Materials & Manufacturing

Browse innovative developments in materials and manufacturing that significantly impact military, medical devices, automotive, and industrial manufacturing. Advances in plastics, metals, and composites are transforming 3D printing and rapid prototyping.

News : Materials
Metal-Assisted Chemical Etching

University of Illinois researchers have developed a method to chemically etch patterned arrays in the semiconductor gallium arsenide - used in solar cells, lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), field effect transistors (FETs), capacitors, and sensors.

News : Energy
A Step Towards Artificial Photosynthesis for Solar Hydrogen

Water splitting in photo-electrochemical cells to yield hydrogen is a promising way to sustainable fuels. A team of Swiss and U.S. scientists have now made major progress in developing highly efficient electrodes – made of an algal protein, thus mimicking a central step in natural...

News : Lighting
Micro-Cavity Arrays - Lighting the Way to the Future

A research team funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has pioneered the use of micro-plasmas in a revolutionary approach to illumination, and doctors Gary Eden and Sung-Jin Park of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have founded Eden Park Illumination, Inc. to bring...

News : Lighting
Fully Printed Carbon Nanotube Transistor Circuits for Displays
Fully Printed Carbon Nanotube Transistor Circuits for Displays

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED)-based displays are used in cell phones, digital cameras, and other portable devices. But developing a lower-cost method for mass-producing...

Fully Printed Carbon Nanotube Transistor Circuits for Displays
News : Energy
Thinner Thermal Insulation for Better Energy Savings

In order to lower energy costs, more and more homeowners are investing in insulation facades. But the typical insulation layers on the market have one drawback: they add bulk. The thick outer skin changes the building’s visual appearance and can result in significant follow-up costs – with...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cryo-Etched Black Silicon for Use as Optical Black

Stray light reflected from the surface of imaging spectrometer components — in particular, the spectrometer slit — degrade the image quality. A technique has been developed for rapid, uniform, and cost-effective black silicon formation based on inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching at...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Correcting Thermal Deformations in an Active Composite Reflector

Large, high-precision composite reflectors for future space missions are costly to manufacture, and heavy. An active composite reflector capable of adjusting shape in situ to maintain required tolerances can be lighter and cheaper to manufacture.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced CO₂ Removal and Reduction System

An advanced system for removing CO2 and H2O from cabin air, reducing the CO2, and returning the resulting O2 to the air is less massive than is a prior system that includes two assemblies — one for removal and one for reduction. Also, in this system, unlike...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Vote for Product of the Year

Voting is officially open for the 2011 NASA Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year awards. You can cast your vote for one of 12 nominees featured this year as Products of the Month.

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Vote for NASA Tech Briefs’ 17th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards

It’s that time of year when we ask NASA Tech Briefs readers to vote for the annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards.

Briefs : Materials
Molecular Adsorber Coating

A document discusses a zeolite-based sprayable molecular adsorber coating that has been developed to alleviate the size and weight issues of current ceramic puck-based technology, while providing a configuration that more projects can use to protect against degradation from outgassed materials within a spacecraft,...

News : Energy
"Fool's Gold" Could Lead to Cheaper Solar Energy

Pyrite - or “fool’s gold” - has recently helped researchers at Oregon State University discover related compounds that offer new, cheap, and promising options for solar energy. These new compounds would be benign and could be processed from some of the most abundant elements on Earth.

News : Electronics & Computers
Efficient Method for Creating Flexible, Transparent Electrodes

As the market for liquid crystal displays and other electronics continues to drive up the price of indium — the material used to make the indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrodes in these devices — scientists have been searching for a less costly and more dynamic...

Articles : Energy
Retrofitting for Sustainability: Carbon-Smart and Cost-Effective Solutions

As the sustainable design movement continues to grow rapidly throughout the US, architectural engineers, building product manufacturers, and construction business owners must keep up with stringent environmental regulations amidst a quickly changing landscape of new green...

News : Energy
Read November's Lighting Technology

The new issue of Lighting Technology is here! Check out more new feature articles, application stories, tech briefs, products, videos, and research news - all on the latest advances in LEDs and solid-state lighting.

News : Energy
Adapted Antennas Harness More Power From the Sun

A research team from Tel Aviv University is working on a solar panel composed of nano-antennas instead of semiconductors. By adapting classic metallic antennas to absorb light waves at optical frequencies, a much higher conversion rate from light into useable energy can be achieved.

Articles : Materials
New NASA Material Redefines “Dark”

NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs, on average, more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it -- a development that promises to open new frontiers in space technology.

Engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD,...

News : Energy
Design Competition for Portable Solar Power

Today, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (Thornton, CO) - a developer of lightweight, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic modules - has announced the selection of seven teams that will begin designing prototypes for the Ascent Solar Innovative Design Competition.

News : Electronics & Computers
A Search Engine for Clean Energy Materials

For everything from batteries to photovoltaics, new materials are crucial to building a clean energy economy. To speed up the development cycle, Berkeley Lab and MIT researchers have teamed up to develop a new tool - called the Materials Project - which launches this month.

News : Materials
Affordable Solar Option for Power Plants

Solar thermal power plants - which use high temperatures and pressure generated by sunlight to produce turbine movement - are an environmentally-friendly alternative to standard power plants. But this can be expensive, especially when it comes to equipment made from expensive metals and the solar...

News : Energy
Composite Metamaterial for Solar Tech

A Northwestern University research team has developed a new material that absorbs a wide range of wavelengths and could lead to more efficient and less expensive solar technology. The researchers used two unconventional materials – metal and silicon oxide – to create thin but complex, trapezoid-shaped...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Microfabrication of a High-Throughput Nanochannel Delivery/Filtration System

A microfabrication process is proposed to produce a nanopore membrane for continuous passive drug release to maintain constant drug concentrations in the patient’s blood throughout the delivery period. Based on silicon microfabrication technology, the dimensions of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Monolithic Flexure Pre-Stressed Ultrasonic Horns

High-power ultrasonic actuators are generally assembled with a horn, backing, stress bolt, piezoelectric rings, and electrodes. The manufacturing process is complex, expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. The internal stress bolt needs to be insulated and presents a potential internal discharge...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Design and Fabrication of Hydrated-Salt Pills

A high-performance design, and fabrication and growth processes to implement the design, have been devised for encapsulating a hydrated salt in a container that both protects the salt and provides thermal conductance between the salt and the environment surrounding the container. The unitary...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Safety & Security Category Winner

AquaSonus Passive-Sonar Pool Alarm

William C. Roberts, Bob Hoenig, and Paula Bailey,
AquaSonus.com, Merrimack, NH

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children, and most drownings occur in residential swimming pools. The majority of pool alarms are based on water...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Create the Future Design Contest 2011

The 2011 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., PTC, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Electronics (new this year), Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety &...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Consumer Products Category Winner

UVA+B SunFriend

Karin Edgett, Washington, DC, and Shahid
Aslam, Greenbelt, MD

About 90% of non-melanoma and 65% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun. About 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and the numbers are rising despite the...

Briefs : Materials
Temperature-Sensitive Coating Sensor Based on Hematite

A temperature-sensitive coating, based on hematite (iron III oxide), has been developed to measure surface temperature using spectral techniques. The hematite powder is added to a binder that allows the mixture to be painted on the surface of a test specimen. The coating dynamically changes...

Briefs : Materials
Detection of Carbon Monoxide Using Polymer-Carbon Composite Films

A carbon monoxide (CO) sensor was developed that can be incorporated into an existing sensing array architecture. The CO sensor is a low-power chemiresistor that operates at room temperature, and the sensor fabrication techniques are compatible with ceramic substrates.

Briefs : Materials
Substituted Quaternary Ammonium Salts Improve Low-Temperature Performance of Double-Layer Capacitors

Double-layer capacitors are unique energy storage devices, capable of supporting large current pulses as well as a very high number of charging and discharging cycles. The performance of double-layer capacitors is highly dependent on the nature...