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: Physical Sciences
Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses...

The figure is a simplified depiction of a proposed spectrometer optical unit that would be suitable for incorporation into a remote-sensing instrumentation system. Relative to prior spectrometer...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses...

An induction charge detector with multiple sensing stages has been conceived for use in characterizing sprayed droplets, dust particles, large ionized molecules, and the like. Like...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Generic Helicopter-Based Testbed for Surface Terrain Imaging Sensors

To be certain that a candidate sensor system will perform as expected during missions, we have developed a field test system and have executed test flights with a helicopter- mounted sensor platform over desert terrains, which simulate Lunar features. A key advantage to this...

An optimized geometry has been proposed for superconducting sensing coils that are used in conjunction with superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) in magnetic resonance...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Robot Electronics Architecture

An electronics architecture has been developed to enable the rapid construction and testing of prototypes of robotic systems. This architecture is designed to be a research vehicle of great stability, reliability, and versatility. A system according to this architecture can easily be reconfigured (including...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Sensing a Changing Chemical Mixture Using an Electronic Nose

A method of using an electronic nose to detect an airborne mixture of known chemical compounds and measure the temporally varying concentrations of the individual compounds is undergoing development. In a typical intended application, the method would be used to monitor the air in an...

A class of inertial- sensor systems with drift compensation has been invented for use in measuring the orientations of human heads (and perhaps other, similarly sized objects). These...

A proposed microstrip Yagi antenna would operate at a frequency of 8.4 GHz (which is in the X band) and would feature a mechanically simpler, more elegant design, relative to a prior...

Tunable microwave devices based on metal terminals connected by thin ferroelectric films (see Figure 1) can be made to perform better by patterning the films to include suitably...

A free-space optical beam combiner now undergoing development makes it possible to use the outputs of multiple multimode laser diodes to pump a neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Efficient G⁴FET-Based Logic Circuits

A total of 81 optimal logic circuits based on four-gate field-effect transistors (G4FETs) have been designed to implement all Boolean functions of up to three variables. The purpose of this...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Patterning of Indium Tin Oxide Films

A relatively rapid, economical process has been devised for patterning a thin film of indium tin oxide (ITO) that has been deposited on a polyester film. ITO is a transparent, electrically conductive...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gimballed Shoulders for Friction Stir Welding

In a proposed improvement of tooling for friction stir welding, gimballed shoulders would supplant shoulders that, heretofore, have been fixedly aligned with pins. The proposal is especially...

Pellets made of a high-surface-area composite of silica and titania have shown promise as means of removing elemental mercury from flue gases. With further technical development...

Briefs: Materials
Lightweight Tanks for Storing Liquefied Natural Gas

Single-walled, jacketed aluminum tanks have been conceived for storing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in LNG-fueled motor vehicles. Heretofore, double- wall steel tanks with vacuum between the inner and outer walls have been used for storing LNG. In comparison with the vacuum-insulated steel...

Briefs: Materials
Hybrid Wound Filaments for Greater Resistance to Impacts

The immediately preceding article includes an example in which a composite overwrap on a pressure vessel contains wound filaments made of a hybrid of high-strength carbon fibers and poly(phenylene benzobisoxazole) [PBO] fibers. This hybrid material is chosen in an effort to increase the...

Briefs: Materials
Making High-Tensile-Strength Amalgam Components

Structural components made of amalgams can be made to have tensile strengths much greater than previously known to be possible. Amalgams, perhaps best known for their use in dental fillings, have several useful attributes, including room- temperature fabrication, corrosion resistance, dimensional...

A simple, inexpensive method for bonding solid objects exploits hydroxidecatalyzed hydration and dehydration to form silicatelike networks in thin surface and interfacial layers...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Balanced Flow Meters Without Moving Parts

Balanced flow meters are recent additions to an established class of simple, rugged flow meters that contain no moving parts in contact with flow and are based on measurement of pressure drops across...

A passive porous treatment has been proposed as a means of suppressing noise generated by the airflow around the side edges of partial-span flaps on airplane wings when the flaps are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deflection-Compensating Beam for Use Inside a Cylinder

A design concept for a beam for a specific application permits variations and options for satisfying competing requirements to minimize certain deflections under load and to minimize the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Four-Point-Latching Microactuator

Figure 1 depicts an experimental inchworm- type linear microactuator. This microactuator is a successor to the one described in "MEMS-Based Piezoelectric/ Electrostatic Inchworm Actuator" (NPO- 30672), NASA...

When Spinal USA, a manufacturer and distributor of advanced surgical spinal products, designed a new series of spinal implants called vertebral body...

An improved thermal modulator has been invented for use in a variant of gas chromatography (GC). The variant in question — denoted as two-dimensional gas chromatography (2DGC) or GC-GC...

An experimental nuclear-spin gyroscope is based on an alkali-metal/noblegas co-magnetometer, which automatically cancels the effects of magnetic fields. Whereas the performances of...

A method is being developed for utilizing readings of an ion-mobility spectrometer (IMS) to estimate molecular masses of ions that have passed through the spectrometer. The method...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithm Optimally Orders Forward-Chaining Inference Rules

People typically develop knowledge bases in a somewhat ad hoc manner by incrementally adding rules with no specific organization. This often results in a very inefficient execution of those rules since they are so often order sensitive. This is relevant to tasks like Deep Space Network...

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Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Radar Measurements: Triggering, Analysis, and Generation

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Designing with Silicone for Space

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