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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Inlet Housing for a Partial-Admission Turbine

An inlet housing for a partial-admission turbine has been designed to cause the inlet airflow to make a smooth transition from an open circular inlet to an inlet slot. The smooth flow is required for purposes of measuring inlet flow characteristics and maximizing the efficiency of the turbine.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Passivating Stainless Steel Parts

Maximizing the natural corrosion resistance of parts and components machined from stainless steels. It can make the difference between satisfactory performance and premature failure. Incorrectly performed, passivation can actually induce corrosion.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Laboratory Apparatus Generates Dual-Species Cold Atomic Beam

A laser cooling apparatus that generates a cold beam of rubidium and cesium atoms at low pressure has been constructed as one of several intermediate products of a continuing program of research on laser cooling and atomic physics. Laser-cooled atomic beams, which can have temperatures...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser Ablation of Materials for Propulsion of Spacecraft

A report describes experiments performed as part of a continuing investigation of the feasibility of laser ablation of materials as a means of propulsion for small spacecraft. In each experiment, a specimen of ablative material was mounted on a torsion pendulum and irradiated with a laser...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Lightweight Thermoformed Structural Components and Optics

A technique that involves the use of thermoformed plastics has been developed to enable the design and fabrication of ultra-lightweight structural components and mirrors for use in outer space. The technique could also be used to produce items for special terrestrial uses in which...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser-Induced-Fluorescence Photogrammetry and Videogrammetry

An improved method of dot-projection photogrammetry and an extension of the method to encompass dot-projection videogrammetry overcome some deficiencies of dot-projection photogrammetry as previously practiced. The improved method makes it possible to perform dot-projection...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Coastal Research Imaging Spectrometer

The Coastal Research Imaging Spectrometer (CRIS) is an airborne remote sensing system designed specifically for research on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of coastal waters. The CRIS includes a visible-light hyperspectral imaging subsystem for measuring the color of water, which...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Growing High-Quality InAs Quantum Dots for Infrared Lasers

An improved method of growing high-quality InAs quantum dots embedded in lattice-matched InGaAs quantum wells on InP substrates has been developed. InAs/InGaAs/InP quantum dot semiconductor lasers fabricated by this method are capable of operating at room temperature at wavelengths...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Threaded Hardware Offers Fastening Options for Metal and Plastic Components

For every challenge that may arise when attaching metal or plastic components, a hardware solution usually can be found. When permanently installed threaded hardware is specified as a solution to provide strong, reliable, and reusable threads in an assembly, users can...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Membrane-Based Water Evaporator for a Space Suit

A membrane-based water evaporator has been developed that is intended to serve as a heat-rejection device for a space suit. This evaporator would replace the current sublimator that is sensitive to contamination of its feedwater. The design of the membrane-based evaporator takes advantage of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Compact Microscope Imaging System With Intelligent Controls

The figure presents selected views of a compact microscope imaging system (CMIS) that includes a miniature video microscope, a Cartesian robot (a computer- controlled three-dimensional translation stage), and machine-vision and control subsystems. The CMIS was built from commercial...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Chirped- Superlattice, Blocked- Intersubband QWIP

An AlxGa1—x As/GaAs quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) of the blocked-intersubband-detector (BID) type, now undergoing development, features a chirped (that is, aperiodic) superlattice. The purpose of the chirped superlattice is to increase the quantum efficiency of the device.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Charge-Dissipative Electrical Cables

Electrical cables that dissipate spurious static electric charges, in addition to performing their main functions of conducting signals, have been developed. These cables are intended for use in trapped-ion or ionizing-radiation environments, in which electric charges tend to accumulate within, and on the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Deep-Sea Video Cameras Without Pressure Housings

Underwater video cameras of a proposed type (and, optionally, their light sources) would not be housed in pressure vessels. Conventional underwater cameras and their light sources are housed in pods that keep the contents dry and maintain interior pressures of about 1 atmosphere (0.1 MPa). Pods...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
RFID and Memory Devices Fabricated Integrally on Substrates

Electronic identification devices containing radio-frequency identification (RFID) circuits and antennas would be fabricated integrally with the objects to be identified, according to a proposal. That is to say, the objects to be identified would serve as substrates for the deposition...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multispectral Scanner for Monitoring Plants

A multispectral scanner has been adapted to capture spectral images of living plants under various types of illumination for purposes of monitoring the health of, or monitoring the transfer of genes into, the plants. In a health-monitoring application, the plants are illuminated with full-spectrum...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Brush/Fin Thermal Interfaces

Brush/fin thermal interfaces are being developed to increase heat-transfer efficiency and thereby enhance the thermal management of orbital replaceable units (ORUs) of electronic and other equipment aboard the International Space Station. Brush/fin thermal interfaces could also be used to increase heat-transfer...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compensating for Effects of Humidity on Electronic Noses

A method of compensating for the effects of humidity on the readouts of electronic noses has been devised and tested. The method is especially appropriate for use in environments in which humidity is not or cannot be controlled — for example, in the vicinity of a chemical spill, which...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Farm Equipment Manufacturer Shortens Design Cycle With Analysis Software

Humans have been using tools to make farming easier since the dawn of civilization. Since the turn of the 20th century, the growing use of mechanized power to till and sow fields has enabled farmers to realize incredible efficiency gains in the production of low-cost, safe,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Coding for Communication Channels With Dead-Time Constraints

Coding schemes have been designed and investigated specifically for optical and electronic data-communication channels in which information is conveyed via pulse-position modulation (PPM) subject to dead-time constraints. These schemes involve the use of errorcorrecting codes...

Briefs : Information Technology
System for Better Spacing of Airplanes En Route

An improved method of computing the spacing of airplanes en route, and software to implement the method, have been invented. The purpose of the invention is to help air-traffic controllers minimize those deviations of the airplanes from the trajectories preferred by their pilots that are needed to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithm for Training a Recurrent Multilayer Perceptron

An improved algorithm has been devised for training a recurrent multilayer perceptron (RMLP) for optimal performance in predicting the behavior of a complex, dynamic, and noisy system multiple time steps into the future. [An RMLP is a computational neural network with self-feedback and...

Briefs : Materials
Electrodeionization Using Microseparated Bipolar Membranes

An electrochemical technique for deionizing water, now under development, is intended to overcome a major limitation of prior electrically–based waterpurification techniques. The limitation in question is caused by the desired decrease in the concentration of ions during purification:...

Briefs : Materials
Safer Electrolytes for Lithium-Ion Cells

A number of nonvolatile, low-flammability liquid oligomers and polymers based on aliphatic organic carbonate molecular structures have been found to be suitable to be blended with ethylene carbonate to make electrolytes for lithium-ion electro- chemical cells. Heretofore, such electrolytes have often been...

Briefs : Software
Analyzing Dynamics of Cooperating Spacecraft

A software library has been developed to enable high-fidelity computational simulation of the dynamics of multiple spacecraft distributed over a region of outer space and acting with a common purpose. All of the modeling capabilities afforded by this software are available independently in other,...

Briefs : Software
Spacecraft Attitude Maneuver Planning Using Genetic Algorithms

A key enabling technology that leads to greater spacecraft autonomy is the capability to autonomously and optimally slew the spacecraft from and to different attitudes while operating under a number of celestial and dynamic constraints. The task of finding an attitude trajectory that...

Briefs : Software
Forensic Analysis of Compromised Computers

Directory Tree Analysis File Generator is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (PERL) script that simplifies and automates the collection of information for forensic analysis of compromised computer systems. During such an analysis, it is sometimes necessary to collect and analyze information...

Briefs : Software
Document Concurrence System

The Document Concurrence System is a combination of software modules for routing users expressions of concurrence with documents. This system enables determination of the current status of concurrences and eliminates the need for the prior practice of manually delivering paper documents to all persons whose approvals...

Briefs : Software
Managing an Archive of Images

The SSC Multimedia Archive is an automated electronic system to manage images, acquired both by film and digital cameras, for the Public Affairs Office (PAO) at Stennis Space Center (SSC). Previously, the image archive was based on film photography and utilized a manual system that, by today's standards, had become...

Briefs : Software
MPT Prediction of Aircraft Engine Fan Noise

A collection of computer programs has been developed that implements a procedure for predicting multiple- puretone (MPT) noise generated by fan blades of an aircraft engine (e.g., a turbofan engine). MPT noise arises when the fan is operating with supersonic relative tip Mach No. Under this flow...