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

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 : Photonics/Optics
Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor

The need arose to apply the state determination algorithms developed for the Advanced Video Guidance Sensor autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) sensor onto a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), smartphone-based platform to create a lower-mass, lower-cost sensor for small satellite and CubeSat applications....

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
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 : Imaging
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 : Photonics/Optics
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 : Imaging
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 : Green Design & Manufacturing
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 : Imaging
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...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Multi-Channel Laser Absorption Spectrometer for Combustion Product Monitoring

Tunable laser absorption spectrometer (TLAS) sensors enable gas monitoring with high accuracy and gas specificity, and can be optimized for continuous, maintenance-free operation on long-duration manned spacecraft missions. This innovation is a portable, five-channel...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Disturbance-Free, High-Resolution Imaging from Space

All imaging systems from space are affected by disturbances originating in the spacecraft in the form of mechanical noise from thruster and reaction/momentum wheels, and sensor noise. A drag-free system is truly unaffected by any disturbances, as it is in pure freefall. Hence, leveraging...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Hollow-Core Fiber Lamp for Mercury Ion Clocks and Micro-Plasma Studies

The mercury linear ion trap frequency standard (LITS) at JPL has been demonstrated to have multiple potential applications in NASA deep space missions. An increase of the deep ultraviolet (DUV)/vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light output from the plasma discharge lamp light source...

Briefs : Software
3D Imaging Technology and System

All current cameras and imaging systems have the same classical problem in practical applications. To complete the observation task, a large amount of data is captured, processed, and transmitted; then most of the data is discarded because it is not essential for the given observation task. The problem comes from...

Briefs : Imaging
Virtual Windows to Supplement Conventional Spacecraft Windows

Legacy NASA spacecraft windows suffer from specialized costs and operational constraints associated with embedding optically transparent apertures within structures that are designed to maximize strength, safety, and environmental integrity. A new approach to the legacy window...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
SCaN Optical Link Assessment Tool Version 2

In response to the requirements of the Space-Based Relay Study (SBRS) undertaken by NASA in 2013, as well as the Integrated Radio and Optical Communications (iROC) project being conducted by NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) beginning in 2012, a calculation procedure was required to rapidly assess the...

Briefs : Software
Optical Correlation Receiver

Precise distance, time, and pulse width measurements are required for many areas of science and engineering. Time-of-flight methods are often used to measure remote distances. Optical signals are attractive because the small wavelength allows small transmit and receive telescopes. Short pulsed lasers are attractive...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Exploration Visualization Environment

The Exploration Visualization Environment (EVE) is a simulation, visualization, and analysis system designed to integrate engineering data with a virtual environment in support of the design and planning of space-based missions. Through the integration of time-dependent data with detailed graphical models...

Briefs : Medical
Ultrasound Competence Test Metrics

Diagnostic medical ultrasound requires psychomotor skill in image acquisition and cognitive skill in image interpretation. There is a lack of an objective, quantitative, and standardized method to assess psychomotor skill. In traditional radiology and cardiology training programs, physicians are certified based...

Briefs : Imaging
Thermal Cycle Qualification of Radiated Solar Arrays for 50 to 133 K Temperatures in Vacuum

Solar arrays (radiated or non-radiated) and other technologies are candidate materials for projects in JPL. Some of the projects need to qualify these potential technologies to cryogenic extreme temperatures (from 133 to 50 K or lower). Those technologies...

Briefs : Imaging
Downhole Regolith Interrogation with Helium-Assisted Drill and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

It is of great interest to the scientific community to have the ability to analyze drilled boreholes in situ on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. The goal of this work was to design and fabricate a Downhole Regolith Interrogation with...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Large, High-Speed, Precision Optic Indexing Wheel

Optical indexing wheels, sometimes called “filter wheels,” are used to locate various optics or filters in a beam path to change the observational mode. Large wheels a half-meter in size or larger typically operate slowly, although the loss of a few seconds of time moving from one observation...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Web-Based Search Service to Support Imaging Spectrometer Instrument Operations

Imaging spectrometers yield rich and informative data products, but interpreting them demands time and expertise. There is a continual need for new algorithms and methods for rapid firstdraft analyses to assist analysts during instrument operations. Intelligent data...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Hermetic Phototube Housing

This innovation is a hermetically sealed case or very small chamber. A photomultiplier tube (PMT) is mounted inside the chamber. The circuit board is also installed inside the chamber with appropriate feedthroughs for signals. An adapter/floating mount called the phototube to light pipe system mount (PLPSM) allows the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Design, Fabrication, and Test of WFIRST/AFTA GRISM Assembly

This work originated with the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) slitless spectrometer design (GRISM assembly), which attempted to follow the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) method of employing a singleelement GRISM as a slitless spectroscope. However, WFIRST’s field of view...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Spinal Ultrasound Just-in-Time Training Tool

Back pain and injury are recognized risks that can affect the well-being and performance of crewmembers during missions, as well as their long-term health. Spine elongation is a documented effect of microgravity, back pain is a common occurrence in early flight, and the post-flight incidence of spinal...

Briefs : Imaging
Wide-Spectrum Organic Mass Spectrometer Using Far-Ultraviolet Ionization

Two-step laser desorption/photoionization mass spectrometry (L2MS) represents a powerful tool for the organic analysis of astromaterials. The technique has high sensitivity and requires little to no sample preparation.


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