Tech Briefs

Photonics & Imaging

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

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Various components are used to assemble robots that are more aware of their surroundings.
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
An upgraded mini robot can leap over obstacles with ease.
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Microchip Produces High-Contrast OCT Imagery
Microchip Produces High-Contrast OCT Imagery
For disease diagnosis, a microchip maps the back of the eye.
Microchip Produces High-Contrast OCT Imagery
Briefs : Aerospace
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
Applications include modeling of tidal stress response of icy satellites as well as fatigue of terrestrial ice shelves.
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Acoustic Interactions Change Materials at the Atomic Level
Acoustic Interactions Change Materials at the Atomic Level
Interaction of sound and light reveals new information of a crystal's quantum properties.
Acoustic Interactions Change Materials at the Atomic Level
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Laser-Based System Detects Fires Even in Dusty, Harsh Environments
Laser-Based System Detects Fires Even in Dusty, Harsh Environments
A new laser-based system offers an efficient way to detect fires in challenging environments such as industrial facilities or large construction sites.
Laser-Based System Detects Fires Even in Dusty, Harsh Environments
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Loosely connected disc-shaped “particles” can push and pull one another, moving together to transport objects.
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
This technology is a novel, rugged, and economic diagnostic and sensor platform technology.
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
Briefs : Energy
Shape Sensing Innovations Dramatically Improve Structural Design Tools
Shape Sensing Innovations Dramatically Improve Structural Design Tools
These advances are useful for transportation, infrastructure, and aerospace.
Shape Sensing Innovations Dramatically Improve Structural Design Tools
Briefs : Aerospace
Optical Window for Far-IR Instruments Using Thin TOPAS® Film
Optical Window for Far-IR Instruments Using Thin TOPAS® Film
This thin film can be used for ground-based and airborne applications in aircraft, balloons, and other flight missions.
Optical Window for Far-IR Instruments Using Thin TOPAS® Film
Briefs : Power
Embedded Gas and Temperature Sensors for Extreme Environments

Innovative process control systems for improved efficiency and lower emissions in current and future fossil-fuel-based power systems and related applications require durable, embedded sensor technology that can operate at higher temperatures and in harsh conditions.

Briefs : Transportation
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Low-Bandwidth Radar Technology Provides Improved Detection of Objects
Low-Bandwidth Radar Technology Provides Improved Detection of Objects

Radar technologies were originally designed to identify and track airborne military targets. Today, they're more often used to detect motor vehicles, weather formations,...

Low-Bandwidth Radar Technology Provides Improved Detection of Objects
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
This retractable de-orbit device facilitates targeted re-entry, attitude and orbital control, and collision avoidance.
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Human Torso Simulator
Human Torso Simulator
The simulator could help in the development of new back braces.
Human Torso Simulator
Briefs : Imaging
Technique Uses X-Rays to Detect Defective Computer Chips
Technique Uses X-Rays to Detect Defective Computer Chips
This method also reverse-engineers computer chips to detect the chip’s purpose.
Technique Uses X-Rays to Detect Defective Computer Chips
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method Speeds 3D Printing of Millimeter-Sized Imaging Lenses
Method Speeds 3D Printing of Millimeter-Sized Imaging Lenses
The method could impact optical imaging, vision correction, and disease diagnosis.
Method Speeds 3D Printing of Millimeter-Sized Imaging Lenses
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors (EFOS)
Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors (EFOS)

Current laser interferometry pressure pulse detection techniques use the shock-induced change in index of refraction to track detonation and/or shock fronts in a single fiber optic by reflecting laser...

Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors (EFOS)
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Free-Space Fiber Optic Laser Rod
Free-Space Fiber Optic Laser Rod
This approach removes the limitation on peak power densities that exists for fiber lasers.
Free-Space Fiber Optic Laser Rod
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Photonic Switch Increases Speed and Efficiency of Light Through Optical Fibers
Photonic Switch Increases Speed and Efficiency of Light Through Optical Fibers
This optical switch controls the direction of light passing through optical fibers faster and more efficiently.
Photonic Switch Increases Speed and Efficiency of Light Through Optical Fibers
Briefs : Energy
Photovoltaic-Powered Sensors
Photovoltaic-Powered Sensors
RFID-based devices work in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and could transmit data for years before they need to be replaced.
Photovoltaic-Powered Sensors
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optically Fixable Shape Memory Polymers
Optically Fixable Shape Memory Polymers
These polymers can combine thermal and optically fixable shape memory.
Optically Fixable Shape Memory Polymers
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
MMOD Impact Detection and Location
MMOD Impact Detection and Location
This system uses fiber optic strain sensing to detect and locate micrometeoroid/orbital debris.
MMOD Impact Detection and Location
Briefs : Energy
Aerogel-Fiber Layered Laminate System
Aerogel-Fiber Layered Laminate System
This multifunctional hybrid laminate composite can be used for residential and commercial construction.
Aerogel-Fiber Layered Laminate System
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Adaptive Spatial Resolution Enables Focused Fiber Optic Sensing
Adaptive Spatial Resolution Enables Focused Fiber Optic Sensing
This innovation dynamically provides fast signal processing and precision measurement.
Adaptive Spatial Resolution Enables Focused Fiber Optic Sensing
Briefs : Imaging
Camera Enables Surgeons to More Easily Identify Cancerous Tissue

Many surgeons rely on sight and touch to find cancerous tissue during surgery. Large hospitals or cancer treatment centers may also use experimental near-infrared fluorescent agents that bind to tumors so surgeons can see them on specialized displays. These machines are costly,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark

Thermal cameras like forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors are actively deployed on aerial and ground vehicles, in watch towers, and at check points for surveillance purposes. More recently,...

Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’