Tech Briefs

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
Reconfigurable Hardware for Compressing Hyperspectral Image Data

High-speed, low-power, reconfigurable electronic hardware has been developed to implement ICER-3D, an algorithm for compressing hyperspectral-image data. The algorithm and parts thereof have been the topics of several NASA Tech Briefs articles, including “Context Modeler for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Speed Ring Bus

The high-speed ring bus at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) allows for future growth trends in spacecraft seen with future scientific missions. This innovation constitutes an enhancement of the 1393 bus as documented in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1393-1999 standard for a spaceborne...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Spatio-Temporal Equalizer for a Receiving-Antenna Feed Array

A spatio-temporal equalizer has been conceived as an improved means of suppressing multipath effects in the reception of aeronautical telemetry signals, and may be adaptable to radar and aeronautical communication applications as well. This equalizer would be an integral part of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nanoionics-Based Switches for Radio-Frequency Applications

Nanoionics-based devices have shown promise as alternatives to microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and semiconductor diode devices for switching radio-frequency (RF) signals in diverse systems. Examples of systems that utilize RF switches include phase shifters for electronically...

Briefs : Information Technology
ICER-3D Hyperspectral Image Compression Software

Software has been developed to implement the ICER-3D algorithm. ICER-3D effects progressive, threedimensional (3D), wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral images. If a compressed data stream is truncated, the progressive nature of the algorithm enables reconstruction of hyperspectral data at...

Briefs : Information Technology
Context Modeler for Wavelet Compression of Spectral Hyperspectral Images

A context-modeling subalgorithm has been developed as part of an algorithm that effects three-dimensional (3D) wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral image data. The context-modeling subalgorithm, hereafter denoted the context modeler, provides estimates of probability...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two Concepts for Deployable Trusses

Two concepts that could be applied separately or together have been suggested to enhance the utility of deployable truss structures. The concepts were intended originally for application to a truss structure to be folded for compact stowage during transport and subsequently deployed in outer space. The...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Use of Nanofibers to Strengthen Hydrogels of Silica, Other Oxides, and Aerogels

Research has shown that including up to 5 percent w/w carbon nanofibers in a silica backbone of polymer crosslinked aerogels improves its strength, tripling compressive modulus and increasing tensile stress-at-break fivefold with no increase in density or decrease in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Concentric Nested Toroidal Inflatable Structures

Assemblies comprising multiple limited-height toroidal inflatable structures nested in a concentric arrangement have been invented to obtain more design flexibility than can be obtained in single taller, wider toroidal inflatable structures (see figure). Originally intended for use as containers...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Investigating Dynamics of Eccentricity in Turbomachine

A methodology (and hardware and software to implement the methodology) has been developed as a means of investigating coupling between certain rotordynamic and hydrodynamic phenomena in turbomachines. Originally, the methodology was intended for application in an investigation of coupled...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Low-Temperature Performance of Li-Ion Cells Using New Electrolytes

As part of the continuing efforts to develop advanced electrolytes to improve the performance of lithiumion cells, especially at low temperatures, a number of electrolyte formulations have been developed that result in improved low-temperature performance (down to –60...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
White-Light Phase-Conjugate Mirrors as Distortion Correctors

White-light phase-conjugate mirrors would be incorporated into some optical systems, according to a proposal, as means of correcting for wavefront distortions caused by imperfections in large optical components. The proposal was given impetus by a recent demonstration that white,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Biasable, Balanced, Fundamental Submillimeter Monolithic Membrane Mixer

This device is a biasable, submillimeter-wave, balanced mixer fabricated using JPL’s monolithic membrane process — a simplified version of planar membrane technology. The primary target application is instrumentation used for analysis of atmospheric constituents,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Integrity Monitoring of Mercury Discharge Lamps

Mercury discharge lamps are critical in many trapped ion frequency standard applications. An integrity monitoring system can be implemented using end-of-life signatures observed in operational mercury discharge lamps, making it possible to forecast imminent failure and to take action to mitigate...

Briefs : Information Technology
Methodology and Software for Designing Data-Processing ICs

A methodology and software to implement the methodology are under development in an effort to automate at least part of the process of designing integrated-circuit (IC) chips that perform complex data-processing fun- ctions. An important element of the methodology is reuse of prior...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cryogenic Flow Sensor

An acousto-optic cryogenic flow sensor (CFS) determines mass flow of cryogens for spacecraft propellant management. The CFS operates unobtrusively in a high-pressure, high-flowrate cryogenic environment to provide measurements for fluid quality as well as mass flow rate. Experimental hardware uses an optical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multi-Sensor Mud Detection

Robust mud detection is a critical perception requirement for Un manned Ground Vehicle (UGV) auton omous offroad navigation. A military UGV stuck in a mud body during a mission may have to be sacrificed or rescued, both of which are unattractive options. There are several characteristics of mud that may be detectable...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Gas Flow Detection System

This system provides a portable means to detect gas flow through a thin-walled tube without breaking into the tubing system. The flow detection system was specifically designed to detect flow through two parallel branches of a manifold with only one inlet and outlet, and is a means for verifying a space shuttle program...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Mapping Capacitive Coupling Among Pixels in a Sensor Array

An improved method of mapping the capacitive contribution to cross-talk among pixels in an imaging array of sensors (typically, an imaging photodetector array) has been devised for use in calibrating and/or characterizing such an array. The method is applicable to almost all image...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fiber-Based Laser Transmitter for Oxygen A-Band Spectroscopy and Remote Sensing

A fiber-based laser transmitter has been designed for active remote-sensing spectroscopy. The transmitter uses a master-oscillator- power-amplifier (MOPA) configuration with a distributed feedback diode-laser master oscillator and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Low-Profile, Dual-Wavelength, Dual-Polarized Antenna

A single-aperture, low-profile antenna design has been developed that supports dual-polarization and simultaneous operation at two wavelengths. It realizes multiple beams in the elevation plane, and supports radiometric, radar, and conical scanning applications.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Time-Separating Heating and Sensor Functions of Thermistors in Precision Thermal Control Applications

A method allows combining the functions of a heater and a thermometer in a single device, a thermistor, with minimal temperature read errors. Because thermistors typically have a much smaller thermal mass than the objects they monitor, the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cellular Reflectarray Antenna

The cellular reflectarray antenna is intended to replace conventional parabolic reflectors that must be physically aligned with a particular satellite in geostationary orbit. These arrays are designed for specified geographical locations, defined by latitude and longitude, each called a “cell.” A particular cell...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ethernet-Enabled Power and Communication Module for Embedded Processors

The power and communications module is a printed circuit board (PCB) that has the capability of providing power to an embedded processor and converting Ethernet packets into serial data to transfer to the processor. The purpose of the new design is to address the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Dimensional Synthetic-Aperture Radiometer

A two-dimensional synthetic-aperture radiometer, now undergoing development, serves as a test bed for demonstrating the potential of aperture synthesis for remote sensing of the Earth, particularly for measuring spatial distributions of soil moisture and ocean-surface salinity. The goal is to use the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A One-Dimensional Synthetic-Aperture Microwave Radiometer

A proposed one-dimensional synthetic-aperture microwave radiometer could serve as an alternative to either the two-dimensional synthetic-aperture radiometer described in the immediately preceding article or to a prior one-dimensional one, denoted the Electrically Scanned Thinned Array...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electrical Switching of Perovskite Thin-Film Resistors

Electronic devices that exploit electrical switching of physical properties of thin films of perovskite materials (especially colossal magnetoresistive materials) have been invented. Unlike some related prior devices, these devices function at room temperature and do not depend on externally...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electrically Variable Resistive Memory Devices

Nonvolatile electronic memory devices that store data in the form of electrical-resistance values, and memory circuits based on such devices, have been invented. These devices and circuits exploit an electrically-variableresistance phenomenon that occurs in thin films of certain oxides that exhibit...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Attachment in a Hybrid Inflatable Pressure Vessel

Some modifications that could be made, separately or together, have been conceived as improvements of the generic design of a structure of the type described in “Hybrid Inflatable...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrostatic Separator for Beneficiation of Lunar Soil

A charge separator has been constructed for use in a lunar environment that will allow for separation of minerals from lunar soil. Any future lunar base and habitat must be constructed from strong, dense materials to provide for thermal and radiation protection. It has been proposed that...

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