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
System for Delivering Gas Samples to Multiple Instruments

A system that samples gases at multiple remote locations and delivers the gases to two or possibly more gas-monitoring instruments (e.g., mass spectrometers) has been developed. The system includes a transport (suction) pump that draws the gases from the sampling locations, through...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Atmospheric Source of Atomic Oxygen for Cleaning Paintings

A portable apparatus that operates at atmospheric pressure generates a beam of monatomic oxygen. The apparatus is designed to be used in a dry, noncontact process for removing organic contaminants from the surfaces of paintings. Organic contaminants that can be wholly or partly removed...

Briefs : Information Technology
General-Purpose Wavelet Program

"S+Wavelets" is the name of a computer program that implements a suite of mathematical "tools" for wavelet analysis of signals (including two-dimensional signals that represent images.) Wavelets, being localized in both time and frequency (or space and wave number), serve as means for transforming and extracting...

Briefs : Information Technology
Automated Generation of Reports of Mars Rover Operations

A document describes a system for the automated generation of reports of operations of a robotic exploratory vehicle (rover) on Mars. The automated report-generation system supplants a predominantly manual system, thereby making more information available in less time and reducing the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hot Dielectrics as Light Sources for TPV Devices and Lasers

Experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of using flame-heated refractory dielectric solid bodies as wavelength-selective sources of light for special applications; in particular, for powering thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices and for pumping lasers. A refractory dielectric...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Adaptive Focal-Plane Detector Arrays for Optical Communications

Arrays of photon-counting detectors and associated digital signal processors have been proposed for receivers in optical communication systems in which the optical signals propagate through the atmosphere and are relatively weak upon reception. The digital signal processor would...

Briefs : Motion Control
Packages of Circuitry for Controlling a Robotic Vehicle

Proposed packages called "remote engineering units" (REUs) would contain all the electronic circuitry needed to implement a subset of the design of the motor-control system of a robot. The REUs were conceived, specifically, for incorporation into small robotic vehicles (the Mars '03/05...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Pyramid-Shape Light Coupler for Multi-Quantum-Well Photodetectors

Wavelength-independent light couplers in the form of planar arrays of pyramids have been proposed for use on multiple-quantum-well infrared photodetectors. Wavelength-independent light couplers are needed for focal-plane arrays of QWIPs designed to operate in multiple and/or...

Briefs : Motion Control
Novel Radiator for a Space Suit

An improved radiator has been designed to provide inexpensive and highly reliable thermal control for an extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) [basically, a space suit equipped with a portable life-support system (PLSS)]. The amount of cooling fluid (which could be water) needed to obtain a given degree of thermal...

Briefs : Motion Control
Spin Bearings

Spin bearings have been invented as alternatives to such conventional rolling-element bearings as ball, spherical, needle, and roller bearings. Like a conventional bearing assembly, a spin-bearing assembly includes opposing complementary support members (more specifically, bearing races) spaced apart by rolling elements (more...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Two-Axis Scanning Mirror in a Small Package

A compact two-axis scanning-mirror assembly (see figure) has been developed for use as part of a laser rangefinder on a robotic vehicle. The assembly is designed to enable scanning of the laser beam throughout the space surrounding the vehicle for three-dimensional mapping of objects in the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Noise-Reducing Slots in Quantum-Well Infrared Photodetectors

Quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) that include two-dimensional surface grating light couplers would be modified, according to a proposal to incorporate crossed slots. It should be possible to increase signal-to-noise ratios by suitable positioning and dimensioning of the...

Briefs : Materials
Polyorganosiloxanes for Coating Porous Ceramic Insulation

Liquid and paste polyorganosiloxane formulations (which become high-temperature- and oxidation-resistant organosilicone-based ceramics upon curing) have been invented for use in (1) protecting porous, lightweight ceramic thermal insulation materials against aeroconvective thermal...

Briefs : Materials
Polyorganosiloxane Waterproofing for Porous Ceramics

Liquid waterproofing agents based on polyorganosiloxanes have been invented for use in treating porous, lightweight, fibrous ceramic thermal-insulation materials in both tile (rigid) and blanket (flexible) forms. Whereas silane-based waterproofing materials developed previously for this...

Briefs : Materials
Attachment of Small SiC Hoops to SiC-Based Ceramics and Composites

A technique for holding sensor lead wires in place on substrates made of SiC-based monolithic ceramic or SiC/SiC fiber-reinforced ceramic-matrix composite materials involves routing the wires through semicircular hoops that have been reaction-bonded to the substrates. These hoops...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Polymeric Composite Materials for Dental Fillings

Composite materials that include combinations of metal oxide and silica nanoparticles in polymeric matrices have been invented for primary use as dental fillings, dental and bone adhesives, and the like. There have been previous efforts to develop polymeric replacements for the amalgam...

Briefs : Materials
Polymer/Metal Laminate for Heat-Pipe and Radiator Envelopes

A thin polymer/metal laminate has been developed for use as an envelope material for lightweight heat pipes and heat-pipe radiators that operate at temperatures up to 360 K. The material is flexible enough to make it possible to roll or fold heat pipes compactly for transport and to...

Briefs : Materials
Hybrid Composite Structures Made From Polybenzoxazole Fibers

Hybrid composite-material (fiber/matrix) structures of a proposed type would incorporate recently developed polybenzoxazole (PBO) fibers that feature high strengths and high moduli of elasticity and which can be made in much thinner sections than are possible with graphite fibers. The...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
A Mass-Spectrometer System for Detecting Gas Leaks

The Hydrogen Umbilical Mass Spectrometer (HUMS) consists of an integrated sample delivery system, a commercial mass-spectrometer- based gas analyzer, and a set of calibration gas mixtures traceable to NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology). The system, except for the calibration...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Oscillator-Stability Analyzer Based on a Time-Tag Counter

A proposed system for simultaneous characterization of the instability of several precise, low-noise oscillators of nominally equal frequency would be built around a commercially available time-tag counter. One of the oscillators would be deemed to be a reference oscillator, and each of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flexible Carrier-Signal-Tracking Loop for a Transponder

A proposed digital carrier-signal-tracking loop in a radio transponder could be programmed to operate in either a perfect-integration or an imperfect-integration mode. Although originally intended for use in a transponder aboard a spacecraft at a great distance from the Earth, the proposed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simplified Construction of Conical Log-Spiral Antenna

An improved design for a conical log-spiral antenna (see Figure 1) simplifies construction and improves alignment. The radiating-element substructure of such an antenna must be properly aligned with the signal-feed substructure to obtain the correct impedance match for efficient coupling of...

Briefs : Software
Programming Language for Automated Scheduling and Planning

The ASPEN Modeling Language (AML) has been developed for use in the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system. As described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, ASPEN is an object-oriented system that contains a modular, reconfigurable, reusable set of...

Briefs : Software
Communication Software for Distributed Application Programs

The Task Remote Asynchronous Message Exchange Layer (Tramel) software reduces the costs of distributing application programs across computer networks, including the Internet. Tramel implements robust, reliable, simple, highly portable interprocess communication, such that...

Briefs : Software
Software for Coordinating Multiple Exploratory Robots

A computer program coordinates the activities of multiple instrumented robotic vehicles of the "rover" type intended for use in scientific exploration. The program is a master/slave, distributed version of the ASPEN planning software, other versions of which have been reported in...

Briefs : Software
Program Creates Code to Parse Text

Saxj is a computer program that facilitates the development of programs that parse textual input in the Java programming language. Saxj is a parser generator that creates static Java parsers in the same sense in which YACC, Bison, and YACC++ are static parser generators that create static C-language...

Briefs : Software
Program Creates Java Lexical Analyzers

Luthorj is a computer program that creates static lexical analyzers in the Java programming language, in the same sense in which Flex and Lex create lexical analyzers in the C programming language. The majority of users of Luthorj are expected to be familiar with Lex, and Luthorj parses input files...

Briefs : Software
Program for Evaluating Spacecraft Designs and Missions

Design for X (DFX) is a computer program that assists, at the prelimary stage of planning, in the evaluaiton of alternative spacecraft designs and mission scenarios. The input required by DFX includes a set of operations goals (scientific and engineering goals and constraints), a...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micromachined Double Resonator

A double-resonator design has been devised for a cloverleaf-shaped silicon microelectromechanical resonator. The double-resonator design provides for an inner, higher-frequency resonator suspended on an outer, lower-frequency resonator. This design concept affords several advantages, as described below.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanical Breakaway Clutch

A proposed mechanical breakaway clutch would not rely on friction. The clutch would be useful in environments in which the inherent inaccuracies of friction would make friction clutches erratic. The proposed clutch would comprise two primary assemblies: a driver assembly and a slip flange. The slip flange would be...

Question of the Week
Does Snow Have Power Potential?

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A Deep Dive into Metal 3D Printing

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Solving Complex Measurement Problems with PXI

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

NASA Discusses Advances in Photonics for Space and Commercial...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...