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
Thermo-Electron Ballistic Coolers or Heaters

Electronic heat-transfer devices of a proposed type would exploit some of the quantum-wire-like, pseudo-superconducting properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes or, optionally, room- temperature- superconducting polymers (RTSPs). The devices are denoted thermo-electron ballistic (TEB) coolers or...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Proton Collimators for Fusion Reactors

Proton collimators have been proposed for incorporation into inertial- electrostatic- confinement (IEC) fusion reactors. Such reactors have been envisioned as thrusters and sources of electric power for spacecraft and as sources of energetic protons in commercial ion-beam applications. An artist's concept...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Floating Probe Assembly for Measuring Temperature of Water

A floating apparatus denoted a temperature probe aquatic suspension system (TPASS) has been developed for measuring the temperature of an ocean, lake, or other natural body of water at predetermined depths. These types of measurements are used in computer models to relate remotely sensed...

Briefs : Software
Software for Preprocessing Data From Rocket-Engine Tests

Three computer programs have been written to preprocess digitized outputs of sensors during rocket-engine tests at Stennis Space Center (SSC). The programs apply exclusively to the SSC "E" test-stand complex and utilize the SSC file format. The programs are the following:

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optoelectronic Apparatus Measures Glucose Noninvasively

An optoelectronic apparatus has been invented as a noninvasive means of measuring the concentration of glucose in the human body. The apparatus performs polarimetric and interferometric measurements of the human eye to acquire data from which the concentration of glucose in the aqueous...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optoelectronic System for Measuring Heights Above a Floor

An optoelectronic system has been developed for measuring heights, above a floor, of designated points on a large object. In the original application for which the system was conceived, the large object is a space shuttle and the designated points are two front and two rear points for the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Species Specific Bacterial Spore Detection Using Lateral-Flow Immunoassay With DPA-Triggered Tb Luminescence

A method of detecting bacterial spores incorporates

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Integrated Optoelectronics for Parallel Microbioanalysis

Miniature, relatively inexpensive microbioanalytical systems ("laboratory-on-a-chip" devices) have been proposed for the detection of hazardous microbes and toxic chemicals. Each system of this type would include optoelectronic sensors and sensor-output-processing circuitry that would...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Pulsed-Source Interferometry in Acoustic Imaging

A combination of pulsed-source interferometry and acoustic diffraction has been proposed for use in imaging subsurface microscopic defects and other features in such diverse objects as integrated-circuit chips, specimens of materials, and mechanical parts. A specimen to be inspected by this...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Live/Dead Bacterial Spore Assay Using DPA-Triggered Tb Luminescence

A method of measuring the fraction of bacterial spores in a sample that remain viable exploits DPA-triggered luminescence of Tb3+ and is based partly on the same principles as those described in the immediately preceding article. Unlike prior methods for performing...

Briefs : Information Technology
Irreversible Entropy Production in Two-Phase Mixing Layers

This report presents a study of dissipation (irreversible production of entropy) in three-dimensional, temporal mixing layers laden with evaporating liquid drops. The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of evaporating drops on the development of turbulent features in flows....

Briefs : Materials
Nanolaminate Mirrors With "Piston" Figure-Control Actuators

Efforts are under way to develop a special class of thin-shell curved mirrors for high-resolution imaging in visible and infrared light in a variety of terrestrial or extraterrestrial applications. These mirrors can have diameters of the order of a meter and include metallic film...

Briefs : Software
Software for Tracking Costs of Mars Projects

The Mars Cost Tracking Model is a computer program that administers a system set up for tracking the costs of future NASA projects that pertain to Mars. Previously, no such tracking system existed, and documentation was written in a variety of formats and scattered in various places. It was difficult...

Briefs : Software
Software Computes Tape-Casting Parameters

Tcast2 is a FORTRAN computer program that accelerates the setup of a process in which a slurry containing metal particles and a polymeric binder is cast, to a thickness regulated by a doctor blade, onto fibers wound on a rotating drum to make a “green” precursor of a metal-matrix/fiber composite...

Briefs : Medical
Simulating an Arthroscopic Surgical Instrument

Sports-related injuries are a common cause of damaged ligaments and tendons in shoulders, knees, wrists, elbows and ankles, and can usually be repaired through arthroscopic surgery. Through an incision no larger than a keyhole, a surgeon inserts an endoscope to see inside the joint on a video...

Briefs : Medical
Quantitating Iron in Serum Ferritin by Use of ICP-MS

A laboratory method has been devised to enable measurement of the concentration of iron bound in ferritin from small samples of blood (serum). Derived partly from a prior method that depends on large samples of blood, this method involves the use of an inductively coupled plasma mass...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Integrated Electrode Arrays for Neuro-Prosthetic Implants

Arrays of electrodes integrated with chip-scale packages and silicon-based integrated circuits have been proposed for use as medical electronic implants, including neuro-prosthetic devices that might be implanted in brains of patients who suffer from strokes, spinal-cord injuries, or...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Common/Dependent-Pressure-Vessel Nickel-Hydrogen Batteries

The term "common/dependent pressure vessel" (C/DPV) denotes a proposed alternative configuration for a nickel-hydrogen battery. The C/DPV configuration is so named because it is a hybrid of two prior configurations called "common pressure vessel" (CPV) and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Energy-Density Capacitors

Capacitors capable of storing energy at high densities are being developed for use in pulse-power circuits in such diverse systems as defibrillators, particle-beam accelerators, microwave sources, and weapons. Like typical previously developed energy-storage capacitors, these capacitors are made from pairs of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Eroding Potentiometers

Eroding potentiometers have been devised for measuring the time-dependent positions of char fronts advancing through layers of insulating material subject to intense heating from one side. In the original application, the material layers of interest are thermal insulators in rocket motors and the heat comes from firing of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Composite-Material Structures Containing SMA Ribbons

An improved method of designing and fabricating laminated composite-material (matrix/fiber) structures containing embedded shape-memory-alloy (SMA) actuators has been devised. Structures made by this method have repeatable, predictable properties, and fabrication processes can...

Briefs : Information Technology
Optimal Feedback Control of Thermal Networks

An improved approach to the mathematical modeling of feedback control of thermal networks has been devised. Heretofore software for feedback control of thermal networks has been developed by time-consuming trial-and-error methods that depend on engineers' expertise. In contrast, the present approach...

Briefs : Information Technology
Designing Facilities for Collaborative Operations

A methodology is emerging from efforts to design a mission operations facility.

A methodology for designing operational facilities for collaboration by multiple experts has begun to take shape as an outgrowth of a project to design such facilities for scientific operations of the planned...

Briefs : Information Technology
Artifacts for Calibration of Submicron Width Measurements

Artifacts that are fabricated with the help of molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) are undergoing development for use as dimensional calibration standards with sub-micron widths. Such standards are needed for calibrating instruments (principally, scanning electron microscopes and scanning probe...

Briefs : Materials
Process for Encapsulating Protein Crystals

A process for growing protein crystals encapsulated within membranes has been invented. This process begins with the encapsulation of a nearly saturated aqueous protein solution inside semipermeable membranes to form microcapsules. The encapsulation is effected by use of special formulations of a...

Briefs : Materials
Mixed Conducting Electrodes for Better AMTEC Cells

Electrode materials that exhibit mixed conductivity (that is, both electronic and ionic conductivity) have been investigated in a continuing effort to improve the performance of the alkali metal thermal-to-electric converter (AMTEC). These electrode materials are intended primarily for use on...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanical Amplifier for a Piezoelectric Transducer

A mechanical amplifier has been devised to multiply the stroke of a piezoelectric transducer (PZT) intended for use at liquid helium temperatures. Interferometry holds the key to high angular resolution imaging and astrometry in space. Future space missions that will detect planets around other...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Swell Sleeves for Testing Explosive Devices

A method of testing explosive and pyrotechnic devices involves exploding the devices inside swell sleeves. Swell sleeves have been used previously for measuring forces. In the present method, they are used to obtain quantitative indications of the energy released in explosions of the devices under...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Propulsion Flight-Test Fixture

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's new Propulsion Flight Test Fixture (PFTF), designed in house, is an airborne engine-testing facility that enables engineers to gather flight data on small experimental engines. Without the PFTF, it would be necessary to obtain such data from traditional wind tunnels, ground test...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Subsonic and Supersonic Effects in Bose-Einstein Condensate

A paper presents a theoretical investigation of subsonic and supersonic effects in a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The BEC is represented by a time-dependent, nonlinear Schroedinger equation that includes terms for an external confining potential term and a weak interatomic repulsive...


Articles: Motion Control

The Modern Industrial Workhorse: PID Controllers

Briefs: Information Technology

Software for Analyzing Root Causes of Process Anomalies

Podcasts: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Here's an Idea: Apollo 11

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Induced-Eddy-Current-Sensor Measurement of Semiconductor Performance

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Nd:YAG or Fiber Laser for Micro Welding?

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers