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 : Electronics & Computers
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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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 : Power
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 : Photonics/Optics
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...

Briefs : Medical
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...

Briefs : Materials
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 : Electronics & Computers
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 : Test & Measurement
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...

Briefs : Software
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...

Briefs : Communications
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...

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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

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 : Communications
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 : RF & Microwave Electronics
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 : Software
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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
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...

Briefs : Materials
Biodegradable Microsensors for Food Monitoring

Microsensors are used in many different applications such as the detection of poisonous gases. They are also integrated into miniaturized transmitter/receiver systems such as RFID chips. Since...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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
Correcting the Antenna Temperature of an Earth-Observing Microwave Instrument for Extraterrestrial Contamination

Microwave antennas deployed for spaceborne radiometers are diffraction-limited, with typical beam efficiency of about 90%, and provide relatively poor selectivity against radiation from celestial bodies (Moon, Sun, galaxy) when they...

Briefs : Aerospace
Ground-Based System Guides UAVs to Avoid Collisions

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) averages more than 100 reports a month of interactions between unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and commercial or private planes. For UAS to fly in...

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 : Data Acquisition
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 : RF & Microwave Electronics
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure Sensor Mechanism

The Pressure Sensor Mechanism is designed to measure or monitor tactile pressure. It is based on passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensor tags and is applicable to a variety of systems. As RFID sensors transmit information wirelessly, they eliminate many challenges associated with traditional wired systems...

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