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: Physical Sciences
Nanostructure Sensing and Transmission of Gas Data

This system provides one or more sensors for selected chemicals (all using nanostructure sensors with small physical sizes), one or more sensors for physical parameters (e.g. voltage or current), a multiplexer to receive and interleave the measured data stream values from the sensors according...

Briefs: Information Technology
Secure Peer-to-Peer Networks for Scientific Information Sharing

The most common means of remote scientific collaboration today includes the trio of e-mail for electronic communication, FTP for file sharing, and personalized Web sites for dissemination of papers and research results. With the growth of broadband Internet, there has been a desire...

Briefs: Information Technology
High-Rate Data-Capture for an Airborne Lidar System

A high-rate data system was required to capture the data for an airborne lidar system. A data system was developed that achieved up to 22 million (64-bit) events per second sustained data rate (1408 million bits per second), as well as short bursts (

Briefs: Information Technology
Multiplexer/Demultiplexer Loading Tool (MDMLT)

The purpose of the MDMLT is to improve the reliability and speed of loading multiplexers/ demultiplexers (MDMs) in the Software Development and Integration Laboratory (SDIL) by automating the configuration management (CM) of the loads in the MDMs, automating the loading procedure, and providing the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Foam-on-Tile Damage Model

An impact model was developed to predict how three specific foam types would damage the Space Shuttle Orbiter insulating tiles. The inputs needed for the model are the foam type, the foam mass, the foam impact velocity, the foam impact incident angle, the type being impacted, and whether the tile is new or aged (has...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Instrument Package Manipulation Through the Generation and Use of an Attenuated-Fluent Gas Fold

This document discusses a technique that provides a means for suspending large, awkward loads, instrument packages, components, and machinery in a stable, controlled, and precise manner. In the baseplate of the test machine, a pattern of grooves and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multicolor Detectors for Ultrasensitive Long-Wave Imaging Cameras

A document describes a zeptobolometer for ultrasensitive, long-wavelength sensors. GSFC is developing pixels based on the zeptobolometer design that sense three THz wavelengths simultaneously.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Command and Data Handling Flight Electronics Subsystem

A document describes a high-performance, modular, and state-of-the-art Command and Data Handling (C&DH) system developed for use on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. This system implements a complete hardware C&DH subsystem in a single chassis...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Electro-Optic Segment- Segment Sensors for Radio and Optical Telescopes

A document discusses an electro-optic sensor that consists of a collimator, attached to one segment, and a quad diode, attached to an adjacent segment. Relative segment-segment motion causes the beam from the collimator to move across the quad diode, thus generating a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Communications Receiver

Specialized mixed-signal (radio frequency and digital) hardware and processing techniques are employed to enable processing of the multi-GHz signal bandwidth, along with the instruction of an inter-symbol guard time (ISGT) to facilitate synchronization to the received pulse-position modulation (PPM) signal.

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Low-Noise, Large-Area Quad Photoreceivers Based on Low-Capacitance Quad Photodiodes

The Laser Interferometry Space Antenna’s (LISAs) scientific mission to detect gravity waves demands stringent noise limits on the system components, especially the large-area quad photoreceiver front end, for ultra-high-precision (≈10 pm/Hz1/2)...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Wavefront Sensing Analysis of Grazing Incidence Optical Systems

Wavefront sensing is a process by which optical system errors are deduced from the aberrations in the image of an ideal source. The method has been used successfully in near-normal incidence, but not for grazing incidence systems. This innovation highlights the ability to examine...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
RxGen General Optical Model Prescription Generator

RxGen is a prescription generator for JPL’s in-house optical modeling software package called MACOS (Modeling and Analysis for Controlled Optical Systems), which is an expert optical analysis software package focusing on modeling optics on dynamic structures, deformable optics, and controlled...

Briefs: Lighting
Micro-Cavity Arrays

It was not too long ago that basic science lectures began with the three forms of matter: gases, liquids and solids—and somewhere along the line plasmas were occasionally added to the list. But to be precise, a plasma...

Looking for an item in a large department store or mall can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, but that could change thanks to a hybrid location identification system that uses radio frequency...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Optical Comb From a Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator for Spectroscopy and Astronomy Instruments Calibration

The most accurate astronomical data is available from space-based observations that are not impeded by the Earth’s atmosphere. Such measurements may require spectral samples taken as long as decades apart, with the 1 cm/s velocity...

Briefs: Software
Techniques for Down-Sampling a Measured Surface Height Map for Model Validation

This software allows one to 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.

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Mirror Metrology Using Nano-Probe Supports

Thin, lightweight mirrors are needed for future x-ray space telescopes in order to increase x-ray collecting area while maintaining a reduced mass and volume capable of being launched on existing rockets. However, it is very difficult to determine the undistorted shape of such thin mirrors because the...

Capillary electrophoresis is an analytical technique that can be used to detect and quantify extremely small amounts of various biological molecules. In the search for biochemical traces of life...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multi-Component, Multi-Point Interferometric Rayleigh/Mie Doppler Velocimeter

An interferometric Rayleigh scattering system was developed to enable the measurement of multiple, orthogonal velocity components at several points within very-high-speed or high-temperature flows. The velocity of a gaseous flow can be optically measured by sending...

Briefs: Information Technology
Real-Time Flight Envelope Monitoring System

The objective of this effort was to show that real-time aircraft control-surface hinge-moment information could be used to provide a robust and reliable prediction of vehicle performance and control authority degradation. For a given airfoil section with a control surface — be it a wing with an...

Briefs: Software
Nemesis Autonomous Test System

A generalized framework has been developed for systems validation that can be applied to both traditional and autonomous systems. The framework consists of an automated test case generation and execution system called Nemesis that rapidly and thoroughly identifies flaws or vulnerabilities within a system. By...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Frequency to Voltage Converter Analog Front-End Prototype

The frequency to voltage converter analog front end evaluation prototype (F2V AFE) is an evaluation board designed for comparison of different methods of accurately extracting the frequency of a sinusoidal input signal. A configurable input stage is routed to one or several of five...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Dust-Tolerant Intelligent Electrical Connection System

Faults in wiring systems are a serious concern for the aerospace and aeronautic (commercial, military, and civilian) industries. Circuit failures and vehicle accidents have occurred and have been attributed to faulty wiring created by open and/or short circuits. Often, such circuit failures...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Gigabit Ethernet Asynchronous Clock Compensation FIFO

Clock compensation for Gigabit Ethernet is necessary because the clock recovered from the 1.25 Gb/s serial data stream has the potential to be 200 ppm slower or faster than the system clock. The serial data is converted to 10-bit parallel data at a 125 MHz rate on a clock recovered from the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Speed, Multi-Channel Serial ADC LVDS Interface for Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA

Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are used in scientific and communications instruments on all spacecraft. As data rates get higher, and as the transition is made from parallel ADC designs to high-speed, serial, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) designs, the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Glovebox for GeoLab Subsystem in HDU1-PEM

The GeoLab glovebox was designed to enable the preliminary examination, by astronauts, of geological samples collected from the surface of another planetary body. The collected information would then...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modified Process Reduces Porosity When Soldering in Reduced Gravity Environments

A modified process yields lower levels of internal porosity for solder joints produced in reduced-gravity environments. The process incorporates both alternative materials and a modified procedure. The process provides the necessary cleaning action to enable...

Briefs: Materials
Three Dimensionally Interlinked, Dense, Solid Form of Single-Walled CNT Ropes

A 3D networked, dense form of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) has been made through isotropic shrinking of a gel-like SWNT-water paste by very slow evaporation. Approximately 35 g of Raw HiPco nanotubes were cleaned by the method of soft baking (250 °C for 15...

Question of the Week
Will Self-Erasing Chips Catch On?


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