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
Associative Memory Using Quantum-Inspired Resonance

In this innovation, the retrieval of stored items from an exponentially large, unsorted database is performed by quantum-inspired resonance using polynomial resources due to quantum-like superposition effect. The model is represented by a modified Madelung equation in which the quantum...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Criteria for Modeling in LES of Multicomponent Fuel Flow

A report presents a study addressing the question of which large-eddy simulation (LES) equations are appropriate for modeling the flow of evaporating drops of a multicomponent liquid in a gas (e.g., a spray of kerosene or diesel fuel in air). The LES equations are obtained from the direct...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Computerized Machine for Cutting Space Shuttle Thermal Tiles

A report presents the concept of a machine aboard the space shuttle that would cut oversized thermal-tile blanks to precise sizes and shapes needed to replace tiles that were damaged or lost during ascent to orbit. The machine would include a computer-controlled jigsaw enclosed in a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Orbiting Depot and Reusable Lander for Lunar Transportation

A document describes a conceptual transportation system that would support exploratory visits by humans to locations dispersed across the surface of the Moon and provide transport of humans and cargo to sustain one or more permanent Lunar outpost. The system architecture reflects...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
FPGA-Based Networked Phasemeter for a Heterodyne Interferometer

A document discusses a component of a laser metrology system designed to measure displacements along the line of sight with precision on the order of a tenth the diameter of an atom. This component, the phasemeter, measures the relative phase of two electrical signals and transfers...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Aquarius Digital Processing Unit

Three documents provide information on a digital processing unit (DPU) for the planned Aquarius mission, in which a radiometer aboard a spacecraft orbiting Earth is to measure radiometric temperatures from which data on sea-surface salinity are to be deduced. The DPU is the interface between the radiometer and an...

The figure schematically depicts some alternative designs of proposed compact, lightweight optoelectronic microscopes that would contain no lenses and would generate magnified video images of...

An analog electronic camera that is part of a metrology system measures the varying direction to a light-emitting diode that serves as a bright point target. In the original application for which...

A method of polarimetric imaging, now undergoing development, involves the use of two photoelastic modulators in series, driven at equal amplitude but at different frequencies. The net...

The figure depicts a proposed wide-angle lens that would be especially well suited for an electronic camera in which the focal plane is occupied by an image sensor that has small...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Modal Filters for Infrared Interferometry

Modal filters in the ≈10-μm spectral range have been implemented as planar dielectric waveguides in infrared interferometric applications such as searching for Earth-like planets. When looking for a small, dim object (“Earth”) in close proximity to a large, bright object (“Sun”), the...

A method of polarimetric imaging, now undergoing development, involves the use of two photoelastic modulators in series, driven at equal amplitude but at different frequencies. The net...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Modal Filters for Infrared Interferometry

Modal filters in the ≈10-μm spectral range have been implemented as planar dielectric waveguides in infrared interferometric applications such as searching for Earth-like planets. When looking for a small, dim object (“Earth”) in close proximity to a large, bright object (“Sun”), the...

Magnetic-field-response sensors have been developed for use in measuring levels of fluids under extreme conditions. The sensors work without wire connections or direct physical contact with...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Direct-Solve Image-Based Wavefront Sensing

A method of wavefront sensing (more precisely characterized as a method of determining the deviation of a wavefront from a nominal figure) has been invented as an improved means of assessing the performance of an optical system as affected by such imperfections as misalignments, design errors, and...

Briefs: Medical
Using Fluorescent Viruses for Detecting Bacteria in Water

A method of detecting water-borne pathogenic bacteria is based partly on established molecular-recognition and fluorescent-labeling concepts, according to which bacteria of a species of interest are labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules and the bacteria can then be detected by...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Use of UV Sources for Detection and Identification of Explosives

Measurement of Raman and native fluorescence emission using ultraviolet (UV) sources (<400 nm) on targeted materials is suitable for both sensitive detection and accurate identification of explosive materials. When the UV emission data are analyzed using a combination of...

A new gradiometer scheme uses middle loops as sensing elements in low-field superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetic resonance imaging...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Volcano Monitor: Autonomous Triggering of 'In-Situ' Sensors

In-situ sensors near volcanoes would be alerted by the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) craft to take more frequent data readings. This project involves developing a sulfur-dioxide-sensing volcano monitor that will be able to transmit its readings through an Iridium modem. The monitor, when...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wireless Devices for Temperature Monitoring

The growth of wireless instrumentation technology has provided new ways to apply temperature measurement sensors, combined with personal computers, to collect, tabulate, and analyze data. For...

A digital receiver in a 1.26-GHz spaceborne radar scatterometer now undergoing development includes a module for detecting radio-frequency interference (RFI) that could contam-inate...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modal Vibration Analysis of Large Castings

The art of experimental modal vibration analysis (MVA) has been extended to apply to large castings. This extension was made to enable the use of experimental MVA as a relatively inexpensive, simple...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Structural/Radiation-Shielding Epoxies

A development effort was directed toward formulating epoxy resins that are useful both as structural materials and as shielding against heavy-ion radiation. Hydrogen is recognized as the best element...

Integrated multilayer insulation (IMLI) is being developed as an improved alternative to conventional multilayer insulation (MLI), which is more than 50 years old. A typical conventional MLI blanket comprises...

Within a digital world, the parameters of real-world information (temperature, voltage, current, speed, flow, pressure, distance, etc.) used for process communications and control...

An apparatus that includes an array of multiple electrodes has been invented as a means of simultaneously testing multiple materials for their utility as oxygen-reduction catalysts...

A photonic instrument is proposed to boost the resolution for ultraviolet/optical/infrared spectral analysis and spectral imaging allowing the detection of narrow...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Composite Bipolar Plate for Unitized Fuel Cell/Electrolyzer Systems

In a substantial improvement over present alkaline systems, an advanced hybrid bipolar plate for a unitized fuel cell/ electrolyzer has been developed. This design, which operates on pure feed streams (H2/O2 and water, respectively) consists of a porous...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Quantum-Well Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Thermophotovoltaic cells containing multiple quantum wells have been invented as improved means of conversion of thermal to electrical energy. The semiconductor bandgaps of the quantum wells can be tailored to be narrower than those of prior thermophotovoltaic cells, thereby enabling the cells to convert...

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

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