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 : Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Optic Phase-Locked Loop Sensitive to Local Strain Only

The figure schematically depicts an apparatus for measuring strain at only one designated location on a structure. The apparatus is a fiber-optic phase-locked loop, wherein strain in a multimode optical fiber gives rise to a change in the phase of modulation of a laser beam that...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Light Recycling and Color Scrolling for Brighter Displays

The efficiencies and thus the brightnesses of flat-panel projectors based on liquid-crystal devices (LCDs) and digital mirror devices (DMDs) would be increased by the combination of a color-scrolling technique and a light-recycling technique, according to a proposal. These techniques...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Multi-Screen-Image- and Catalog-Viewing Program

A computer program enables the single- or multi-screen display of multispectral, multiresolution images — especially astronomical ones — stored as sets of data that range upward in size from hundreds of gigabytes. In cases of multi-screen displays, the software synchronizes the screens so that...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Software Automates Processing of SAR Image Data

The Automated SAR Image Processor (ASIP) computer program increases the efficiency of production of scientifically useful imagery from raw synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) image data. In the absence of ASIP, the processing of SAR data is a labor-intensive task, often involving supporting personnel,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Compact, Stiff, Lightweight, Quick-Release Clamp

The term "COSMOWRAP" denotes a compact, stiff, remotely actuatable, lightweight, quick-release clamp that could be substituted for the larger, heavier, and more-difficult-to-use toggle-action clamp now used in the space shuttle orbiter docking system (ODS) to perform contingency separations. In...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ground-Traffic Information-Management System for an Airport

A computer-based system, and a method built around the use of the system, have been developed to automate the acquisition, integration, and management of data that have been generated at different rates by multiple, heterogeneous, incompatible sources. The system [hereafter denoted the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Mixed-Signal Driver ASIC for IEEE 1394 and I²C Buses

The IEEE 1394 and I2C Mixed-Signal Driver is one of two application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) designed to function together as an interface among the following three digital-signal buses:

A peripheral component interface (PCI) bus; A high-speed serial data bus that...
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Unity-Power-Factor Interfaces for Data-Processing Equipment

Circuits for conditioning AC power supplied to computers are under development. A power conditioner of this type would be an interface between a conventional AC power line and a computer power supply (that is, an AC-to- DC converter) that contains one or more rectifier(s) and...

Briefs : Software
Program Injects Random Faults for Testing Computers

JIFI (Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Implementation of a Fault Injector) is a computer program for studying the ability of a computer to tolerate, detect, and/or recover from faults (that is, bit errors). JIFI affords the capability to inject faults into user-specified central- processing-unit...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
InP HEMT MMIC Low-Noise Amplifier for 65 to 110 GHz

A monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) has been designed to function as a low-power-consumption, low-noise amplifier (LNA) at frequencies from about 65 to about 110 GHz. This MMIC incorporates TRW's state-of-the-art, InP-based, high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) coupled with...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
“Substrateless” Millimeter- and Submillimeter-Wave Circuits

Monolithic integrated circuits (in particular, Schottky-diode-based frequency multipliers) that operate at frequencies as high as a few terahertz are being developed in a program that utilizes the recent advances in methods of computer-aided design and micro-fabrication. In the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Capacitors Containing Nanocrystalline BaTiO3 as Dielectric

Capacitors in which the main dielectric layers are made from sintered nanocrystalline BaTiO3 have been fabricated and tested in an initially successful and continuing effort to increase energy densities, breakdown potentials, and insulation resistances beyond those of prior...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Millimeter-Wave and Microwave Treatment of Atherosclerosis

Millimeter-wave/microwave ablation (essentially, heating by use of millimeter-wave and microwave electromagnetic radiation) has been proposed as a means of treating atherosclerotic lesions. Computational simulations have shown that by controlling and customizing temperature profiles in...

Briefs : Software
KPP — a Preprocessor for VHDL

KPP is a computer program that serves as a preprocessor for VHDL code. [“VHDL” signifies VHSIC Hardware Description Language, which is a language used by the United States Department of Defense for describing, designing, and simulating very-high-speed integrated circuits (VHSICs).] KPP is based on, and similar...

Briefs : Software
Software for Analyzing Valve-Actuator

A computer program assists engineers in analyzing data on the performances of actuators of fuel and oxidizer valves in the main engines of the space shuttle. The program could be adapted to similar use in other settings in which, as in the space shuttle, valve actuators are instrumented to provide data on...

Briefs : Software
Software for Network Processing of

The Electronic Portable Information Collection (EPIC) computer program is a computer system that processes work authorization documents (WADs). The EPIC System, which is also known as the Portable Data Collection System, comprises a central data server and portable data terminals. The central data server acts...

Briefs : Materials
Testing Soil for Electrokinetically Enhanced Bioremediation

The term “prefield test” denotes an in situ test of contaminated soil in preparation for in situ treatment of the soil by a method called “electrokinetically enhanced bioremediation” (EEB). A prefield test yields data that are helpful in designing and operating an efficient and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Software for Designing Actively Controlled Structures

SMARTCOM is a computer program for the analysis and design of actively controlled “smart” structures. Typically, an actively controlled “smart” structure incorporates piezoelectric sensors and actuators that are used, in conjunction with an electrical control system, to damp...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetically Moved Trim Masses for Fine Position Control

Systems of caged trim masses manipulated by magnetic fields have been proposed for effecting fine control of the positions and/or orientations of spacecraft. The systems were conceived for use during observations by spaceborne interferometers, the component instruments of which (1) are...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
New Technique Improves Cirrus Cloud Characterization

A new technique for retrieving cirrus properties from radiometric measurements at submillimeter wavelengths has been developed. The technique can accurately measure the amount of ice present in cirrus clouds, determine the median crystal size, and constrain crystal shape. The retrieval...

Briefs : Information Technology
Maximum-Likelihood Template Matching

An improved algorithm for detecting gray-scale and binary templates in digitized images has been devised. The greatest difference between this algorithm and prior template-detecting algorithms stems from the measure used to determine the quality or degree of match between a template and given portion of an...

Briefs : Information Technology
Fast Algorithms and Circuits for Quantum Wavelet Transforms

Fast algorithms and the first complete and efficient circuits for implementing two quantum wavelet transforms have been developed in theory. The significance of this development within the overall development of quantum computing is the following: In principle, the algorithms and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Study of Inertial and Gravitational Masses of a Boson

A report presents a theoretical study of the relationship between the inertial mass (mi) and gravitational mass (mg) of a self-interacting neutral scalar boson in a heat bath. The question of whether these masses differ arises in modern physics. In quantum field theory, the mass of a particle...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Metal/Dielectric Color Filters for Flat Panel Displays

A report expands on the proposal described in “Low-Absorption Color Filters for Flat Panel Display Devices” (NPO-20435) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 23, No. 12 (December 1999), page 34. To recapitulate: The dye pixel color filters in a conventional liquid-crystal or other display device would...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multiphase-Flow Model of Fluidized-Bed Pyrolysis of Biomass

A report presents additional information about the subject matter of “Model of Pyrolysis of Biomass in a Fluidized- Bed Reactor” (NPO-20708) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 6 (June 2001), page 59. The model is built on equations for the dynamics of three components — gas, sand, and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Vision-Only Operator Interface for a Robotic Manipulator

A system of electronic hardware and software has been developed as an experimental prototype of a visual interface between a human operator and a possibly remote one-arm anthropomorphic robotic manipulator. The system is denoted, more specifically, as a vision-only operator interface to...

Briefs : Software
Software for Geometric Calibration of Video Cameras

A software library and set of programs largely automate the geometric calibration of video cameras. Developed especially for robotic vision systems, this software generates the information needed to determine the three-dimensional (3D) positions of objects that appear in two- dimensional (2D)...

Briefs : Motion Control
Motor Drive for Multiple Horizontally Rotating Bioreactors

The figure depicts a mechanism that is capable of simultaneously rotating as many as six disposable bioreactor chambers about horizontal axes. The particular bioreactor chambers for which this mechanism is designed are high-aspect-ratio vessels (HARVs), which are round cylindrical...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tip Fences for Reduction of Lift- Generated Airframe Noise

Tip fences have been invented to reduce the noise generated in the airflows about the high-lift systems (the flaps and slats) of airplane wings. Tip fences also afford an important secondary benefit by increasing lift-to-drag ratios.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Crystalline Organic Films for Optical Applications

Cells that contain thin, single-crystal films of photoresponsive organic materials [e.g., meta-nitroaniline (m-NA)] have been invented for use as nonlinear optics and especially as second-harmonic generators. In comparison with crystals of potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) that have been...

Question of the Week
Will Cooling Coatings Catch On?


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3D Printed Metals Are Not All the Same