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
Compensating for Motion Errors in UWB SAR Data

A method of processing data acquired by ultra-wide-band (UWB) syntheticaperture radar (SAR) provides for suppression of those errors that are caused by the undesired relative motion of the radar platform and the targets. This method involves, among other things, processing of data in the wave-number...

Briefs : Software
Program for International-Temperature-Scale Calculations

A computer program implements several aspects of the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS90).

Briefs : Software
Updated Global Atmospheric Reference Model Computer Programs

The 1999 version of the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center Global Reference Atmospheric Model (GRAM-99) and version 3.8 of the Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model (Mars- GRAM) are the latest in two series of computer programs for calculating selected physical properties of the...

Briefs : Software
Gyroscope Automated Testbed

The Gyroscope Automated Testbed (GAT) is a fully automated inertial device characterization testbed. Rotational response parameterization and shortterm noise stability analysis are the fundamental principles behind the system. Complete response characterization, bias stability, sensitivity, and range are supported...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nanoelectronic Devices With Precise Atomic-Scale Structures

Since its invention in 1948, the transistor has revolutionized everyday life. The electronics revolution is based on miniaturization of transistors; smaller transistors are faster, and denser circuitry has more functionality. Transistors in the present generation of integrated-circuit...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Mounting Flip Chips on Heat-Dissipating, Matched-CTE Boards

“Flip chip on board (FCOB) with high thermal conductivity and tailored coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)” denotes a developmental concept for relatively inexpensive, lightweight packaging of electronic circuits to accommodate high densities of components and of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Lightweight, Dimensionally Stable Printed-Wiring Boards

Printed-wiring boards (PWBs) that are especially suitable as substrates for highly reliable, lightweight electronic circuits for aircraft and spacecraft have been developed. Like traditional PWBs, these PWBs are laminated composites that include dielectric inner layers plus copper outer...

Briefs : Materials
Protective Solid Electrolyte Films for Thin Li-Ion Cells

Thin films of Li2CO3 are under consideration for use as passivating layers between electrodes and solid electrolytes in advanced thin-film lithium-ion electrochemical cells. By suppressing undesired chemical reactions as described below, the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Study of Turbulent Boundary Layer on the F-15B Airplane

NASA’s F-15B #836 is a two-seat version of the F-15, which is a high-performance, supersonic, all-weather fighter airplane. The F-15B is used as a test-bed aircraft for a wide variety of flight experiments. In support of this use, a flight-test fixture (FTF) was developed to provide a...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Alignment Mechanism for Robotic Drilling

An improved alignment mechanism and mating procedure have been devised for a robotic drilling system in which there is a need to assemble drill stem rods for sampling soils and rocks on a distant planet or asteroid. This mechanism is applicable to systems requiring positive axial alignment...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Measuring Volume of Incompressible Liquid in a Rigid Tank

A technique for measuring the volume of an incompressible liquid in a rigid tank involves measurement of the total volume of gas in those parts of the tank not occupied by the liquid. The volume of liquid is then computed by subtracting V from the total volume of the tank and the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vision-Based Maneuvering and Manipulation by a Mobile Robot

A small mobile robot equipped with a stereoscopic machine vision system and two manipulator arms that have limited degrees of freedom has been given the ability to perform moderately dexterous manipulation autonomously, under control by an onboard computer. The approach taken in this...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Photolithographic Fine Patterning of Difficult-To-Etch Metals

A process that includes photolithography, liftoff, etching, and sputter deposition has been developed to enable the fabrication of thin, finely patterned layers of gold, platinum, and other difficultto- etch materials in advanced miniature sensors and associated electronic circuitry....

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Software for Optimized Flattening From 3D to 2D

A computer program offers enhanced capabilities for calculating two-dimensional (2D) patterns needed to construct specified three-dimensional (3D) surfaces to within acceptably close approximations, with minimal waste of sheet material. Examples of complexly shaped sheet-material items that could...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electron-Beam Welding of Superalloys at High Temperatures

Electron-beam welding at high temperatures has been found to be a suitable process for joining structural components made by casting certain superalloys. This process can be used in the fabrication of superalloy parts that must withstand high operating temperatures. Examples of such parts...

Briefs : Medical
Petri-Dish Spreaders Sterilized by Electrical Heating

An improved method of sterilizing petri-dish spreaders and a spreader design to implement the method have been developed. In comparison with the conventional methods of sterilizing petri-dish spreaders, the improved method is expected to prove easier, safer, less time-consuming, and less...

Briefs : Medical
Quantifying Microbial Diversity Through Dilution/Extinction

A method of relatively easily, rapidly, and inexpensively quantifying the structural diversity of a multiple-species community of micro-organisms is based on the rate of extinction of phenotypic traits across a dilution gradient of a sample of the community. In this context, the concept...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Simulator for a Portable Solar-Absorptance Instrument

A special-purpose solar simulator includes (1) a tungsten lamp that serves as a gray-body radiator with a temperature of 3,200 K and (2) a mosaic of filters such that the filtered lamp output has the same normalized spectral irradiance as that of sunlight outside the atmosphere of the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Portable Instrument Detects Very Dilute Airborne Organics

A small, lightweight, low-power instrument, denoted a proton-transferreaction/ ion-mobility spectrometer (PTR-IMS) has been developed for detecting airborne organic compounds at concentrations in the sub-parts-per-billion range. Instruments like this one could be used on distant planets...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Quantum Mechanics of Harmonic Oscillator in External Fields

A report presents a theoretical study of a harmonic oscillator in homogeneous or nonhomogeneous externally applied electric and/or gravitational fields. The standard quantum-mechanical formalism for a simple harmonic oscillator, starting with the Hamiltonian and the associated creation...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithms for Collision Avoidant Formation Flying

A report discusses algorithms for realtime planning of translation paths of multiple spacecraft flying in formation. The algorithm takes account of requirements to avoid collisions while operating within resource constraints (e.g., not calling for an acceleration greater than maximum possible)...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integrated Colloid Thrusters for Microspacecraft

A report proposes the development of a microfabricated, integrated colloid thruster as a prototype of devices for propulsion and control of the attitudes of microspacecraft. (In a colloid thruster, a beam of positively charged, microscopic droplets is extracted electrohydrodynamically from a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
PCI Bridge to Instruments and Telecommunication Systems

A report describes a prototype system interface assembly (SIA) that performs the functions of a compact, radiation-hard application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to be built subsequently. The SIA ASIC would be installed in a spacecraft, where it would function as a peripheralcomponent...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Effect of Gravitation on Noninteracting Trapped Fermions

A report presents a theoretical study of the thermodynamics of an ultralow-temperature gas of fermions that interact with a gravitational field and with an externally imposed trapping potential but not with each other. The gravitational field is taken to define the z axis and the trapping...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improvements in a Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve

A report discusses the continuing development of a normally closed, piezoelectrically actuated valve fabricated mostly by micromachining of silicon. The design and operation of the microvalve as described in the instant report are basically the same as those of the version described in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Energy Transfer From Near-Earth to Near-Moon Orbit

A report presents a theoretical approach to designing a low-energy transfer of a spacecraft from an orbit around the Earth to ballistic capture into an orbit around the Moon. The approach is based partly on the one presented in “Low-Energy Interplanetary Transfers Using Lagrangian...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Testing Grazing-Incidence Mirrors at Nearly Normal Incidence

An optical system that utilizes visible light at nearly perpendicular incidence has been invented for use in testing the surface figures of nominally axisymmetric (paraboloidal, ellipsoidal, or conical) mirrors designed to function at grazing incidence. Such mirrors can be used as the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Making Digital Composite Images for Technical Illustration

A method of generating three-dimensional composite digital images can serve multiple purposes in technical illustration. The method was devised to accelerate and facilitate the design of new electric lights and receptacles for large buildings, and can just as well be applied to the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Phase-Retrieval Camera for Optical Testing

A portable instrument denoted a phase-retrieval camera (PRC) is designed to enable the testing of large, lightweight optics in the presence of vibrations and atmospheric turbulence. The development of the PRC was prompted by the fact that conventional optical-testing techniques are not sufficiently...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Liquid-Crystal Phase-Shifting Shearing Interferometer

The liquid-crystal phase-shifting shearing interferometer is a common-path interferometer based partly on a lateral-shear-plate interferometer. It bears a partial similarity to the liquid-crystal point-diffraction interferometer (LCPDI), which is also of the common-path type. The...


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