Imaging

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

Briefs : Imaging
Image-Based User Authentication

In other user authentication systems, a user authenticates identity by selecting a particular image that is then matched to a previous choice. This invention enables greater security for access control systems by combining facial recognition technology with a user authentication question.

Briefs : Imaging
Machine Vision System

A number of instruments have been built to obtain range images — a two-dimensional array of numbers that gives the depth of a scene along many directions from a central point in the instrument. Instead of measuring the brightness of many points in a scene, as in a television camera, these instruments measure where each...

Briefs : Imaging
Linear Fresnel Spectrometer Chip with Gradient Line Grating

NASA's Langley Research Center has built a very small spectrometer by integrating a differential linear Fresnel lens onto an imaging chip. NASA is using the lens/chip in a very small spectrometer that will be mounted on the tires of a rover to analyze soil on the Moon or Mars. The...

Briefs : Imaging
Lock-In Imaging System for Detecting Disturbances in Fluid

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an aircraft-based turbulence and vortex detection system. Turbulence and vortices in the front-flight path are very dangerous for airplanes. Especially when an airplane is approaching the airfield to land, the altitude near the airfield is...

Briefs : Imaging
Curved Sensor Improves Image Quality Captured with Digital Cameras

In dark environments, it is often difficult to get a clear, high-quality image. To address this problem, a method was developed for spherically curving the flat image sensors found in digital cameras. The curved sensors could be used to create better cameras for surveillance,...

Briefs : Imaging
Algorithm Enables Five-Dimensional Imaging in Living Organisms

Researchers use fluorescent imaging to locate proteins and other molecules in cells and tissues by tagging the molecules with dyes that glow under certain kinds of light — the same principle behind “black light” images. Fluorescent imaging can help scientists and researchers...

Briefs : Imaging
Microstructural Explorations Inside Fuel Cells

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), a promising technology that can efficiently produce energy using fossil fuels with no moving parts and low emissions, present a particularly perplexing economic challenge: current systems operate at maximum efficiency between 700 and 1000 degrees Celsius, but such...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
The Advanced Land Imager Helped NASA Mission Exceed Expectations.

After more than 16 years of operation, NASA’s Earth Observing–1 (EO-1) spacecraft was decommissioned on March 30 of this year. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory was aboard as an alternative to the land-imaging sensor that was used by the...

Briefs : Imaging
Device and Method of Scintillating Quantum Dots for Radiation Imaging

NASA’s Langley Re search Center has developed Scintillating Quantum Dots for Imaging X-rays (SQDIX) technology that enables the creation of x-ray detectors that are more sensitive than current x-ray detectors. In addition to superior sensitivity, SQDIX also offers the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
CUDA Framework for Linear Time-Invariant Control of Adaptive Optics Systems

Current science objectives, such as high-contrast imaging of exoplanets, have led to the development of high-order adaptive optics (AO) systems possessing several thousand deformable mirror (DM) actuators. These systems typically rely on integrator-based control...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Invertible Time Invariant Linear Filtering (InTILF) Method for Pattern Detection and Modeling of Stochastic One- or Two-Dimensional Data

X-ray astronomy offers the opportunity to observe important phenomena, including the early accretion of massive black holes and detecting diffuse ionized intergalactic gas that is heated to X-ray temperatures...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
One-Micron (1064-nm) Planar External Cavity Laser (PLANEX)

Ahighly reliable, very low-phase, and low-amplitude-noise laser is required as an oscillator for the LISA mission. A commercial product made by Redfern Integrated Optics met these requirements (1550-nm PLANEX External Cavity Laser), but it operated at 1.5 microns, not the required LISA...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Stereoscopic Imaging in Hypersonic Boundary Layers Using Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence

Stereoscopic time-resolved visualization of three-dimensional structures in a hypersonic flow was performed for the first time in NASA Langley Research Center’s 31-inch Mach 10 Air Tunnel. Nitric oxide (NO) was seeded into hypersonic boundary layer flows...

Briefs : Imaging
3D Imaging Laser System

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a non-scanning, 3D imaging laser system that uses a simple lens system to simultaneously generate a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of optical (light) spots to illuminate an object, surface, or image to generate a topographic profile.

Briefs : Imaging
Smart Image Enhancement Process

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an automatic measurement and control method for smart image enhancement. Pilots, doctors, and photographers will benefit from this innovation that offers a new approach to image processing. Initial advantages will be seen in improved medical imaging and...

Briefs : Imaging
Compact Thermal Neutron Imaging System Using Axisymmetric Focusing Mirrors

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed novel neutron grazing incidence optics for use with small-scale portable neutron generators. The technology was developed to enable the use of commercially available neutron generators for applications requiring high...

Briefs : Imaging
High-Speed Edge-Detecting Circuit for Use with Linear Image Sensor

A new smart camera developed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center has the ability to process and transmit valuable edge location data for the images that it captures — at a rate of over 900 frames per second. The camera was designed to operate as a component in an inlet shock...

Briefs : Imaging
Two- and Three-Dimensional Near-Infrared Subcutaneous Structure Imager Using Adaptive Nonlinear Video Processing

Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have successfully developed a novel subcutaneous structure imager for locating veins in challenging patient populations, such as juvenile, elderly, dark-skinned, or obese patients. Spurred...

Briefs : Imaging
Methods of Real-Time Image Enhancement of Flash LIDAR Data and Navigating a Vehicle Using Flash LIDAR Data

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed 3D imaging technologies (Flash LIDAR) for real-time terrain mapping and synthetic vision-based navigation. To take advantage of the information inherent in a sequence of 3D images acquired at...

Briefs : Imaging
Spatially Aberrated Spectral Filtering for High-Performance Spectral Imaging

High-performance thermal imagers like Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) currently use a three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) optical design to image remote...

Briefs : Imaging
A Common-Mode Digital Holographic Microscope

Digital holography is a fast-growing field in optics, recently spurred by the advent of large-format digital cameras and high-speed computers. This method provides a time-series of volumetric information about a sample, but the instrument itself has no moving parts. It does not compromise performance...

Briefs : Imaging
A Smooth-Walled Feedhorn with Sub-30-dB Cross-Polarization Over a 30-Percent Bandwidth

The focus of this research was the design, optimization, and measurement of a monotonically profiled, smooth-walled scalar feedhorn with a diffraction-limited ~14° FWHM (full width at half maximum). It is an easier-to-manufacture, smooth-walled feed that...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Partially Transparent Circular Mask to Suppress Narrowband Laser Light

The evolved Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (eLISA) is the implementation of the original Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA) concept that will be proposed for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) L.3 Cosmic Visions opportunity. The eLISA observatory uses lasers to...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Large-Area, Polarization-Sensitive Bolometer for Multi-Mode Optics

Measurements of the cosmic micro wave background are a powerful probe of the early universe. Part-per-million fluctuations in the intensity of background trace the initial conditions of matter and energy shortly after the Big Bang, mapping the large-scale structure of spacetime....

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
A Novel Orbiting Cloud Imager System for IR/UV/X-Ray Bands

Typically, the cost of a spaceborne imaging system is driven by the size and mass of the primary aperture. Innovative solutions for imagers that are less complex and are lightweight are very desirable. Currently, telescopes such as JWST and ATLAST are very expensive and very complex.

Briefs : Imaging
One-Micron (1064-nm) Planar External Cavity Laser (PLANEX)

A highly reliable, very low-phase and low-amplitude-noise laser is required as an oscillator for the LISA mission. A commercial product made by Redfern Integrated Optics met these requirements (1550 nm PLANEX External Cavity Laser), but it operated at 1.5 microns, not the required LISA...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro Cylindrical Ion Trap Micro Mass Spectrometer Instrument System

The goal of this work was to advance the development of new, extremely small (≈2 cm3), low-power (≈3 W), and low-cost micro mass spectrometer instrument systems (μMSIS) through the application of microelectro-mechanical system (MEMS) design and fabrication, and...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Invertible Time Invariant Linear Filtering (InTILF) Method for Pattern Detection and Modeling of Stochastic One- or Two- Dimensional Data

X-ray astronomy offers the opportunity to observe important phenomena, including the early accretion of massive black holes and detecting diffuse ionized intergalactic gas that is heated to X-ray temperatures...

Briefs : Imaging
Continental-Scale Mapping of Adélie Penguin Colonies from Landsat Imagery

The Adélie penguin has a circum-Antarctic distribution and is widely considered a useful indicator of status and change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems. Breeding distribution of the Adélie penguin was surveyed with Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Photogrammetric-Based Pose Initialization and Propagation for Inertial Navigation Systems

The purpose of the Pose Initialization and Propagation (PIP) system is to provide an absolute navigational solution (position, velocity, and attitude) to a moving vehicle without using GPS. This was developed as a navigation system for rocket launches in a...

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