multiplexing of Wireless Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors

The traditional approach for wireless sensors involves interrogators that communicate with each other (i.e., the two boxes “talk” to each other). In contrast, surface acoustic wave...

Multiplexing of Wireless Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Quantum Radio Aids Communications and Mapping
Quantum Radio Aids Communications and Mapping

GPS signals do not penetrate very deeply or at all in water, soil, or building walls, and therefore can’t be used by submarines or in underground activities such as surveying mines. GPS also...

Quantum Radio Aids Communications and Mapping
Briefs : Communications
System Enables Direct Data Transmission Between Underwater and Airborne Devices

Today, underwater sensors cannot share data with those on land, as both use different wireless signals that only work in their respective mediums. Radio signals that travel through air die very rapidly in water. Acoustic signals, or sonar, sent by underwater devices...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Signal Combiner for Wideband Communication

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has devised an efficient new method of combining primary and secondary signals with minimal loss and noise. With its ability to reduce system noise, this novel signal combiner delivers the best opportunity to receive a desired signal not easily distinguished from...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Passive RFID Tag with Long Range and Wide Coverage Capabilities

Researchers at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed the RFID Tag with Long Range and Wide Coverage Capabilities technology that allows a RFID tag to direct a RFID reader beam signal back in the direction of arrival. This technology requires no added power to provide telemetry...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Measurement Technique for Continuous-Wave, Modulated, and Pulsed Monochromatic Radiation

In many applications, such as remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases, monochromatic radiation with multiple discrete wavelengths is required. To date, there no instrument or technique that measures the wavelength jitters and fluctuations in real time.

Briefs : Imaging
The Teletenna — a Hybrid Telescope Antenna System
The Teletenna — a Hybrid Telescope Antenna System

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a hybrid telescope antenna system — Teletenna — to deliver high-data-rate communication over great distances. Teletenna has...

The Teletenna — a Hybrid Telescope Antenna System
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Marriage of Light-Manipulation Technologies
A Marriage of Light-Manipulation Technologies

Researchers have, for the first time, integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems. In the...

A Marriage of Light-Manipulation Technologies
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Multi-Purpose, Flexible Wing Structure for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as micro air vehicles, are promising tools for a variety of military and commercial applications. Some small UAS have flexible wings and are lightweight, making them back-packable and easy to deploy. Most UAS that are...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Interoperable Intelligent Controllers for Process Management and Control Networks

NASA Johnson Space Center developed reprogrammable and interchangeable electronic controllers that can attach to a system or subsystem wirelessly or through plug-and-play capability. Originally designed to work with rocket engines, this technology can control...

Briefs : Medical
Microchip Tracks Smart Pills
Microchip Tracks Smart Pills

Researchers have developed a prototype miniature medical device that could ultimately be used in smart pills to diagnose and treat diseases. A key to the new technology is that its location can be precisely...

Microchip Tracks Smart Pills
Briefs : Aerospace
Gateway Integrates Wireless Sensors with Existing Aircraft Systems
Gateway Integrates Wireless Sensors with Existing Aircraft Systems

In traditional hardwired avionics systems, sensor integration requires installation of literally tons of physical cable that significantly increases vehicle weight and the...

Gateway Integrates Wireless Sensors with Existing Aircraft Systems
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements
Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements

Infrared motion detectors can cover only a limited amount of space, a person has to be within the detector's line of sight to be detected, and lights can go off when a person remains...

Ricocheting Radio Waves Monitor the Tiniest Movements
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Gated Chopper Integrator (GCI)

Microvolt-level signals require gains of at least a thousand. Offsets and noise in the amplifier chain will be amplified by the same amount, which can saturate the amplifier or swamp the signal so it is not resolvable. Other methods use chopping and/or autozero techniques to lower the offset and noise. The key...

Briefs : Medical
System Makes Opaque Materials Totally Transparent
System Makes Opaque Materials Totally Transparent

Most naturally occurring materials have a disordered atomic structure that interferes with the propagation of both sound and electromagnetic waves. When the waves come into contact with these...

System Makes Opaque Materials Totally Transparent
Briefs : Aerospace
Power Line Detection System for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Electrical power lines pose a serious crash hazard to helicopters and other air-based vehicles, especially small aerial vehicles such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This is because power lines are so widespread, hard to see, and strung at roughly the same height above the ground at...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Atomically Thin Device Transmits Signals Across a Broad Frequency Range
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...

Atomically Thin Device Transmits Signals Across a Broad Frequency Range
Briefs : Medical
Artificial Intelligence Senses People Through Walls
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...

Artificial Intelligence Senses People Through Walls
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Transmitter Protects Wireless Data from Hackers
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...

Transmitter Protects Wireless Data from Hackers
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Keeping Data Fresh for Wireless Networks
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...

Keeping Data Fresh for Wireless Networks
Briefs : Communications
The Ultimate ‘Smell Test’: Device Sends Rotten Food Warning to Smartphones
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...

The Ultimate ‘Smell Test’: Device Sends Rotten Food Warning to Smartphones
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Hyperfine Interpolated Range Finding for CW Lidar, Radar, and Sonar Using Repeating Waveforms and Fourier Transform Reordering

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a novel fine interpolation technique that is useful in signal processing for applications in lidar, sonar, radar, and similar modalities. The interpolation technique uses...