Test & Measurement

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

Briefs : Data Acquisition
CHEBY Toolkit for Processing and Editing Chebyshev Files

This software fits trajectory ephemerides and thrust profiles with a Chebyshev polynomial representation, and stores this fit in data files suitable for upload to a spacecraft. In addition, a number of utility modules are provided to assist with inspection and diagnosis of issues with data...

Briefs : Aerospace
Steering-Mirror-Assisted Laser Fine Pointing

Pointing precision is a critical element of instrumentation for optical communications and ranging in space, affecting laser design, link power budgets, and SWaP. While star trackers possess...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Micro-Mirror Optical Tracking and Ranging System

An innovative optical sensing and tracking system was designed to detect, track, and determine object distance and direction in a wide, full, solid angle (160 × 160°) with an extremely high...

Briefs : Imaging
Decoding Multiple Frames From a Single Scattered Exposure

Engineers at Duke University have developed a way to extract a sequence of images from light scattered through a mostly opaque material — or even off a wall — from one long...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microscopy Technique Works at Extreme Heat

A stainless steel alloy — alloy 709 — has potential for elevated-temperature applications such as nuclear reactor structures. It is exceptionally strong and resistant to damage when exposed to...

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 : Aerospace
Device Measures Laser Power in Real Time

Lasers play roles in many manufacturing processes, from welding car parts to crafting engine components with 3D printers. To control these tasks, manufacturers must ensure that their lasers fire at...

Briefs : Aerospace
Exhaust Plume Analyzer

Exhaust plumes emanating from smoke stacks at power plants or other industrial facilities can have adverse impacts on local aviation during periods of calm winds. Adverse impacts can be exacerbated if the temperature is low or the atmosphere is unstable. While low oxygen concentrations and elevated temperatures inside the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Internal Short Circuit Testing Device to Improve Battery Designs

Batteries, such as lithium-ion, sold for consumer use in portable electronic devices and other applications such as electrical cars, occasionally fail in the field over time. These cells have typically passed a wide variety of safety tests such as those required by governmental...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Rapid Nucleic Acid Isolation Method and Fluid Handling Devices

Gene expression analysis measures the activity of genes and reveals valuable information about the internal states of living cells. NASA Ames has developed a novel system for...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Hybrid, Wide-Range Detector Amplifier

Many applications require detection of both very small and very large signals. High-gain detector amplifiers provide low noise, but are easily swamped by large signals. Logarithmic amplifiers provide a...

Briefs : Aerospace
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 : Medical
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 : Aerospace
Li-ion Cell Calorimeter

Lithium-ion batteries are an integral part of energy storage systems used in NASA's Exploration program, as well as many modern terrestrial industries. NASA Johnson wanted a better way to measure total and fractional heat response of specific types of Li-ion cells when driven into a thermal runaway condition.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pilot-Assisted Check Valve for Low-Pressure Applications

Check valves are traditionally designed as a simple poppet/spring system where the spring is designed to equal the force created from the sealing area of the valve seat multiplied by...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Platform Enables Modeling of a Human Heart on an Engineered Chip

Prescription drugs have enabled millions of Americans with chronic medical conditions to live longer and more fulfilling lives, but many promising new drugs never make it to...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Method and Means to Analyze Thermographic Data Acquired During Automated Fiber Placement

Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machines can be susceptible to tow-tape defects such as gaps and overlaps. These can reduce strength between 7% and 32%....

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable “Microbrewery” Monitors Radiation Exposure

Radiology workers are regularly exposed to low doses of radiation when they obtain patient imagery such as X-rays. While protective gear largely keeps workers within a safe range of...

Briefs : Imaging
Computed Tomography Inspection Applications in Additive Manufacturing

The ability of additive manufacturing to manage small volumes, create complex designs, and fabricate lightweight but strong structures makes it a natural fit for aerospace...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Computer Detects and Understands Body Language

Detecting the nuances of nonverbal communication between individuals will allow robots to serve in social spaces, enabling them to perceive what people around them are doing, what moods they are...

Briefs : Imaging
Imaging Technique Detects Skin Cancer Without Invasive Biopsy

Researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a non-invasive imaging technique that accurately detects skin cancer...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor Combination Detects People by Smell

Trained rescue dogs are the best disaster workers — their sensitive noses help them track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. But dogs need breaks. A new measuring device is always...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Ion Mobility Sensor System

A real-time ion mobility sensor developed to detect contaminants and explosives is reliable, sensitive, robust, and inexpensive. The technology improves sensitivity and reduces false alarms for threat agents, and can identify chemicals with a sensitivity of five parts per billion.

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Optimetric Measurements Over Coherent Free-Space Optical Communication

High-precision ranging (optimetric) instruments are highly desired for both space navigation and communications as well as gravitational-based science missions. Traditionally, these measurements are made with instruments solely dedicated to ranging (i.e. Doppler shift of a...

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 : Test & Measurement
Wide-Area Chemical Sensor

The detection and localization of gas releases, such as methane from leaking natural gas pipelines or nitrogen oxides from failing electrical equipment, require high sensitivity to the target gas and insensitivity...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion

It is relatively easy to measure small movements of large objects, but is much more difficult when the moving parts are on the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. The ability to accurately...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Portable Acousto-Optic Spectrometers

Spectrometers are widely used for applications such as chemical analysis, remote sensing, quality control, environmental monitoring, spaceborne measurements, and optical measurements. Most spectrometers...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Active Pointing Monitor for a 2-Axis Optical Control System

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a pointing measurement detection and control system that monitors the real-time optical axis motions (such as tip and tilt) that affect image quality in aerial platforms. To date, there is no known real-time optical image alignment and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ionization-Based Multidirectional Flow Sensor

One significant area of research in fuel cell technology includes systems in which a fuel cell is combined with another power generation device (a turbine, for example) to create a hybrid system that combines the advantages of the two standalone systems, resulting in a high fuel-to-electricity...

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Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Non-Contact Strain and Displacements Measurements in the...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

CNC Machining: How to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Production

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Advanced Quality Planning and Production Part Approval Process...

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

How to Avoid PCB Re-spins when IC’s Change or are Obsoleted