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 : Information Technology
Ascent/Descent Software

The Ascent/Descent Software Suite has been used to support a variety of NASA Shuttle Program mission planning and analysis activities, such as range safety, on the Integrated Planning System (IPS) platform. The Ascent/Descent Software Suite, containing Ascent Flight Design (ASC)/Descent Flight Design (DESC) Configuration...

Briefs : Information Technology
I-FORCAST: Rapid Flight Planning Tool

I-FORCAST (Instrument – Field of Regard Coverage Analysis and Simulation Tool) is a flight planning tool specifically designed for quickly verifying the feasibility and estimating the cost of airborne remote sensing campaigns (see figure). Flights are simulated by being broken into three predefined routing...

Briefs : Software
Leveraging Cloud Computing to Improve Storage Durability, Availability, and Cost for MER Maestro

The Maestro for MER (Mars Exploration Rover) software is the premiere operation and activity planning software for the Mars rovers, and it is required to deliver all of the processed image products to scientists on demand. These data span multiple...

If carmakers could reduce the number, size, and weight of the components in there, better fuel economy would result. A case in point is the design and...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Glass Solder Approach for Robust, Low-Loss, Fiber-to- Waveguide Coupling

The key advantages of this approach include the fact that the index of interface glass (such as Pb glass n = 1.66) greatly reduces Fresnel losses at the fiber-to-waveguide interface, resulting in lower optical losses. A contiguous structure cannot be misaligned and readily...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
General MACOS Interface for Modeling and Analysis for Controlled Optical Systems

The General MACOS Interface (GMI) for Modeling and Analysis for Controlled Optical Systems (MACOS) enables the use of MATLAB as a front-end for JPL’s critical optical modeling package, MACOS. MACOS is JPL’s in-house optical modeling software, which has proven to...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
ASIC Readout Circuit Architecture for Large Geiger Photodiode Arrays

The objective of this work was to develop a new class of readout integrated circuit (ROIC) arrays to be operated with Geiger avalanche photodiode (GPD) arrays, by integrating multiple functions at the pixel level (smart-pixel or active pixel technology) in 250-nm CMOS...

Briefs : Lighting
Efficient Optical Spectroscopy of Single Solid-State Quantum Emitters

Devices such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers are typically based upon the accumulated emission from a large number of gas phase atoms, ions in solids, electron-hole pairs in semiconductors, or other fluorescence centers. In such macroscopic devices, the behavior of...

Briefs : Lighting
'Metamaterials,' Quantum Dots Show Promise for New Technologies

Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using "nanostructured metamaterials" capable of ultra-efficient transmission of light, with potential applications including advanced solar cells and quantum computing.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mars Science Laboratory Drill

This drill (see Figure 1) is the primary sample acquisition element of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that collects powdered samples from various types of rock (from clays to massive basalts) at depths up to 50 mm below the surface. A rotary-percussive sample acquisition device was developed with an emphasis on...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape Memory Composite Hybrid Hinge

There are two conventional types of hinges for in-space deployment applications. The first type is mechanically deploying hinges. A typical mechanically deploying hinge is usually composed of several tens...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Binding Causes of Printed Wiring Assemblies With Card-Loks

A document discusses a study that presents the first documented extraction loads, both nominal and worstcase, and presents the first comprehensive evaluation of extraction techniques, methodologies, and tool requirements relating to extracting printed wiring assemblies (PWAs) with...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Reversible Thermally Driven Pump for Use in a Sub-Kelvin Magnetic Refrigerator

A document describes a continuous magnetic refrigerator that is suited for cooling astrophysics detectors. This refrigerator has the potential to provide efficient, continuous cooling to temperatures below 50 mK for detectors, and has the benefits over existing...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Coring Sample Acquisition Tool

A sample acquisition tool (SAT) has been developed that can be used autonomously to sample drill and capture rock cores. The tool is designed to accommodate core transfer using a sample tube to the IMSAH (integrated Mars sample acquisition and handling) SHEC (sample handling, encapsulation, and containerization)...

Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), a class of amorphous metals defined as having a thickness greater than 1 mm, are being broadly investigated by NASA for use in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
670-GHz Schottky Diode-Based Subharmonic Mixer With CPW Circuits and 70-GHz IF

GaAs-based, sub-harmonically pumped Schottky diode mixers offer a number of advantages for array implementation in a heterodyne receiver system. Since the radio frequency (RF) and local oscillator (LO) signals are far apart, system design becomes much simpler.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Optimal Dynamic Sub-Threshold Technique for Extreme Low Power Consumption for VLSI

For miniaturization of electronics systems, power consumption plays a key role in the realm of constraints. Considering the very large scale integration (VLSI) design aspect, as transistor feature size is decreased to 50 nm and below, there is sizable increase in...

Briefs : Materials
Imidazolium-Based Polymeric Materials as Alkaline Anion-Exchange Fuel Cell Membranes

Polymer electrolyte membranes that conduct hydroxide ions have potential use in fuel cells. A variety of polystyrenebased quaternary ammonium hydroxides have been reported as anion exchange fuel cell membranes. However, the hydrolytic stability and conductivity...

Briefs : Materials
Blocking Filters With Enhanced Throughput for X-Ray Microcalorimetry

New and improved blocking filters (see figure) have been developed for microcalorimeters on several mission payloads, made of high-transmission polyimide support mesh, that can replace the nickel mesh used in previous blocking filter flight designs. To realize the resolution...

Briefs : Materials
High-Thermal-Conductivity Fabrics

Heat management with common textiles such as nylon and spandex is hindered by the poor thermal conductivity from the skin surface to cooling surfaces. This innovation showed marked improvement in thermal conductivity of the individual fibers and tubing, as well as components assembled from them.

Briefs : Materials
Electrospun Nanofiber Coating of Fiber Materials: A Composite Toughening Approach

Textile-based composites could significantly benefit from local toughening using nanofiber coatings. Nanofibers, thermoplastic or otherwise, can be applied to the surface of the fiber tow bundle, achieving toughening of the fiber tow contact surfaces, resulting in...

Briefs : Medical
Experimental Modeling of Sterilization Effects for Atmospheric Entry Heating on Microorganisms

The objective of this research was to design, build, and test an experimental apparatus for studying the parameters of atmospheric entry heating, and the inactivation of temperature-resistant bacterial spores. The apparatus is capable of controlled,...

Briefs : Medical
Saliva Preservative for Diagnostic Purposes

Saliva is an important body fluid for diagnostic purposes. Glycoproteins, glucose, steroids, DNA, and other molecules of diagnostic value are found in saliva. It is easier to collect as compared to blood or urine. Un for tunately, saliva also contains large numbers of bacteria that can release enzymes,...

Briefs : Software
POSTMAN: Point of Sail Tacking for Maritime Autonomous Navigation

Waves apply significant forces to small boats, in particular when such vessels are moving at a high speed in severe sea conditions. In addition, small highspeed boats run the risk of diving with the bow into the next wave crest during operations in the wavelengths and wave speeds...

Briefs : Software
Aerosol and Surface Parameter Retrievals for a Multi-Angle, Multiband Spectrometer

This software retrieves the surface and atmosphere parameters of multi-angle, multiband spectra. The synthetic spectra are generated by applying the modified Rahman-Pinty-Verstraete Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) model, and a...

Briefs : Software
LogScope

LogScope is a software package for analyzing log files. The intended use is for offline post-processing of such logs, after the execution of the system under test. LogScope can, however, in principle, also be used to monitor systems online during their execution. Logs are checked against requirements formulated as monitors expressed in...

Briefs : Software
TraceContract

TraceContract is an API (Application Programming Interface) for trace analysis. A trace is a sequence of events, and can, for example, be generated by a running program, instrumented appropriately to generate events. An event can be any data object. An example of a trace is a log file containing events that a programmer has found...

Briefs : Software
AIRS Maps From Space Processing Software

This software package processes Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Level 2 swath standard product geophysical parameters, and generates global, colorized, annotated maps. It automatically generates daily and multi-day averaged colorized and annotated maps of various AIRS Level 2 swath geophysical...

Briefs : Information Technology
Social Networking Adapted for Distributed Scientific Collaboration

Sci-Share is a social networking site with novel, specially designed feature sets to enable simultaneous remote collaboration and sharing of large data sets among scientists. The site will include not only the standard features found on popular consumer-oriented social networking...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robots: Are They as Safe as They Sound?