Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space

Independent Navigation for the Visually Impaired Using a Wearable, Vision-Based Feedback System

Automatic navigation systems have been developed previously to aid the visually impaired, but these devices have not been as reliable and easy to use as a cane — the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to identify clear walking paths. These canes, however, have drawbacks. First, the obstacles they come in contact with are sometimes other people. Second, they can't identify certain types of objects, such as tables or chairs, or determine whether a chair is already occupied.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Prostheses and implants, Product development
Read More >>

Interim, In-Situ Additive Manufacturing Inspection

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a novel method for interim, in-situ dimensional inspection of additively manufactured parts. Additive manufacturing processes currently have limited monitoring capabilities, offering users little to no options for mitigating the high levels of product and process failures.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Research and development, Additive manufacturing, Parts, Inspections
Read More >>

An Electron Caught in the Act

How fast is an electron? Australian scientists were able to measure it. Australia's fastest camera, located at the Attosecond Science Facility, has revealed the time it takes for molecules to break apart. The experimental research, conducted by Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics, aims to help in the design of new molecules for materials science or drug discovery.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

Scientists Demonstrate New Real-Time Technique for Studying Ionic Liquids at Electrode Interfaces

Ionic liquids—salts made by combining positively charged molecules (cations) and negatively charged molecules (anions) that are liquid at relatively low temperatures, often below room temperature—are increasingly being investigated for uses in batteries, supercapacitors, and transistors. Their unique physical and chemical properties, including good ionic conductivity, low flammability and volatility, and high thermal stability, make them well suited for such applications. But thousands of ionic liquids exist and exactly how they interact with the electrified surfaces of electrodes remains poorly understood, making it difficult to choose one for a particular application.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

Optical Probing Deep into the Eye

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a scanning technology commonly used by ophthalmologists to check for eye diseases. A team of scientists has figured out how to retrofit these high-performance machines with off-the-shelf components, increasing OCT's resolution by several-fold, promising earlier detection of retinal and corneal damage, incipient tumors, and more.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

Novel Techniques Examine Solar Cells with Nanoscale Precision

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have for the first time examined, with nanometer-scale precision, the variations in chemical composition and defects of widely used solar cells. The new techniques, which were used to investigate a common type of solar cell made of the semiconductor material cadmium telluride, promise to aid scientists to better understand the microscopic structure of solar cells and may ultimately suggest ways to boost the efficiency with which they convert sunlight to electricity.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

R&D Effort Produces Magnetic Devices to Enable More Powerful X-ray Lasers

A team of researchers have designed, built, and tested two devices, called superconducting undulators, which could make X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) more powerful, versatile, compact, and durable.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

2.2-Micron, Uncooled, InGaAs Photodiodes and Balanced Photoreceivers up to 25-GHz Bandwidth

Traditional applications for 2-micron photodetectors have been largely dominated by passive remote sensing where detectors having bandwidth of even one megahertz are deemed sufficient. The onus in such applications is to achieve low dark current through active cooling. The advent of high-power, 2-micron-wavelength lasers has made coherent LiDARs viable for active sensing applications. Such a system needs photodetectors that can handle high local oscillator optical power and have large bandwidth. Through a combination of high coherent gain and small integration time, a large signal-to-noise ratio can be achieved. Operation at high optical power levels reduces the significance of photodiodes' dark current. As a result, uncooled operation at room temperature is feasible, simplifying the overall instrument design.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
Read More >>

PC-Board-Mountable Corrosion Sensors

Corrosion is a pervasive and expensive problem in applications ranging from construction to microelectronics. Corrosion has been widely studied in theories, and empirical studies exist for common materials, material combinations, and myriad environmental conditions. In order for microelectronic devices to perform and function properly, high-reliability packaging is important. Failure of microelectronic devices and packages not only causes a malfunction of the devices themselves, but can lead to catastrophic events for entire systems, which may cause loss of life, property, and safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
Read More >>

Gas Sensing System Employing Raman Scattering

The detection and characterization of molecular gases in a sample is a relatively difficult challenge. Usually, this task is relegated to expensive and time-consuming processes like mass spectrometry and gas chromatography. Furthermore, numerous industrial applications require such gas-phase analysis for pollution and process control; for example, in large, natural-gas-fired turbine electricity generators, large quantities of natural gas are mixed with air and burned. Because natural gas comes from a variety of sources, the composition of the gas changes often. If the composition of natural gas were known a-priori, turbine efficiency could be improved by adjusting the fuel/air mixture and other operating parameters. This control capability requires measurement of the components of the natural gas to better than 0.1% accuracy, with the measurement being performed at least once every second. There is currently no commercially available sensor or sensing system that can measure all of the natural-gas components in one second.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.