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 : Software
JavaGenes Molecular Evolution

JavaGenes is a general-purpose, evolutionary software system written in Java. It implements several versions of a genetic algorithm, simulated annealing, stochastic hill climbing, and other search techniques. This software has been used to evolve molecules, atomic force field parameters, digital circuits, Earth...

Briefs : Materials
Accounting for Uncertainties in Strengths of SiC MEMS Parts

A methodology has been devised for accounting for uncertainties in the strengths of silicon carbide structural components of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The methodology enables prediction of the probabilistic strengths of complexly shaped MEMS parts using data from tests of...

Briefs : Materials
Lithium Dinitramide as an Additive in Lithium Power Cells

Lithium dinitramide, LiN(NO2)2 has shown promise as an additive to nonaqueous electrolytes in rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium-ion-based electrochemical power cells. Such non-aqueous electrolytes consist of lithium salts dissolved in mixtures of organic...

Briefs : Materials
Ion-Conducting Organic/Inorganic Polymers

Ion-conducting polymers that are hybrids of organic and inorganic moieties and that are suitable for forming into solidelectrolyte membranes have been invented in an effort to improve upon the polymeric materials that have been used previously for such membranes. Examples of the prior materials include...

Briefs : Materials
MoO₃ Cathodes for High-Temperature Lithium Thin-Film Cells

MoO3 has shown promise as a cathode material that can extend the upper limit of operating temperature of rechargeable lithium thin-film electrochemical cells. Cells of this type are undergoing development for use as energy sources in cellular telephones, wireless medical...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Motorcycle Design Optimized With Finite-Element Software
Sierra Design Engineering, Mount Aukum, California
BUB Enterprises, Grass Valley, California;
ALGOR, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A streamliner motorcycle designed and built by Sierra Design Engineering and BUB Enterprises achieved a new world-record speed...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Counterrotating-Shoulder Mechanism for Friction Stir Welding

A counterrotating-shoulder mechanism has been proposed as an alternative to the mechanism and fixtures used in conventional friction stir welding. The mechanism would internally react most or all of the forces and torques exerted on the workpiece, making it unnecessary to react the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Strain Gauges Indicate Differential-CTE-Induced Failures

A method of detecting mechanical failure induced by variation in temperature at an adhesive bond between two materials that have different coefficients of thermal expansion (CTEs) involves monitoring of strain-gauge readings. This method can be regarded as an exploitation of the prior...

Briefs : Medical
Antibodies Against Three Forms of Urokinase

Antibodies that bind to preselected regions of the urokinase molecule have been developed. These antibodies can be used to measure small quantities of each of three molecular forms of urokinase that could be contained in microsamples or conditioned media harvested from cultures of mammalian cells....

Briefs : Medical
Understanding and Counteracting Fatigue in Flight Crews

The materials included in the collection of documents describe the research of the NASA Ames Fatigue Countermeasures Group (FCG), which examines the extent to which fatigue, sleep loss, and circadian disruption affect flight-crew performance. The group was formed in 1980 — in response to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Balloon for Long-Duration, High-Altitude Flight at Venus

A document describes a 5.5-m-diameter, helium-filled balloon designed for carrying a scientific payload having a mass of 44 kg for at least six days at an altitude of about 55 km in the atmosphere of Venus. The requirement for floating at nearly constant altitude dictates the choice of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wide-Temperature-Range Integrated Operational Amplifier

A document discusses a silicon-oninsulator (SOI) complementary metal oxide/ semiconductor (CMOS) integrated- circuit operational amplifier to be replicated and incorporated into sensor and actuator systems of Mars- explorer robots. This amplifier is designed to function at a supply...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Dual-Beam Atom Laser Driven by Spinor Dynamics

An atom laser now undergoing development simultaneously generates two pulsed beams of correlated 87Rb atoms. (An atom laser is a source of atoms in beams characterized by coherent matter waves, analogous to a conventional laser, which is a source of coherent light waves.) The pumping...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Active Correction of Aberrations of Low-Quality Telescope Optics

A system of active optics that includes a wavefront sensor and a deformable mirror has been demonstrated to be an effective means of partly correcting wavefront aberrations introduced by fixed optics (lenses and mirrors) in telescopes. It is envisioned that after further...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Rugged, Tunable Extended-Cavity Diode Laser

A rugged, tunable extended-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been developed to satisfy stringent requirements for frequency stability, notably including low sensitivity to vibration. This laser is designed specifically for use in an atomic-clock experiment to be performed aboard the International Space...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Advanced Systems for Monitoring Underwater Sounds

The term “Passive Acoustic Monitoring System” (PAMS) describes a developmental sensing and data-acquisition system for recording underwater sounds. The sounds (more precisely, digitized and preprocessed versions from acoustic transducers) are subsequently analyzed by a combination of data...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wireless Data-Acquisition System for Testing Rocket Engines

A prototype wireless data-acquisition system has been developed as a potential replacement for a wired data-acquisition system heretofore used in testing rocket engines. The traditional use of wires to connect sensors, signal-conditioning circuits, and data acquisition circuitry is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Processing Raw HST Data With Up-to-Date Calibration Data

On-the-Fly Reprocessing (OTFR) is a collection of data-processing routines that work within the context of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) pipeline data-flow system. The purpose served by OTFR is to generate, on demand, scientifically useful data products from raw HST data stored in an...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System for Secure Integration of Aviation Data

The Aviation Data Integration System (ADIS) of Ames Research Center has been established to promote analysis of aviation data by airlines and other interested users for purposes of enhancing the quality (especially safety) of flight operations. The ADIS is a system of computer hardware and software...

Briefs : Medical
Mobile Collection and Automated Interpretation of EEG Data

A system that would comprise mobile and stationary electronic hardware and software subsystems has been proposed for collection and automated interpretation of electro-encephalo-graphic (EEG) data from subjects in everyday activities in a variety of environments. By enabling collection...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Servomotor and Controller Having Large Dynamic Range

A recently developed micro-commanding rotational position control system offers advantages of less mechanical complexity, less susceptibility to mechanical resonances, less power demand, less bulk, less weight, and lower cost, relative to prior rotational position control systems based on...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Digital Multicasting of Multiple Audio Streams

The Mission Control Center Voice Over Internet Protocol (MCC VOIP) system (see figure) comprises hardware and software that effect simultaneous, nearly real-time transmission of as many as 14 different audio streams to authorized listeners via the MCC intranet and/or the Internet. The original...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simplified Generation of High-Angular-Momentum Light Beams

A simplified method of generating a beam of light having a relatively high value of angular momentum (see figure) involves the use of a compact apparatus consisting mainly of a laser, a whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonator, and optical fibers. The method also can be used to generate a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Complex Type-II Interband Cascade MQW Photodetectors

Multiple-quantum-well (MQW) photodetectors of a proposed type would contain active regions comprising multiple superlattice subregions. These devices would have complex structures: The superlattice of each subregion would be designed for enhanced absorption of photons in a desired wavelength...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Interferometric Quantum-Nondemolition Single-Photon Detectors

Two interferometric quantum-nondemolition (QND) devices have been proposed: (1) a polarization- independent device and (2) a polarization- preserving device. The prolarization- independent device works on an input state of up to two photons, whereas the polarization- preserving device...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ring-Down Spectroscopy for Characterizing a CW Raman Laser

A relatively simple technique for characterizing an all-resonant intracavity continuous- wave (CW) solid-state Raman laser involves the use of ring-down spectroscopy. As used here, "characterizing" signifies determining such parameters as threshold pump power, Raman gain, conversion...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Imaging Spectrometer on a Chip

A proposed visible-light imaging spectrometer on a chip would be based on the concept of a heterostructure comprising multiple layers of silicon-based photodetectors interspersed with long-wavelength-pass optical filters. In a typical application, this heterostructure would be replicated in each pixel of an...