Tech Briefs

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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: Electronics & Computers
Precision Current Input With Well-Defined Current Limiting for Extreme Environment Applications

Wide temperature and extreme environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme environment electronics, by their...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithm for Estimating PRC Wavefront Errors from Shack-Hartmann Camera Images

Phase retrieval (PR) and Shack-Hartmann Sensor (SHS) are the two preferred methods of image-based wavefront sensing widely used in various optical testbeds, adaptive optical systems, and ground- and space-based telescopes. They are used to recover the phase...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Photo-Thermo-Refractive Glass Co-Doped with Luminescent Agents for All-Solid-State Microchip Lasers

A proposed solid-state technology possesses photosensitivity that enables volume hologram recording and a high efficiency of luminescence, enabling stimulated emission. These features were used to record volume Bragg gratings and to demonstrate...

Briefs: Software
Large Computer-Generated Hologram with Software-Generated Calibration Wavefront Map

This technology enables accurate calibration of a large Computer Generated Hologram (CGH) fabricated without great accuracy, such that the CGH still measures an aspheric surface to an excellent accuracy of a couple of nm rms. The goal is the creation of software...

Briefs: Materials
Modeling Transmission Effects on Multilayer Insulation

Recent experimental results within the NASA community have shown apparent degradation in the performance of multilayer insulation (MLI) when used in low-temperature applications, e.g., in liquid hydrogen tanks. There was speculation that this degradation was due to the appearance of...

Briefs: Materials
Woven Thermal Protection System

Woven thermal protection system (WTPS) is a new approach to producing TPS materials that uses precisely engineered 3D weaving techniques to customize material characteristics needed to meet specific missions requirements for protecting space vehicles from the intense heating generated during atmospheric entry....

Briefs: Materials
Innovative, Low-CTE, Lightweight Structures with Higher Strength

A series of lightweight (density below 2.0 gm/cm3) composites has been manufactured that have controllable properties. The core composite has been improved to provide higher strength (similar to aluminum), extremely low density, receptivity to exterior coatings, and...

Briefs: Materials
Negative Dielectric Constant Material Based on Ion-Conducting Materials

Metamaterials, or artificial negative index materials (NIMs), have generated great attention due to their unique and exotic electromagnetic properties. A negative dielectric constant material, which is an essential key for creating the NIMs, was developed by doping ions into...

Briefs: Materials
Insulating Materials and Precursor Formulations, and Method of Forming

Methods were developed for forming an insulating material that combines a polysilazane, a cross-linking compound, and a gas-generating compound to form a reaction mixture, and curing the reaction mixture to form a modified polysilazane. The gas-generating compound may be...

Briefs: Materials
Selective Clay Placement Within a Silicate Clay-Epoxy-Blend Nanocomposite

The dispersion of a layered silicate into an epoxy matrix often increases the material strength and stiffness, but reduces resin toughness. This innovation is a method to selectively place organically modified clay within specific regions of an epoxy blend, where the clay...

Briefs: Motion Control
Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than...

Briefs: Motion Control
Using Harmonics to Control Flutter in Wings with Electrical Motors

As aeronautics engineers develop innovative distributed electric propulsion systems, they face new challenges in ensuring that these innovative aircraft are safe as well as fuel efficient. In particular, these systems involve a large number of electrically driven fan motors...

Briefs: Aerospace
Micropulse Detonation Rocket Engine for Nano-Satellite Propulsion

An efficient propulsion system would use a micropulse detonation rocket engine (–PDRE) for nano-satellite maneuverability in space. Technical objectives are to design, build, and conduct a small detonation tube experiment in order to explore the feasibility of using –PDRE for...

Briefs: Motion Control
Experimental Testbed for 1-MW Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Aircraft

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a concept aircraft for testing turbo-electric distributed propulsion (TeDP) experiments. TeDP generally involves providing thrust to an aircraft via wing-mounted ducted electric fans, which consist...

Briefs: Software

Complex pressure systems are utilized during testing in the propulsion branch as well as during the propellant loading stage of a mission. Keeping track of the state of such a system becomes more...

Briefs: Medical
Versatile Platform for Nanotechnology Based on Circular Permutations of Chaperonin Protein

The controlled organization of inorganic materials into multi-dimensional addressable arrays is the foundation for logic and memory devices, as well as other nonlinear optical and sensing devices. Many of these devices are currently fabricated using...

Briefs: Materials
Zero-G Condensing Heat Exchanger with Integral Disinfection

A concept for a unique zero-g condensing heat exchanger that has an integral ozone-generating capacity has been conceived. This design will contribute to the control of metabolic water vapor in the air, and also provide disinfection of the resultant condensate, and the disinfection of...

Briefs: Medical
Concurrent O2 Generation and CO2 Control for Advanced Life Support

A life support system generates oxygen in low oxygen and/or hazardous environments such as mining, chemical/biological attacks, nuclear fallout, or space exploration. Based on proven technology, this O2/CO2 control system has the potential to significantly...

Briefs: Medical
Gene Expression Signatures for Colon Carcinogenesis and Radiation-Induced Cellular Transformation

Monitoring colon health and transformation into a diseased tissue, including inflammation and cancer, is difficult using conventional techniques, as individuals are required to undergo invasive procedures. However, by using exfoliated cells, it is...

Briefs: Information Technology
Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software

The Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software (HDU-CAS) is designed to provide the required functionality for an engineering prototype of a highly autonomous space habitat element, and to provide an opportunity for new software technologies to be tested in an environment that provides...

Briefs: Information Technology
Multicore ROCKSTER

ROCKSTER (Rock Segmentation Through Edge Regrouping) is a rock detection algorithm that analyzes 2D geologic scenes and identifies rocks and other targets of interest. A multicore ROCKSTER enables long-range autonomous rover traverse science to be performed efficiently and to make use of multicore or parallel computing...

Briefs: Information Technology
Non-Binary Protograph-Based LDPC Codes with Near-Capacity Thresholds

Binary protograph codes are state-of-the-art codes over the binary field Galois Field GF(2). These codes were invented by JPL in 2003 and proposed to CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) recently as a channel-coding standard for space communications. It is...

Briefs: Software
Dynamically Configurable Pipeline

The Dynamically Configurable Pipeline is a concept for the rapid implementation of pipelined computational algorithms in configurable hardware such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The approach, especially in its phase-coherent incarnation, allows a high level of sharing of floating-point resources...

Briefs: Information Technology
Frame Synchronization Without Attached Sync Markers

In communications systems, there must be a method to identify the beginning of a message at the receiving end, to know when the data stream of a specified structure begins. This is conventionally done by inserting attached sync markers (ASMs) between codewords, and looking for these ASMs in the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Scalable ParaView for Extreme Scale Visualization

Work has been focused on identifying bottlenecks in visualization pipelines that make the visualization and analysis of large datasets in real time difficult to attain. The innovators leveraged ParaView, an open-source visualization application and framework, to provide custom solutions for users...

Briefs: Software
Explicit Filtering Leading to Grid-Spacing-Independent and Discretization-Order-Independent Large Eddy Simulation Solutions

Numerical simulations for turbulent flows using the most promising methodology, Large Eddy Simulation (LES), are grid-spacing and discretization-order dependent. This means that the solution is not trustworthy and cannot be...

Briefs: Information Technology
Explicit Filtering Leading to Grid-Independent and Discretization-Order-Independent Large Eddy Simulation

To validate simulations, one must trust that they are independent of the numerical aspects. A very promising, relatively new methodology for simulating turbulent flows, called Large Eddy Simulation (LES), has some issues in this respect. The...

Briefs: Aerospace
Mars Science Laboratory Second-Chance Flight Software

Mars lander spacecraft, beginning with Mars Pathfinder (MPF), have been designed to tolerate flight computer resets during the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase despite having only a single flight computer. This capability was enabled by a predictable, non-dynamic EDL architecture. The...

Briefs: Software
Multi-User Investigation Organizer

InvestigationOrganizer (IO) is a Web-based information system that integrates the generic functionality of a database, a document repository, a semantic hyper-media browser, and a rule-based inference system with specialized modeling and visualization functionality to support mishap investigations. The semantic...

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