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 : Electronics & Computers
Submillimeter-Sized Bi2–xSbxTe3 Thermoelectric Devices

Submillimeter-sized thermoelectric devices based on thick films of Bi2–xSbxTe3 are undergoing development. As electronic circuits are designed with ever greater packaging densities and power densities, there is an increasing need for small thermoelectric...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Speed Complex-Amplitude Liquid-Crystal SLMs

High-speed complex-amplitude spatial light modulators (SLMs) containing liquid crystals with pixel electronic circuitry on single-crystal-silicon backplanes are undergoing development. The basic approach taken in this project is to use fast-switching liquid-crystal materials and...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Laser Heating for Testing Rocket-Engine Insulating Phenolic

A continuous-wave CO2 laser has been selected as a source of heat for testing the thermal response of carbon-cloth phenolic like that used as insulating material in a reusable solid-fuel rocket motor (RSRM). The particular thermal response of interest, observed during...

Briefs : Software
SIMON — School Internet Manager Over Networks

School Internet Manager Over Networks (SIMON) is a software tool, exclusively for use on Macintosh computers, that is designed to provide access to, and management of, Internet information for teachers and students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. By eliminating the requirement for advanced...

Briefs : Materials
RTM-Processable Resins Containing Thermosetting Plasticizers

A number of matrix resins that contain thermosetting plasticizers have been developed for use in the resin-transfer molding (RTM) of composite-material (fiber/matrix) parts. These resins and composites are candidates for use in manufacturing lightweight components of aircraft engines...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Molded Plastic Simulated Landscapes

Simulated landscapes of Mars have been made of thermoplastic sheets molded to shapes derived from images of the Martian terrain. These simulated landscapes can be used to advantage in scientific experiments, simulations, educational displays, and other applications, in which unitary molded plastic sheets...

Briefs : Materials
Burn-Resistant, Strong Nickel Alloys

Investigators at the Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) have developed specifications of the amounts of alloying elements needed to increase the specific strengths of nickel alloys while consistently maintaining their burn resistance. The issue of burn resistance versus strength arises...

Briefs : Materials
Aerogels With Gradients of Density

Aerogels with gradients in density have been produced in experiments, as part of an effort to develop materials that will be used in outer space to capture particles traveling at high speeds for the STARDUST mission.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Bleaching by Laser for Marking Black Anodized Aluminum

Irradiation by the beam from a CO2laser has been found to be an effective means of marking a black anodized aluminum surface. In general, this process works on any dark anodized surface. The beam is scanned over the surface to form a desired pattern. Depending on the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Three-Color Focal-Plane Array of Infrared QWIPs

A proposed focal-plane array (FPA) of quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) would sense images in three different infrared wavelength bands simultaneously. These and other QWIP infrared image sensors are undergoing development for use in measuring temperature distributions in images;...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Update on Fuzzy-Logic-Enhanced Digital-PIV Software

Two reports present additional information on the subject matter of "Software for Processing Data in Particle-Image Velocimetry" (LEW-16857),NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 1 (January 2000), page 26a. Like the cited prior article, both reports discuss the principles and the practical aspects of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Two-Color Random Reflectors for QWIPs

Random reflectors of a proposed type would be fabricated on the back surfaces of quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) to increase the coupling efficiency of infrared light into the QWIPs in two wavelength bands. A reflective surface according to this proposal would comprise an array of square cells,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Tridirectional Gratings as Improved Couplers for QWIPs

Tridirectional diffraction gratings have been proposed to provide optical coupling to quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) in focal-plane arrays. The tridirectional gratings would be improved versions of the bidirectional (rectangular-pattern) gratings described in "Cross-Grating...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Filters Based on Dense Arrays of Microscopic Pillars

A proposal for development of a class of high-transmission and antireflection optical filters is derived from the observation that the eyes of moths reflect almost no light, regardless of the wavelength or the angle of incidence of illumination. The low-reflection property of moth...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) Have Many Potential Uses

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are grounded in a self-luminous display technology based on thin organic films as the light emitter. Like conventional inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs), OLEDs require a low drive voltage to produce bright visible light. But unlike discrete...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Simplified Radiometer for Quantifying Aircraft Icing Hazard

A simplified microwave radiometric apparatus has been proposed for use in quantifying the potential danger of accretion of ice onto an aircraft flying through a cloud. The quantity of interest, called the "icing hazard potential" (IHP), is the product of (1) the liquid-water content...

Briefs : Motion Control
Controller for Bistable Brakes

The circuit shown in the figure is a controller for bistable brakes. The use of bistable brakes reduces energy consumption and spurious heating, as explained below.

A bistable brake is one that can stay in the "on" or "off" position without consuming energy from an outside source. To switch a bistable brake...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultracapacitors Store Energy in a Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A government/ industry/ academic cooperative has developed a hybrid electric transit bus (HETB). The goals of the development program, which continues, include doubling the fuel economy of city transit buses currently in service, and reducing emissions to one-tenth of the levels allowed...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Interferometric System Images Small Vibrating Structures

A commercial scanning imaging white-light interferometer designed for measuring surface profiles of stationary objects has been modified into an interferometric instrument for imaging vibrating microelectromechanical structures. The modified instrument operates in a stroboscopic mode,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Four-Message Electromechanical Display System

A proposed electromechanical display system would be capable of presenting as many as four different messages. Conventional electromechanical display systems are limited to three messages.

Briefs : Information Technology
Rapid-Prototyping Virtual-Reality Software Tool Kit

The VrTool computer program enables its user to rapidly develop a prototype virtual-reality (VR) application program. Users of VR application programs need software that can help them keep pace with the rapidly evolving VR field. None of the previously commercially available VR software tool...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Imaging With a Focal-Plane Array of Ultrasonic Transducers

A prototype system for acoustic imaging of gas leaks that emit ultrasound was developed at Kennedy Space Center. Potential government and commercial users concerned with leak imaging and safety expressed interest in this technology.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Two-Photon Microscope Imaging Spectrometer

A two-photon microscope imaging spectrometer has been proposed for use in scanning confocal two-photon microscopy. The proposed instrument would solve a spectrum-overlap that sometimes arises, as explained below.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved HRTF-Based Pseudostereophony

An improved pseudostereophonic system utilizes digital filtering and head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) to afford tailorability and sound quality not available from older pseudostereophonic systems. Although the term "pseudostereophony" may not be widely known, the underlying concept has been studied...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microwave Battery Charger

A simple microwave power-transmission system has been proposed for maintaining the charge on spacecraft batteries immediately prior to launch. The basic concept of this system could also be applied to other systems (e.g., emergency equipment) that must be kept in a state of high readiness for rapid deployment, without...

Briefs : Software
Software Interface Between MATLAB and a PC RS-232 Serial Port

A computer program establishes an interface between the MATLAB software and the serial data port of a personal computer (PC) that runs either the Windows 95 or the Windows NT operating system. The program makes it possible to utilize the graphical user interface (GUI) and the...

Briefs : Software
Program for Analysis of Spacecraft Telecommunication Systems

A computer program facilitates the analysis and design of a radio-communication system for transmitting data from an orbiting spacecraft to ground stations. Input data provided by the user include primarily (1) parameters of the spacecraft orbit (including parameters that specify...

Briefs : Software
Software for Spacecraft/Ground Communication via the Internet

The Space Communications Protocol Standards (SCPS) specify a developmental system of international protocols for data communications between spacecraft and points on Earth. SCPS protocols are intended to make a spacecraft appear, to a terrestrial computer user, as just another node...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Fabrication of YBa2Cu3O7 —x Superconductors

An improved method of manufacturing high-temperature superconductors of general composition YBa2Cu3O7— x and various grain structures has been devised. This method involves mixing, pressing, and heating of Y2O3, CuO, and...

Briefs : Materials
Susceptor-Coating Materials for Growth of 4H-SiC

Several materials have shown promise for coating graphite susceptors used in epitaxial growth of 4H-SiC. The development of appropriate susceptor-coating materials is an essential part of continuing efforts to produce high-quality, thick, undoped and lightly doped epilayers of 4H-SiC for use as...

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Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’