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.

The simplified architecture is a minimal system for a deep-space optical communications transceiver. For a deep-space optical communications link the...

A new optical beam tracking approach for free-space optical communication links using two-photon absorption (TPA) in a high-bandgap detector material was demonstrated. This tracking...

A mathematical transform, called the Rosette Transform, together with a new method, called the Dense Sampling Method, have been developed. The Rosette Transform is...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Coherent Frequency Reference System for the NASA Deep Space Network

The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) requires state-of-the-art frequency references that are derived and distributed from very stable atomic frequency standards. A new Frequency Reference System (FRS) and Frequency Reference Distribution System (FRD) have been developed, which...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
180-GHz I-Q Second Harmonic Resistive Mixer MMIC

An indium phosphide MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) mixer was developed, processed, and tested in the NGC 35-nm-gate-length HEMT (high electron mobility transistor) process. The MMIC mixers were tested and assembled in the miniature MMIC receiver module described in “Miniature...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Diamond Heat-Spreader for Submillimeter-Wave Frequency Multipliers

The planar GaAs Shottky diode frequency multiplier is a critical technology for the local oscillator (LO) for submillimeter-wave heterodyne receivers due to low mass, tenability, long lifetime, and room-temperature operation. The use of a W-band (75–100 GHz) power amplifier...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Power Amplifier Module With 734-mW Continuous Wave Output Power

Research findings were reported from an investigation of new gallium nitride (GaN) monolithic millimeter-wave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers (PAs) targeting the highest output power and the highest efficiency for class-A operation in W-band (75–110 GHz). W-band PAs are...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Low-Noise W-Band MMIC Detector Modules

A monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) receiver can be used as a building block for next-generation radio astronomy instruments that are scalable to hundreds or thousands of pixels. W- band (75–110 GHz) low-noise receivers are needed for radio astronomy interfer- ometers and spectrometers,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
338-GHz Semiconductor Amplifier Module

A 35-nm-gate-length InP, high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) with a high-indium-content channel as the key component was developed to produce an MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) power amplifier. With a shorter gate length than previous transistor generations, it allows for electrons to...

A multi-stage automated target recognition (ATR) system has been designed to perform computer vision tasks with adequate proficiency in mimicking human vision. The system is able to detect,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Multiple Differential-Amplifier MMICs Embedded in Waveguides

Compact amplifier assemblies of a type now being developed for operation at frequencies of hundreds of gigahertz comprise multiple amplifier units in parallel arrangements to increase power and/or cascade arrangements to increase gains. Each amplifier unit is a monolithic microwave...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Special Component Designs for Differential-Amplifier MMICs

Special designs of two types of electronic components — transistors and transmission lines — have been conceived to optimize the performances of these components as parts of waveguide-embedded differential-amplifier monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) of the type...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Update on Waveguide-Embedded Differential MMIC Amplifiers

There is an update on the subject matter of “Differential InP HEMT MMIC Amplifiers Embedded in Waveguides” (NPO-42857) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 33, No. 9 (September 2009), page 35. To recapitulate: Monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) amplifiers of a type now being developed...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Wideband Angle-of-Arrival Tracking Systems

Systems that measure the angles of arrival of ultra-wideband (UWB) radio signals and perform triangulation by use of those angles in order to locate the sources of those signals are undergoing...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Rapid Corner Detection Using FPGAs

In order to perform precision landings for space missions, a control system must be accurate to within ten meters. Feature detection applied against images taken during descent and correlated against the provided base image is computationally expensive and requires tens of seconds of processing time to do just...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Single-Receiver GPS Phase Bias Resolution

Existing software has been modified to yield the benefits of integer fixed double-differenced GPS-phased ambiguities when processing data from a single GPS receiver with no access to any other GPS receiver data. When the double-differenced combination of phase biases can be fixed reliably, a significant...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Propulsion Design With Freeform Fabrication (PDFF)

The nation is challenged to decrease the cost and schedule to develop new space transportation propulsion systems for commercial, scientific, and military purposes. Better design criteria and manufacturing techniques for small thrusters are needed to meet current applications in missile defense,...

Briefs: Software
Planetary Image Geometry Library

The Planetary Image Geometry (PIG) library is a multi-mission library used for projecting images (EDRs, or Experiment Data Records) and managing their geometry for in-situ missions. A collection of models describes cameras and their articulation, allowing application programs such as mosaickers, terrain...

Briefs: Software
Automation Framework for Flight Dynamics Products Generation

XFDS provides an easily adaptable automation platform. To date it has been used to support flight dynamics operations. It coordinates the execution of other applications such as Satellite TookKit, FreeFlyer, MATLAB, and Perl code. It provides a mechanism for passing messages among a...

Briefs: Software
Product Operations Status Summary Metrics

The Product Operations Status Summary Metrics (POSSUM) computer program provides a readable view into the state of the Phoenix Operations Product Generation Subsystem (OPGS) data pipeline. POSSUM provides a user interface that can search the data store, collect product metadata, and display the results...

Briefs: Software
Mars Terrain Generation

A suite of programs for the generation of disparity maps from stereo image pairs via correlation, and conversion of those disparity maps to XYZ maps, has been updated. This suite implements an automated method of deriving terrain from stereo images for use in the ground data system for in-situ (lander and rover) cameras....

Briefs: Software
Application-Controlled Parallel Asynchronous Input/Output Utility

A software utility tool has been designed to alleviate file system I/O performance bottlenecks to which many high-end computing (HEC) applications fall prey because of the relatively large volume of data generated for a given amount of computational work. In an effort to reduce...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Economical Fabrication of Thick-Section Ceramic Matrix Composites

A method was developed for producing thick-section [>2 in. (≈5 cm)], continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). Ultramet-modified fiber interface coating and melt infiltration processing, developed previously for thin-section components, were used for the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Making a Noble Metal on Tin Oxide Catalyst

To produce a noble metal-on-metal oxide catalyst on an inert, high-surface-area support material (that functions as a catalyst at approximately room temperature using chloride-free reagents), for use in a carbon dioxide laser, requires two steps: First, a commercially available, inert,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stacked Corrugated Horn Rings

This Brief describes a method of machining and assembly when the depth of corrugations far exceeds the width and conventional machining is not practical. The horn is divided into easily machined, individual rings with shoulders to control the depth. In this specific instance, each of the corrugations is identical in...

Some refinements have been conceived for a proposed apparatus that would generate hydrogen (for use in a fuel cell) by means of chemical reactions among magnesium, magnesium...

A proposed apparatus for generating hydrogen by means of chemical reactions of magnesium and magnesium hydride with steam would exploit the same basic principles as those discussed...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ko Displacement Theory for Structural Shape Predictions

The development of the Ko displacement theory for predictions of structure deformed shapes was motivated in 2003 by the Helios flying wing, which had a 247-ft (75-m) wing span with wingtip deflections reaching 40 ft (12 m). The Helios flying wing failed in midair in June 2003, creating the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Surface-Enhanced X-Ray Fluorescence

Surface-enhanced x-ray fluorescence (SEn-XRF) spectroscopy is a form of surface-enhanced spectroscopy that was conceived as a means of obtaining greater sensitivity in x-ray fluorescence (XRF)...

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