Tech Briefs

A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Method of Adjusting Acoustic Impedances for Impedance-Tunable Acoustic Segments

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an adaptive noise-reduction system that optimizes impedance in an aircraft engine. Aerospace and automotive engineers can take advantage of this innovative system that offers a superior approach to noise...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Nanostructure Neutron Converter Layer Development

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a nanostructure neutron converter layer that can be used for neutron detection. Neutron radiation is a significant risk in long-duration spaceflight and is also a risk in commercial aviation and nuclear reactors. This invention provides for more...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Sun Safety

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam instrument can be damaged when the Sun enters or passes through its field of view (FOV). There is no Sun cover, yet other instruments mounted with boresights pointing in the same direction must observe the Sun for scientific observations and for attitude...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
System for In-Situ Detection of Plant Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE)

In collaboration with the State University of New York and the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a hyperspectral estimator to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) in plants. TCE has been a widely used industrial solvent known to be...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Time-Shifted PN Codes for CW LIDAR, RADAR, and SONAR

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a waveform processing technique to eliminate signal noise resulting from sources of interference (scatterers) that can degrade continuous wave (CW) lidar return data. The algorithm was developed to enable CW lidar measurement of atmospheric gas...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Data Informatics Infrastructure for the Megacities Carbon Project

With the goal of assessing the anthropogenic carbon-emission impact of urban centers on local and global climates, the Megacities Carbon Project has been building carbon-monitoring capabilities for the past two years around the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a pilot effort....

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for Paints

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for treating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is offering companies licensing or partnering...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engines and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Carbon Nanofibers Synthesized on Selective Substrates for Nonvolatile Memory and 3D Electronics Applications

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed a nano-electro-mechanical resonator (NEMR) based on vertically aligned carbon nanofibers (CNFs) that is suitable for applications requiring high sensitivity, broad tenability, low loss...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A Nanotube Film Electrode and Electroactive Device Fabricated with the Nanotube Film Electrode and Methods for Making the Same

NASA’s Langley Research Center offers an all-organic electroactive device system fabricated with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT). The enhanced design offers higher electroactive performance in comparison with...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Superconducting Transition Edge Sensors and Methods for Design and Manufacture Thereof

NASA technologists have developed a novel, superconducting transition edge sensor (TES). Such TES devices are thermometers that are widely used for particle detection, e.g. X-rays, infrared photons, atoms, molecules, etc. Energy resolution is chiefly important...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Chalcogenide Nanoionic-Based Radio Frequency Switch

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed nanoionic-based radio frequency (RF) switches for use in devices that rely on low-power RF transmissions, such as automotive systems, RFID...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
X-ray Diffraction (XRD) Characterization Methods for Sigma=3 Twin Defects in Cubic Semiconductor (100) Wafers

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method of using x-ray diffraction (XRD) to detect defects in cubic semiconductor (100) wafers. The technology allows non-destructive evaluation of wafer quality in a simple, fast,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System for Configuring Modular Telemetry Transponders

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed software-defined radio (SDR) telemetry transceiver technology to collect and transmit data to and from small satellites and microsatellites. The SDR concept uses a minimal number of traditional analog radio-frequency...

Briefs : Aerospace
Miles-In-Trail with Passback Restrictions for Use in Air Traffic Management

NASA has developed a unique innovation to compute passed back spacing requirements in air traffic management. The air traffic managers of the National Airspace System (NAS) in the United States regularly implement various Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) to handle...

Briefs : Aerospace
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine

A new engine concept from NASA’s Glenn Research Center allows for truly distributed propulsion. The concept enables airframe and system modularity by allowing parts to be swapped or repaired easily. Design changes can be applied to individual components...

Briefs : Aerospace
Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System (iGCAS)

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have dramatically improved upon existing ground collision avoidance technology for aircraft. NASA’s system leverages leading-edge fighter safety technology, adapting it to civil aviation use as an advanced warning system. It offers...

Briefs : Aerospace
Aerodynamically Stabilized Instrument Platform

The AeroPod, developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, is a passive device that uses aerodynamic forces to stabilize an instrument package suspended from a kite or tethered blimp. The AeroPod’s design for steadying and damping payloads includes the use of a tail...

Briefs : Aerospace
Energy-Absorbing Beam Member

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel design for a lightweight energy absorbing (EA) composite subfloor structure. The technology’s primary application is to increase occupant survivability in the event of an aircraft crash. Current airframe subfloors unpredictably buckle, splay, and collapse under...

Briefs : Aerospace
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed a novel noise reduction system for jet engines. Aircraft jet engine noise is a major issue for airports, the communities near airports, and, of course, for the jet engine designers. Even with the use of recent...

Briefs : Aerospace
Improvements to the Functional Beamforming Formula

The purpose of this work is to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of acoustic measurements made in a wind tunnel with a microphone phased array. The functional beamforming method is improved to compensate for effects of acoustic propagation through turbulence, and to correct for inaccurate...

Briefs : Materials
Aerofoam

Aerofoam is a unique foam composite insulation with improved thermal and acoustic insulation properties. The novelty of this invention comes from combining a polymer foam with a unique inorganic filler in a way that maximizes thermal performance while maintaining mechanical performance, chemical resistance, fire resistance, and acoustic...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Pressure Vessel Including Crack Arresting Barrier

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center innovators have developed several new designs and methods of fabrication for composite and composite-overwrapped tank vessels that help significantly improve their structural integrity against impact, abrasion, harsh environments, and fire. Several...

Briefs : Materials
Process for Preparing Aerogels from Polyamides

Sometimes referred to as “solid smoke,” aerogels are the world’s lightest solid materials, composed of approximately 85% air by volume. Polyamide aerogels open up a whole new world of applications due to their unique properties: translucent like silica aerogels, thermoplastic, ultra-low...

Briefs : Materials
Advanced Multilayer Environmental Barrier Coatings

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have created exciting new developments in thermal barrier coatings, both in the chemical compositions of the coatings and in the process by which they are applied. NASA’s researchers have developed a revolutionary bond coat system that improves the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Relief Valve

Inventors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have developed a magnetically retained, fast-response pressure relief valve that is designed to fully open at precise cracking pressures, and that operates in a fully open/fully closed manner. The use of a magnetically controlled relief valve, as opposed to a spring-based relief...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Work Piece Cleaning Apparatus and Method with Pulsating Mixture of Liquid and Gas

NASA Goddard’s scientists have developed a novel, volatile organic compound (VOC)-free system for cleaning tubing and piping that significantly reduces cost and carbon consumption. The innovative technology enables the use of deionized water in place of costlier...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Safety Drain System for Fluid Reservoir

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a system that reduces the entrapment risks associated with a pool or spa’s recirculation drain. The technology prevents hazards caused by suction forces on the body, hair, clothing, or other articles. Employing a novel configuration of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge

Composites have excellent strength characteristics, are lightweight, and are increasingly being used in space applications. However, they are highly inflexible and require hinged joints when used as deployable structures. This is a challenge for CubeSats/SmallSats, as the hinges and actuation...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Temperature-Compensating PMT Housing

Shrinking or contracting light guides is a problem when photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are glued to the guides. If there is no way to allow movement of the PMTs, when the temperature goes down, the light guide contracts and breaks the glue joint. The PMTs cannot be left loose to rattle around inside the...

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