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 : Software
Geometric Reasoning for Automated Planning

An important aspect of mission planning for NASA’s operation of the International Space Station is the allocation and management of space for supplies and equipment. The Stowage, Configuration Analysis, and Operations Planning teams collaborate to perform the bulk of that planning. A Geometric...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Single-Layer, All-Metal Patch Antenna Element With Wide Bandwidth

It is known that the impedance at the center of a patch antenna element is a short circuit, implying that a wire or post can be connected from the patch to the groundplane at this point without impacting radiation performance. In principle, this central post can be used to support...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Scanning Laser Infrared Molecular Spectrometer (SLIMS)

This prototype innovation is a novel design that achieves very long, effective laser path lengths that are able to yield ppb (parts per billion) and sub-ppb measurements of trace gases. SLIMS can also accommodate multiple laser channels covering a wide range of wavelengths, resulting in...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Next-Generation Microshutter Arrays for Large-Format Imaging and Spectroscopy

A next-generation microshutter array, LArge Microshutter Array (LAMA), was developed as a multi-object field selector. LAMA consists of small-scaled microshutter arrays that can be combined to form large-scale microshutter array mosaics. Microshutter actuation is...

Briefs : Materials
Three-Dimensional Porous Particles Composed of Curved, Two-Dimensional, Nano-Sized Layers for Li-Ion Batteries

Building on previous knowledge acquired through research on thin-film batteries, three-dimensional (3D) porous macroscopic particles consisting of curved two-dimensional (2D) nano-structures of Si may bring unique advantages for Si...

Briefs : Materials
Enhanced-Adhesion Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes on Titanium Substrates for Stray Light Control

Carbon nanotubes previously grown on silicon have extremely low reflectance, making them a good candidate for stray light suppression. Silicon, however, is not a good structural material for stray light components such as tubes, stops, and baffles....

Briefs : Materials
Detection of Carbon Monoxide Using Polymer-Composite Films With a Porphyrin-Functionalized Polypyrrole

Post-fire air constituents that are of interest to NASA include CO and some acid gases (HCl and HCN). CO is an important analyte to be able to sense in human habitats since it is a marker for both pre-fire detection and post-fire cleanup.

Briefs : Materials
Ultra-Lightweight Nanocomposite Foams and Sandwich Structures for Space Structure Applications

Microcellular nanocomposite foams and sandwich structures have been created to have excellent electrical conductivity and radiation-resistant properties using a new method that does not involve or release any toxicity. The nanocomposite structures have...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Thermally Resilient, Broadband Optical Absorber From UV to IR Derived From Carbon Nanostructures

Optical absorber coatings have been developed from carbon-based paints, metal blacks, or glassy carbon. However, such materials are not truly black and have poor absorption characteristics at longer wavelengths. The blackness of such coatings is...

Briefs : Medical
Hardy Bacterium Isolated From Two Geographically Distinct Spacecraft Assembly Cleanroom Facilities

Earlier studies have confirmed that a tenacious hardy bacterial population manages to persist and survive throughout a spacecraft assembly process. The widespread detection of these organisms underscores the challenges in eliminating them...

Briefs : Medical
Loading, Release, Biodegradation, and Biocompatibility of a Nanovector Delivery System

A nanovector multistage system has been created to overcome or bypass sequential barriers within the human body, in order to deliver a therapeutic or imaging agent to a specific location. This innovation consists of a composition that includes two or more...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dual Double-Wedge Pseudo-Depolarizer With Anamorphic PSF

A polarized scene, which may occur at oblique illumination angles, creates a radiometric signal that varies as a function of viewing angle. One common optical component that is used to minimize such an effect is a polarization scrambler or depolarizer. As part of the CLARREO mission, the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Sample-Clock Phase-Control Feedback

To demodulate a communication signal, a receiver must recover and synchronize to the symbol timing of a received waveform. In a system that utilizes digital sampling, the fidelity of synchronization is limited by the time between the symbol boundary and closest sample time location. To reduce this error, one...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
A Compact, High-Flux Cold Atom Beam Source

The performance of cold atom experiments relying on three-dimensional magneto-optical trap techniques can be greatly enhanced by employing a highflux cold atom beam to obtain high atom loading rates while maintaining low background pressures in the UHV MOT (ultra-high vacuum magneto-optical trap)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microgravity Passive Phase Separator

A new invention disclosure discusses a structure and process for separating gas from liquids in microgravity. The Microgravity Passive Phase Separator consists of two concentric, pleated, woven stainless-steel screens (25-μm nominal pore) with an axial inlet, and an annular outlet between both screens (see...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cavitating Jet Method and System for Oxygenation of Liquids

Reclamation and re-use of water is critical for space-based life support systems. A number of functions must be performed by any such system including removal of various contaminants and oxygenation. For long-duration space missions, this must be done with a compact, reliable system...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
360° Camera Head for Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicles

Autonomous navigation and control for unmanned sea surface vehicles requires a visual sensing system to provide a 360° view from the vehicle deck for situational awareness. Successful operation required a sensing system mechanically packaged to withstand weather, sea spray, and an environment...

Briefs : Information Technology
Verilog-A Device Models for Cryogenic Temperature Operation of Bulk Silicon CMOS Devices

Verilog-A based cryogenic bulk CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) compact models are built for state-of-the-art silicon CMOS processes. These models accurately predict device operation at cryogenic temperatures down to 4 K. The models are...

Briefs : Information Technology
Rapid Process to Generate Beam Envelopes for Optical System Analysis

The task of evaluating obstructions in the optical throughput of an optical system requires the use of two disciplines, and hence, two models: optical models for the details of optical propagation, and mechanical models for determining the actual structure that exists in the...

Briefs : Information Technology
High-Performance, Multi-Node File Copies and Checksums for Clustered File Systems

Modern parallel file systems achieve high performance using a variety of techniques, such as striping files across multiple disks to increase aggregate I/O bandwidth and spreading disks across multiple servers to increase aggregate interconnect bandwidth. To...

Briefs : Information Technology
Space Operations Learning Center Facebook Application

The proposed Space Operations Learning Center (SOLC) Facebook module, initially code-named “Spaceville,” is intended to be an educational online game utilizing the latest social networking technology to reach a broad audience base and inspire young audiences to be interested in math,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Stiffness and Damping Coefficient Estimation of Compliant Surface Gas Bearings for Oil-Free Turbomachinery

Foil gas bearings are a key technology in many commercial and emerging oilfree turbomachinery systems. These bearings are nonlinear and have been difficult to analytically model in terms of performance characteristics such as load capacity,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Sampling and Reconstruction of the Pupil and Electric Field for Phase Retrieval

This technology is based on sampling considerations for a band-limited function, which has application to optical estimation generally, and to phase retrieval specifically. The analysis begins with the observation that the Fourier transform of an optical aperture...

Briefs : Information Technology
Rotorcraft Diagnostics

Health management (HM) in any engineering systems requires adequate understanding about the system’s functioning; a sufficient amount of monitored data; the capability to extract, analyze, and collate information; and the capability to combine understanding and information for HM-related estimation and decision-making....

Briefs : Information Technology
Recursive Branching Simulated Annealing Algorithm

This innovation is a variation of a simulated- annealing optimization algorithm that uses a recursive-branching structure to parallelize the search of a parameter space for the globally optimal solution to an objective. The algorithm has been demonstrated to be more effective at searching a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method for Pre-Conditioning a Measured Surface Height Map for Model Validation

This software allows one to up-sample or down-sample a measured surface map for model validation, not only without introducing any re-sampling errors, but also eliminating the existing measurement noise and measurement errors. Because the re-sampling of a surface map...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
In Situ Potassium-Argon Geochronology Using Fluxed Fusion and a Double Spike

A document highlights an Li-based fluxing agent that enables sample fusion and quantitative Ar-release at relatively low temperatures (900–1,000 ºC), readily achievable with current flight resistance furnace designs. A solid, double spike containing known quantities...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fiber-Optic Micrometeoroid/Orbital Debris Impact Detector System

A document describes a reliable, lightweight micrometeoroid/orbital debris (MMOD) detection system that can be located at strategic positions of “high consequence” to provide real-time warning of a penetration, its location, and the extent of the damage to a spacecraft.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanostructure Secondary- Mirror Apodizing Mask for Transmitter Signal Suppression in a Duplex Telescope

A document discusses a nanostructure apodizing mask, made of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, that is applied to the centers (or in and around the holes) of the secondary mirrors of telescopes that are used to interferometrically measure the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Advanced Fire Detector for Space Applications

A document discusses an optical carbon monoxide sensor for early fire detection. During the sensor development, a concept was implemented to allow reliable carbon monoxide detection in the presence of interfering absorption signals.