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 : Imaging
Hard-X-Ray/Soft-γ-Ray Imaging Sensor Assembly for Astronomy

An improved sensor assembly has been developed for astronomical imaging at photon energies ranging from 1 to 100 keV. The assembly includes a thallium-doped cesium iodide scintillator divided into pixels and coupled to an array of high-gain avalanche photodiodes (APDs). Optionally, the...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Hyperspectral Fluorescence and Reflectance Imaging Instrument

The system is a single hyperspectral imaging instrument that has the unique capability to acquire both fluorescence and reflectance high-spatial-resolution data that is inherently spatially and spectrally registered. Potential uses of this instrument include plant stress monitoring,...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Light Collimator and Monitor for a Spectroradiometer

A system that comprises optical and electronic subsystems has been developed as an infrastructure for a spectroradiometer that measures time- dependent spectral radiance of the daylight sky, in a narrow field of view (having angular width of the order of 1°) centered on the zenith, in several...

Briefs : Information Technology
Toward Better Modeling of Supercritical Turbulent Mixing

A study was done as part of an effort to develop computational models representing turbulent mixing under thermodynamic supercritical (here, high pressure) conditions. The question was whether the large-eddy simulation (LES) approach, developed previously for atmospheric-pressure...

Briefs : Software
JPEG 2000 Encoding With Perceptual Distortion Control

An alternative approach has been devised for encoding image data in compliance with JPEG 2000, the most recent still-image data- compression standard of the Joint Photographic Experts Group. Heretofore, JPEG 2000 encoding has been implemented by several related schemes classified as...

Briefs : Information Technology
Intelligent Integrated Health Management for a System of Systems

An intelligent integrated health management system (IIHMS) incorporates major improvements over prior such systems. The particular IIHMS is implemented for any system defined as a hierarchical distributed network of intelligent elements (HDNIE), comprising primarily: (1) an...

Briefs : Aerospace
Delay Banking for Managing Air Traffic

Delay banking has been invented to enhance air-traffic management in a way that would increase the degree of fairness in assigning arrival, departure, and en-route delays and trajectory deviations to aircraft impacted by congestion in the national airspace system. In delay banking, an aircraft operator...

Briefs : Aerospace
Spline-Based Smoothing of Airfoil Curvatures

Constrained fitting for airfoil curvature smoothing (CFACS) is a spline-based method of interpolating airfoil surface coordinates (and, concomitantly, airfoil thicknesses) between specified discrete design points so as to obtain smoothing of surface-curvature profiles in addition to basic smoothing of...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Reducing Spaceborne-Doppler-Radar Rainfall-Velocity Error

A combined frequency- time (CFT) spectral moment estimation technique has been devised for calculating rainfall velocity from measurement data acquired by a nadir-looking spaceborne Doppler weather radar system. Prior spectral moment estimation techniques used for this purpose are based...

Briefs : Software
Stochastic Analysis of Orbital Lifetimes of Spacecraft

A document discusses (1) a Monte-Carlo-based methodology for probabilistic prediction and analysis of orbital lifetimes of spacecraft and (2) Orbital Lifetime Monte Carlo (OLMC) — a Fortran computer program, consisting of a previously developed long-term orbit-propagator integrated with a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Transmissive Diffractive Optical Element Solar Concentrators

Solar-thermal-radiation concentrators in the form of transmissive diffractive optical elements (DOEs) have been proposed as alternatives to mirror- type solar concentrators now in use. In comparison with functionally equivalent mirror-type solar concentrators, the transmissive,...

Briefs : Materials
Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Ultra-Stable Beacon Source for Laboratory Testing of Optical Tracking

The ultra-stable beacon source (USBS) provides a laser-beam output with a very low angular jitter and can be used as an absolute angular reference to simulate a beacon in the laboratory. The laser is mounted on the top of a very short (≈1 m) inverted pendulum (IP) with its...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Delaying Trains of Short Light Pulses in WGM Resonators

Suitably configured whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators have been proposed as delay lines for trains of short light pulses. Until now, it has been common practice to implement an optical delay line as a coiled long optical fiber, which is bulky and tends to be noisy. An...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improving the Optical Quality Factor of the WGM Resonator

Resonators usually are characterized with two partially dependent values: finesse (ℱ) and quality factor (Q). The finesse of an empty Fabry-Perot (FP) resonator is defined solely by the quality of its mirrors and is calculated as

ℱ = πR1/2/(1 – R).

Briefs : Software
Geophysical Wave Propagation Calculation Using Multiphysics

The propagation of shear (S) and compression (P) waves within the Earth represents a critically important phenomenon for geologists. For many years, geologists have developed specialized computational programs to calculate wave propagation within complex geophysical regions. These...

Briefs : Software
Simulating the Manufacturing Process of Ceramic Matrix Composites

Increasing the temperature at which jet aircraft engines operate would significantly improve thrust and fuel efficiency with reduced emissions. However, current engines operate within 50 degrees of the inherent melting point of the conventional materials used in engine...

Briefs : Software
3D Program Aids Design of Custom Iron Work

Keuka Studios designs and manufactures custom architectural iron work and cable railings for commercial and home use. Keuka Studios first designs a product in CAD, CNC machines it to shape, and then takes the assembly to their forge, which adds the design elements. Dan White, founder and president of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Displaying CFD Solution Parameters on Arbitrary Cut Planes

USMC6 is a Fortran 90 computer program for post-processing in support of visualization of flows simulated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The name "USMC6" is partly an abbreviation of "TetrUSS — USM3D Solution Cutter," reflecting its origin as a post-processor for use with USM3D...

Briefs : Software
Flow Solver for Incompressible 2-D Drive Cavity

This software solves the Navier- Stokes equations for the incompressible driven cavity flow problem. The code uses second-order finite differencing on a staggered grid using the Chorin projection method. The resulting intermediate Poisson equation is efficiently solved using the fast Fourier...

Briefs : Software
Flow Solver for Incompressible Rectangular Domains

This is an extension of the Flow Solver for Incompressible 2-D Drive Cavity software described in the preceding article. It solves the Navier- Stokes equations for incompressible flow using finite differencing on a uniform, staggered grid. There is a runtime choice of either central differencing...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Avionics Upgrades to the Space Shuttles

Cockpit Avionics Prototyping Environment (CAPE) is a computer program that simulates the functions of proposed upgraded avionics for a space shuttle. In CAPE, pre-existing space-shuttle-simulation programs are merged with a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) display-development program, yielding a...

Briefs : Software
Simulating the Phoenix Landing Radar System

A computer program called "phxlrsim" simulates the behavior of the radar system used as an altimeter and velocimeter during the entry, descent, and landing phases of the Phoenix lander spacecraft. The simulation includes modeling of internal functions of the radar system, the spacecraft trajectory, and...

Briefs : Software
Injecting Artificial Memory Errors Into a Running Computer Program

Single-event upsets (SEUs) or "bitflips" are computer memory errors caused by radiation. BITFLIPS (Basic Instrumentation Tool for Fault Localized Injection of Probabilistic SEUs) is a computer program that deliberately injects SEUs into another computer program, while the latter...

Briefs : Software
Fault-Tolerant, Multiple-Zone Temperature Control

A computer program has been written as an essential part of an electronic temperature control system for a space-borne instrument that contains several zones. The system was developed because the temperature and the rate of change of temperature in each zone are required to be maintained to...

Briefs : Software
Implementing a Digital Phasemeter in an FPGA

Firmware for implementing a digital phasemeter within a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) has been devised. In the original application of this firmware, the phase that one seeks to measure is the difference between the phases of two nominally-equal-frequency heterodyne signals generated by two...

Briefs : Software
Post-Flight Estimation of Motion of Space Structures: Part 1

A computer program estimates the relative positions and orientations of two space structures from data on the angular positions and distances of fiducial objects on one structure as measured by a target-tracking electronic camera and laser range finders on another structure. The...

Briefs : Software
Post-Flight Estimation of Motion of Space Structures: Part 2

A computer program related to the one described in the immediately preceding article estimates the relative position of two space structures that are hinged to each other. The input to the program consists of time-series data on distances, measured by two range finders at different...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Operation of a Large Turbofan Engine

The Commercial Modular Aero- Propulsion System Simulation (CMAPSS) is a computer program for simulating transient operation of a commercial turbofan engine that can generate as much as 90,000 lb (≈0.4 MN) of thrust. It includes a power-management system that enables simulation of open- or...

Briefs : Software
Automated Assistance for Designing Active Magnetic Bearings

MagBear12 is a computer code (see figure) that assists in the design of radial, heteropolar active magnetic bearings (AMBs). MagBear12 was developed to help in designing the system described in "Advanced Active-Magnetic-Bearing Thrust-Measurement System" (SSC- 00177-1), which appears in...

Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’