Tech Briefs

Materials & Manufacturing

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

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Joining Gun Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds

The connection of plastics and metals poses a challenge due to the different physical properties of the two materials. All conventional joining options, such as bonds using adhesives or rivets,...

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 : Energy
One-Pot Bioconversion of Distiller’s Grains to Advanced Biofuels

Increase in bioethanol production throughout the US has led to an increase in the process coproduct — distiller’s grains with solubles (DGS). DGS can be used to feed...

Briefs : Energy
Eliminating Corrosion Extends Life of Lightweight Batteries

Metal-air batteries are one of the lightest and most compact types of batteries but when not in use, they degrade quickly, as corrosion eats away at their metal electrodes. While...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Safety Analysis: The Key to a Single-Pass ISO26262 Random Fault Workflow

Advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous drive technologies increase the complexity of automotive integrated circuits (ICs), making it harder to ensure that...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Infrared Light-Focusing Platform

Researchers have integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems to create a new infrared light-focusing...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Impact-Resistant Battery Electrolyte Solidifies When Hit

Lithium-ion batteries commonly used in consumer electronics are notorious for bursting into flame when damaged or improperly packaged. Inspired by the unusual behavior of some liquids...

Briefs : Materials
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Monitor Babies in the NICU Without Wires

An interdisciplinary Northwestern University team has developed a pair of soft, flexible wireless sensors that replace the tangle of wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’...

Sensor Technology : Power
Diagnose Lithium Batteries

Batteries with metallic lithium anodes offer enhanced efficiency compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries because of their higher capacity. However, safety concerns and a short lifespan stand in the way. To...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Graphene-Based Technology for Wearable Health Monitoring

Graphene Flagship partner ICFO, based in Barcelona, Spain is developing graphene-based prototypes that aim to turn mobile phones into life saving devices. The first of these will allow...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires

Lithium batteries allow electric vehicles to travel several hundred miles on one charge. Their capacity for energy storage is well known — so is their tendency to occasionally...

Briefs : Automotive
Battery Electrolyte Doubles Driving Range for Electric Vehicles

Conventional electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries that power household electronics like computers and cellphones are not suitable for lithium-metal batteries. Lithium-metal batteries that replace a graphite electrode with a lithium electrode are the holy grail of energy...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
All-Fiber, Optically Controlled Optical Switch

An optical switch is a device where information-bearing light may be directed to one of several outputs. Prior art optical switches have mainly been integrated optical waveguide structures such as titanium-diffused (Ti) waveguides in lithium-niobate (LiNbO3) or gallium-arsenide (GaAs)...

Briefs : Medical
Ingestible, Expanding Pill Monitors the Stomach for Up to a Month

An ingestible pill was developed that, upon reaching the stomach, quickly swells to the size of a soft, squishy ping-pong ball big enough to stay in the stomach for an...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Systems and Methods for Correcting Optical Reflectance Measurements

Optical spectroscopy can be used to determine the concentration of chemical species in samples. The amount of light absorbed by a particular chemical species is often linearly related to its concentration through Beer’s Law. For nontransparent materials such as powders,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electroceutical Bandages Destroy Bacteria

Used since 2013, electroceutical bandages — which use electrical impulses to treat medical issues — kill bacteria around a wound, allowing wounds to heal faster. In addition, if infection is...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
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...

Briefs : Wearables
Self-Powered, Washable, Wearable Displays

Clothing usually is formed with textiles and has to be both wearable and washable for daily use; however, smart clothing has had a problem with its power sources and moisture permeability, which causes the devices to malfunction. To solve this problem, a textile-based, wearable display module technology...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Stretchable, Rubbery Semiconductors

Researchers have created stretchable, rubbery semiconductors including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits, and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. The semiconductors have...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Micro UV Aerosol Detector

The detection of aerosols within fluid samples can be accomplished by optical methods. Such methods are useful in detecting potentially harmful aerosols such as biological aerosols that may be present after a biological agent attack or industrial accident. It is well known that biological molecules fluoresce when...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator

This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators that require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Rhombohedron Epitaxial Growth with Molten Target Sputtering (MTS) at 500 °C Substrate Temperature

This invention applies to the field of sputtering, depositing SiGe thin films on sapphire substrates. It is a method of modifying the film...

Briefs : Materials
Bendable Electronic Paper Displays a Range of Colors

The combination of conductive polymers on nanostructures was demonstrated as suited to creating electronic displays as thin as paper. The “paper” is similar to the Kindle tablet. It...

Briefs : Imaging
In-Situ Characterization and Inspection of Additive Manufacturing Deposits Using Transient Infrared Thermography

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a rapidly growing field in which solid objects can be produced layer-by-layer. This...