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
Automated Detection of Events of Scientific Interest

A report presents a slightly different perspective of the subject matter of “Fusing Symbolic and Numerical Diagnostic Computations” (NPO-42512), which appears elsewhere in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs. Briefly, the subject matter is the X-2000 Anomaly Detection Language, which is...

Briefs : Information Technology
Representation-Independent Iteration of Sparse Data Arrays

An approach is defined that describes a method of iterating over massively large arrays containing sparse data using an approach that is implementation independent of how the contents of the sparse arrays are laid out in memory. What is unique and important here is the decoupling of the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Mission Operations of the Mars Exploration Rovers

A document describes a system of processes involved in planning, commanding, and monitoring operations of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. The system is designed to minimize command turnaround time, given that inherent uncertainties in terrain conditions...

Briefs : Information Technology
More About Software for No-Loss Computing

A document presents some additional information on the subject matter of "Integrated Hardware and Software for No-Loss Computing" (NPO-42554), which appears elsewhere in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs. To recapitulate: The hardware and software designs of a developmental parallel computing system are...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Instrumented Spindle Improves Manufacturing of Optical Materials

High-performance materials such as ceramics, optics, and alloy steels are manufactured using abrasive grinding technology. Until now, the grinding wheel and process conditions have been difficult to measure in production.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Flexible Laser Design Targets Low-Volume Material Processing Needs

Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state lasers with an end-pumped cavity design are now widely used in micromachining, materials processing, marking, and related applications. They are used to process a broad range of materials including metals, glass, plastics, and semiconductors....

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Aligning Optical Fibers by Means of Actuated MEMS Wedges

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) of a proposed type would be designed and fabricated to effect lateral and vertical alignment of optical fibers with respect to optical, electro-optical, optoelectronic, and/or photonic devices on integrated circuit chips and similar monolithic device...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Characterization of Molecular Contaminant Films

A semi-empirical method of optical characterization of thin contaminant films on surfaces of optical components has been conceived. The method was originally intended for application to films that become photochemically deposited on such optical components as science windows, lenses,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Instrumented Spindle Improves Manufacturing of Optical Materials

Lion Precision and Professional Instruments, St. Paul, Minnesota

High-performance materials such as ceramics, optics, and alloy steels are manufactured using abrasive grinding technology. Until now, the grinding wheel and process conditions have been difficult to measure in...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Flexible Laser Design Targets Low-Volume Material Processing Needs

Coherent, Inc., Santa Clara, California

Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state lasers with an end-pumped cavity design are now widely used in micromachining, materials processing, marking, and related applications. They are used to process a broad range of materials...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Aligning Optical Fibers by Means of Actuated MEMS Wedges

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) of a proposed type would be designed and fabricated to effect lateral and vertical alignment of optical fibers with respect to optical, electro-optical, optoelectronic, and/or photonic devices on integrated circuit chips and similar monolithic device...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Characterization of Molecular Contaminant Films

A semi-empirical method of optical characterization of thin contaminant films on surfaces of optical components has been conceived. The method was originally intended for application to films that become photochemically deposited on such optical components as science windows, lenses,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Coating MCPs With AlN and GaN

A development effort underway at the time of reporting the information for this article is devoted to increasing the sensitivity of microchannel plates (MCPs) as detectors of photons and ions by coating the MCPs with nitrides of elements in period III of the periodic table. Conventional MCPs are relatively...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Automatic Locking of Laser Frequency to an Absorption Peak

An electronic system adjusts the frequency of a tunable laser, eventually locking the frequency to a peak in the optical absorption spectrum of a gas (or of a Fabry-Perot cavity that has an absorption peak like that of a gas). This system was developed to enable precise locking of the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Noise Source for Calibrating a Microwave

A correlated-noise source has been developed for use in calibrating an airborne or spaceborne Earth-observing correlation microwave polarimeter that operates in a pass band that includes a nominal frequency of 10.7 GHz. Deviations from ideal behavior of the hardware of correlation polarimeters are such as...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Self-Passivating Lithium/Solid Electrolyte/Iodine Cells

Robust lithium/solid electrolyte/iodine electrochemical cells that offer significant advantages over commercial lithium/ iodine cells have been developed. At room temperature, these cells can be discharged at current densities 10 to 30 times those of commercial lithium/iodine cells....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hybrid Deployable Foam Antennas and Reflectors

Hybrid deployable radio antennas and reflectors of a proposed type would feature rigid narrower apertures plus wider adjoining apertures comprising reflective surfaces supported by open-cell polymeric foam structures (see figure). The open-cell foam structure of such an antenna would be compressed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Gesture-Controlled Interfaces for Self-Service Machines

Gesture-controlled interfaces are software-driven systems that facilitate device control by translating visual hand and body signals into commands. Such interfaces could be especially attractive for controlling self-service machines (SSMs) — for example, public information kiosks, ticket...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Domed, 40-cm-Diameter Ion Optics for an Ion Thruster

Improved accelerator and screen grids for an ion accelerator have been designed and tested in a continuing effort to increase the sustainable power and thrust at the high end of the accelerator throttling range. The accelerator and screen grids are undergoing development for intended use as...

Briefs : Software
User Interactive Software for Analysis of Human Physiological Data

Ambulatory physiological monitoring has been used to study human health and performance in space and in a variety of Earth-based environments (e.g., military aircraft, armored vehicles, small groups in isolation, and patients). Large, multi-channel data files are typically...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Inferring Gear Damage From Oil-Debris and Vibration Data

system for real-time detection of surface- fatigue-pitting damage to gears for use in a helicopter transmission is based on fuzzy-logic used to fuse data from sensors that measure oil-borne debris, referred to as "oil debris" in the article, and vibration signatures. A system to detect...

Briefs : Software
Representation of Serendipitous Scientific Data

A computer program defines and implements an innovative kind of data structure than can be used for representing information derived from serendipitous discoveries made via collection of scientific data on long exploratory spacecraft missions. Data structures capable of collecting any kind of data...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Forecasting of Storm-Surge Floods Using ADCIRC and Optimized DEMs

Increasing the accuracy of storm-surge flood forecasts is essential for improving preparedness for hurricanes and other severe storms and, in particular, for optimizing evacuation scenarios. An interactive database, developed by WorldWinds, Inc., contains atlases of storm-surge...

Briefs : Software
Dynamically Alterable Arrays of Polymorphic Data Types

An application library package was developed that represents data packets for Deep Space Network (DSN) message packets as dynamically alterable arrays composed of arbitrary polymorphic data types. The software was to address a limitation of the present state of the practice for having an...

Briefs : Software
Identifying Trends in Deep Space Network Monitor Data

A computer program has been developed that analyzes Deep Space Network monitor data, looking for changes of trends in critical parameters. This program represents a significant improvement over the previous practice of manually plotting data and visually inspecting the resulting graphs to...

Briefs : Software
Predicting Lifetime of a Thermomechanically Loaded Component

NASALIFE is a computer program for predicting the lifetime, as affected by low cycle fatigue (LCF) and creep rupture, of a structural component subject to temporally varying, multiaxial thermomechanical loads. The component could be, for example, part of an aircraft turbine engine....

Briefs : Software
Partial Automation of Requirements Tracing

Requirements Tracing on Target (RETRO) is software for after-the-fact tracing of textual requirements to support independent verification and validation of software. RETRO applies one of three user-selectable information-retrieval techniques: (1) term frequency/inverse document frequency (TF/IDF) vector...

Briefs : Software
Automated Synthesis of Architectures of Avionic Systems

The Architecture Synthesis Tool (AST) is software that automatically synthesizes software and hardware architectures of avionic systems. The AST is expected to be most helpful during initial formulation of an avionic-system design, when system requirements change frequently and manual...

Briefs : Software
SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool

The SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool (wherein “SSRL” signifies “Smart Systems Research Laboratory”) is a computer program within a system of communication and mobile-computing software and hardware being developed to increase the situational awareness of first responders at building collapses....

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Four-Quadrant Analog Multipliers Using G4-FETs

Theoretical analysis and some experiments have shown that the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) 4-gate transistors known as G4-FETs can be used as building blocks of four-quadrant analog voltage multiplier circuits. Whereas a typical prior analog voltage multiplier contains between six and 10...