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Welcome to your Digital Edition of
NASA Tech Briefs, Imaging Technology,
and Photonics Tech Briefs
Included in This September Edition:
NASA Tech Briefs Imaging Technology Photonics Tech Briefs
How to Navigate the Magazines:
At the bottom of each page, you will see a navigation bar with the following buttons:
Arrows: Click on the right or left facing arrow to turn the page forward or backward.
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Find: Click on this icon to search the document.
You can also use the standard Acrobat Reader tools to navigate through each magazine.
Special Section
Mars Science Laboratory: NASA
Begins a New Era of Exploration
Special Supplement
Software Tech Briefs
Photonics Tech Briefs
Imaging Technology
September 2012 www.techbriefs.com Vol. 36 No. 9
Imaging Technology, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 87
T
he past decade has seen an ex-
plosion of observations from air-
borne and satellite-based multi-
and hyperspectral sensors, as well as
from synthetic-aperture radar and
LiDAR. Distilling useful information
from this wealth of raw data is the do-
main of geospatial analysis, the collec-
tion of analytical, statistical, and heuris-
tic methods for extracting information
from georeferenced data. This informa-
tion is important in serving the needs of
a diverse set of industries including envi-
ronmental conservation, oil and gas ex-
ploration, defense and intelligence, agri-
culture, coastal monitoring, forestry,
and mining.
3D visualization techniques play an
important role in geospatial analysis.
The ability to represent the 3D nature of
a geospatial data product on a 2D com-
puter screen — including the ability to
manipulate the data product in a 3D co-
ordinate system — is essential; it en-
hances a user’s ability to explore the
data, aiding in discovery and insight into
features of the data that may not be ap-
parent from a 2D view.
Representing 3D in
Computer Graphics
In computer graphics, a typical con-
vention is to specify a right-handed 3D
coordinate system such that when a
viewer is facing the display, +x is directed
to the right, +y is directed up, and +z is
directed out of the display, toward the
viewer. Points — and 3D objects, which
are treated as groups of points — within
this 3D coordinate system are repre-
sented by homogeneous coordinates,
which are formed by adding a fourth co-
ordinate to each point. Instead of being
represented by a triple (x,y,z), each
point is instead represented by a quadru-
ple (x,y,z,w). Homogeneous coordinates
simplify coordinate transformations
(i.e., translation, rotation, and scaling)
by allowing them to be treated as matrix
multiplications.
To view an object from a 3D coordi-
nate system on a 2D display, a view vol-
ume, a projection plane, and a viewport
are needed. The view volume is a subset
of the 3D coordinate system; for simplic-
ity it is often a unit cube centered at the
origin. This is where the action takes
place: Any object within the view volume
is visualized; any object that falls outside
the view volume is not. Objects can be
scaled, rotated, and translated to fit
within the view volume.
Objects within the 3D view volume are
mapped into a 2D projection using a pla-
nar geometric projection, usually some
form of perspective or parallel projec-
tion. The projection is defined by rays
that emanate froma point, the center of
projection, and pass through every point
of the object to intersect with the projec-
tion plane. The contents of the projec-
3D Visualization in
Geospatial Analysis
A visualization of collapsed, damaged, and standing structures after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, constructed from a LiDAR point cloud. (Image credit:
Exelis VIS; created with E3De™)
3D Visualization in
Geospatial Analysis
Figure 1. Flat (left) and Gouraud (right) shading of a surface. (Image credit: Exelis VIS; created with
IDL™)
Photonics Solutions for the Design Engineer
September 2012
Supplement to NASA Tech Briefs
Digital
Imaging Systems
for Ballistics Testing...........IIa
Photovoltaic Tracking
Control Systems ...............4a
Glass Solder Approach for
Fiber-to-Waveguide Coupling.........................8a
General MACOS Interface for
Modeling Controlled Optical Systems ...........8a
ASIC Readout Circuit Architecture for
Large Geiger Photodiode Arrays....................8a
Product of the Month/New Products ..........11a
A properly designed
and controlled photovoltaic
tracking system can capture up
to 40 percent more energy from
each panel than fixed racks. The key to
achieving optimum energy production and
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control systems, read the applications
article on page 4a.
(Image courtesy of
Sedona Solar Technology)
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Intro
Special Section
Mars Science Laboratory: NASA
Begins a New Era of Exploration
Special Supplement
Software Tech Briefs
Photonics Tech Briefs
Imaging Technology
September 2012 www.techbriefs.com Vol. 36 No. 9
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42 Technology Focus: Test & Measurement
42 Lightweight, Miniature Inertial Measurement System
42 Optical Density Analysis of X-Rays Utilizing Calibration Tooling
to Estimate Thickness of Parts
44 Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor
46 Measurement Techniques for Clock Jitter
48 Fuel Cell/Electrochemical Cell Voltage Monitor
49 Anomaly Detection Techniques With Real Test Data From a
Spinning Turbine Engine-Like Rotor
52 Measuring Air Leaks Into the Vacuum Space of Large Liquid
Hydrogen Tanks
52 Antenna Calibration and Measurement Equipment
56 Manufacturing & Prototyping
56 Lightweight Metal Matrix Composite Segmented for
Manufacturing High-Precision Mirrors
58 Plasma Treatment To Remove Carbon From Indium UV Filters
60 Electronics/Computers
60 Telerobotics Workstation (TRWS) for Deep Space Habitats
62 Single-Pole Double-Throw MMIC Switches for a Microwave
Radiometer
63 On Shaft Data Acquisition System
64 Flexible Architecture for FPGAs in Embedded Systems
66 Materials & Coatings
66 Resin-Impregnated Carbon Ablator: A New Ablative Material
for Hyperbolic Entry Speeds
67 Self-Cleaning Particulate Prefilter Media
68 Polyurea-Based Aerogel Monoliths and Composites
70 Mechanics/Machinery
70 Modular, Rapid Propellant Loading System/Cryogenic
Testbed
70 Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear Actuator
72 Loop Heat Pipe With Thermal Control Valve as a Variable
Thermal Link
74 Process for Measuring Over-Center Distances
76 Bio-Medical
76 Developing Physiologic Models for Emergency Medical
Procedures Under Microgravity
76 Improving Balance Function Using Low Levels of Electrical
Stimulation of the Balance Organs
77 Hands-Free Transcranial Color Doppler Probe
78 Portable Intravenous Fluid Production Device for Ground Use
4 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
September 2012 • Vol. 35 No. 9
8 UpFront
10 Who’s Who at NASA
12 NASA Patents
54 Technologies of the Month
102 NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Office
103 Advertisers Index
8
14
40
F E A T U R E S
S O L U T I O N S
D E P A R T M E N T S
97 Product Focus: Sensors
98 New Products/Software
N E W F O R D E S I G N E N G I N E E R S
S P E C I A L S U P P L E M E N T S
14 Special Section: Mars Science Laboratory —
NASA Begins a New Era of Exploration
40 Application Briefs
104 NASA Spinoff: Nanomaterials in
Hair Care Products
(Solutions continued on page 6)
1a – 14a
Photonics Tech Briefs
Follows page 52 in selected
editions only.
Software Tech Briefs
Selected editions only; available
online at www.techbriefs.com/software
Speed2Design Racing
Technology Poster
Courtesy of Littelfuse
Follows page 16 in selected
editions only.
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78 Portable Intravenous Fluid Production Device for Ground Use
80 Adaptation of a Filter Assembly to Assess Microbial Bioburden
of Pressurant Within a Propulsion System
80 PMA-Linked Fluorescence for Rapid Detection of Viable
Bacterial Endospores
82 Physical Sciences
82 Vision-Aided Autonomous Landing and Ingress of Micro
Aerial Vehicles
83 Whispering Gallery Mode Optomechanical Resonator
84 Self-Sealing Wet Chemistry Cell for Field Analysis
85 Multiplexed Force and Deflection Sensing Shell Membranes
for Robotic Manipulators
86 Books and Reports
86 Mars Technology Rover with Arm-Mounted Percussive Coring
Tool, Microimager, and Sample-Handling Encapsulation
Containerization Subsystem
86 Fault-Tolerant, Real-Time, Multi-Core Computer System
87 Imaging Technology
87 3D Visualization in Geospatial Analysis
91 The GigE Vision Interface Standard: Transforming Medical
Imaging
94 New Products
6 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-757
Contents continued
This artist’s concept shows the Mars Science
Laboratory rover, Curiosity, using its ChemCam to
investigate the composition of a rock surface.
ChemCam fires laser pulses at a target and views the
resulting spark with a telescope and spectrometers
to identify chemical elements. The laser is in an
invisible infrared wavelength, but is shown here as
visible red light for purposes of illustration. Curiosity
landed on the Red Planet last month to begin a
two-year mission of exploration. Learn more about
the mission and the unique instruments onboard
Curiosity in the special section beginning on page 14.
(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
P R O D U C T O F T H E M O N T H
O N T H E C O V E R
97
Dell (Round Rock, TX) has introduced the
Dell Precision M4700 and M6700 15” and
17” mobile workstations.
This document was prepared under the sponsorship of the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration. Neither Associated Business Publications Co., Ltd. nor the United States
Government nor any person acting on behalf of the United States Government assumes any
liability resulting from the use of the information contained in this document, or warrants that
such use will be free from privately owned rights. The U.S. Government does not endorse any
commercial product, process, or activity identified in this publication.
Permissions: Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use, or the internal or
personal use of specific clients, is granted by Associated Business Publications, provided that
the flat fee of $3.00 per copy be paid directly to the Copyright Clearance Center (222 Rose
Wood Dr., Danvers, MA 01923). For those organizations that have been granted a photocopy
license by CCC, a separate system of payment has been arranged. The fee code for users of the
Transactional Reporting Service is: ISSN 0145-319X194 $3.00+ .00
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NASA’s most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, touched down on the Red Planet at 1:32 am
EDT on August 6, ending a 36-week flight and beginning a two-year investigation. The
one-ton rover landed in Gale Crater at the foot of Mount Sharp, a mountain three miles
tall and 96 miles in diameter. During its mission, Curiosity will investigate whether the
region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.
Said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, “Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to
blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity is now on the surface of the Red
Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on
Mars — or if the planet can sustain life in the future.”
Our special Mars Science Laboratory section begins on page 14, and includes information
on the scope of the mission, details on the science and technology of Curiosity, and an
interview with Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program, and Michael
Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program and Program Scientist for MSL.
8 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
UP
FRONT
When you think of what types of technologies are developed within NASA, the term
“game-changing” often comes to mind. Now, NASA has created a new office that focuses
on these technologies. The Game Changing Development (GCD) Program Office at
Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) seeks to identify and rapidly mature innova-
tive/high-impact capabilities and technologies. The GCD Program Office is headed by
Steve Gaddis, program executive at the Office of the Chief Technologist. Find out more
about the GCD Program in this month’s Who’s Who at NASA interview with Steve on page
10. Watch a video about the new program on Tech Briefs TV at www.techbriefs.com/tv/
gcdprogram.
Linda Bell
Editorial Director
NASA’s “Game-Changing” Technologies
Spacecraft 3D
Spacecraft 3D uses animation to
show how spacecraft can maneuver
and manipulate their outside com-
ponents. Presently, the app features
two NASA missions: the Curiosity
Mars rover and the twin GRAIL
spacecraft Ebb and Flow currently
orbiting the Moon. Spacecraft 3D is
among the first augmented-reality
apps for Apple devices. Augmented-
reality provides users a view of a
real-world environment where ele-
ments are improved by additional
input. Spacecraft 3D uses the iPhone
or iPad camera to overlay informa-
tion on the device's main screen. The
app instructs users to print an aug-
mented reality target on a standard
sheet of paper. When the device's
camera is pointed at the target, the
spacecraft chosen by the user materi-
alizes on screen.
Spacecraft 3D also has a feature
where you can take your own aug-
mented-reality picture of the rover
or GRAIL spacecraft. You can even
make a self-portrait with a space-
craft, putting yourself or someone
else in the picture. The detailed com-
puter models of the spacecraft used
in Spacecraft 3D originally were gen-
erated for NASA's "Eyes on the Solar
System" Web application, a 3D envi-
ronment full of NASA mission data
that allows anyone to explore the
cosmos from their computer.
To download the free Spacecraft 3D
app for iPhone and iPad, visit http://
itunes.apple.com/us/app/spacecraft-
3d/id541089908?mt=8
> App of the Month
NASA Begins an Era of Curiosity
The October issue of NASA Tech
Briefs will include special coverage
on Imaging, Cameras, and Display
Technologies, as well as our OEM
Supplier Guide on Sensors.
> Next Month in NTB
NASA/JPL ground controllers react to learning the Curiosity rover had landed safely on Mars. (NASA/
Bill Ingalls)
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www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Who’s Who at NASA
S
teve Gaddis runs the
newly created Game
Changing Tech nology
Development Program
Of fice. Gaddis leads the
program’s efforts to
develop innovative tech-
nologies that will revolu-
tionize space exploration.
NASA Tech Briefs: What is a “game
chang ing” technology?
Steve Gaddis: When we say “game
changing,” we’re looking for cross-cut-
ting infusion technologies that can be
used in more than one place. We’re
looking for aggressive schedules and
short development cycles (two or three
years), 50% improvement in perform-
ance, and 50% or more reduction in
manufacturing costs or lead times.
We currently have seven principal
investigators (PIs), and their expertise
covers a broad spectrum, from compos-
ites, nanotechnology, power systems,
solar arrays, and electric propulsion, to
manufacturing and additive manufac-
turing in particular. We’re looking at x-
ray navigation, optical communication,
and next-generation high-speed com-
puting. We have 30-plus projects in the
works that are fully funded.
NTB: What steps are taken when work-
ing with this kind of technology?
Gaddis: If a PI decides that [an idea]
is something that fits within our portfo-
lio and priorities, the investigator then
brings a “new start” proposal to our
board for review. We look at certain cri-
teria: Is it really “game changing?” Why
should we invest in this now? One of the
major questions is whether there is an
end-item customer that would be inter-
ested in this technology within NASA or
another federal agency.
Hopefully, the end of the story is that
we have a formal agreement with the
customer, they meet all the metrics, and
we do a technology infusion, or hand-
off. Some other NASA directorate or
program like TDM (Technology Dem -
onstration Missions), Human Explora -
tion and Operations Mission Direct -
orate (HEOMD), or Science Mission
Direct orate (SMD) then takes it on. You
see that the technology was developed
and used, and doesn’t go on a shelf
somewhere.
NTB: Which one of these technologies
will we see in action?
Gaddis: We’re demonstrating hyper-
sonic inflatable technology that can be
used to do aerodynamic decelerations
on a planet with atmospheres, such as
Mars or Venus. We’re also within about
eight months of demonstrating a 5.5-
meter composite cryogenic tank. We’re
doing all this work out of autoclave. It’ll
be a huge impact not only for NASA, but
for even companies like Boeing,
SpaceX, and Orbital. We’re also devel-
oping legs for Robonaut on ISS.
NTB: How important is private indus-
try to making this happen?
Gaddis: It’s part of the vision of our
Chief Technologist, Mason Peck, that we
properly disseminate our findings so
that folks in the aerospace field —
whether it’s Lockheed, Boeing, SpaceX,
Sierra Nevada, or some smaller corpora-
tion that’s interested in getting into the
field — can use this information and
apply it to what they have going on in
their companies. We want to partner
with private industry. We talk to private
industry on a regular basis, and we team
up with them wherever it makes sense.
To learn more about the Game Changing
Technology Development Office, read a full
transcript, or listen to a downloadable pod-
cast of the interview, visit www.techbriefs.
com/podcast. For more information, contact
amy.johnson@nasa.gov or go to gameon.
nasa.gov.
Steve Gaddis, Program Executive, Office
of the Chief Technologist, Game Changing
Division, Langley Research Center,
Hampton, VA
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www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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For more information on the inventions described here, contact the appropriate
NASA Field Center’s Innovative Partnerships (IP) Office.
See page 102 for a list of office contacts.
Over the past three decades, NASA has granted more than 1000 patent licenses in virtually every area
of technology. The agency has a portfolio of thousands of patents and pending applications available
now for license by businesses and individuals, including these recently patented inventions:
Solar Cell Circuit and Method
for Manufacturing Solar Cells
U.S. Patent No. 7,732,706
Nick Mardesich, Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
While many multi-junction solar cells
have a relatively high efficiency com-
pared to commercial, single-junction
solar cells, a manufacturing technique
must allow for multiple multi-junction
circuits to be placed on one lightweight
silicon wafer. The process needs to pro-
duce a high voltage, obviating the poten-
tial for arcing across a solar cell circuit
array.
An improved technique for making
multi-junction solar cell circuits allows
the formation of integral diodes in the
cells. The standard Ge wafer used as the
base for multi-junction solar cells is
replaced with a thinner layer of Ge or a
II-V semiconductor material on a sili-
con/silicon dioxide substrate. The mul-
tiple multi-junction circuits can then be
manufactured on a single wafer, decreas-
ing array assembly mass and simplifying
power management. The solar cell com-
ponents provide significant increases in
potential voltages per each wafer, and
allow integral by-pass diodes to be
formed directly into the substrate on
which the solar cells are made.
Pressure Vessel with
Improved Impact Resistance
U.S. Patent No. 7,641,949
Thomas K. Delay, James E. Patterson,
and Michael A. Olson, Marshall
Space Flight Center, AL
Advanced composite materials have
enabled the development of lightweight,
thin-walled tanks and pressure vessels.
The capability, however, of the pressure
vessels to withstand degrading impacts
must be improved, particularly if this
can be done with little or no appreciable
degradation in pressure vessel perform-
ance and without any increase in weight.
A high-performance composite pres-
sure vessel affords a significant improve-
ment in low-velocity impact resistance.
The pressure vessel is both light in
weight and robust, and thus has obvious
applications in aerospace wherein there
are low margins of safety. A composite
overwrapping material includes fibers
disposed in a resin matrix. For added
strength or impact resistance, layers of
fabric (comprised of such fibers) are
interspersed between windings. Other
vessel applications include use in the
field of filament-wound self-contained
breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinders
for firefighters and hazmat personnel,
wherein a more robust air cylinder of a
comparable weight is desired.
Micro-LIDAR Velocity,
Temperature, Density,
Concentration Sensor
U.S. Patent No. 7,675,619
Paul M. Denehy and Adrian A.
Dorrington, Langley Research Center,
Hampton, VA
Conventional LIDAR tends to use a
small angle between the light source and
the detector, meaning the system is only
sensitive to the component of velocity
approximately in the direction of the
laser light propagation. Therefore, there
is a need for a sensor to detect multiple
components of velocity of a target object
or gas. In addition to velocity, other
parameters such as temperature, density,
and gas composition must be measured.
A small micro-LIDAR sensor collects
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Intro
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º SAE J29o4 ¯ w||e|eºº C|a|¸||¸ c| E|e:|||: a|d P|u¸-||
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14 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
NASA Begins a
New Journey of
Exploration
The spacecraft’s descent stage, while controlling its own rate of
descent with four of its eight throttle-controllable rocket engines,
begins lowering Curiosity on a bridle. The rover is connected to the
descent stage by three nylon tethers and by an umbilical, providing
a power and communication connection. The bridle extends to full
length, about 25 feet, as the descent stage continues descending.
Seconds later, when touchdown is detected, the bridle is cut at the
rover end, and the descent stage flies off to stay clear of the land-
ing site. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
A
t 1:32 a.m. EDT on August 6, NASA’s Mars Science
Laboratory (MSL) touched down on the Red Planet,
beginning a two-year mission of exploration and discov-
ery. The Curiosity rover is a mobile laboratory equipped with
10 science investigations and a robotic arm that can drill into
rocks, scoop up soil, and deliver samples to internal analytical
instruments. (For detailed information on Curiosity’s instru-
ments, see the feature beginning on page 28.)
Following a harrowing “seven minutes of terror” in which
Curiosity had to survive a dive that took it from 13,200 miles per
hour to zero, the rover touched down and immediately began
sending back images from its landing spot in Gale Crater.
Said MSL project scientist John Grotzinger, “Curiosity is not
a life-detection mission. We’re not actually looking for life. We
don’t have the ability to detect life if it was there. What we are
looking for are the ingredients of life.”
MSL will study whether the Gale Crater area has evidence of
past and present habitable environments. These studies will be
part of a broader examination of past and present processes in
the Martian atmosphere and on its surface.
“Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history. The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophis-
ticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point
of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and
determination. Tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continu-
ing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.
I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly
await what Curiosity has yet to discover.”
- President Barack Obama, August 6, 2012
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www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Curiosity will rely on new technologi-
cal innovations. For its landing, the
spacecraft descended on a parachute
and then, during the final seconds prior
to landing, lowered the upright rover on
a tether to the surface, much like a sky
crane. Now on the surface, the rover will
be able to roll over obstacles up to 29
inches high, and travel up to 295 feet
per hour. On average, the rover is
expected to travel about 98 feet per
hour, based on power levels, slippage,
steepness of the terrain, visibility, and
other variables.
To make best use of the rover’s sci-
ence capabilities, a team of scientists
and engineers will make daily deci-
sions about the rover’s activities for the
following day. MSL is intended to be a
discovery-driven mission, with the sci-
ence operations team retaining flexi-
bility in how and when the various
capabilities of the rover and payload
are used to accomplish the overall sci-
entific objectives.
Curiosity landed in a region where a
key item on the checklist of life’s
requirements has already been deter-
mined: It was wet. Observations from
Mars orbit during five years of assessing
candidate landing sites have made these
areas some of the most intensely studied
places on Mars.
While the possibility that life might
have existed on Mars provokes great
interest, a finding that conditions did
not favor life would also pay off with
valuable insight about differences and
similarities between early Mars and
early Earth.
Learn more about Curiosity’s mission at
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
This full-resolution image shows part of the deck of Curiosity taken from one of the rover’s Navigation
cameras looking toward the back left of the rover. On the left, part of the rover’s power supply is vis-
ible. To the right of the power supply is the pointy low-gain antenna and side of the paddle-shaped
high-gain antenna for communications directly to Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Mars Science Laboratory
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 17
Talking Mars
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Ex -
ploration Program and Program Scientist for MSL.
Doug McCuistion, Dir ec tor of the Mars Ex-
p loration Program.
NASA Tech Briefs: What are the science
objectives for the Mars Science Lab -
oratory?
Michael Meyer: The overarching goal
of the Mars Science Laboratory and
rover Curiosity is to understand whether
Mars has ever been, or is capable today,
of supporting microbial life. So that’s
another way of saying we want to deter-
mine the habitability of Mars. There are
other things that can be discovered by
Curiosity as it roves about, but that’s the
overall goal and how it was designed.
NTB: Why was Gale Crater selected as
the landing site?
Meyer: Over the past five years, the sci-
ence team got together, people pro-
posed what they considered were very
interesting landing sites, and then there
were discussions about how interesting it
is to everybody else. As we narrowed it
down, we also got into how safe it is,
does the landing ellipse fit inside a good
place, and are there rocks.
NASA Tech Briefs recently spoke with Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program,
and Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program and Program Scientist for the
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). We talked about what NASA hopes to find, the technologies used
onboard, and how the two-year mission is expected to progress.
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Intro
18 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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The science community had to be self-policing about what
it could actually do and what it could reasonably speculate.
This is one of the things we really benefit from — the amount
of information we got from having a Mars program. We
ended up picking Gale Crater because it has Mount Sharp in
the middle — this huge mound that should have an extensive
history of Mars starting from more than three billion years
ago to whatever Mars is like at present.
NTB: This is the first time since the Viking landings in 1976 that
NASA has used throttleable engines for landing a Mars space-
craft. Why was this method chosen for MSL?
Doug McCuistion: The engines are a new design based on a
heritage unit. Because of the throttleable nature and the
amount of thrust we can get from these, they make a great
engine for orbiters for certain Mars orbit insertions as well. So,
we’ll use these again, maybe next time on an orbiter.
There were a lot of things chosen because of the additional
mass of MSL. Airbags max out around 200 kg, so the airbag
technology couldn’t handle a rover of this mass. So we had to
come up with a new technique. The concept was a larger para-
chute to get more drag, and obviously a larger entry shell that
reduces our speed and also is volumetrically necessary. But
once we got done with the parachute, the replacement for the
airbags had to be something that could handle a 1,000-kg rover
underneath it, to be able to take out both horizontal and verti-
cal velocities. So instead of putting the engines underneath it
like Viking, we decided to put the engines on top.
NTB: Curiosity is NASA’s largest and most complex rover.
Other than size, how does it differ from Opportunity and Spirit?
McCuistion: It’s very different — probably the two biggest
differences are the payload capability and the power source.
Essentially, the plutonium 238-powered radioisotope thermal
generator is a constant power source, regardless of time of day.
We’re not dependent upon solar energy any longer. We’ve got
a constant feed of power, with a constant output of about 110
Watts. That gives us a great capability to charge batteries
overnight, to be able to rove farther, and to be able to last
longer on the surface by design. That’s a fantastic capability
because of the power source. For the instruments, we’ve gone
from less than 6 kg of instruments to over 80 kg of instruments,
comparing the MER (Mars Exploration Rover) rovers to the
MSL rover.
Meyer: The key difference is that Curiosity is a roving analyt-
ical laboratory. There are two instruments in the interior of the
rover that are major instruments. For Spirit and Opportunity,
all of the instrumentation was remote and contact instruments,
while Curiosity has two analytical instruments inside.
On the interior, we have an instrument called CheMin
(Chemistry and Mineralogy), which is an x-ray diffraction/x-ray
Talking Mars
“The overarching goal of the Mars
Science Laboratory and rover Curiosity
is to understand whether Mars has ever
been, or is capable today, of supporting
microbial life.”
- Michael Meyer
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Intro
fluorescence instrument that measures the distance between
atoms. This is the same kind of instrument you’d have in a labo-
ratory. Mineralogy is important because it tells you the environ-
ment in which the rock was formed. The other instrument is
SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars), and that’s a gas chromatograph
mass spectrometer. This gives you composition — it tells you
what things are made out of. It’s not the elements, but also the
smaller compounds. SAM can also measure isotopes. In addi-
tion, SAM has what’s called a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS),
which is a spectrometer that can measure certain things to an
extreme degree. It can measure carbon dioxide, water, and also
methane, which is probably the one we’re most excited about.
The other instrument that’s unique is the ChemCam
(Chemistry and Camera suite), which is a laser-induced break-
down spectrometer. It fires a laser, creates a plasma, and then
uses a spectrometer to look at the plasma and tell what the
composition is. It’s a remote sensing instrument, so you don’t
have to place the instrument against whatever you’re interest-
ed in. You can do it within 7 meters of the rover.
NTB: Are there other minerals you’re looking for besides car-
bon and methane?
Meyer: This mission is highly unusual in that we’ve already
targeted minerals that we see from orbit. We see sulfates and
we see clays, both of which are minerals that form in water,
and they also represent slightly different environments. Clays
form in a neutral environment with a pH around 7, while sul-
fates tend to form in more acidic envi-
ronments and you also find them, at
least on Earth, in environments where
the water is drying out. Those are good
indicators that we’re going to go to a
place where we have mineral deposits
that were laid down when Mars was
warmer and wetter, and mineral
deposits that were laid down when Mars
was drying out. As you go further up
Mount Sharp, we’ll find things that are
indicative of modern Mars, which is
cold and dry.
NTB: What are the first steps in
Curiosity’s commissioning phase?
McCuistion: After it does its health
check and everything’s working, it
recalibrates its thermal model to make
sure it has the right energy budget for
managing things. It’s then going to
move into a mode of first-time events.
The team will move it a little bit and
then say, “OK, we told it to move a foot
— did it move a foot?” But these things
come much later. Things won’t happen
right away — this is all within the first
30 days. For each instrument, the team
will turn it on and see if it’s working,
and put it through its own personal
health check. They’ll make a measure-
ment, see what the measurement says,
and if it corresponds to what’s expect-
ed. Pathfinder, Phoenix, and MER
landed on the surface and they were
expected to live 90 to 120 days. So it
was, “We better get on with it, because
we don’t have much time.” MSL is
designed as a two-year mission. It’s a
long-life mission and it’s going to take
a couple of months to really get this
rover fully commissioned before it’s
fully op erational.
NTB: What is Curiosity’s expected
range of travel?
McCuistion: Spirit and Opportunity
have proven to us that any predictions
20 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-768
Talking Mars
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are completely useless. From an engineering perspective,
it’s how long the mechanical systems last. That’s really the
limiting factor. The power source will give us many, many
years on the surface of nice, clean, consistent power. The
rover is designed to be able to travel 20 kilometers. The rea-
son for that is it’s designed to be able to get out of its land-
ing ellipse. What that does is enable the mission to have a
goal to go see something it can’t land on. And in fact, that’s
Mount Sharp. It has to be able to travel a good distance to
be able to get there.
NTB: Are the decisions of the science team as far as where
Curiosity will go each day determined according to what findings
were made the previous day?
McCuistion: Yes, this is actually unique and exciting at the
same time. There is a Science Operations Working Group and
essentially, every day, they find out what the rover did yesterday
— did it do what it was supposed to do, and did it find some-
thing particularly exciting. They analyze the data and have a
debate about what to do tomorrow. So filtering into the tacti-
cal decision about what to do each day will be “are we still head-
ed in the right direction to meet our strategic objective?”
NTB: Curiosity has a payload of 10 instruments. Can you briefly
describe some of them?
Meyer: We’ll characterize the modern environment of Mars
very well. We have what’s basically a weather station con-
tributed by the Spanish. We’ll also be
measuring neutrons and return of neu-
trons from a neutron generator
(Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons, DAN)
that tells us how much water there is in
about the upper meter of the regolith,
and that’s contributed by the Russians.
We have an alpha particle x-ray spec-
trometer (APXS) that is similar to
what’s on the Mars Exploration Rovers
that gives us elemental composition
from contact. It’s provided by the
Canadians.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager, MAHLI,
is different in that it has its own light
source, so it has a better magnification
field to see things down to about 14
microns. It can see at night so if there
are any fluorescent minerals, it will be
able to detect those.
The MastCam is interesting in that
not only is it stereo, but also it has a fil-
ter wheel so it gives you different colors.
We’ll finally resolve the debate about if
you’re on Mars, what color would the
sky be? It has a huge amount of memo-
ry. It can take a high-resolution picture
of everything and then send back
thumbnails. The science team can say,
“We really like this rock,” and instead of
having to ask the camera to go look at
that rock and take a picture, you just ask
the system to send you back the high-
resolution picture of it. The picture’s
already taken — it’s whether or not you
request the data.
22 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Talking Mars
“People don’t realize the
advancements in surface
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possible because Spirit
and Opportunity survived
for so long.”
- Doug McCuistion
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Intro
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Intro
24 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-772
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© Maplesoft, a division of Waterloo Maple Inc., 2012. Maplesoft, Maple, and MapleSim are trademarks of Waterloo Maple Inc. All other trademarks are the
property of their respective owners.
CONGRATULATIONS
ON THE SUCCESSFUL LANDING OF THE CURISOTY ROVER
Maplesoft salutes NASA’s JPL for its contributions to scientific research
and advancement. We look forward to continuing Maplesoft’s partnership
with JPL to enhance modeling and simulation in space exploration.
Curiosity also has a drill for sampling (PADS, Powder
Acquisition Drill Sys tem). We’ll be able to get below the veneer
that’s on rocks and sample the interior of the rock. That will be
particularly useful for the analytical laboratory that’s in the
rover. It will be able to take those, determine mineralogy, and
also composition. Because we haven’t done that before, it may
provide some real surprises.
NTB: Are there potential commercial applications for these
types of instruments?
McCuistion: We already have one example, which is the
CheMin. It already has a commercial version called Terra. It’s
a suitcase you can carry into the field to measure minerals. I
would expect that, for instance, ChemCam (the laser-induced
breakdown spectrometer) might be very useful. Some people
might be worried about carrying around a laser in a suitcase,
but I can imagine that being a useful tool here on Earth.
Other things like SAM — there may be some commercial
spinoffs just because of the efforts its gone through for minia-
turization. It is taking a laboratory instrument that everybody’s
happy with, and shrinking it down so that it fits in a box.
One of the things that’s unique about Curiosity is it will be
able to measure organic compounds. One of the big surprises
from Viking was not finding any organic compounds. You expect
to find at least some because you get them from meteorites, if
nothing else. So that’s going to be a big issue for Curiosity.
NTB: The Navcams and Hazcams enable Curiosity to navigate
and see where it’s going. What other types of hazard avoidance
measures are in place?
McCuistion: MSL has gained a lot from the Spirit and
Opportunity rovers, and that’s in regard to autonomous soft-
ware. Curiosity has a lot of software onboard that can actually
navigate and recognize hazards autonomously and either navi-
gate around them or decide it’s too complicated to do that,
and just wait for Earth to help. The rover driver and navigation
teams use the cameras on a regular basis to understand the
rover’s surroundings and identify safe paths of traverse. The
most important portion of that capability is the autonomous
software aboard that helps us with navigation.
The rover also has accelerometers and inclinometers in the
system, so it understands what its own tilt and roll angles are.
As Curiosity climbs Mount Sharp, and reaches limits of tilt and
roll, the inclinometers tell the system that it is at the limits so it
does not roll. The whole rocker-bogie system has a design that
goes all the way back to the Sojourner rover, and is an extreme-
ly capable and flexible system.
Meyer: Just to add to what Doug said about software navi-
gation, right now, you can take your images from a Mastcam
or Navcam and plot out, safely, about 40 meters. And then
after that, your imagery is too planar and you can’t really
decide what would be the best path to go. So the rover itself
has to decide that. One of the things that has been devel-
oped from MER is navigation software that is able to take
images as the rover goes along and say, “OK, that’s a big rock
— turn to the left.” That’s why the Mars Exploration Rovers
have been able to go up to 100 meters at a time. Curiosity
will benefit from that.
McCuistion: That’s the advantage of the longevity of Spirit
and Opportunity. I think people don’t realize the advance-
ments in surface navigation that are only possible because Spirit
Talking Mars
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Intro
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Intro
26 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-774
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and Opportunity survived for so long; that we could build new
software tools, new concepts, new techniques, and then test
them, upload them, and use them. It’s been spectacular, not
just scientifically, but from an engineering perspective, what
Spirit and Opportunity were able to do and port into MSL.
NTB: The Radiation Assessment Detection (RAD) instrument
was taking measurements during the trip to Mars. What has it
found that you didn’t know before?
Meyer: The RAD is designed for a broad spectrum of high-
energy radiation measurement, and it was turned on about a
week after launch. It was turned off on July 13, getting ready for
entry, descent, and landing. What’s interesting about RAD
measuring in transit is that it sees what might be seen by an
astronaut on its way to Mars. One of the concerns about high-
energy radiation is what radiation is shielded by the spacecraft,
and also what radiation is generated by the spacecraft. High-
energy particles impinging on the cruise stage actually generate
secondary particles that may be just as harmful, but of a differ-
ent nature. RAD’s been able to measure those.
NTB: What have you already learned from MSL for future Mars
missions?
McCuistion: Scientifically, we’ve already got a data set from
RAD that we’ve never had before, which is the true radiation
levels, dosages, etc., that astronauts might see in space in tran-
sit to Mars. From an engineering perspective, we’ve learned an
enormous amount about how to build a system of this capacity
and capability. The sky crane technique is a great technique for
being able to put larger and larger masses on the surface, and
frankly, as a feed-forward technology capability, you could fore-
see this putting all kinds of different scientific systems on the
surface and potentially even re-supply for astronauts on the
surface sometime in the future. We have learned to shrink
instruments dramatically, changing their footprints significant-
ly, which will always pay off in future scientific missions,
whether they are on Mars or some other location.
Guided entry is another one – the ability to shrink the land-
ing ellipse so significantly that we can get into areas that we
couldn’t have imagined ten years ago. That opens up science
portals that we can’t even fathom at this point. There are pret-
ty exciting opportunities.
Meyer: With MARDI, the Mars Descent Imager, one of the
big debates was whether or not, because of thruster plume,
you’ll get useful images. So who cares, other than the scientists
who have to figure out where you’re going? Well, one of the
derived benefits of decent images would be for terrain recog-
nition, which means in the future you could say, “I want to land
right over here next to that rock,” and you can have the soft-
ware look at the images and actually plan exactly where you
want to go. That will make a big difference when we do sample
return or we send humans to Mars, when you want them to
land next to where we put the foodstuffs.
McCuistion: The other thing is the heat shield material. The
heat shield material is called PICA (Phenolic Impregnated
Carbon Ablator) and we adopted it for use when we saw what
kind of mass we were dealing with and what the heating rates
were. PICA was a lot safer and gave us a lot more margin. This
will be the first time it’s actually been used. PICA is a potential
heat shield material for human exploration in the future.
Talking Mars
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Intro
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Intro
TDLS on MARS
We congratulate the entire NASA
team on the successful landing of its
Mars Rover “Curiosity”
Read about our contribution at
www.nanoplus.com/mars Picture: Courtesy of NASA / JPL
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-776
The Technology
of Curiosity
O
n April 14, 2004, NASA announced an opportunity for
researchers to propose science investigations for the
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Eight months
later, the agency announced selection of eight investigations.
In addition, Spain and Russia would each provide an investiga-
tion through international agreements. The instruments for
these ten investigations make up the science payload on the
Curiosity rover.
The ten instruments on Curiosity have a combined mass of
165 pounds. Curiosity carries the instruments plus multiple sys-
tems that enable the science payload to do its job and send
home the results. Key systems include six-wheeled mobility,
sample acquisition and handling with a robotic arm, naviga-
tion using stereo imaging, a radioisotope power source, avion-
ics, software, telecommunications, and thermal control.
Curiosity is 10 feet long (not counting its arm), 9 feet wide,
and 7 feet high at the top of its mast, with a mass of 1,982
pounds, including the science instruments. Curiosity’s
mechanical structure provides the basis for integrating all of
the other rover subsystems and payload instruments.
Curiosity examines a rock on Mars with a set of
tools at the end of its arm, which extends about 7
feet. Two instruments on the arm can study rocks
up close. A drill can collect sample material from
inside of rocks, and a scoop can pick up samples of
soil. The arm can sieve the samples and deliver fine
powder to instruments inside the rover for thor-
ough analysis. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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Intro
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Intro
30 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-778
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NavCam Camera Design Inside Zemax NavC N C NavC NavC NavC C am C am C am C am Camer amer amer amer D a De a De a De a De i sign sign sign sign IIns Ins Ins Insid ide ide ide ide ZZema Zema Zema Zemaxxxx
Photo Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Zemax is proud to be a part of NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity mission.
Mobility
Curiosity’s mobility subsystem is a
scaled-up version of what was used on the
three earlier Mars rovers: Sojourner,
Spirit, and Opportunity. Six wheels all
have driver motors, and the four corner
wheels all have steering motors. Each
front and rear wheel can be independ-
ently steered, allowing the vehicle to turn
in place, as well as to drive in arcs. The
suspension is a rocker-bogie system,
enabling Curiosity to keep all its wheels in
contact with the ground, even on uneven
terrain. Curiosity’s wheels are aluminum
and 20" in diameter. They have cleats for
traction and structural support. Curving
titanium spokes give springy support.
The rover has a top speed on flat,
hard ground of about 1.5 inches per sec-
ond. However, under autonomous con-
trol with hazard avoidance, the vehicle
achieves an average speed of less than
half that.
Arm and Turret
The Robot Arm (RA) is a five-degrees-
of-freedom manipulator used to place
and hold the turret-mounted devices
and instruments on rock and soil tar-
gets, as well as manipulate the turret-
mounted sample processing hardware.
This drawing of Curiosity indicates the location of science instruments and some other tools.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Technology of Curiosity
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Intro
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Intro
The science instruments on the arm’s turret are the Mars
Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-ray
Spectrometer (APXS). The other tools on the turret are com-
ponents of the rover’s Sample Acquisition/Sample Processing
and Handling (SA/SPaH) subsystem: the Powder Acquisition
Drill System (PADS), the Dust Removal Tool (DRT), and the
Collection and Handling for In-situ Martian Rock Analysis
(CHIMRA) device.
The SA/SPaH subsystem is responsible for the acquisition of
rock and soil samples from the Martian surface, and the pro-
cessing of these samples into fine particles that are then distrib-
uted to the analytical science instruments SAM and CheMin.
The SA/SPaH subsystem is also responsible for the placement
of the two contact instruments, APXS and MAHLI, on rock
and soil targets. SA/SPaH also includes drill bit boxes, the
Organic Check Material (OCM), and an observation tray,
which are all mounted on the front of the rover, and inlet cover
mechanisms that are placed over the SAM and CheMin solid
sample inlet tubes on the rover top deck.
The Powder Acquisition Drill System is a rotary percussive
drill to acquire samples of rock material for analysis. It can col-
lect a sample from up to 2" beneath a rock’s surface. The drill
penetrates the rock and powders the sample to the appropriate
grain size for use in SAM and CheMin. If the drill bit becomes
stuck in a rock, the drill can disengage from that bit and replace
it with a spare. The Dust Removal Tool is a metal-bristle brush-
ing device used to remove the dust layer from a rock surface or
to clean the rover’s observation tray.
A clamshell-shaped scoop collects soil samples from the
Martian surface. The other turret-mounted portion of this device
has chambers used for sorting, sieving, and portioning the sam-
ples collected by the drill and the scoop. An observation tray on
the rover allows the MAHLI and the APXS a place to examine
collected and processed samples of soil and powdered rock.
Power
Rover power is provided by a multi-mission radioisotope
thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) supplied by the U.S.
Department of Energy. This generator is essentially a nuclear
battery that reliably converts heat into electricity. It consists of
two major elements: a heat source that contains plutonium-238
dioxide, and a set of solid-state thermocouples that convert the
plutonium’s heat energy to electricity. It contains 10.6 pounds
of plutonium dioxide as the source of the steady supply of heat
used to produce the onboard electricity, and to warm the
rover’s systems during the Martian nights.
Computing
Curiosity has redundant main computers, or rover compute
elements. Of this “A” and “B” pair, it uses one at a time, with
the spare held in cold backup. So, at a given time, the rover is
operating from either its A side or its B side. Each computer
contains a radiation-hardened central processor with
PowerPC 750 architecture, a BAE RAD 750 processor operat-
ing at up to 200 MHz speed. Each of Curiosity’s redundant
computers has 2 gigabytes of flash memory, 256 megabytes of
DRAM, and 256 kilobytes of EEPROM. The MSL flight soft-
ware monitors the status and health of the spacecraft during
all phases of the mission, checks for the presence of com-
mands to execute, performs communication functions, and
controls spacecraft activities.
Navigation
Two sets of engineering cameras on
the rover — Navigation cameras
(Navcams) up high, and Hazard-avoid-
ance cameras (Hazcams) down low —
inform operational decisions both by
Curiosity’s onboard autonomy software
and by the rover team on Earth.
Information from these cameras is used
for autonomous navigation, engineers’
calculations for maneuvering the robotic
arm, and scientists’ decisions about point-
ing the remote-sensing science instru-
ments.
Each of the Navcams captures a
square field of view 45 degrees wide and
tall, comparable to the field of view of a
37-millimeter-focal-length lens on a 35-
millimeter, single-lens-reflex camera.
Curiosity has four pairs of Hazcams: two
redundant pairs on the front of the chas-
sis, and two at the rear. The rover can
drive backwards as well as forward, so
both the front and rear Hazcams can be
used for detecting potential obstacles in
the rover’s driving direction. The
Hazcams have one-time-removable lens
covers to shield them from potential
dust raised during the rover’s landing.
Mast Camera (Mastcam)
Two two-megapixel color cameras on
Curiosity’s mast are the left and right
Technology of Curiosity
32 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-780
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Intro
Protecting IGBTs with Avago
Optical Isolation Amplifers
Introduction
Insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) can fail when
subjected to overloads and overvoltages. Isolation amplfers
(iso-amps) can respond quickly to over-current and overload
conditions when used on the output phases and the DC bus.
A typical block diagram of a power converter in an AC motor
drivet consists of an inverter that converts the DC bus voltage to
AC power at a variable frequency to drive the motor. IGBTs are
expensive power switches that form the heart of the inverter.
These power devices must operate at a high frequency and
must be able to withstand high voltages.
Iso-amps such as the ACPL-C79A work with shunt resistors
to accurately measure power converter current even in the
presence of high switching noise. When used with a resistive
divider, iso-amps work as precision voltage sensors to monitor
the DC bus voltage. The microcontroller monitors the current
and voltage information from the iso-amps and uses the data to
calculate the feedback values and output signals needed to for
fault management in the IGBTs and power converters.
Fault Protection
However, the IGBT protection must be such that its cost doesn’t
afect that of the motor drive system. IGBT gate drivers such
as the ACPL-332J and current sensors with protection features
can detect faults economically in this regard. They eliminate
the need for separate detection and feedback components.
The Avago Advantage
Technical Notes
Your Imagination, Our Innovation
Sense t Illuminate t Connect
Figure 1: Block diagram of power converter in a motor drive
Over-current conditions in an IGBT can arise from a phase-to-
phase short, a ground short or a shoot through. The shunt +
iso-amp devices on the output phases and DC bus can, besides
measuring current, detect such faults.
Typical IGBT short-circuit survival times are rated up to 10 μsec.
So any protection must prevent this limit from being exceeded.
Within 10 μsec, the circuit must detect the fault, notify the
controller and complete the shutdown. Iso-amps use various
methods to get these results.
For instance, the ACPL-C79A has a fast, 1.6 μsec response for
a step input. That lets the iso-amp capture transients during
short-circuits and overloads. The signal propagation delay from
input to output at mid point is only 2 μsec, while it takes just 2.6
μsec for the output signal to catch up with input, reaching 90%
of the fnal levels.
Another example is the HCPL-788J, which responds quickly
to over-currents using a different approach. In addition to the
signal output pin, it has a Fault pin that toggles quickly from
High to Low level when over-current occurs. This iso-amp
provides ±3% measurement accuracy.
In the fault feedback design, nuisance tripping can be an
issue. This is a triggering of fault detection in the absence of
any damaging fault condition. To avoid false triggering, the
HCPL-788J employs a pulse discriminator that blanks out di/
dt and dv/dt glitches. The advantage of this method is that
R
Rectifer AC-DC
HV+
HV–
Inverter DC-AC
Motor
ACPL-C79A
Current
Sensor, 3X
ACPL-C79A
Current
sensor
ACPL-C79A
Voltage
sensor
Gate Drive
ACPL-332J
Gate Drive
ACPL-332J, 6x
+

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Micro-controller
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Intro
Contact us for your design needs at: www.avagotech.com/evalkits
Avago, Avago Technologies, the A logo and LaserStream are trademarks of Avago Technologies in the United States and other
countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.
Data subject to change. Copyright © 2012 Avago Technologies
The Avago Advantage Technical Notes
rejection is independent of amplitude, so the fault threshold
can be set to low level without risking nuisance tripping.
The circuit that detects faults quickly contains two com-
parators in the Fault Detection block to detect the negative and
positive fault thresholds. The switching threshold is equal to
the sigma-delta modulator reference of 256 mV. The outputs of
these comparators connect to blanking flters with a blanking
period of 2 μsec and then go to the Encoder block.
To ensure speedy transmission of the fault status across the
isolation boundary, two unique digital coding sequences
represent the fault condition, one code for negative, the other
for af rmative. Detection of a fault interrupts the normal data
transfer through the optical channel and replaces the bit stream
with the fault code. These two fault codes deviate signifcantly
from the normal coding scheme, so the decoder on the detector
side immediately recognizes the codes as a fault conditions.
The decoder needs about 1 μsec to detect and communicate the
fault condition across the isolation boundary. The anti-aliasing
flter adds a 400 nsec delay to give a propagation delay of
1.4 μsec. The delay between the fault event and the output fault
signal is the sum of the propagation delay and the blanking
period (2 μsec) for an overall 3.4 μsec fault detection time.
The Fault output pin allows fault signals from several devices to
be wire-ORed together forming a single fault signal. This signal
may then be used to directly disable the PWM inputs through
the controller.
Overload Detection
An overload condition refers to a situation where the motor
current exceeds the rated drive current, but without imminent
danger of failure, as when the motor is mechanically over-
loaded or is stalling because of a bearing failure
Inverters usually have an overload rating. The time period of the
allowable overload rating depends on the time it takes before
overheating becomes an issue. A typical overload rating is 150%
of nominal load for up to one minute.
The ACPL-C79A accepts full-scale input range of ±300 mV and
the data sheet specifcations are based on ±200 mV nominal
input range. Designers can choose the overload threshold at or
in between either of the two fgures. Usually the measurement
accuracy of the overload current is less stringent than that of
the normal operating current. Here, setting the threshold near
300 mV is a good choice. This allows full use of the iso-amp’s
dynamic input range. However, a threshold set at 200 mV
ensures accurate measurement of the overload current. Once
the voltage levels are decided, the designer must choose
appropriate sense-resistor value according to corresponding
current level.
The HCPL-788J includes an additional feature, the ABSVAL
output, which can be used to simplify the overload detection
circuit. The ABSVAL circuit rectifes the output signal, providing
an output proportional to the absolute level of the input
signal. This output is also wire OR-able. When three sinusoidal
motor phases are combined, the rectifed output (ABSVAL) is
essentially a DC signal representing the RMS motor current.
This DC signal and a threshold comparator can indicate motor
overloads before they can damage to the motor or drive.
Overvoltage Detection
The DC bus voltage must also be continuously controled. Under
certain operating conditions, a motor can act as a generator,
delivering a high voltage back into the DC bus through the
inverter power devices and/or recovery diodes. This high
voltage adds to the DC bus voltage and puts a very high surge
on the IGBTs. That surge may exceed the maximum IGBT collect-
emitter voltage and damage them.
The miniature iso-amp (ACPL-C79A) is often used as a voltage
sensor in DC bus monitoring applications. A designer must scale
down the DC bus voltage to ft the input range of the iso-amp
by choosing R1 and R2 values to get an appropriate ratio.
Figure 2:
In the HCPL-788J
iso-amp, the
diferential input
voltage is digitally
encoded by a sigma-
delta A/D converter
and then fed to the
LED driver, which
sends the data
across the isolation
barrier to a detector
and D/A.
+

+

ΣΔ
Mod
256
mV
Ref.
Encoder
CLK
gen.
Sigma-
Delta
ADC
Fault
Detection
Input IC Detector IC
Diferential
Inputs
LED
Driver
V
REF
V
OUT
DAC LPF
+

2 μs
Blanking
Delay
2 μs
Blanking
Delay
+

Decoder
ABSVAL
Rectifer
ABSVAL
Output
Bufer
I
s
o
l
a
t
i
o
n

B
a
r
r
i
e
r
FAULT
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 33
eyes of the Mastcam. These cameras have complementary
capabilities for showing the rover’s surroundings in exquisite
detail and in motion. The right-eye Mastcam looks through a
telephoto lens with about three-fold better resolution than
any previous landscape-viewing camera on the surface of
Mars. The left-eye Mastcam provides broader context through
a medium-angle lens. Each can acquire and store thousands of
full-color images. Each is also capable of recording high-defi-
nition video.
The telephoto Mastcam is called Mastcam 100 for its 100-mil-
limeter focal-length lens. The camera provides enough resolu-
tion to distinguish a basketball from a football at a distance of
seven football fields. Its left-eye partner, called Mastcam 34 for
its 34-millimeter lens, catches a scene three times wider on an
identical detector.
Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam)
The ChemCam instrument consists of two remote sensing
instruments: the first planetary science Laser-Induced
Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS), and a Remote Micro-
Imager (RMI). The LIBS provides elemental compositions,
while the RMI places the LIBS analyses in their geomorpho-
logic context.
ChemCam uses a rock-zapping laser and a telescope mount-
ed atop Curiosity’s mast. It also includes spectrometers and
electronics inside the rover. The laser can hit rock or soil tar-
gets up to about 23 feet away with enough energy to excite a
pinhead-size spot into a glowing, ionized gas called plasma.
The instrument observes that spark with the telescope and
analyzes the spectrum of light to identify the chemical ele-
ments in the target. The telescope doubles as the optics for
the camera of ChemCam, which records monochrome
images. The telescopic camera, called the remote micro-imag-
er, will show context of the spots hit with the laser. It can also
be used independently of the laser for observations of targets
at any distance.
The spot hit by ChemCam’s infrared laser gets more than
a million watts of power focused on it for five one-billionths
of a second. Light from the resulting flash comes back to
ChemCam through the telescope, then through about 20
feet of optical fiber down the mast to three spectrometers
inside the rover. The spectrometers record intensity at
6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, visible, and
infrared light.
Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)
The APXS on Curiosity’s robotic arm will identify chemical
elements in rocks and soils. A pinch of radioactive material
emits radiation that “queries” the target and an X-ray detector
“reads” the answer. The instrument consists of a main electron-
ics unit in the rover’s body and a sensor head mounted on the
robotic arm. Measurements are taken by deploying the sensor
head towards a desired sample, placing the sensor head in con-
tact or hovering, and measuring the emitted X-ray spectrum
for 15 minutes to 3 hours without the need of further interac-
tion by the rover.
Curiosity’s mast features seven cameras: the Remote Micro Imager, part of the ChemCam suite; four black-and-white Navigation Cameras (two on the left
and two on the right); and two color Mast Cameras (Mastcams). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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A
Intro
®
Technology of Curiosity
34 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-781
This artist’s concept depicts Curiosity as it uses its ChemCam to investigate the composition of a rock surface. ChemCam fires laser pulses at a target and
views the resulting spark with a telescope and spectrometers to identify chemical elements. The laser is in an invisible infrared wavelength, but is shown
here as visible red light for purposes of illustration. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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A
Intro
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Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)
MAHLI is a focusable color camera on
Curiosity’s turret. Researchers will use it
for magnified, close-up views of rocks
and soils, and also for wider scenes of
the ground, the landscape, or even the
rover. Essentially, it is a handheld cam-
era with a macro lens and autofocus.
The investigation takes its name from
the type of hand lens magnifying tool
that every field geologist carries for see-
ing details in rocks. MAHLI has two sets
of white light-emitting diodes to enable
imaging at night or in deep shadow. Two
other LEDs on the instrument glow at
the ultraviolet wavelength of 365
nanometers. These will make it possible
to check for materials that fluoresce
under this illumination.
This camera uses a red-green-blue fil-
ter grid like the one on commercial dig-
ital cameras for obtaining a full-color
image with a single exposure. It stores
images in an 8-Gb flash memory, and it
can perform an onboard focus merge of
eight images to reduce from eight to
two the number of images returned to
Earth in downlink-limited situations.
Chemistry and Mineralogy
(CheMin)
CheMin is one of two investigations
that will analyze powdered rock and soil
samples delivered by Curiosity’s robotic
arm. It will identify and quantify the min-
erals in the samples. CheMin uses X-ray
diffraction, a first for a mission to Mars.
It supplements the diffraction measure-
ments with X-ray fluorescence capability
to determine further details of composi-
tion by identifying ratios of specific ele-
ments present. X-ray diffraction works by
directing an X-ray beam at a sample and
recording how X-rays are scattered by the
sample at the atomic level.
A sample processing tool on the
robotic arm puts the powdered rock or
soil through a sieve designed to remove
any particles larger than 0.006” before
delivering the material into the
CheMin inlet funnel. Each sample
analysis will use about as much material
as in a baby aspirin.
Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)
SAM is designed to explore molecular
and elemental chemistry relevant to life.
SAM addresses carbon chemistry
through a search for organic com-
pounds, the chemical state of light ele-
ments other than carbon, and isotopic
tracers of planetary change. SAM is a
suite of three instruments: a Quad -
rupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), a Gas
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-782 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-782 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Technology of Curiosity
Chromatograph (GC), and a Tunable
Laser Spectrometer (TLS). The QMS
and the GC can operate together in a
GCMS mode for separation (GC) and
definitive identification (QMS) of
organic compounds.
SAM’s analytical tools fit into a
microwave-oven-size box inside the front
of the rover. While it is the biggest of the
ten instruments on Curiosity, this tightly
packed box holds instrumentation that
would take up a good portion of a labo-
ratory on Earth.
SAM’s sample manipulation system
maneuvers 74 sample cups, each about
one-sixth of a teaspoon in volume. The
chemical separation and processing
laboratory includes pumps, tubing, car-
rier-gas reservoirs, pressure monitors,
ovens, temperature monitors, and other
components.
Rover Environmental Monitoring
Station (REMS)
REMS records six atmospheric param-
eters: wind speed/direction, pressure,
relative humidity, air temperature,
ground temperature, and ultraviolet
radiation. All sensors are located around
three elements: two booms attached to
the rover Remote Sensing Mast (RSM),
the Ultraviolet Sensor (UVS) assembly
located on the rover top deck, and the
Instrument Control Unit (ICU) inside
the rover body.
Radiation Assessment
Detector (RAD)
RAD will monitor high-energy atomic
and subatomic particles reaching Mars
from the Sun, distant supernovas, and
other sources. These particles constitute
naturally occurring radiation that could
be harmful to any microbes near the sur-
face of Mars or to astronauts on a future
Mars mission. RAD is an energetic particle
analyzer designed to characterize the full
spectrum of energetic particle radiation at
the surface of Mars. RAD’s measurements
will help fulfill MSL’s key goals of assess-
ing whether Curiosity’s landing region
has had conditions favorable for life and
for preserving evidence about life.
Dynamic Albedo of
Neutrons (DAN)
DAN is an active/passive neutron spec-
trometer that measures the abundance
and depth distribution of H- and OH-
bearing materials in a shallow layer of
Mars’ subsurface along the path of the
rover. DAN can detect water bound into
shallow underground minerals along
Curiosity’s path. It shoots neutrons into
the ground and measures how they are
scattered, giving it a high sensitivity for
finding any hydrogen to a depth of about
20" directly beneath the rover.
Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
During the final few minutes of
Curiosity’s flight to the surface of Mars,
the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
recorded a full-color video of the
ground below. MARDI is a fixed-focus
color camera mounted to the fore port
side of the rover, even with the bottom
of the rover chassis. The camera took
images at 5 frames per second through-
out the period of time between heat
shield separation and touchdown.
Throughout Curiosity’s mission on
Mars, MARDI will offer the capability to
obtain images of ground beneath the
rover for tracking of its movements or
for geologic mapping.
Learn more about Curiosity’s science
instruments at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/
msl/mission/science. View the latest videos of
the Mars Science Laboratory and Curiosity
rover on Tech Briefs TV at www.
techbriefs.com/tv/mars. Get the latest news
on the MSL mission at www.nasa.gov/
mission_pages/msl/.
Live Webinar on
Engineering Curiosity
Join us on September 27 at 2 pm Eastern time for a free live webinar with
Rob Manning, Mars Science Laboratory Chief Engineer. Find out from Rob
how he and his team addressed the unique engineering challenges of
designing and building NASA’s largest and most complex rover, Curiosity.
To register, visit www.techbriefs.com/Webinar116
Sponsored by:
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Intro
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Intro
38 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
ATI Industrial Automation congratulates
the NASA Mars Curiosity team on a hugely
successful landing. We look forward to
contributing our Force/Torque Sensing
Technology to the success of future
missions.
www.ati-ia.com/company/NewsArticle.aspx?id=711301777
FUTEK was commissioned by
NASA JPL to design and devel-
op two cryogenic sensors
aboard Curiosity. With a donut
load cell operating within the
rover’s drilling arm, it stands
responsible for monitoring the
force exerted upon the Martian ground. Additionally, a multi-
axial sensor supervises the robotic arm as it maneuvers.
www.futek.com
JPL has adopted Maplesoft technology in many of its projects.
Maplesoft products will help save time and reduce cost by pro-
viding very efficient methods for mathematical analysis,
modeling, and simulation.
Maplesoft solutions are
built within a natively sym-
bolic framework, avoid ing
sources of error and com-
putational inefficiencies,
making it suitable for pre-
cision-rich projects. Maplesoft technology is used in a variety of
engineering applications, including space robotics.
www.maplesoft.com/company/publications/articles/view.aspx?SID=130045
Curiosity uses a laser diode from
nanoplus. With its help, Curiosity
is to draw important conclusions
on organic compounds and light
elements, as well as on isotope
ratios in atmosphere and soil
samples from Mars. This is to determine whether the Red
Planet is or has been a suitable living environment.
www.nanoplus.com
Optimax is proud to be a
part of history by supplying
optics for the Mastcam,
MAHLI and MARDI pay-
loads on-board the Mars
Rover Curiosity. With more than 100 opticians, Optimax is
America’s largest prototype optics manufacturer and lever-
ages its optics manufacturing technology for programs that
benefit mankind.
www.optimaxsi.com/About/SolarSystem.php
Siemens is proud of its role
in NASA’s development of
Curi osity. NASA’s Jet Pro -
pulsion Lab oratory imple-
mented NX™ from Siemens
PLM Software, a fully inte-
grated CAD/CAM/CAE sys-
tem, as their product engi-
neering and manufacturing platform.  NX CAE offers a modern
CAE environment to help realize shorter design-analysis iter-
ations, and efficient workflows for multi-discipline simulation.
www.techbriefs.com/siemens201209
Using Stratasys Fused Deposition (FDM) Technology, NASA
engineers create complex rover parts, durable enough for
Martian terrain. Visit Stratasys.com/rover to see how FDM
paves the way for development of human-supporting space
vehicles, helping NASA achieve
its goal of extending human
reach farther into space.
www.stratasys.com/rover
SUHNER’s flexible shafts are on board of “Curiosity,” playing
an essential role in the scoop arm, helping to scratch shallow
holes into Mars’ soil, to grab
the samples and to move
them to the on-board lab.
Flexible shafts are not just for
outer space; they are a very
effective and cost efficient
way to transmit rotary motion
in everyday life. SUHNER Mfg., Inc. in Rome, Georgia USA
www.suhner.com
Zemax optical and illumination
design software was used exten-
sively by NASA engineers, scien-
tists and contractors to design
the 17 cameras and spectrome-
ters now onboard Curiosity.
Zemax was also used to design
similar optical systems on NASA’s two previous Mars rovers,
Spirit and Opportunity.
www.radiantzemax.com/en/zemax/home.aspx?rnet=z12tb8
Industry Contributions to Mars Rover
To accomplish its missions, NASA relies on the support of hundreds of contractors and suppliers.
Here's a look at some of the companies that contributed to the Mars Science Laboratory and the future
success of Curiosity’s mission on the Red Planet.
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Intro
Congratulations,
NASA,
on the successful landing of
the Curiosity Rover —
an amazing feat of engineering.
We are proud to support this mission and the discoveries yet to come.
Thank you for inspiring us all to dream bigger.
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A
Intro
C AD/CAE Software Enables NASA
to Head Back to Mars
NX™ CAD/CAE software and Teamcenter® product
lifecycle management software
Siemens PLM Software
Plano, TX
800-498-5351
www.siemens.com/nx
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), developed at NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, was
designed to determine whether the Gale Crater on Mars ever
had conditions favorable for life. The Curiosity rover is
equipped with a robotic arm that can drill into rocks, scoop up
soil, and deliver samples to internal analytical instruments.
While experience with previous Mars rovers, including Spirit
and Opportunity, played a role in the development of MSL’s
thermal control system, there were major differences in this
project that posed new challenges for JPL.
Curiosity’s power generator, the Multi-Mission Radioisotope
Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), is constantly generat-
ing a substantial amount of heat, so JPL had to add more capa-
bility to the heat-rejection system to accommodate it during
the cruise phase. Also, Curiosity’s payload is larger, with much
higher heat dissipations. The larger heat load on the rover
influenced the need to add a rover heat-rejection system. But
an even bigger difference is that Curiosity’s heat-rejection sys-
tem has to operate on the surface of Mars. While the cruise
heat-rejection system operates in a single mode to remove
waste heat, the rover heat-rejection system must perform both
heating and cooling on the Martian surface.
The design of the MSL’s thermal control system involved
more than just the heat-rejection system. It included all the
typical thermal control hardware (heaters, thermostats, ther-
mal control coatings, and thermal blankets) that maintains the
payload and the spacecraft subsystems within their allowable
temperature requirements, for all operating modes and in the
wide range of thermal conditions the MSL will experience
throughout the mission lifetime.
The highest temperature that portions of the MSL flight sys-
tem will experience is estimated to be 1447 °C during entry
into the Mars atmosphere. The coldest environment it will
experience is the coldness of deep space (-2 degrees Kelvin/-
275 °C) during the cruise phase to Mars. The thermal environ-
ment on the Mars surface will range from -135 to +50 °C.
Seamless Integration
Nearly a decade ago, JPL started to put together a technolo-
gy infrastructure aimed at meeting the more aggressive sched-
ules and leaner budgets it had started to experience. A key ele-
ment was establishing seamless software interfaces from con-
ceptual design through manufacturing. This would allow JPL
to minimize transcription errors, manual processes, and inter-
polations between meshes. Minimizing errors and rework was
critical to maintaining design and fabrication schedules.
To address these issues, JPL implemented NX software as an
end-to-end mechanical design platform. With NX, JPL got a
fully integrated computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-
aided engineering (CAE)/computer-aided manufacturing
(CAM) system. This is the system JPL used to develop the
mechanical portions of the MSL, including the thermal con-
trol system.
Virtual MSL
JPL’s mechanical designers modeled the entire MSL using
NX. There are digital assembly models of the rover, the cruise
stage, and the descent stage. Analysts used the NX geometry,
simplifying it as necessary, as the basis for their finite element
meshes. Having design geometry and the analysis meshes in a
single environment improved collaboration between the
design and analysis teams, and also reduced the time and
effort spent creating analysis models. The integrated NX envi-
ronment also allowed the engineering teams to rapidly re-eval-
uate designs as the mechanical hardware evolved.
JPL engineers started with small simulations (as this was the
pilot program) to validate modeling assumptions, and eventu-
ally gained confidence that their models correctly replicated
the physics involved. Then they used the NX CAE solutions for
thermal analysis to simulate a variety of physical effects, such as
fluid flow in the rover, heater control of the propulsion system,
and solar loading of the cruise stage. Analysis results were used
to update the design geometry.
The ease and efficiency of going from the design to thermal
analysis and then back to update the design geometry acceler-
A p p l i c a t i o n B r i e f s
A p p l i c a t i o n B r i e f s
40 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
In addition to tighter design-analysis integration, use of NX enabled integration between different types of analysis, such as thermal and mechanical
analysis.
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Intro
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ated the development of the MSL’s ther-
mal control system considerably. Saving
time and keeping to the schedule was
critical, although an equally important
benefit of using NX was the ability to
evaluate the thermal control system’s
performance under conditions that JPL
could not simulate with physical testing.
In addition to tighter design-analysis
integration, use of NX enabled integra-
tion between different types of analysis,
such as thermal and mechanical distor-
tion and stress analysis. Prior to adopt-
ing NX, engineers would have run a
thermal solution and then manually
mapped temperatures to the structural
mesh. Use of NX eliminated this manu-
al process.
Use of NX also enabled easier access
to multiple types of analysis. For exam-
ple, designers also needed to know
whether any moving components would
interfere with any other components or
rover operations. This would have been
difficult to determine by looking at stat-
ic drawings or digital models. Using NX
Motion made it possible to answer ques-
tions such as these without the costs and
delays of physical testing.
The MSL flight system is the most
complex Mars mission that JPL has
implemented, involving new technolo-
gies and a new approach for entry,
descent, and landing. As such, the devel-
opment lifecycle is very difficult to com-
pare to previous missions. It is clear that
the MSL program had less manual work
and more efficient upstream and down-
stream modeling and simulation inter-
facing compared to previous programs.
And not having to re-enter data into
multiple applications ruled out a poten-
tial source of error, giving JPL a higher
level of confidence in the MSL design
than it would have had otherwise.
JPL also uses Teamcenter, which
enables a single source of structured
product and process information man-
agement throughout the digital lifecycle.
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A benefit of using NX was the ability to evalu-
ate the thermal control system’s performance
under conditions that JPL could not simulate
with physical testing.
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 41
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Intro
42 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
Technology Focus: Test & Measurement
A miniature, lighter-weight, and high-
ly accurate inertial navigation system
(INS) is coupled with GPS receivers to
provide stable and highly accurate posi-
tioning, attitude, and inertial measure-
ments while being subjected to highly
dynamic maneuvers. In contrast to con-
ventional methods that use extensive,
ground-based, real-time tracking and
control units that are expensive, large,
and require excessive amounts of power
to operate, this method focuses on the
development of an estimator that makes
use of a low-cost, miniature accelerome-
ter array fused with traditional measure-
ment systems and GPS. Through the use
of a position tracking estimation algo-
rithm, onboard accelerometers are
numerically integrated and transformed
using attitude information to obtain an
estimate of position in the inertial
frame. Position and velocity estimates
are subject to drift due to accelerometer
sensor bias and high vibration over time,
and so require the integration with GPS
information using a Kalman filter to pro-
vide highly accurate and reliable inertial
tracking estimations.
The method implemented here uses
the local gravitational field vector. Upon
determining the location of the local
gravitational field vector relative to two
consecutive sensors, the orientation of
the device may then be estimated, and
the attitude determined. Improved atti-
tude estimates further enhance the iner-
tial position estimates. The device can
be powered either by batteries, or by the
power source onboard its target plat-
forms. A DB9 port provides the I/O to
external systems, and the device is
designed to be mounted in a waterproof
case for all-weather conditions.
This work was done by Liang Tang of
Impact Technologies and Agamemnon
Crassidis of the Rochester Institute of
Technology for Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information, download the
Technical Support Package (free white
paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the
Physical Sciences category. GSC-16132-1
Lightweight, Miniature Inertial Measurement System
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Optical Density Analysis of X-Rays Utilizing Calibration Tooling
to Estimate Thickness of Parts
This method uses off-the-shelf data analysis software and a digitized x-ray for nondestructive testing.
John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
This process is designed to estimate the
thickness change of a material through
data analysis of a digitized version of an x-
ray (or a digital x-ray) containing the
material (with the thickness in question)
and various tooling. Using this process, it
is possible to estimate a material’s thick-
ness change in a region of the material or
part that is thinner than the rest of the
reference thickness. However, that same
principle process can be used to deter-
mine the thickness change of material
using a thinner region to determine
thickening, or it can be used to develop
contour plots of an entire part.
Proper tooling must be used. An x-ray
film with an S-shaped characteristic curve
or a digital x-ray device with a product
resulting in like characteristics is necessary.
If a film exists with linear characteristics,
this type of film would be ideal; however, at
the time of this reporting, no such film has
been known. Machined components (with
known fractional thicknesses) of a like
material (similar density) to that of the
material to be measured are necessary.
The machined components should
have machined through-holes. For ease
of use and better accuracy, the through-
holes should be a size larger than 0.125
in. (≈3 mm). Standard components for
this use are known as penetrameters or
image quality indicators. Also needed is
standard x-ray equipment, if film is used
in place of digital equipment, or x-ray
digitization equipment with proven con-
version properties. Typical x-ray digitiza-
tion equipment is commonly used in the
medical industry, and creates digital
images of x-rays in DICOM format. It is
recommended to scan the image in a 16-
bit format. However, 12-bit and 8-bit res-
olutions are acceptable. Finally, x-ray
analysis software that allows accurate
digital image density calculations, such
as Image-J freeware, is needed.
The actual procedure requires the test
article to be placed on the raw x-ray, ensur-
ing the region of interest is aligned for per-
pendicular x-ray exposure capture. One or
multiple machined components of like
material/density with known thicknesses
are placed atop the part (preferably in a
region of nominal and non-varying thick-
ness) such that exposure of the combined
part and machined component lay-up is
captured on the x-ray. Depending on the
accuracy required, the machined compo-
nent’s thickness must be carefully chosen.
Similarly, depending on the accuracy
required, the lay-up must be exposed such
that the regions of the x-ray to be analyzed
have a density range between 1 and 4.5.
After the exposure, the image is digitized,
and the digital image can then be analyzed
using the image analysis software.
This work was done by David Grau of
Kennedy Space Center. For more information,
download the Technical Support Package
(free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Physical Sciences category. KSC-
13206
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Intro
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This device provides non-invasive
beat-to-beat blood pressure measure-
ments and can be worn over the upper
arm for prolonged durations. Phase and
waveform analyses are performed on fil-
tered proximal and distal photoplethys-
mographic (PPG) waveforms obtained
from the brachial artery. The phase
analysis is used primarily for the compu-
tation of the mean arterial pressure,
while the waveform analysis is used pri-
marily to obtain the pulse pressure. Real-
time compliance estimate is used to
refine both the mean arterial and pulse
pressures to provide the beat-to-beat
blood pressure measurement.
This wearable physiological monitor
can be used to continuously observe the
beat-to-beat blood pressure (B3P). It can
be used to monitor the effect of pro-
longed exposures to reduced gravita-
tional environments and the effective-
ness of various countermeasures.
A number of researchers have used
pulse wave velocity (PWV) of blood in the
arteries to infer the beat-to-beat blood
pressure. There has been documentation
of relative success, but a device that is able
to provide the required accuracy and
repeatability has not yet been developed.
It has been demonstrated that an accu-
rate and repeatable blood pressure meas-
urement can be obtained by measuring
the phase change (e.g., phase velocity),
amplitude change, and distortion of the
PPG waveforms along the brachial artery.
The approach is based on comparing the
full PPG waveform between two points
along the artery rather than measuring
the time-of-flight. Minimizing the meas-
urement separation and confining the
measurement area to a single, well-
defined artery allows the waveform to
retain the general shape between the two
measurement points. This allows signal
processing of waveforms to determine
the phase and amplitude changes.
Photoplethysmography, which meas-
ures changes in arterial blood volume, is
commonly used to obtain heart rate and
blood oxygen saturation. The digitized
PPG signals are used as inputs into the
beat-to-beat blood pressure measure-
ment algorithm. The algorithm consists
of the following main components:
• First harmonic isolation bandpass fil-
ters take the raw PPG signals and sepa-
rate out the first harmonics.
• Three harmonic lowpass filters take
the PPG signal and filter out all spec-
tral components outside the first three
harmonics. The first three harmonics
are used for regeneration of the pulse
pressure waveforms.
• Phase analysis engine takes the first
harmonics of the PPG signals and com-
putes the phase difference between
them in real time using a cross-correla-
tion-based algorithm. The phase dif-
ference is to the first order correlated
to the MAP (mean arterial pressure).
Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor
This invention is applicable to all segments of the blood pressure monitoring market, including
ambulatory, home-based, and high-acuity monitoring.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
44 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Intro
46 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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NASA is in the process of modernizing its communications
infrastructure to accompany the development of a Crew
Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to replace the shuttle. With this
effort comes the opportunity to infuse more advanced coded
modulation techniques, including low-density parity-check
(LDPC) codes that offer greater coding gains than the cur-
rent capability. However, in order to take full advantage of
these codes, the ground segment receiver synchronization
loops must be able to operate at a lower signal-to-noise ratio
(SNR) than supported by equipment currently in use.
At low SNR, the receiver symbol synchronization loop will be
increasingly sensitive to transmitter timing jitter. Excessive tim-
ing jitter can cause bit slips in the receiver synchronization
loop, which will in turn cause frame losses and potentially lead
to receiver and/or decoder loss-of-lock. Therefore, it is neces-
sary to investigate what symbol timing jitter requirements on
the satellite transmitter are needed to support the next gener-
ation of NASA coded modulation techniques.
Measurements of ground segment receiver sensitivity to
transmitter bit jitter were conducted using a satellite
transponder and two different commercial staggered quadra-
Measurement Techniques for
Clock Jitter
New approach offers more advanced coded
modulation techniques.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
• Compliance estimation engine takes information on the gen-
eral shape of the waveforms and the phase delay to compute
the local compliance of the artery. The higher the arterial
pressure, the higher the Young’s modulus and thus the lower
the compliance.
• MAP computation engine obtains the phase delay and com-
pliance information and provides the mean arterial pressure.
• Waveform analysis engine takes the PPG signal containing
the first three harmonics and provides the signal processing
needed for compliance (elasticity) estimation and pulse pres-
sure computation.
• Pulse pressure computation engine takes the filtered PPG sig-
nal and an estimate of the arterial compliance to re-generate
the pulse waveform.
• B3P computation engine takes the MAP and the pulse pres-
sure computations and combines them with a blood pressure
model and calibration data to produce the final signal of
interest — the beat-to-beat blood pressure.
This work was done by Yong Jin Lee of Linea Research Corporation for
Johnson Space Center. For more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under
the Bio-Medical category.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to
retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commer-
cial use should be addressed to:
Linea Research Corporation
1020 Corporation Way
Suite 216
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Refer to MSC-24601-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech
Briefs issue, and the page number.
Test & Measurement
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Intro
ture phase-shift keying (SQPSK) re -
ceivers. The symbol synchronizer loop
transfer functions were characterized
for each receiver. Symbol timing jitter
was introduced at the transmitter.
Effects of sinusoidal (tone) jitter on
symbol error rate (SER) degradation
and symbol slip probability were meas-
ured. These measurements were used
to define regions of sensitivity to phase,
frequency, and cycle-to-cycle jitter char-
acterizations. An assortment of other
band-limited jitter waveforms was then
applied within each region to identify
peak or root-mean-square measures as a
basis for comparability.
Receiver clock recovery loops that
operate in low SNR ratio environments
require that transmit clock jitter be con-
strained by several measures on differ-
ent dimensions and operating regions.
In this work, effects of transmit phase jit-
ter (PhJ), frequency jitter (FJ), and
cycle-to-cycle jitter (CCJ) were studied
for sinusoidal and multi-tone jitter pro-
files on receiver performance. It was
demonstrated that the receiver must
have a loop bandwidth tight enough to
avoid cycle slips, but loose enough to
track some movement in the data signal.
Movement that a tight loop cannot track
is usually manifested first as intersymbol
interference (ISI) (SER degradation)
and then ultimately as cycle slipping in
the receiver.
Results from the tests indicate that
the receiver symbol synchronization
loop is more sensitive to certain types of
symbol jitter and jitter frequencies,
depending on the selection of the loop
filter and damping ratio. A framework
is provided to properly compose a
transmit jitter mask depending on
receiver design parameters such as
damping ratio in order to limit receiver
performance degradation at low SNR
regions.
This work was done by Chatwin
Lansdowne and Adam Schlesinger of Johnson
Space Center. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Physical Sciences category. MSC-
24810-1
48 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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A concept has been developed for a
new fuel cell individual-cell-voltage mon-
itor that can be directly connected to a
multi-cell fuel cell stack for direct sub-
stack power provisioning. It can also pro-
vide voltage isolation for applications in
high-voltage fuel cell stacks. The tech-
nology consists of basic modules, each
with an 8- to 16-cell input electrical
measurement connection port. For each
basic module, a power input connection
would be provided for direct connection
to a sub-stack of fuel cells in series with-
in the larger stack. This power connec-
tion would allow for module power to be
available in the range of 9-15 volts DC.
The relatively low voltage differences
that the module would encounter from
the input electrical measurement con-
nection port, coupled with the fact that
the module’s operating power is sup-
plied by the same substack voltage input
(and so will be at similar voltage), pro-
vides for elimination of high-common-
Fuel Cell/
Electrochemical
Cell Voltage
Monitor
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center,
Houston, Texas
Test & Measurement
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Intro
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50 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Online detection techniques to mon-
itor the health of rotating engine com-
ponents are becoming increasingly
attractive to aircraft engine manufac-
turers in order to increase safety of
operation and lower maintenance
costs. Health monitoring remains a
challenge to easily implement, especial-
ly in the presence of scattered loading
conditions, crack size, component
geometry, and materials properties.
The current trend, however, is to utilize
noninvasive types of health monitoring
or nondestructive techniques to detect
hidden flaws and mini-cracks before
any catastrophic event occurs. These
techniques go further to evaluate mate-
rial discontinuities and other anomalies
that have grown to the level of critical
defects that can lead to failure.
Generally, health monitoring is highly
dependent on sensor systems capable
of performing in various engine envi-
ronmental conditions and able to trans-
mit a signal upon a predetermined
crack length, while acting in a neutral
form upon the overall performance of
the engine system.
Spin simulation tests were conducted
on a turbine engine-like rotor with and
without an artificially induced notch at
different rotational loading speed levels.
Health monitoring verification was per-
Anomaly Detection Techniques With Real Test Data From a
Spinning Turbine Engine-Like Rotor
These techniques are suitable for engine manufacturers and industries in aerospace
and aviation.
John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
mode voltage issues within each module.
Within each module, there would be
options for analog-to-digital conversion
and data transfer schemes.
Each module would also include a
data-output/communication port. Each
of these ports would be required to be
either non-electrical (e.g., optically iso-
lated) or electrically isolated. This is nec-
essary to account for the fact that the
plurality of modules attached to the
stack will normally be at a range of volt-
ages approaching the full range of the
fuel cell stack operating voltages. A com-
munications/data bus could interface
with the several basic modules. Options
have been identified for command
inputs from the spacecraft vehicle con-
troller, and for output-status/data feeds
to the vehicle.
This work was done by Arturo Vasquez of
Johnson Space Center. For further informa-
tion, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships
Office at (281) 483-3809. MSC-24592-1
Test & Measurement
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Intro
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Intro
52 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
formed by integrating three different
advanced machine-learning algorithms
for anomaly detection in continuous
data streams from spinning tests of a
subscale turbine engine-like rotor disk
up to a speed of 10,000 rpm.
This study compares an outlier detec-
tion algorithm (Orca), one-class sup-
port vector machines (OCSVM), and
the Inductive Monitoring System (IMS)
for anomaly detection on the data
streams. These techniques were used to
inspect the experimental data under
the same operating conditions
employed in the tests, and using the
measured vibration response (blade tip
clearance) as a key input to check the
viability of these techniques on detect-
ing the disk anomalies and to evaluate
the performance of each methodology.
The performance of the algorithm is
measured with respect to the detection
horizon for situations where fault infor-
mation is available. Further, this work
presents a select evaluation of an online
health monitoring scheme of a rotating
disk using a combination of high-cal-
iber sensor technology, high-precision
in-house spin test system facilities, and
unprecedented data-driven fault detec-
tion methodologies.
The methodologies applied in this
study can be considered as a model-
based reasoning approach to engine
health monitoring. Typical model-
based reasoning techniques compare a
system model or simulation with system
sensor data to detect deviations
between values predicted by the model
and those produced by the actual sys-
tem. In fact, a model-based reasoner
uses the collected system parameter
values as input to a simulation and
determines if a particular set of input
values is consistent with the simulation
model. When the values are not consis-
tent with the model, a “conflict”
occurs, indicating that the system oper-
ation is off nominal. The results
obtained showed that the detection
algorithms are capable of predicting
anomalies in the rotor disk with very
good accuracy. Each detection scheme
performed differently under the same
experimental conditions, and each
delivered a different level of precision
in terms of detecting a fault in the
rotor. Overall rating showed that both
the Orca and OCVSM performed bet-
ter than the IMS technique.
This work was done by Ali Abdul-Aziz,
Mark R. Woike, Nikunj C. Oza, and Bryan
L. Matthews of Glenn Research Center. For
more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical
Sciences category.
Inquiries concerning rights for the commer-
cial use of this invention should be addressed
to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative
Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail
Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road,
Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-
18758-1.
Large cryogenic liquid hydrogen tanks
are composed of inner and outer shells.
The outer shell is exposed to the ambient
environment while the inner shell holds
the liquid hydrogen. The region between
these two shells is evacuated and typically
filled with a powder-like insulation to
minimize radiative coupling between the
two shells. A technique was developed for
detecting the presence of an air leak
from the outside environment into this
evacuated region. These tanks are rough-
ly 70 ft (≈21 m) in diameter (outer shell)
and the inner shell is roughly 62 ft (≈19
m) in diameter, so the evacuated region is
about 4 ft (≈1 m) wide.
A small leak’s primary effect is to
increase the boil-off of the tank. It was
preferable to install a more accurate fill
level sensor than to implement a boil-off
meter. The fill level sensor would be
composed of an accurate pair of pres-
sure transducers that would essentially
weigh the remaining liquid hydrogen.
This upgrade, allowing boil-off data to
be obtained weekly instead of over sever-
al months, is ongoing, and will then pro-
vide a relatively rapid indication of the
presence of a leak.
This work was done by Robert Youngquist,
Stanley Starr, and Mark Nurge of Kennedy
Space Center. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Physical Sciences category. KSC-
13211
Measuring Air Leaks Into the Vacuum Space of Large Liquid
Hydrogen Tanks
John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Antenna Calibration and Measurement Equipment
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
A document describes the Antenna
Calibration & Measurement Equipment
(ACME) system that will provide the
Deep Space Network (DSN) with instru-
mentation enabling a trained RF engi-
neer at each complex to perform anten-
na calibration measurements and to
generate antenna calibration data. This
data includes continuous-scan autobore-
based data acquisition with all-sky data
gathering in support of 4th order point-
ing model generation requirements.
Other data includes antenna subreflec-
tor focus, system noise temperature and
tipping curves, antenna efficiency,
reports system linearity, and instrument
calibration.
The ACME system design is based on
the on-the-fly (OTF) mapping tech-
nique and architecture. ACME has con-
tributed to the improved RF perform-
ance of the DSN by approximately a fac-
tor of two. It improved the pointing per-
formances of the DSN antennas and
productivity of its personnel and calibra-
tion engineers.
This work was done by David J. Rochblatt
and Manuel Vazquez Cortes of Caltech for
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more
information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical
Sciences category. NPO-47599
Test & Measurement
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Intro
Conferences & Courses
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Technologies and
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Intro
54 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
Technologies of the Month
For more information on these and other new, licensable inventions,
visit www.techbriefs.com/techsearch
Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Razor “Saws” Hair for Easier Shaving
Laser Consult
With traditional razors, the cutting edge of a blade moves
in the direction of the cut. A new shaving device, however,
includes one or more blades that perform a vibrating motion
perpendicular to the direction of the cut, and parallel to the
blade’s edge; the hairs are cut by sawing, rather than cutting.
Because an additional blade movement is introduced (in
the direction parallel to the blade), the sawing of the hair is
easier than cutting. As sawing requires less energy than cut-
ting, the act of shaving becomes easier. Other features of the
invention include smoother skin feel, shorter shaving time,
and longer life span of the razor.
Get the complete report on this technology at:
www.techbriefs.com/tow/201209b.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Medical Valves Withstand Magnetic Fields
Parker Hannifin
Parker Hannifin has created design concepts for valves that
can be used in MRI-compatible ventilators. The valves, built to
work with a variety of medical fluids and gases, are unaffected
by strong magnetic fields and, in turn, do not create any mag-
netic fields of their own. In addition, the valves can be
designed to handle a range of operating characteristics while
minimizing total footprint.
Parker also seeks to establish partnerships with early
adopters of new technology to test and validate design con-
cepts for MRI-compatible valves. Each MRI-compatible venti-
lator is expected to have three inlet valves and one bleed
valve. Any proposed device must be compatible with O
2
, air
and N
2
O.
Get the complete report on this technology at:
www.techbriefs.com/tow/201209d.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Gauge Calibrates Three-Dimensional
Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
A gauge, which is used in examining the accuracy of a coor-
dinate measuring machine (CMM), enables total calibration
of errors and numbers of revisions of the measured values.
The accurate calibration is possible for a CMM of any size.
Various machines can also be calibrated by combining the
gauge.
The CMM calibrating gauge consists of a block gauge and
a fixed sphere. The coordinates of the sphere’s center and
diameter can be specifically measured on the basis of the
opposite end faces of the block gauge. Furthermore, the
CMM calibrating gauge may have numbers of block gauges
that are fixed together, allowing measured values to be
revised repeatedly.
Get the complete report on this technology at:
www.techbriefs.com/tow/201209a.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Inspection Technology Identifies
Surface Defects
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
An automated surface inspection technology identifies
potential defects on a painted surface so that they can be
remedied. The system provides a database so that the size,
location, quality, and other aspects of production line defects
can be tracked over time.
The technology identifies dots and dust from 0.1 mm or
greater on coated film, such as automobile bodies. It uses a
series of LED lights, configured in stripes, and CCD cameras.
The cameras provide images for analysis to a tracking system.
If there is a defect, the angle of reflection from the lights pro-
duces greater brightness; the tracking software identifies flaws
that pass a preset threshold.
Get the complete report on this technology at:
www.techbriefs.com/tow/201209c.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 55
TechNeeds — Requests for Technologies
TechNeeds are anonymous requests for technologies that you and your organization may be able to fulfill.
Responding to a TechNeed is the first step to gaining an introduction with a prospective “buyer”
for your technology solution.
Diagnostic Indicators on
Consumer Packaging
Low-cost, flexible diagnostic indicators must be incorporat-
ed onto consumer product packaging. The main focus of the
technology should be the diagnosis of bad breath; a printable
diagnostic strip on a tube of toothpaste, for example, may be
a possible solution for quickly identifying halitosis. The client
wants to provide the consumer with a disposable tool to self-
diagnose at point of sale. Solutions could be diagnostics that
detect one or multiple states, and could include tests for
breath, saliva, sweat, urine, skin cells, and tongue scraping.
Respond to this TechNeed at:
www.techbriefs.com/tn/201209g.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Graphene as Filler for Thermoplastic
Nanocomposites
To save costs and reduce weight, a company is exploring
graphene as a filler for thermoplastic resins. Work to date has
shown that graphene dispersion is generally poor in thermo-
plastics, leading to less than optimal reinforcement proper-
ties and darker color. The manufacturer is specifically inter-
ested in the reinforcement properties of graphene in polyeth-
ylene and polypropylene. Potential solution proposals must
include the source of the material, the matrix they are dis-
persing into, the level of transparency and color, and some
measure of mechanical reinforcement.
Respond to this TechNeed at:
www.techbriefs.com/tn/201209h.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Heat Seal Solutions for Flexible Film
An organization seeks one or more bonding agents that can
be dispersed into water. When the bonding agents are coated
onto a PET film and dried, the coated film should adhere to
and seal items made from rigid PE (polyethylene), PP
(polypropylene), PS (polystyrene), PVC (polyvinylchloride),
and PET (polyester). The same agent does not need to bond
all five materials. One possible solution may be a material that
has both a polar group to bond to PET and a non-polar group
that can bond to other substrates.
Respond to this TechNeed at:
www.techbriefs.com/tn/201209e.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
Fast-Cooking Pasta
A large manufacturer of consumer products needs an inno-
vative process to make fast-cooking pasta. Cooking time
should be reduced by at least 70%, and thickness/texture of
the dry product must be the same as that of the reference
shape. Ingredients should be suitable for human consump-
tion. The reduction of cooking time and eventual tempera-
ture represents not only a clear advantage for a “time-starv-
ing” consumer, but also a lower energy consumption of the
cooking process, which reduces impact on the environment.
Respond to this TechNeed at:
www.techbriefs.com/tn/201209f.html
Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600
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Intro
56 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
MORE MANUFACTURING & PROTOTYPING TECH BRIEFS
Online at www.techbriefs.com/prototyping
Read these new reports:
• Joining and Assembly of Bulk Metallic Glasses Through Capacitive Discharge
• Reducing Machine Controller Design and Deployment
• Electrospun Nanofiber Coating: A Composite Toughening Approach
Sponsored by
Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-precision mirrors for space
applications are traditionally manufac-
tured from one piece of material, such
as lightweight glass “sandwich” or beryl-
lium. The purpose of this project was to
develop and test the feasibility of a man-
ufacturing process capable of producing
mirrors out of welded segments of
AlBeMet
®
(AM162H). AlBeMet
®
is a
HIP’d (hot isostatic pressed) material
containing approximately 62% berylli-
um and 38% aluminum. As a result,
AlBeMet
®
shares many of the benefits of
both of those materials for use in high
performance mirrors, while minimizing
many of their weaknesses.
AlBeMet
®
machines more like alu-
minum than beryllium, but retains many
of the beneficial structural characteristics
of beryllium, such as a lower coefficient
of thermal expansion (CTE), greater stiff-
ness, and lower density than aluminum.
AlBeMet
®
also has as a key characteristic
that it can be electron-beam welded, and
AlBeMet
®
has been demonstrated as a
suitable material for use as an optical sub-
strate. These last two characteristics were
central to the selection of AlBeMet
®
as
the material to be used in the construc-
tion of the segmented mirror. In order to
effectively compare the performance of
the monolithic and the segmented mir-
ror, a plano mirror was designed.
A plano mirror is the best design, as it
minimizes the effect of extraneous fac-
tors on the performance of the final mir-
ror, such as the skill of the polisher to
achieve the proper prescription. A plano
mirror will also theoretically retain the
same prescription when segmented and
then reassembled. Any material lost to
the kerf will not change the prescrip-
tion, unlike, for example, a spherical
mirror whose radius of curvature will
become smaller with the loss of material.
The mirror design also incorporates
light-weighting cavities and stiffening
ribs, as is typical in space-based mirror
design. Thicker ribs were required along
the proposed cutting/welding lines to
facilitate the machining of those sur-
faces when the mirror was segmented.
The mirror was designed to be cut into
four (4) equal segments. As a result, the
thicker ribs ran perpendicular to each
other through the center of the mirror.
The monolithic mirror was ma -
chined and ground by closely follow -
ing Materion’s suggested fabrication
process for AlBeMet
®
, including stabiliza-
tion, temperature cycling, and in-process
inspection checks. Once the flatness had
been obtained, the mirror was sent for
nickel plating. The mirror was plated with
high-phosphorous nickel to a thickness
Lightweight Metal Matrix Composite Segmented for
Manufacturing High-Precision Mirrors
New approach is examined to reduce production costs.
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Front of the welded mirror substrate. Back of the finished mirror.
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Intro
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Intro
between 0.003 and 0.004 in. (≈0.076 and
0.102 mm) in accordance with specifica-
tion AMS 2404, class I. After nickel-plating,
the mirror was stabilized and then pol-
ished to obtain a finished optic. In the
end, the monolithic mirror achieved a sur-
face figure of nearly ¼ λ (0.286 λ) at 633
nm with a surface roughness of 15 Å rms.
The monolithic mirror was then pre-
pared to be segmented and welded. The
nickel-plating on the mirror had to be
completely stripped off in order to facili-
tate welding. The mirror was cut into four
quarters using a wire EDM process. The
segments were stabilized and cleaned
before being delivered to Materion for the
welding process. The welds along the mir-
ror surface were done first and the mirror
flipped and aligned, and the backside,
along the bottom of the ribs, was welded.
Following welding, one first had to
remove enough material from the mir-
ror surface to get below any surface
damage or other irregularities caused by
the weld. A small amount of material was
also removed from the backside of the
mirror, simply to clean up the appear-
ance of that weld. The mirror was stress
relieved before being ground to the
proper flatness requirement, after which
the mirror was inspected and sent out
for nickel plating.
The returned mirror underwent the
grinding and polishing process in the
same manner as that used on the mono-
lithic mirror. The mirror was ground and
polished until it achieved a surface figure
of less than 1 (at 633 nm), temperature
cycled for stabilization, and then re-
measured. In the end, the segmented
mirror achieved a surface figure of less
than 0.7 at 633 nm with a surface rough-
ness measured at 16.5 Å. It is very proba-
ble that a better surface figure could
have been achieved on the segmented
mirror, but budget constraints of this
Phase I project prevented further efforts.
Based on the results presented, the
feasibility of creating high-performance
mirrors out of welded segments of
AlBeMet
®
has been proven and has the
potential for being used in a full-size
astronomical mirror.
This work was done by Vladimir Vudler of
Hardric Laboratories, Inc. for Goddard Space
Flight Center. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
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Manufacturing & Prototyping
The sounding rocket experiment
FIRE (Far-ultraviolet Imaging Rocket
Experi ment) will improve the science
community’s ability to image a spectral
region hitherto unexplored astronomi-
cally. The imaging band of FIRE (≈900
to 1,100 Å) will help fill the current
wavelength imaging observation hole
existing from ≈620 Å to the GALEX
band near 1,350 Å. FIRE is a single-optic
prime focus telescope with a 1.75-m
focal length. The bandpass of 900 to
1100 Å is set by a combination of the
Plasma Treatment
To Remove Carbon
From Indium UV
Filters
Hydrogen plasma cleaning is
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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, California
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 59 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-798
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A cutaway view shows the Detector Assembly and Filter. The indium filter
sits just in front of the detector plates in the light beam (yellow cone) at
the orange ring.
mirror coating, the indium filter in front of the detector, and
the salt coating on the front of the detector’s microchannel
plates. Critical to this is the indium filter that must reduce the
flux from Lyman-alpha at 1,216 Å by a minimum factor of 10
–4
.
The cost of this Lyman-alpha removal is that the filter is not
fully transparent at the desired wavelengths of 900 to 1,100 Å.
Recently, in a project to improve the performance of optical
and solar blind detectors, JPL developed a plasma process
capable of removing carbon contamination from indium
metal. In this work, a low-power, low-temperature hydrogen
plasma reacts with the carbon contaminants in the indium to
form methane, but leaves the indium metal surface undis-
turbed. This process was recently tested in a proof-of-concept
experiment with a filter provided by the University of
Colorado. This initial test on a test filter showed improvement
in transmission from 7 to 9 percent near 900 Å with no process
optimization applied. Further improvements in this perform-
ance were readily achieved to bring the total transmission to
12% with optimization to JPL’s existing process.
A low-power, hydrogen plasma treatment is generated in a
PlasmaTherm RIE etcher using a mixture of argon and hydro-
gen gas. The gas ratio is optimized in order to control the fol-
lowing variables: bias voltage, atomic hydrogen content, and
substrate temperature. Low bias voltage is required to avoid
mechanically degrading the filters by sputtering the indium
foil. High atomic hydrogen content is required to enhance the
carbon removal rate. Low substrate temperature is required to
avoid deformation of the indium foil due to sagging. Those
variables are optimized around MFC (mass flow controller) set-
points of 25 sccm argon and 7 sccm hydrogen.
This work was done by Harold F. Greer and Shouleh Nikzad of
Caltech, and Matthew Beasley and Brennan Gantner of the University
of Colorado for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more informa-
tion, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Manufacturing & Prototyping
category.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to
retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commer-
cial use should be addressed to:
Innovative Technology Assets Management
JPL
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
E-mail: iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov
Refer to NPO-47400, volume and number of this NASA Tech
Briefs issue, and the page number.
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Intro
www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-800
Electronics/Computers
Telerobotics Workstation (TRWS) for
Deep Space Habitats
This multi- display computer workstation can be adjusted for a
variety of configurations.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
On medium- to long- duration human
spaceflight missions, latency in commu-
nications from Earth could reduce effi-
ciency or hinder local operations, con-
trol, and monitoring of the various mis-
sion vehicles and other elements. Re -
gardless of the degree of autonomy of
any one particular element, a means of
monitoring and controlling the ele-
ments in real time based on mission
needs would increase efficiency and
response times for their operation.
Since human crews would be present
locally, a local means for monitoring and
controlling all the various mission ele-
ments is needed, particularly for robotic
The Telerobotics Workstation (TRWS) swing frame enables the mounted computer workstation to be
adjusted for a variety of configurations.
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 61
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elements where response to interesting
scientific features in the environment
might need near- instantaneous manipu-
lation and control.
One of the elements proposed for
med ium- and long- duration human space -
flight missions, the Deep Space Habitat
(DSH), is intended to be used as a re -
mote residence and working volume for
human crews. The proposed solution for
local monitoring and control would be
to provide a workstation within the DSH
where local crews can operate local vehi-
cles and robotic elements with little to
no latency.
The Telerobotics Workstation (TRWS)
is a multi- display computer workstation
mounted in a dedicated location within
the DSH that can be adjusted for a vari-
ety of configurations as required. From
an Intra- Vehicular Activity (IVA) loca-
tion, the TRWS uses the Robot App -
lication Programming Interface Del -
egate (RAPID) control environment
through the local network to remotely
monitor and control vehicles and robot-
ic assets located outside the pressurized
volume in the immediate vicinity or at
low- latency distances from the habitat.
The multiple display area of the TRWS
allows the crew to have numerous win-
dows open with live video feeds, control
windows, and data browsers, as well as
local monitoring and control of the
DSH and associated systems.
The novelty of the TRWS comes from
the integration and configuration of var-
ious software and hardware elements
within the context of the DSH environ-
ment. Controls, communications, power
status, situational awareness informa-
tion, and telemetry — though employ-
ing conventional and sometimes com-
mercial off- the- shelf (COTS) equipment
— are displayed in a unique operational
environment that must compete with
crew attention in a fully functional habi-
tat. The TRWS RAPID software, hard-
ware, structural configuration, ergo -
nom ics, and human factors combine to
provide the crew with an efficient tool
for carrying out mission remote asset
control objectives.
This work was done by David S. Mittman,
Alan S. Howe, and Recaredo J. Torres of
Caltech; Jennifer L. Rochlis Zumbado and
Kimberly A. Hambuchen of Johnson Space
Center; and Matthew Demel and Christopher
C. Chapman of JSC Jacobs Technology for
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more
information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Elec -
tronics/Computers category. NPO- 48503
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Intro
In order to reduce the effect of gain
and noise instabilities in the RF chain
of a microwave radiometer, a Dicke
radiometer topology is often used, as in
the case of the proposed surface water
and ocean topography (SWOT)
radiometer instrument. For this topolo-
gy, a single-pole double-throw (SPDT)
microwave switch is needed, which
must have low insertion loss at the
radiometer channel frequencies to
minimize the overall receiver noise fig-
ure. Total power radiometers are limit-
ed in accuracy due to the continuous
variation in gain of the receiver.
Currently, there are no switches in the
market that can provide these charac-
teristics at 92, 130, and 166 GHz as
needed for the proposed SWOT
radiometer instrument.
High-frequency SPDT switches were
developed in the form of monolithic
microwave integrated circuits (MMICs)
using 75-μm indium phosphide (InP)
PIN-diode technology. These switches
can be easily integrated into Dicke
switched radiometers that utilize
microstrip technology. The MMIC
switches operate from 80 to 105 GHz,
90 to 135 GHz, and 160 to 185 GHz.
The 80- to 105-GHz switches have been
tested and have achieved <2-dB inser-
tion loss, >15-dB return loss (>18 dB for
the asymmetric design), and >15-dB iso-
lation. The isolation can be tuned to
achieve >20-dB isolation from 85 to 103
GHz. The 90- to 135-GHz SPDT switch
has achieved <2-dB insertion loss, >15-
dB return loss, and 8- to 12-dB isola-
tion. However, it has been shown that
the isolation of this switch can also be
improved. Although the 160- to 185-
GHz switch has been fabricated, it has
not yet been measured at the time of
this reporting. Simulation results pre-
dict this switch will have <2-dB insertion
loss, >20-dB return loss, and >20-dB iso-
lation.
The switches can be used for a
radiometer such as the one proposed for
the SWOT Satellite Mission whose three
channels at 92, 130, and 166 GHz would
allow for wet-tropospheric path delay
correction near coastal zones and over
land. This feat is not possible with the
current Jason-class radiometers due to
their lower frequency signal measure-
ment and thus lower resolution.
The design work was done by Oliver Montes,
Douglas E. Dawson, and Pekka P. Kangaslahti
of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. The processing of the InP MMIC
circuits was done by Kwok Loi and Augusto
Gutierrez from NGST. For more information,
download the Technical Support Package
(free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Electronics/Computers category.
NPO-48083
62 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-802
Electronics/Computers
Single-Pole Double-Throw MMIC Switches for a Microwave
Radiometer
Switches reduce the effect of gain and noise instabilities.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 63
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On Shaft Data Acquisition System (OSDAS) is a rugged, com-
pact, multiple-channel data acquisition computer system that is
designed to record data from instrumentation while operating
under extreme rotational centrifugal or gravitational acceleration
forces. This system, which was developed for the Heritage Fuel Air
Turbine Test (HFATT) program, addresses the problem of record-
ing multiple channels of high-sample-rate data on most any rotat-
ing test article by mounting the entire acquisition computer
onboard with the turbine test article. With the limited availability
of slip ring wires for power and communication, OSDAS utilizes its
own resources to provide independent power and amplification
for each instrument. Since OSDAS utilizes standard PC technolo-
gy as well as shared code interfaces with the next-generation, real-
time health monitoring system (SPARTAA — Scalable Parallel
Architecture for Real Time Analysis and Acquisition), this system
could be expanded beyond its current capabilities, such as provid-
ing advanced health monitoring capabilities for the test article.
High-conductor-count slip rings are expensive to purchase and
maintain, yet only provide a limited number of conductors for
routing instrumentation off the article and to a stationary data
acquisition system. In addition to being limited to a small number
of instruments, slip rings are prone to wear quickly, and introduce
noise and other undesirable characteristics to the signal data. This
led to the development of a system capable of recording high-den-
sity instrumentation, at high sample rates, on the test article itself,
all while under extreme rotational stress.
OSDAS is a fully functional PC-based system with 48 channels of
24-bit, high-sample-rate input channels, phase synchronized, with
an onboard storage capacity of over ½-terabyte of solid-state stor-
age. This recording system takes a novel approach to the problem
of recording multiple channels of instrumentation, integrated with
the test article itself, packaged in a compact/rugged form factor,
consuming limited power, all while rotating at high turbine speeds.
The hardware components were oriented, secured, and encap-
sulated by a variety of novel application techniques that allow for
the system to continue operation under rotational stress. This full,
custom-hardened system was designed to be a comprehensive solu-
tion to attaching directly to instrumentation (without external sen-
sor power supplies and amplification). Instead, all instrumentation
has a dedicated power supply, integrated inside OSDAS, with the
ability to withstand electrical faults (short circuits, etc.) without
compromising other sensors. The amplification required for each
sensor was configurable at build time to match that of the Kulite
instrumentation used in the HFATT article. The entire computing,
storage, and acquisition hardware system was custom-encapsulated
in a thermally conductive medium that allows heat to passively dis-
sipate by air via the outer shell (indoor/outdoor environmental
conditions) or by conduction cooling in space conditions.
OSDAS is a comprehensive, high-capacity acquisition system
capable of withstanding extreme rotational forces. The existing
products on the market are either limited in channel capacity,
bandwidth, or simply not capable of withstanding physical
stress. As part of the build process, a variety of mounting and
On Shaft Data Acquisition
System (OSDAS)
Applications include helicopter rotor testing,
onboard liquid/solid rocket engine data
acquisition, and gas-turbine-engine health
monitoring.
Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama
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Intro
64 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-804
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Electronics/Computers
Flexible Architecture for FPGAs in Embedded Systems
A small device simplifies FPGA development in cPCI systems.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Commonly, field-programmable gate
arrays (FPGAs) being developed in cPCI
embedded systems include the bus inter-
face in the FPGA. This complicates the
development because the interface is
complicated and requires a lot of devel-
opment time and FPGA resources. In
addition, flight qualification requires a
substantial amount of time be devoted
to just this interface.
Another complication of putting the
cPCI interface into the FPGA being
developed is that configuration informa-
tion loaded into the device by the cPCI
microprocessor is lost when a new bit file
is loaded, requiring cumbersome opera-
tions to return the system to an opera-
tional state.
Finally, SRAM-based FPGAs are typi-
cally programmed via specialized cables
and software, with programming files
being loaded either directly into the
FPGA, or into PROM devices. This can
be cumbersome when doing FPGA
development in an embedded environ-
ment, and does not have an easy path to
flight. Currently, FPGAs used in space
applications are usually programmed
via multiple space-qualified PROM
devices that are physically large and
encapsulation techniques was utilized,
which ensures the system can withstand
harsh rotational stresses. OSDAS
employs the use of standard PC technol-
ogy. The system was built to share a code
interface with that of the SPARTAA, oth-
erwise known as the next-generation,
real-time vibration monitoring system
(RTVMS). This allows OSDAS to be
expanded in the future to incorporate
real-time health monitoring of the test
article hardware.
OSDAS employs a common hardware-
mounting interface that allows the acqui-
sition system to be adapted to a variety of
test articles and environments. With the
use of built-in sensor amplification and
independent power supplies, a total sen-
sor acquisition solution was provided.
While acquisition storage capacity and
channel counts were limited initially by
the desire of a small/compact form factor,
further expansion beyond 48 channels
and multi-terabyte solutions is possible.
For the final system checkout, OSDAS was
subjected to speeds over 15,000 RPM
(maximum facility capability). A continu-
ous Ethernet connection was maintained
throughout the checkout and test series.
This work was done by Marc Pedings, Shawn
DeHart, Jason Formby, and Charles Naumann
of Optical Sciences Corporation for Marshall
Space Flight Center. For more information, con-
tact Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization
Assistance Lead, at sammy.a.nabors@nasa.gov.
Refer to MFS-32908-1.
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A
Intro
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Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-805
The cPCI Interface is a common interface
between the cPCI bus and the backend FPGA. It
is implemented as a separate interface device on
the cPCI bus.
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require extra circuitry (typically includ-
ing a separate one-time programmable
FPGA) to enable them to be used for
this application.
This technology adds a cPCI inter-
face device with a simple, flexible,
high-performance backend interface
supporting multiple backend FPGAs. It
includes a mechanism for program-
ming the FPGAs directly via the micro-
processor in the embedded system,
eliminating specialized hardware, soft-
ware, and PROM devices and their
associated circuitry. It has a direct path
to flight, and no extra hardware and
minimal software are required to sup-
port reprogramming in flight. The
device added is currently a small FPGA,
but an advantage of this technology is
that the design of the device does not
change, regardless of the application
in which it is being used. This means
that it needs to be qualified for flight
only once, and is suitable for one-time
programmable devices or an applica-
tion specific integrated circuit (ASIC).
An application programming interface
(API) further reduces the development
time needed to use the interface device
in a system.
This work was done by Duane I. Clark and
Chester N. Lim of Caltech for NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. For more information,
download the Technical Support Package
(free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Electronics/Computers category.
NPO-48424
The software used in this innovation is
available for commercial licensing. Please con-
tact Daniel Broderick of the California
Institute of Technology at danielb@caltech.edu.
Refer to NPO-48424.
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Intro
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www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-806
Materials & Coatings
Ablative materials are required to pro-
tect a space vehicle from the extreme
temperatures encountered during the
most demanding (hyperbolic) atmos-
pheric entry velocities, either for probes
launched toward other celestial bodies,
or coming back to Earth from deep
space missions. To that effect, the resin-
impregnated carbon ablator (RICA) is a
high-temperature carbon/phenolic abla-
tive thermal protection system (TPS)
material designed to use modern and
commercially viable components in its
manufacture. Heritage carbon/phenolic
ablators intended for this use rely on
materials that are no longer in produc-
tion (i.e., Galileo, Pioneer Venus); hence
the development of alternatives such as
RICA is necessary for future NASA plan-
etary entry and Earth re-entry missions.
RICA’s capabilities were initially meas-
ured in air for Earth re-entry applica-
tions, where it was exposed to a heat flux
of 14 MW/m
2
for 22 seconds. Methane
tests were also carried out for potential
application in Saturn’s moon Titan, with
a nominal heat flux of 1.4 MW/m
2
for up
to 478 seconds. Three slightly different
material formulations were manufac-
tured and subsequently tested at the
Plasma Wind Tunnel of the University of
Stuttgart in Germany (PWK1) in the
summer and fall of 2010. The TPS’
integrity was well preserved in most
cases, and results show great promise.
There are several major elements
involved in the creation of a successful
ablative TPS material: the choice of fab-
ric and resin formulation is only the
beginning. The actual processing
involved in manufacturing involves a
careful choice of temperature, pressure,
and time. This manufacturing process
must result in a material that survives
heat loads with no de-lamination or spal-
lation. Several techniques have been
developed to achieve this robustness.
Variants of RICA’s material showed no
delamination or spallation at intended
heat flux levels, and their potential ther-
mal protection capability was demon-
strated. Three resin formulations were
tested in two separate samples each man-
ufactured under slightly different condi-
tions. A total of six samples was eventual-
ly chosen for test at the PWK1. Material
performance properties and results for
five of those are shown in the table. In
Resin-Impregnated Carbon Ablator: A New
Ablative Material for Hyperbolic Entry
Speeds
From surface temperatures as high as ≈3,000 °C, the measured
back temperature is only 50 °C
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Figure 1. RICA Sample during plasma wind tun-
nel testing.
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com
A long-term space mission requires
efficient air revitalization performance
to sustain the crew. Prefilter and partic-
ulate air filter media are susceptible to
rapid fouling that adversely affects their
performance and can lead to cata-
strophic failure of the air revitalization
system, which may result in mission fail-
ure. For a long-term voyage, it is
impractical to carry replacement partic-
ulate prefilter and filter modules due to
the usual limitations in size, volume,
and weight. The only solution to this
problem is to reagentlessly regenerate
prefilter and filter media in place. A
method was developed to modify the
particulate prefilter media to allow
them to regenerate reagentlessly, and
in place, by the application of modest
thermocycled transverse or reversed
airflows. The innovation may allow
NASA to close the breathing air loop
more efficiently, thereby sustaining the
vision for manned space exploration
missions of the future.
A novel, self-cleaning coatings tech-
nology was developed for air filter media
surfaces that allows reagentless in-place
regeneration of the surface. The tech-
nology grafts thermoresponsive and
nonspecific adhesion minimizing poly-
mer nanolayer brush coatings from the
prefilter media. These polymer nanolay-
er brush architectures can be triggered
to contract and expand to generate a
“pushing-off” force by the simple appli-
cation of modestly thermocycled (i.e.
cycling from ambient cabin temperature
to 40 ºC) air streams. The nonspecific
adhesion-minimizing properties of the
coatings do not allow the particulate
foulants to adhere strongly to the filter
media, and thermocycled air streams
applied to the media allow easy detach-
ment and in-place regeneration of the
media with minimal impact in system
downtime or astronaut involvement in
overseeing the process.
The novel feature of this self-cleaning
coatings approach is that this is an
enabling technology that can actively,
controllably, and reagentlessly regener-
ate filter media. The coatings application
is amenable to industrial-scale manufac-
Self-Cleaning Particulate Prefilter Media
This technology has application for air filter manufacturers for
self-cleaning particulate prefilters.
John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
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RICA
Phenolic
Content
(
~
%)
Carbon
Content
(
~
%)
Density
(gm/ml)
Plasma
Wind
Tunnel
Heat Flux
(MW/m
2
)
Heat
Duration
(s)
Integrated
Heat Input
(J/m
2
)
Mass
Loss
(gm)
Average
Recession
(mm)
Average
Surface Temp
from
Pyrometer(c)
Average
Thermal
Gradient
(K/mm)
Heat of
Ablation
(J/kg)
5C 17 83 1.41 1.4 478 6.69E+08 7.84 4.218 1978.1 44.37 49E.+07
SA(1) 27 73 1.39 14 22 3.08E+08 3.33 1.96 3336.1 34.32 1.1E+08
3A 24 76 1.36 1.4 478 6.69E+08 3.32 0.342 1962.5 54.50 8.5E+07
5B 33 67 1.37 1.4 476 6.67E+08 3.73 1.217 1990.8 53.68 7.7E+07
3B 31 69 1.35 1.4 477 6.67E+08 3.70 1.143 1967.5 51.11 8.5E+07
(1) Tested in Air; all others tested in Methane
Table. Material Properties and initial test results.
the most extreme case, the temperature
dropped from ≈3,000 to 50 °C across 1.8
cm, demonstrating the material’s effec-
tiveness in protecting a spacecraft’s struc-
ture from the searing heat of entry.
With a manufacturing process that
can be easily re-created, RICA has
proven to be a viable choice for high-
speed hyperbolic entry trajectories, both
in methane (Titan) as well as in air
(Earth) atmospheres. Further assess-
ment and characterization of spallation
and an exact determination of its onset
heat flux (if present for intended appli-
cations) still remain to be measured.
This work was done by Jaime Esper of
Goddard Space Flight Center and Michael
Lengowski of the University of Stuttgart. For
more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Materials
& Coatings category. GSC-16183-1
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-807
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A
Intro
www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-808
Materials & Coatings
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A flexible, organic polyurea-based
aerogel insulation material was devel-
oped that will provide superior thermal
insulation and inherent radiation protec-
tion for government and commercial
applications. The rubbery polyurea-based
aerogel exhibits little dustiness, good
flexibility and toughness, and durability
typical of the parent polyurea polymer,
yet with the low density and superior insu-
lation properties associated with aerogels.
The thermal conductivity values of
polyurea-based aerogels at lower temper-
ature under vacuum pressures are very
low and better than that of silica aerogels.
Flexible, rubbery polyurea-based aero-
gels are able to overcome the weak and
brittle nature of conventional inorganic
and organic aerogels, including polyiso-
cyanurate aerogels, which are generally
prepared with the one similar compo-
nent to polyurethane rubber aerogels.
Additionally, with higher content of
hydrogen in their structures, the
polyurea rubber-based aerogels will also
provide inherently better radiation pro-
tection than those of inorganic and car-
bon aerogels. The aerogel materials also
demonstrate good hydrophobicity due to
their hydrocarbon molecular structure.
Polyurea-Based Aerogel Monoliths and
Composites
These aerogels can be used in portable apparatus for warming,
storing, and/or transporting food and medicine, and can be
recycled for fillers for conventional plastics.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Lynntech’s Self-Cleaning Coatings technology for air filter media surfaces allows reagentless in-place
regeneration of the surface.
Air Filter Surface
Cabin Air Flow Clean Air
Rapid Fouling of Air
Filter Surface
Lowered Air
Flux
Lynntech’s Self-Cleaning Particulate Air Filter Surfaces
Thermoresponsive Polymer Nanobrush
modified Air Filter Surface
Thermally triggered nanobrush expansion pushes
off foulants and restores filter performance
turing processes and should allow signif-
icantly increased useful lifetime for the
filter media in an inexpensive fashion.
The energy required to trigger the ther-
mocycled self-cleaning is minimal, and
can easily be diverted from heat
exchange modules further downstream
in the air revitalization system. The
approach will further lower loads down-
stream in the air revitalization system,
thereby contributing to increasing the
lifetime of these modules, and decreas-
ing the amount of replacement modules.
These salient features will enable NASA
to design more efficient and reliable,
and less cumbersome, air revitalization
systems for future manned missions.
This work was done by Olivia Weber,
Sanjiv Lalwani, and Anjal Sharma of
Lynntech, Inc. for Glenn Research Center. For
more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Materials
& Coatings category.
Inquiries concerning rights for the commer-
cial use of this invention should be addressed
to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative
Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail
Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland,
Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18848-1.
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A
Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 69 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-810
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-809
There are several strategies to over-
coming the drawbacks associated with
the weakness and brittleness of silica
aerogels. Development of the flexible
fiber-reinforced silica aerogel composite
blanket has proven to be one promising
approach, providing a conveniently field-
ed form factor that is relatively robust in
industrial environments compared to sil-
ica aerogel monoliths. However, the flex-
ible, silica aerogel composites still have a
brittle, dusty character that may be unde-
sirable, or even intolerable, in certain
application environments. Although the
crosslinked organic aerogels, such as
resorcinol-formaldehyde (RF), polyiso-
cyanurate, and cellulose aerogels, show
very high impact strength, they are also
very brittle with little elongation (i.e., less
rubbery). Also, silica and carbon aero-
gels are less efficient radiation shielding
materials due to their lower content of
hydrogen element.
The invention involves mixing at
least one isocyanate resin in solvent
along with a specific amount of at least
one polyamine hardener. The hardener
is selected from a group of poly-
oxyalkyleneamines, amine-based poly-
ols, or a mixture thereof. Mixing is per-
formed in the presence of a catalyst and
reinforcing inorganic and/or organic
materials, and the system is then sub-
jected to gelation, aging, and supercrit-
ical drying. The aerogels will offer
exceptional flexibility, excellent ther-
mal and physical properties, and good
hydrophobicity.
The rubbery polyurea-based aerogels
are very flexible with no dust and
hydrophobic organics that demonstrat-
ed the following ranges of typical prop-
erties: densities of 0.08 to 0.293 g/cm
3
,
shrinkage factor (raerogel/rtarget) = 1.6
to 2.84, and thermal conductivity values
of 15.2 to 20.3 mW/m K.
This work was done by Je Kyun Lee of
Aspen Aerogels, Inc. for Johnson Space
Center. For more information, download the
Technical Support Package (free white
paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the
Materials & Coatings category.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517,
the contractor has elected to retain title to this
invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its
commercial use should be addressed to:
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA 01532
Phone No.: (508) 691-1111
Fax No.: (508) 691-1200
Refer to MSC-24214-1, volume and num-
ber of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the
page number.
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Intro
www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-811
Mechanics/Machinery
Actuators are critical to all the robotic
and manipulation mechanisms that are
used in current and future NASA mis-
sions, and are also needed for many other
industrial, aeronautical, and space activi-
ties. There are many types of actuators
that were designed to operate as linear or
rotary motors, but there is still a need for
low-force, low-noise linear actuators for
specialized applications, and the dis-
closed mechanism addresses this need.
A simpler implementation of a rotary
actuator was developed where the end
effector controls the motion of a brush
for cleaning a thermal sensor. The
mechanism uses a SMA (shape-memory
Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear
Actuator
This actuator has potential uses in military and automotive
applications.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Modular, Rapid Propellant Loading
System/Cryogenic Testbed
John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
The Cryogenic Test Laboratory (CTL)
at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has
designed, fabricated, and installed a
modular, rapid propellant-loading sys-
tem to simulate rapid loading of a
launch-vehicle composite or standard
cryogenic tank. The system will also
function as a cryogenic testbed for test-
ing and validating cryogenic innovations
and ground support equipment (GSE)
components. The modular skid-mount-
ed system is capable of flow rates of liq-
uid nitrogen from 1 to 900 gpm (≈3.8 to
3,400 L/min), of pressures from ambi-
ent to 225 psig (≈1.5 MPa), and of tem-
peratures to –320 °F (≈–195 °C). The sys-
tem can be easily validated to flow liquid
oxygen at a different location, and could
be easily scaled to any particular vehicle
interface requirements.
This innovation is the first phase of
development of a smart Simulated Rapid
Propellant Loading (SRPL) system that
can be used at multiple sites for servicing
multiple vehicle configurations with vary-
ing interface flow, temperature, and pres-
sure requirements. The SRPL system can
accommodate cryogenic components
from ¼ to 8 in. (≈0.6 to 20 cm) and larg-
er, and a variety of pneumatic component
types and sizes. Temperature, pressure,
flow, quality, and a variety of other sensors
are also incorporated into the propellant
system design along with the capability to
adjust for the testing of a multitude of sen-
sor types and sizes.
The system has three modules (skids)
that can be placed at any launch vehicle
site (or mobile), and can be connected
with virtually any length of pipe
required for a complete propellant load-
ing system. The modules include a stor-
age area pump skid (located near the
storage tank and a dump basin), a valve
control skid (located on or near the
launch table to control flow to the vehi-
cle, and to return to the tank or dump
basin), and a vehicle interface skid
(located at the vehicle). The skids are
fully instrumented with pressure, tem-
perature, flow, motor, pump controls,
and data acquisition systems, and can be
controlled from a control room, or
locally from a PDA (personal digital
assistant) or tablet PC.
This work was done by Walter Hatfield, Sr.
and Kevin Jumper of ASRC Aerospace Corp. for
Kennedy Space Center. For more information,
download the Technical Support Package
(free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Mechanics/Machinery category.
KSC-13460
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 71
Congratulations to the NASA Jet Propulsion
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The Actuator is driven by shape memory alloy as a primary active element. Electrical connections to
points A and B are used to apply electrical power in the resistive NiTi wire, causing a phase change
that contracts the wire on the order of 5%.
Active SMA element
Actuator shaft
Fault tolerant and resetting
actuator elements
alloy) wire for low force, and low noise.
The linear implementation of the actua-
tor incorporates a set of springs and
mechanical hard-stops for resetting and
fault tolerance to mechanical resistance.
The actuator can be designed to work in
a pull or push mode, or both.
Depending on the volume envelope cri-
teria, the actuator can be configured for
scaling its volume down to 4×2×1 cm
3
.
The actuator design has an inherent
fault tolerance to mechanical resistance.
The actuator has the flexibility of being
designed for both linear and rotary
motion. A specific configuration was
designed and analyzed where fault-toler-
ant features have been implemented. In
this configuration, an externally applied
force larger than the design force does
not damage the active components of
the actuator. The actuator housing can
be configured and produced using cost-
effective methods such as injection
molding, or alternatively, its compo-
nents can be mounted directly on a
small circuit board.
The actuator is driven by a SMA -NiTi
as a primary active element, and it
requires energy on the order of 20 Ws(J)
per cycle. Electrical connections to
points A and B are used to apply electri-
cal power in the resistive NiTi wire, caus-
ing a phase change that contracts the
wire on the order of 5%. The actuation
period is of the order of a second for
generating the stroke, and 4 to 10 sec-
onds for resetting. Thus, this design
allows the actuator to work at a frequen-
cy of up to 0.1 Hz.
The actuator does not make use of the
whole range of motion of the SMA mate-
rial, allowing for large margins on the
mechanical parameters of the design.
The efficiency of the actuator is of the
order of 10%, including the margins.
The average dissipated power while driv-
ing at full speed is of the order of 1 W,
and can be scaled down linearly if the
rate of cycling is reduced. This design
produces an extremely quiet actuator; it
can generate a force greater than 2 N
and a stroke greater than 1 cm. The
operational duration of SMA materials is
of the order of millions of cycles with
some reduced stroke over a wide tem-
perature range up to 150 ºC.
This work was done by Mircea Badescu,
Stewart Sherrit, and Yoseph Bar-Cohen of
Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Mechanics/Machinery category.
NPO-47991
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Intro
Future lunar landers and rovers will
require variable thermal links that
allow for heat rejection during the lunar
daytime and passively prevent heat
rejection during the lunar night. During
the lunar day, the thermal manage-
ment system must reject the waste heat
from the electronics and batteries to
maintain them below the maximum
acceptable temperature. During the
lunar night, the heat rejection system
must either be shut down or signifi-
cant amounts of guard heat must be
added to keep the electronics and bat-
teries above the minimum acceptable
temperature. Since guard heater
power is unfavorable because it adds to
system size and complexity, a variable
thermal link is preferred to limit heat
removal from the electronics and bat-
teries during the long lunar night.
Conventional loop heat pipes (LHPs)
can provide the required variable ther-
mal conductance, but they still con-
sume electrical power to shut down
the heat transfer. This innovation adds
a thermal control valve (TCV) and a
bypass line to a conventional LHP that
proportionally allows vapor to flow
back into the compensation chamber
of the LHP. The addition of this valve
can achieve completely passive ther-
mal control of the LHP, eliminating
the need for guard heaters and com-
plex controls.
A schematic of the system is shown
in Figures 1 and 2 for operation dur-
ing the Lunar day and night, respec-
tively. During the Lunar day, maxi-
mum vapor flow to the radiator is
desired for efficient operation. In the
example shown, 95% of the vapor
flows though the radiator and 5%
flows though the bypass line. In con-
trast to the Lunar day, the thermal
link must be as ineffective as possible
during the Lunar night (see Figure 2).
As the temperature of the TCV drops,
more and more of the vapor is direct-
ed directly back into the compensa-
tion chamber, gradually shutting
down the LHP.
Previous LHPs with a TCV have the
bypass vapor flow directly mix with the
liquid return line. In this arragement,
the vapor and liquid flows will interact
with each other, possibly causing flow
instabilities as the two streams come to
the thermodynamic equilibrium. A
LHP incorporating a passive TCV and
bypass line proportionally allows
vapor to flow back into the compensa-
tion chamber, minimizing flow insta-
bilities experienced in previous LHPs
with TCVs by allowing mixing of the
72 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
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Mechanics/Machinery
Loop Heat Pipe With Thermal Control Valve as a Variable
Thermal Link
New arrangement reduces energy demands while maintaining circuits and batteries within
optimal temperature range.
Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 73
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Figure 1. Variable Conductance Loop Heat Pipe schematic during the Lunar
day. Most of the vapor flows through the radiator. The 5% and 95% flow
rates are representative.
Figure 2. Variable Conductance Loop Heat Pipe schematic during the Lunar
night. Most of the vapor flows directly back into the compensation cham-
ber, shutting down the LHP. The 95% and 5% flow rates are representative.
Warm
Electronics
Box
Vapor Flow
Vapor Line
Evaporation Wick
Heat Input
5% of Vapor
Flow
95% Of Vapor
Flow
Radiator
Heat Output
Condenser
Liquid
Flow
Thermal
Control
Valve
Liquid
Return
Line
Compensation
Chamber
Warm
Electronics
Box
Vapor Flow
Vapor Line
Evaporation Wick
Heat Input
95% of Vapor
Flow
5% Of Vapor
Flow
Radiator
Heat Output
Condenser
Liquid
Flow
Thermal
Control
Valve
Liquid
Return
Line
Compensation
Chamber
vapor and liquid in the relatively large volume of the compensa-
tion chamber.
This work was done by John Hartenstine, William G. Anderson,
Kara Walker, and Pete Dussinger of Advanced Cooling Technologies,
Inc. for Marshall Space Flight Center. For more information, contact
Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization Assistance Lead, at
sammy.a.nabors@nasa.gov. Refer to MFS-32915-1.
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Intro
74 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-815
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Mechanics/Machinery
Over-center mechanisms were used in
the orbiter payload bay to lock down the
robotic arm during the launch of the
space shuttle. These mechanisms were
unlocked while in orbit in order to
release the arm for use. Adjusting the
mechanism such that it would not inad-
vertently release during launch, but
could be released when needed by use
of the motor, required accurate adjust-
ments that were difficult to perform. A
procedure was developed to allow these
mechanisms to be adjusted to within the
specifications required for the Space
Shuttle Program. This approach is sig-
nificantly more accurate than any other
technique, and is the only technique
known that met the launch require-
ments of the program.
Within the payload bay of the orbiters
was a set of small over-center mecha-
nisms that held the robotic arm in place.
Each of these contained two straight seg-
ments connected with a pin. The upper
end (called the drivelink) was connect-
ed via a second pin to a hook,
whose purpose was to hold
the robotic arm securely in
place until it was needed on a
mission. The lower end
(called the bellcrank) was
connected to a gearbox via
another pin or axle. In prac-
tice, this mechanism was
adjusted such that the over-
center pin could be forced
through the on-line position
a known over-center distance
where the residual strain in
the two straight segments
would lock it in place (the
stowed position). The dis-
tance and the force required
had to be adjusted such that
this mechanism would not
deploy during launch, but
such that a motor could drive
the pin back through the on-
line position to release the
robotic arm when needed.
Process for Measuring Over-Center Distances
A more accurate approach enables mechanisms to be adjusted to within tight specifications.
John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
In this one-to-one scale model of the Over-Center Mechanism,
a hex wrench is used in place of the motor, but the rest of the
components were machined to match those in the field.
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Intro
The problem was that the over-center
distance was required to be set at 0.026-
in. (≈0.7 mm), which was difficult to
measure to the required accuracy
[±0.001 in. (≈±0.03 mm)]. Trying to find
the on-line position, so that one could
measure from it, was not possible
because the mechanism would only stay
in this position if frictional forces held it,
and these forces were directional and
not consistent between measurements.
Some consideration was given to sim-
ply photographing the mechanism in its
stowed position and measuring the dis-
tance between the center of the pin and
a line connecting the centers of the
outer two rotational pins, but this failed
because the pin covers were not neces-
sarily centered on the pin centers.
In order to understand the problem, a
one-to-one scale model of the over-cen-
ter mechanism was constructed (see fig-
ure). A hex wrench was used in place of
the motor, but the rest of the compo-
nents were machined to match those in
the field. Several attempts at measuring
the over-center position were attempted
with this model, the first few of which
failed. One of the advantages of having a
model like this is that the dimensions of
the parts were well known and the pins
were all accessible, so the on-line posi-
tion could be measured accurately using
approaches not possible in the field.
A jig was constructed that used a
depth gage to measure the distance to
the over-center pin while resting on the
top and bottom pin. The hex wrench
was replaced with a calibrated torque
wrench. Then, the drivelink (the upper
half of the mechanism) was repositioned
to make it difficult to push the device
through the on-line position. Now, by
applying a known torque, it was possible
to measure a location to the center pin.
Then, without changing the length of
the drivelink, the top pin was discon-
nected, the mechanism was placed into
the stowed position, the top-pin was
reinserted, and the location of the cen-
ter pin was measured while applying the
opposite torque. In essence, this meas-
ured the location of the center pin while
it was being pushed toward the on-line
position from two different directions;
the average of these two measurements
was then the on-line position. Tests
showed that this approach was accurate
to ±0.002 in. (≈±0.05 mm) where at least
±0.001 in. (≈±0.03 mm) of error entered
from the second measurement tech-
nique. Statistically, this new approach
was accurate to ±0.001 in. (≈±0.03 mm).
Making static measurements, combined
with working in regions where the strain
is strongly dependent on position, led to
this enhancement in measurement accu-
racy and solved the problem.
Because the prior method used an
LDT (linear displacement transducer)
and strain gauges, most of the necessary
structures were already in place in the
field to allow the new measurement
process to be transferred. The depth
gauge would be replaced by the LDT and
the torque wrench by a wrench and a
strain gauge. But rigid mounting brack-
ets and a target (or contact point) were
needed for the LDT in order to allow an
accurate position measurement.
This work was done by Robert Youngquist
and Douglas Willard of Kennedy Space
Center, and Joddy Stahl, Kevin Murtland,
and Steven Parks of ASRC Aerospace
Corporation. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Mechanics/Machinery category.
KSC-13212
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 75
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A
Intro
www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-817
Bio-Medical
Several technological enhancements
have been made to METI’s commercial
Emergency Care Simulator (ECS) with
regard to how microgravity affects human
physiology. The ECS uses both a software-
only lung simulation, and an integrated
mannequin lung that uses a physical lung
bag for creating chest excursions, and a
digital simulation of lung mechanics and
gas exchange. METI’s patient simulators
incorporate models of human physiology
that simulate lung and chest wall mechan-
ics, as well as pulmonary gas exchange.
Microgravity affects how O
2
and CO
2
are exchanged in the lungs. Procedures
were also developed to take into affect the
Glasgow Coma Scale for determining lev-
els of consciousness by varying the ECS
eye-blinking function to partially indicate
the level of consciousness of the patient. In
addition, the ECS was modified to provide
various levels of pulses from weak and
thready to hyper-dynamic to assist in
assessing patient conditions from the
femoral, carotid, brachial, and pedal pulse
locations.
This work was done by Nigel Parker and
Veronica O’Quinn of Medical Education
Tech, Inc. for Johnson Space Center. For
more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Bio-Medical
category. MSC-23922-1
Developing Physiologic Models for
Emergency Medical Procedures Under
Microgravity
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Improving Balance Function Using Low
Levels of Electrical Stimulation of the
Balance Organs
A device based on this technology may be used as a miniature
patch worn by people with disabilities to improve posture and
locomotion, and to enhance adaptability or skill acquisition.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Crewmembers returning from long-
duration space flight face significant
challenges due to the microgravity-
induced inappropriate adaptations in
balance/sensorimotor function. The
Neuroscience Laboratory at JSC is devel-
oping a method based on stochastic res-
onance to enhance the brain’s ability to
detect signals from the balance organs
of the inner ear and use them for rapid
improvement in balance skill, especially
when combined with balance training
exercises. This method involves a stimu-
lus delivery system that is wearable/
portable providing imperceptible elec-
trical stimulation to the balance organs
of the human body.
Stochastic resonance (SR) is a phe-
nomenon whereby the response of a non-
linear system to a weak periodic input sig-
nal is optimized by the presence of a par-
ticular non-zero level of noise. This phe-
nomenon of SR is based on the concept
of maximizing the flow of information
through a system by a non-zero level of
noise. Application of imperceptible SR
noise coupled with sensory input in
humans has been shown to improve
motor, cardiovascular, visual, hearing,
and balance functions. SR increases con-
trast sensitivity and luminance detection;
lowers the absolute threshold for tone
detection in normal hearing individuals;
improves homeostatic function in the
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 77 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-818
human blood pressure regulatory system;
improves noise-enhanced muscle spindle
function; and improves detection of weak
tactile stimuli using mechanical or electri-
cal stimulation. SR noise has been shown
to improve postural control when applied
as mechanical noise to the soles of the
feet, or when applied as electrical noise at
the knee and to the back muscles.
SR using imperceptible stochastic
electrical stimulation of the vestibular
system (stochastic vestibular stimulation,
SVS) applied to normal subjects has
shown to improve the degree of associa-
tion between the weak input periodic
signals introduced via venous blood
pressure receptors and the heart-rate
responses. Also, application of SVS over
24 hours improves the long-term heart-
rate dynamics and motor responsiveness
as indicated by daytime trunk activity
measurements in patients with multi-sys-
tem atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, or
both, including patients who were un -
responsive to standard therapy for
Parkinson’s disease. Recent studies con-
ducted at the NASA JSC Neurosciences
Laboratories showed that imperceptible
SVS, when applied to normal, young,
healthy subjects, leads to significantly
improved balance performance during
postural disturbances on unstable com-
pliant surfaces. These studies have
shown the benefit of SR noise character-
istic optimization with imperceptible
SVS in the frequency range of 0–30 Hz,
and amplitudes of stimulation have
ranged from 100 to 400 microamperes.
This work was done by Jacob Bloomberg
and Millard Reschke of Johnson Space
Center; Ajitkumar Mulavara and Scott Wood
of USRA; Jorge Serrador of Dept. of Veterans
Affairs NJ Healthcare System; Matthew
Fiedler, Igor Kofman, and Brian T. Peters of
Wyle; and Helen Cohen of Baylor College. For
further information, contact the JSC
Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-
3809. MSC-25013-1
Current transcranial color Doppler
(TCD) transducer probes are bulky and
difficult to move in tiny increments to
search and optimize TCD signals. This
invention provides miniature motions of
a TCD transducer probe to optimize
TCD signals.
The mechanical probe uses a spheri-
cal bearing in guiding and locating the
tilting crystal face. The lateral motion of
the crystal face as it tilts across the full
range of motion was achieved by mini-
mizing the distance between the pivot
location and the crystal face. The small-
est commonly available metal spherical
bearing was used with an outer diameter
of 12 mm, a 3-mm tall retaining ring,
and 5-mm overall height. Small geared
motors were used that would provide
sufficient power in a very compact pack-
age. After confirming the validity of the
Hands-Free Transcranial Color Doppler Probe
These probes enable full use of TCD technology for neurological diagnostics.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
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Intro
basic positioning concept, optimization
design loops were completed to yield the
final design.
A parallel motor configuration was
used to minimize the amount of space
wasted inside the probe case while mini-
mizing the overall case dimensions. The
distance from the front edge of the crys-
tal to the edge of the case was also mini-
mized to allow positioning of the probe
very close to the ear on the temporal
lobe. The mechanical probe is able to
achieve a ±20° tip and tilt with smooth
repeatable action in a very compact
package. The enclosed probe is about 7
cm long, 4 cm wide, and 1.8 cm tall.
The device is compact, hands-free,
and can be adjusted via an innovative
touchscreen. Positioning of the probe to
the head is performed via conventional
transducer gels and pillows. This device
is amendable to having advanced soft-
ware, which could intelligently focus and
optimize the TCD signal.
The first effort will be development of
monitoring systems for space use and
field deployment. The need for long-
lived, inexpensive clinical diagnostic
instruments for military applications is
substantial. Potential future uses of this
system by NASA and other commercial
end-users include monitoring cerebral
blood flow of ambulatory patients, prog-
nostic of potential for embolic stroke,
ultrasonic blood clot treatment, monitor-
ing open-heart and carotid endarterecto-
my surgery, and resolution of the contro-
versy regarding transient ischemic
attacks and emboli’s role. Monitoring
applications include those for embolism
formation during diving ascents,
changes in CBFV (cerebral blood flow
velocity) in relation to cognitive function
as associated with sick building syndrome
or exposure to environmental and work-
place toxins, changes of CBFV for testing
and evaluating Gulf War Syndrome, and
patients or subjects while moving or per-
forming tasks.
This work was done by Robert Chin of
GeneXpress Informatics, and Srihdar
Madala and Graham Sattler of Indus
Instruments for Johnson Space Center. For
more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Bio-
Medical category.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517,
the contractor has elected to retain title to this
invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its
commercial use should be addressed to:
Indus Instruments
721 Tristar Drive, Suite C
Webster, TX 77598
Refer to MSC-24702-1, volume and num-
ber of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the
page number.
78 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012

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John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
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A
Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 79 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-820
tations are expected in long-duration
space exploration missions and in
remote or austere environments on
Earth. Current IV fluid production
requires large factory-based processes.
Easy, portable, on-site production of IV
fluids can eliminate these limitations.
Based on experience gained in develop-
ing a device for spaceflight, a ground-
use device was developed.
This design uses regular drinking
water that is pumped through two filters
to produce, in minutes, sterile, ultra-
pure water that meets the stringent
quality standards of the United States
Pharmacopeia for Water for Injection
(Total Bacteria, Conductivity, Endo -
toxins, Total Organic Carbon). The
device weighs 2.2 lb (1 kg) and is 10 in.
long, 5 in. wide, and 3 in. high (≈25, 13,
and 7.5 cm, respectively) in its storage
configuration. This handheld device
produces one liter of medical-grade
water in 21 minutes. Total production
capacity for this innovation is expected
to be in the hundreds of liters.
The device contains one battery pow-
ered electric mini-pump. Alternatively,
a manually powered pump can be
attached and used. Drinking water
enters the device from a source water
bag, flows through two filters, and final
sterile production water exits into a
sealed, medical-grade collection bag.
The collection bag contains pre-placed
crystalline salts to mix with product
water to form isotonic intravenous med-
ical solutions. Alternatively, a hyperton-
ic salt solution can be injected into a
filled bag. The filled collection bag is
detached from the device and is ready
for use or storage. This device current-
ly contains one collection bag, but a
manifold of several pre-attached bags
or replacement of single collection
bags under sterile needle technique is
possible for the production of multiple
liters. The entire system will be flushed,
sealed, and radiation-sterilized.
Operation of the device is easy and
requires minimal training. Drinking
water is placed into the collection bag.
Inline stopcock flow valves at the source
and collection bags are opened, and the
mini-pump is turned on by a switch to
begin fluid flow. When the collection
bag is completely filled with the medical-
grade water, the pump can be turned
off. The pump is designed so it cannot
pump air, and overfilling of the collec-
tion bag with fluid is avoided by placing
an equal amount of water in the source
bag. Backflow is avoided by inline check
valves. The filled collection bag is dis-
connected from its tubing and is ready
for use. The source bag can be refilled
for production of multiple liters, or the
source bag can be replaced with an
input tube that can be placed in a larger
potable water source if the device is
attended. The device functions in all ori-
entations independent of any gravity
fields.
In addition to creating IV fluids, the
device produces medical-grade water,
which can be used for mixing with med-
ications for injection, reconstituting
freeze-dried blood products for injec-
tion, or for wound hydration or irriga-
tion.
Potential worldwide use is expected
with medical activities in environments
that have limited resources, storage, or
resupply such as in military field opera-
tions, humanitarian relief efforts, sub-
marines, commercial cruise ships, etc.
This work was done by Philip J. Scarpa of
Kennedy Space Center and Wolfgang K.
Scheuer of Tiger Purification Systems, Inc. For
more information, contact Dr. Philip Scarpa at
(321) 867-6386 or Philip.J.Scarpa@nasa.gov.
KSC-13598
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Intro
A report describes an adaptation of a
filter assembly to enable it to be used to fil-
ter out microorganisms from a propulsion
system. The filter assembly has previously
been used for particulates >2 μm. Projects
that utilize large volumes of nonmetallic
materials of planetary protection concern
pose a challenge to their bioburden budg-
et, as a conservative specification value of
30 spores/cm
3
is typically used.
Helium was collected utilizing an
adapted filtration approach employing
an existing Millipore filter assembly appa-
ratus used by the propulsion team for
particulate analysis. The filter holder on
the assembly has a 47-mm diameter, and
typically a 1.2-5 μm pore-size filter is used
for particulate analysis making it compat-
ible with commercially available steriliza-
tion filters (0.22 μm) that are necessary
for biological sampling.
This adaptation to an existing tech-
nology provides a proof-of-concept and
a demonstration of successful use in a
ground equipment system. This adapta-
tion has demonstrated that the Millipore
filter assembly can be utilized to filter
out microorganisms from a propulsion
system, whereas in previous uses the fil-
ter assembly was utilized for particulates
>2 μm.
This work was done by James N. Benardini,
Robert C. Koukol, Wayne W. Schubert, Fabian
Morales, and Marlin F. Klatte of Caltech for
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more
information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at
www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Bio-
Medical category. NPO-48304
The most common approach for
assessing the abundance of viable bacte-
rial endospores is the culture-based plat-
ing method. However, culture-based
approaches are heavily biased and
oftentimes incompatible with upstream
sample processing strategies, which
make viable cells/spores uncultivable.
This shortcoming highlights the need
80 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-821
Bio-Medical
PMA-Linked
Fluorescence for
Rapid Detection of
Viable Bacterial
Endospores
This method has applications
in the pharmaceutical, food
microbiology, semiconductor,
and other industries requiring
surface sterilization.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, California
Adaptation of a Filter Assembly to Assess Microbial Bioburden
of Pressurant Within a Propulsion System
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
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A
Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com
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for rapid molecular diagnostic tools to
assess more accurately the abundance
of viable spacecraft-associated microbio-
ta, perhaps most importantly bacterial
endospores.
Propidium monoazide (PMA) has
received a great deal of attention due to its
ability to differentiate live, viable bacterial
cells from dead ones. PMA gains access to
the DNA of dead cells through compro-
mised membranes. Once inside the cell, it
intercalates and eventually covalently
bonds with the double-helix structures
upon photoactivation with visible light.
The covalently bound DNA is significantly
altered, and unavailable to downstream
molecular-based manipulations and analy-
ses. Microbiological samples can be treat-
ed with appropriate concentrations of
PMA and exposed to visible light prior to
undergoing total genomic DNA extrac-
tion, resulting in an extract comprised
solely of DNA arising from viable cells.
This ability to extract DNA selectively from
living cells is extremely powerful, and
bears great relevance to many microbio-
logical arenas.
While this PMA-based selective chem-
istry has been applied to several poly-
merase chain reaction (PCR)-based
molecular protocols, it has never been
coupled with fluorescence in situ
hybridization (FISH)-based microscopic
methods. FISH microscopy is a powerful
technique for visualizing and enumerat-
ing microorganisms present in a given
sample, which relies on the ability of fluo-
rescently labeled oligonucleotide probes
to gain access to, and hybridize with, spe-
cific nucleic acid sequences within cells.
Dogmatic principles suggest that by first
treating a sample with PMA and covalent-
ly modifying the DNA originating from
dead cells, downstream FISH-based mi -
croscopy should then enable the direct,
specific visualization and enumeration of
only living, viable microorganisms. An
effective and efficient coupling of PMA-
based chemistry with downstream FISH-
microscopic methods would significantly
empower the current ability to discern
viable from dead microbes by direct visu-
alization.
The basic principle of this method is
that PMA penetrates only the dead cells
and/or spores, due to their compro-
mised membrane structures. Once inside
the cell, PMA strongly intercalates with
DNA. PMA has a photoactive azide group
that allows covalent cross-linkage to DNA
upon exposure to bright white light. This
photoactivation results in the formation
of PMA-DNA complex that renders DNA
inaccessible for hybridization reaction
during FISH assay. To avoid the difficul-
ties and problems associated with current
methods for determining the actual num-
bers of living versus dead cellular entities
examined, and biases associated there-
with, a novel molecular-biological proto-
col was developed for selective detection
and enumeration of viable microbial
cells. After having been subjected to the
procedures described herein, the viability
(live vs. dead) of bacterial cells and
spores could be discerned. Following
treatment with PMA, living, viable cells
and spores were shown to be receptive to
fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide
probes, as hybridization and FISH-based
mi cros copy was successful. Dead cells and
spores, however, were not detected, as the
pretreatment with PMA rendered their
DNA unavailable to hybridization with
the FISH-probes.
The true novelty of the technology is
the coupling of a downstream, highly
specific means of visualizing microbial
cells and spores with a chemical pretreat-
ment that precludes the portion of the
microbial consortium that is not living
(non-viable) from being detected. This
results in the ability to selectively visual-
ize and enumerate only the living cells
and spores present in a given sample, in
a molecular biological fashion, without
the need for heavily biased cultivation-
based methodologies. This novel study
demonstrates that PMA penetrates only
the heat-killed spores, which precludes
downstream hybridization reactions in
the FISH assay. This novel PMA-FISH
method is an attractive tool to detect
viable endospores in spacecraft-associat-
ed environments, which is of crucial
importance and benefit to planetary pro-
tection practices aimed at reducing the
abundance of spacecraft-borne micro-
bial contaminants.
This work was done by Myron T. La Duc
and Kasthuri Venkateswaran of Caltech, and
Bidyut Mohapatra of the University of South
Alabama for NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. For more information, contact
iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517,
the contractor has elected to retain title to this
invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its
commercial use should be addressed to:
Innovative Technology Assets Management
JPL
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
E-mail: iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov
Refer to NPO-48040,volume and number
of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the
page number.
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A
Intro
82 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-823
Physical Sciences
Micro aerial vehicles have limited sen-
sor suites and computational power. For
reconnaissance tasks and to conserve
energy, these systems need the ability to
autonomously land at vantage points or
enter buildings (ingress). But for
autonomous navigation, information is
needed to identify and guide the vehicle
to the target. Vision algorithms can pro-
vide egomotion estimation and target
detection using input from cameras that
are easy to include in miniature systems.
Target detection based on visual fea-
ture tracking and planar homography
decomposition is used to identify a tar-
get for automated landing or building
ingress, and to produce 3D waypoints to
locate the navigation target. The vehicle
control algorithm collects these way-
points and estimates the accurate target
position to perform automated maneu-
vers for autonomous landing or build-
ing ingress.
Systems that are deployed outdoors
can overcome this issue by using GPS
data for pose recovery, but this is not an
option for systems operating in deep
space or indoors. To cope with this issue,
a system was developed on a small
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform
with a minimal sensor suite that can oper-
ate using only onboard re sources to
autonomously achieve basic navigation
tasks. As a first step towards this goal, a
navigation approach was developed that
visually detects and reconstructs the posi-
tion of navigation targets, but depends on
an external VICON tracking system to
regain scale and for closed-loop control.
A method was demonstrated of vision-
aided autonomous navigation of a micro
aerial vehicle with a single monocular
camera, considering two different exam-
ple applications in urban environments:
autonomous landing on an elevated sur-
Vision-Aided Autonomous Landing and Ingress of Micro Aerial
Vehicles
This technology enables a micro aerial vehicle to transition autonomously between indoor and
outdoor environments via windows and doors based on monocular vision.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
INSTRUMENT COMPANY, INC.
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Prompt Delivery of 5-7 Days on Most Items. Expedited Service Available
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A
Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com
face and automated building ingress. The
method requires no special preparation
(labels or markers) of the landing or
ingress locations. Rather, leveraging the
planar character of urban structure, the
vision system uses a planar homography
decomposition to detect navigation tar-
gets and produce approach waypoints as
an input to the vehicle control algorithm.
Scale recovery is achieved using motion
capture data. A real-time implementation
running onboard a micro aerial vehicle
was demonstrated in experimental runs.
The system is able to generate highly
accurate target waypoints. Using a three-
stage control scheme, one is able to
autonomously detect, approach, and
land on an elevated landing surface that
is only slightly larger than the footprint
of the aerial vehicles, and gather naviga-
tion target waypoints for building
ingress. All algorithms run onboard the
vehicles.
This work was done by Roland Brockers,
Jeremy C. Ma, and Larry H. Matthies of
Caltech; and Patrick Bouffard of the
University of California, Berkeley for NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more informa-
tion, contact iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov. NPO-
47841
Whispering Gallery Mode
Optomechanical Resonator
These devices can be used for remote and inertial sensing, and
mass detection.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Great progress has been made in both
micromechanical resonators and micro-
optical resonators over the past decade,
and a new field has recently emerged
combining these mechanical and optical
systems. In such optomechanical systems,
the two resonators are strongly coupled
with one influencing the other, and their
interaction can yield detectable optical
signals that are highly sensitive to the
mechanical motion. A particularly high-
Q optical system is the whispering gallery
mode (WGM) resonator, which has many
applications ranging from stable oscilla-
tors to inertial sensor devices. There is,
however, limited coupling between the
optical mode and the resonator’s exter-
nal environment. In order to overcome
this limitation, a novel type of optome-
chanical sensor has been developed,
offering great potential for measure-
ments of displacement, acceleration, and
mass sensitivity.
The proposed hybrid device com-
bines the advantages of all-solid optical
WGM resonators with high-quality
micro-machined cantilevers. For direct
access to the WGM inside the resonator,
the idea is to radially cut precise gaps
into the perimeter, fabricating a
mechanical resonator within the WGM.
Also, a strategy to reduce losses has
been developed with optimized design
of the cantilever geometry and positions
of gap surfaces.
The cantilever is machined by making
fine cuts in a high-Q crystalline WGM
resonator using focused ion-beam (FIB)
technology. Such cuts can be much
smaller than the optical wavelength,
which should preserve the quality of the
optical resonator. At the same time,
reflection from the cantilever surfaces
will result in coupling between the
degenerate clockwise and counterclock-
wise propagating WGM. Therefore, a
well-established technique of position-
sensitive, dual-resonator coupling will be
implemented in a novel system with opti-
cal and mechanical resonators’ high
quality factors. This technique allows for
optical cooling, as well as heating, of the
mechanical oscillator.
This innovative hybrid system com-
bines the advantages of both WGM and
Fabry-Perot (FP) cavity resonators by uti-
lizing the WGM resonator with the
aforementioned cuts in the crystal to
create an independent micromechani-
cal resonator, residing directly in the
middle of the optical WGM as an inte-
gral structure of the disk. This feature
allows the direct coupling of the
mechanical motion to the optical
modes, much like a membrane inside an
FP cavity. In this configuration, the sin-
gle-mode optomechanical interaction
can be selectively accessed as with a stan-
dard WGM resonator, or the coupled
optical mode interaction as in that of a
membrane-FP cavity.
The challenge of this approach is to
maintain the optical finesse in the pres-
ence of the air gaps and the correspond -
MICRO-EPSILON
Raleigh, NC 27617 / USA
Phone +1/919 787 9707
info@micro-epsilon.us
www.micro-epsilon.com
ƒ Measuring ranges up to 100mm
ƒ Frequency response up to 100kHz
ƒ Resolution <0.1μm
ƒ Repeatibility <1μm
ƒ Diameter, gap, width and
position measurement
ƒ Laser-line profile camera for
precise profile measurement
ƒ 3D view of the target plus
intensity image
ƒ Profile frequency up to 4kHz
Series LLT 2700/2710
ƒ Compact sensor design with
integrated controller /
embedded analysis
OPTICAL
MICROMETER
2D/3D LASER
PROFILE SENSORS
NEW
MICRO-EPSILON
Raleigh, NC 27617 / USA
Phone +1/919 787 9707
info@micro-epsilon.us
www.micro-epsilon.com
ƒ Measuring ranges up to 100mm
ƒ Frequency response up to 100kHz
ƒ Resolution <0.1μm
ƒ Repeatibility <1μm
ƒ Diameter, gap, width and
position measurement
ƒ Laser-line profile camera for
precise profile measurement
ƒ 3D view of the target plus
intensity image
ƒ Profile frequency up to 4kHz
Series LLT 2700/2710
ƒ Compact sensor design with
integrated controller /
embedded analysis
OPTICAL
MICROMETER
2D/3D LASER
PROFILE SENSORS
NEW
MICRO-EPSILON
Raleigh, NC 27617 / USA
Phone +1/919 787 9707
info@micro-epsilon.us
www.micro-epsilon.com
ƒ Measuring ranges up to 100mm
ƒ Frequency response up to 100kHz
ƒ Resolution <0.1μm
ƒ Repeatibility <1μm
ƒ Diameter, gap, width and
position measurement
ƒ Laser-line profile camera for
precise profile measurement
ƒ 3D view of the target plus
intensity image
ƒ Profile frequency up to 4kHz
Series LLT 2700/2710
ƒ Compact sensor design with
integrated controller /
embedded analysis
OPTICAL
MICROMETER
2D/3D LASER
PROFILE SENSORS
NEW
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-824
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A
Intro
www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-825
Physical Sciences
ing interfaces. The partially reflecting
surfaces result in standing waves (SWs)
in the resonators, and the mode cou-
pling between them. These interfaces
can also introduce scattering and dif-
fraction losses. The estimates and previ-
ous WGM experiments suggest that a
combination of appropriate microfabri-
cation processes, such as FIB, and strate-
gic use of SW modes, can reduce the
losses and yield an optical resonator Q
10
8
, higher than any cavity Q of opto-
mechanical systems at the time of this
reporting.
This work was done by David C. Aveline,
Dmitry V. Strekalov, Nan Yu, and Karl Y. Yee
of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. For more information, down-
load the Technical Support Package (free
white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-
47114
Self-Sealing Wet Chemistry Cell for Field
Analysis
Analysis of soluble species in field samples is required in
agriculture, soil science, and biomedical applications.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
In most analytical investigations,
there is a need to process complex field
samples for the unique detection of ana-
lytes, especially when detecting low-con-
centration organic molecules that may
identify extraterrestrial life. Wet chem-
istry based instruments are the tech-
niques of choice for most laboratory-
based analysis of organic molecules due
to several factors including less frag-
mentation of fragile biomarkers, and
ability to concentrate target species
resulting in much lower limits of detec-
tion. Development of an automated wet
chemistry preparation system that can
operate autonomously on Earth and is
also designed to operate under Martian
ambient conditions will demonstrate
the technical feasibility of including wet
chemistry on future missions. An
Automated Sample Processing System
(ASPS) has recently been developed
that receives fines, extracts organics
through solvent extraction, processes
the extract by removing non-organic
soluble species, and delivers sample to
multiple instruments for analysis (in -
cluding for non-organic soluble
species). The key to this system is a sam-
ple cell that can autonomously function
under field conditions.
As a result, a self-sealing sample cell
was developed that can autonomously
hermetically seal fines and powder into a
container, regardless of orientation of
the apparatus. The cap is designed with
a beveled edge, which allows the cap to
be self-righted as the capping motor
engages. Each cap consists of a C-clip
lock ring below a crucible O-ring that is
placed into a groove cut into the sample
cap. As the capping motor pushes the
cap down onto the cell, the lock ring
engages a small groove cut into the cell
body. When the C-clip engages, the cap
locks onto the sample cell. The seal is
created through the O-ring, which is
pushed down the body of the cell, result-
ing in a clean seal that has not leaked
during multiple tests with 2,000 psi
(13.8 MPa) of pressure.
The sample cells allow solvent to be
inserted into the cell through a high-
pressure check valve at the bottom of
the cell. The spring-loaded back end
also comes with a 5-μm sintered metal
filter that removes particulates as the sol-
vent and analyte are removed from the
cell and delivered to the analytical
instrumentation for analysis. Addi tion -
ally, the check valve is nominally closed
so that any residual solvent remains in
the cell and does not contaminate other
instruments.
This type of technique is vital for in
situ chemical analysis on future flight
missions. The current commercial
benchtop model that performs this type
of operation weighs well over 60 kg, and
needs to be loaded by hand, including a
consumable filter. The new cells are
completely reusable with the only con-
sumables being a C-clip and two O-
rings, and have been demonstrated to
be reusable over 50 times in laboratory
testing.
This work was done by Luther W. Beegle of
Caltech, and Juancarlos Soto, James Lasnik,
and Shane Roark of Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp. for NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. For more information, contact
iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov. NPO-47977
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A
Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com
Extremely robust Sensors
for angle / inclination /
position measurement
PRAS5V
WB85
PCST25
PCFP25
PTAM27 / PTDM27
PTAM2 / PTDM2
TAM27 / PTDM27
xMeasurement range
0 ... 236.2 in.
xAnalog, 4...20mA, SSI,
CANopen, J1939
xProtection class IP64
/ IP67
x 360° angle sensor
xAnalog, incremental,
SSI, CANopen, J1939
xWith 0.39 in. shaft
xProtection class IP67
/ IP69K
POSITAPE௘
®

Tape Extension
Position Sensors
POSIROT௘
®

Magnetic Angle Sensors
POSICHRON௘
®

Magnetostrictive
Position Sensors
xMeasurement range
0 ... 216.5 in.
x Analog, 4...20mA, SSI,
CANopen, J1939
xProtection class IP67
/ IP69K
x1/2 axes, ±180°, ± 60°
x Analog output,
CANopen, J1939
x Protection class IP67
POSITILT௘
®

Inclinometers
POSICHRON௘
®

Magnetostrictive
Position Sensors
xMeasurement range
0 ... 216.5 in.
xAnalog, 4...20mA, SSI,
CANopen, J1939
xProtection class IP67
/ IP69K
x1/2 axes, ±180°, ± 60°
x In MEMS technology
x Analog output,
CANopen, J1939
x Protection class IP67
/ IP69K
POSITILT௘
®

Inclinometers
PRAS5V
R
ASM Sensors, Inc.
www.asmsensors.com
info@asmsensors.com
Tel. 1-888-ASM-USA-1
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-826
Force sensing is an essential require-
ment for dexterous robot manipulation,
e.g., for extravehicular robots making
vehicle repairs. Although strain gauges
have been widely used, a new sensing
approach is desirable for applications
that require greater robustness, design
flexibility including a high degree of
multiplexibility, and immunity to elec-
tromagnetic noise.
This invention is a force and deflec-
tion sensor — a flexible shell formed
with an elastomer having passageways
formed by apertures in the shell, with an
optical fiber having one or more Bragg
gratings positioned in the passageways
for the measurement of force and
deflection.
One object of the invention is light-
weight, rugged appendages for a robot
that feature embedded sensors so that
the robot can be more “aware” of loads
in real time. A particular class of optical
sensors, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sen-
sors, is promising for space robotics and
other applications where high sensitivi-
ty, multiplexing capability, immunity to
electromagnetic noise, small size, and
resistance to harsh environments are
particularly desirable. In addition, the
biosafe and inert nature of optical fibers
makes them attractive for medical
robotics. FBGs reflect light with a peak
wavelength that shifts in proportion to
the strain to which they are subjected.
Multiple FBG sensors can be placed
along a single fiber and optically multi-
plexed. FBG sensors have previously
been surface-attached to or embedded
in metal parts and composites to moni-
tor stresses.
An exoskeletal force sensing robot fin-
ger was developed by embedding FBG
sensors into a polymer-based structure.
Multiple FBG sensors were embedded
into the structure to allow the manipula-
tor to sense and measure both contact
forces and grasping forces. In order to
fabricate a three-dimensional structure,
a new shape deposition manufacturing
(SDM) process was developed. The sen-
sorized SDM-fabricated finger was then
characterized using an FBG interroga-
tor. A force localization scheme was also
developed.
A sensor is formed from a thin shell of
flexible material such as elastomer to
form an attachment region, a sensing
region, and a tip region. In one embod-
iment, the sensing region is a substan-
tially cylindrical flexible shell, and has a
plurality of apertures forming passage-
ways between the apertures. Optical
fiber is routed through the passageways,
with sensors located in the passageways
prior to the application of the elastomer-
ic material forming the flexible shell.
Deflection of the sensor, such as by a
force applied to the contact region,
causes an incremental strain in one or
more passageways where the optical
fiber is located. The incremental strain
results in a change of optical wavelength
of reflection or transmittance at the sen-
sor, thereby allowing the measurement
of force or displacement.
The ability to route a single optical
fiber through the passageways of the
outer shell of the sensor, combined with
the freedom to place Bragg grating-
based sensors in desired locations of the
shell, provides tremendous flexibility in
sensing force in three axes, as well as the
possibility of providing a large number
of sensors for more sophisticated meas-
urement modalities, such as torque and
shell deflection in response to multi-
point pressure application.
This work was done by Yong-Lae Park,
Richard Black, Behzad Moslehi, Mark
Cutkosky, and Kelvin Chau of Intelligent
Fiber Optic Systems Corp. for Johnson Space
Center. For more information, download the
Technical Support Package (free white
paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the
Physical Sciences category.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517,
the contractor has elected to retain title to this
invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its
commercial use should be addressed to:
Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corp.
424 Panama Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
Refer to MSC-24501-1, volume and num-
ber of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the
page number.
Multiplexed Force and Deflection
Sensing Shell Membranes for Robotic
Manipulators
This technology can be used to enhance precision in robotic
surgery.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
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Intro
Mars Technology Rover with Arm-Mounted Percussive Coring
Tool, Microimager, and Sample-Handling Encapsulation
Containerization Subsystem
A report describes the PLuto (programmable logic) Mars Technology Rover, a
mid-sized FIDO (field integrated design and operations) class rover with six fully
drivable and steerable cleated wheels, a rocker-bogey suspension, a pan-tilt mast
with panorama and navigation stereo camera pairs, forward and rear stereo hazcam
pairs, internal avionics with motor drivers and CPU, and a 5-degrees-of-freedom
robotic arm.
The technology rover was integrated with an arm-mounted percussive coring tool,
microimager, and sample handling encapsulation containerization subsystem
(SHEC). The turret of the arm contains a percussive coring drill and microimager.
The SHEC sample caching system mounted to the rover body contains coring bits,
sample tubes, and sample plugs.
The coring activities performed in the field provide valuable data on drilling con-
ditions for NASA tasks developing and studying coring technology. Caching of sam-
ples using the SHEC system provide insight to NASA tasks investigating techniques to
store core samples in the future.
This work was done by Paulo J. Younse, Matthew A. Dicicco, and Albert R. Morgan of
Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Mechanics/Ma -
chinery category. NPO-47917
Fault-Tolerant, Real-Time, Multi-Core
Computer System
A document discusses a fault-tolerant, self-aware, low-power,
multi-core computer for space missions with thousands of sim-
ple cores, achieving speed through concurrency. The pro-
posed machine decides how to achieve concurrency in real
time, rather than depending on programmers. The driving fea-
tures of the system are simple hardware that is modular in the
extreme, with no shared memory, and software with significant
run-time reorganizing capability.
The document describes a mechanism for moving ongoing
computations and data that is based on a functional model of
execution. Because there is no shared memory, the processor
connects to its neighbors through a high-speed data link.
Messages are sent to a neighbor switch, which in turn forwards
that message on to its neighbor until reaching the intended
destination. Except for the neighbor connections, processors
are isolated and independent of each other.
The processors on the periphery also connect chip-to-chip,
thus building up a large processor net. There is no particular
topology to the larger net, as a function at each processor
allows it to forward a message in the correct direction. Some
chip-to-chip connections are not necessarily nearest neighbors,
providing short cuts for some of the longer physical distances.
The peripheral processors also provide the connections to sen-
sors, actuators, radios, science instruments, and other devices
with which the computer system interacts.
This work was done by Kim P. Gostelow of Caltech for NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical
Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under
the Electronics/Computers category. NPO-47894
86 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-847
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-827
Books & Reports
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Intro
Imaging Technology, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 87
T
he past decade has seen an ex-
plosion of observations from air-
borne and satellite-based multi-
and hyperspectral sensors, as well as
from synthetic-aperture radar and
LiDAR. Distilling useful information
from this wealth of raw data is the do-
main of geospatial analysis, the collec-
tion of analytical, statistical, and heuris-
tic methods for extracting information
from georeferenced data. This informa-
tion is important in serving the needs of
a diverse set of industries including envi-
ronmental conservation, oil and gas ex-
ploration, defense and intelligence, agri-
culture, coastal monitoring, forestry,
and mining.
3D visualization techniques play an
important role in geospatial analysis.
The ability to represent the 3D nature of
a geospatial data product on a 2D com-
puter screen — including the ability to
manipulate the data product in a 3D co-
ordinate system — is essential; it en-
hances a user’s ability to explore the
data, aiding in discovery and insight into
features of the data that may not be ap-
parent from a 2D view.
Representing 3D in
Computer Graphics
In computer graphics, a typical con-
vention is to specify a right-handed 3D
coordinate system such that when a
viewer is facing the display, +x is directed
to the right, +y is directed up, and +z is
directed out of the display, toward the
viewer. Points — and 3D objects, which
are treated as groups of points — within
this 3D coordinate system are repre-
sented by homogeneous coordinates,
which are formed by adding a fourth co-
ordinate to each point. Instead of being
represented by a triple (x,y,z), each
point is instead represented by a quadru-
ple (x,y,z,w). Homogeneous coordinates
simplify coordinate transformations
(i.e., translation, rotation, and scaling)
by allowing them to be treated as matrix
multiplications.
To view an object from a 3D coordi-
nate system on a 2D display, a view vol-
ume, a projection plane, and a viewport
are needed. The view volume is a subset
of the 3D coordinate system; for simplic-
ity it is often a unit cube centered at the
origin. This is where the action takes
place: Any object within the view volume
is visualized; any object that falls outside
the view volume is not. Objects can be
scaled, rotated, and translated to fit
within the view volume.
Objects within the 3D view volume are
mapped into a 2D projection using a pla-
nar geometric projection, usually some
form of perspective or parallel projec-
tion. The projection is defined by rays
that emanate from a point, the center of
projection, and pass through every point
of the object to intersect with the projec-
tion plane. The contents of the projec-
3D Visualization in
Geospatial Analysis
A visualization of collapsed, damaged, and standing structures after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, constructed from a LiDAR point cloud. (Image credit:
Exelis VIS; created with E3De™)
3D Visualization in
Geospatial Analysis
Figure 1. Flat (left) and Gouraud (right) shading of a surface. (Image credit: Exelis VIS; created with
IDL™)
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A
Intro
tion plane are then mapped onto the
viewport, a 2D window defined in the de-
vice coordinates of the display.
In computer graphics, complex 3D ob-
jects are constructed from a small num-
ber of primitive graphical items: points,
line segments, and convex polygons. 3D
curved surfaces are approximated by
large numbers of small, flat polygons, typ-
ically triangles or quadrilaterals. Increas-
ing the density of the polygons makes a
smoother-looking surface.
Surfaces can be rendered using filled
polygonal primitives drawn with a sin-
gle color. This is known as flat shading.
Surfaces can also be rendered using
smooth or Gouraud shading, where the
colors of the polygonal primitives are
instead interpolated between the ver-
tices. See Figure 1 for a comparison of
the two techniques.
Applications of 3D in
Geospatial Analysis
Digital elevation models (DEM),
which give a 3D representation of the
Earth’s surface, are used frequently in
geospatial analysis. A DEM can be visual-
ized in 3D as a polygonal mesh or a filled
surface, with shading to heighten the 3D
appearance of the model, or with colors
proportional to height.
The data density of the visualization
can be heightened by overlaying, as an
image, additional georeferenced data
onto the 3D DEM surface through tex-
ture mapping. The additional image
data could be sourced from, for exam-
ple, meteorology (surface temperatures,
ozone concentration), geology (mineral
types identified by multi- or hyperspec-
tral imaging), or urban planning (zon-
ing or land use), as well as many others.
As an example, Figure 2 shows a visuali-
zation of USGS GTOPO30, a U.S. Geo-
logical Survey global digital elevation
model, over the Front Range of north-
east Colorado. The image features an
overlay, through texture mapping, of
land use with the USGS National Land
Cover Dataset 1992 product, a 21-class
land cover classification scheme. Colors
are keyed to land cover types; urban and
residential areas, for example, are red
and pink. A vertical exaggeration of 0.2
is used in the visualization.
Hyperspectral Imaging
Widespread use of hyperspectral im-
agery across industries is a relatively re-
cent trend in geospatial analysis. Com-
pared to multispectral sensors (e.g.,
Landsat, SPOT, AVHRR), which meas-
ure reflected radiation from the Earth’s
surface at a few widely spaced wave-
length bands, hyperspectral sensors
measure reflectance over a series of hun-
dreds of narrow and contiguous bands,
providing the opportunity for more de-
tailed spectral image analysis. Hyper-
spectral images are often referred to as
image cubes because of their large spec-
tral dimension, in addition to their two
spatial dimensions. Figure 3 shows a vi-
sualization of an AVIRIS (Airborne Visi-
ble/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer) hy-
perspectral image taken near Cuprite,
Nevada. The visualization is an oblique
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88 Imaging Technology, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-828
Figure 2. Land cover data texture mapped onto
a digital elevation model of the Front Range of
Colorado. (Image credit: Exelis VIS; created with
IDL™)
Geospatial Analysis
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Intro
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Intro
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www.techbriefs.com Imaging Technology, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-830
parallel projection, with the spectral di-
mension visualized in the xz- and yz-
planes (the top and right sides of the
cube, respectively). The face of the
cube, in the xy-plane, is a false color
composite with red, green, and blue
bands chosen to emphasize peaks in the
reflectance spectra of minerals found in
the image, such as buddingtonite, kaoli-
nite, and various clays.
LiDAR
On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, a mag-
nitude 7.0 earthquake struck just miles
from Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-
Prince. About 3 million people were af-
fected by the quake. The government of
Haiti estimated that 250,000 residences
and 30,000 commercial buildings were
severely damaged or destroyed.
LiDAR can be used to detect and
measure objects like collapsed build-
ings and standing structures damaged
by an earthquake. It can also be used in
extracting road networks and route
planning — information that can be
critical for emergency responders try-
ing to plan routes to find people who
need help as quickly and efficiently as
possible. A 3D visualization, recon-
structed from a LiDAR point cloud,
showed buildings and roads in Port-au-
Prince that were damaged in the Janu-
ary 2010 earthquake.
The data used in producing this visu-
alization were collected in a joint project
funded by the World Bank, in conjunc-
tion with the Rochester Institute of
Technology, the University of Buffalo,
and ImageCat, Inc. A twin-engine Piper
Navajo, operated by Kucera Interna-
tional, flew missions for seven consecu-
tive days at 3000 feet over Port-au-Prince
and other areas badly hit by the earth-
quake. LiDAR data at 1- and 10-m spatial
resolutions were collected to map the
disaster zone to aid in crisis manage-
ment and the eventual reconstruction of
the city.
To produce the visualization (see
title image), the E3De™ LiDAR pro-
cessing application was used to extract
a digital surface model (DSM) from
surface features such as buildings,
trees, and cars. Further processing of
the DSM gave building footprints and
roof shape polygons. Next, a DEM was
computed from the DSM using a com-
bination of proprietary crawling and
sensitivity algorithms.
Subtracting the DEM from the DSM
gives the vertical obstruction layer. With
additional image analysis in ENVI™,
based on published algorithms in the
LiDAR community, intact roads can be
separated from structures and debris.
Leveraging 3D LiDAR data, as well as
3D visualization tools for the data, can
be invaluable for disaster mitigation.
The type of analysis described here can
quickly help emergency responders find
passable routes to people in need.
Conclusion
In geospatial analysis, 3D visualization
techniques are invaluable for enhanc-
ing a user’s ability to explore, interpret,
and understand data. In the future, as
the use of hyperspectral and LiDAR
data in disaster management continues
to grow, 3D visualization will become in-
creasingly relevant. While the synthesis
of hyperspectral and LiDAR data can
help emergency responders inventory
buildings, land ground teams, find pass-
able routes, and otherwise support crisis
response efforts, proper 3D visualiza-
tion of this data can aid all levels of dis-
aster management, from basic building
inventory to sophisticated network rout-
ing problems.
This article was written by Mark Piper, So-
lutions Engineer, Exelis Visual Information
Solutions (Boulder, CO). For more informa-
tion, visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-
140.
References
Foley, James D., Andries van Dam, Steven K.
Feiner and John F. Hughes, 1990: Computer
Graphics: Principles and Practice. Second
edition. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.
Priestnall, G., J. Jaafar and A. Duncan, 2000:
Extracting urban features from LiDAR digital
surface models. Computers, Environments and
Urban Systems, 24, 65-78.
Shippert, P., 2004. Why use hyperspectral
imagery?, Photogrammetric Engineering &
Remote Sensing, 70(4), 377–380.
Shreiner, D., 2010: OpenGL Programming
Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL,
versions .0 and .1. Addison-Wesley, Upper
Saddle River, NJ.
Geospatial Analysis
Figure 3. A hyperspectral image cube of AVIRIS
data collected near Cuprite, Nevada. (Image
credit: Exelis VIS; created with ENVI™)
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Intro
Imaging Technology, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 91
The GigE Vision
®
Interface Standard:
Transforming Medical Imaging
L
ive, high-resolution imaging is in-
creasingly being leveraged to en-
hance operating procedures. It can
improve the precision of physicians and
their instruments, and minimize the in-
vasiveness of many procedures. Increas-
ingly, one small component in a vision
system — the interfacing technology —
is providing answers to the most com-
mon of these challenges.
In particular, the GigE Vision inter-
face standard, which supports real-time,
high-resolution, and multi-sensor imag-
ing, is garnering the attention of the
medical sector. This article explores how
GigE Vision over Gigabit Ethernet
(GigE), as well as GigE Vision over 10
GigE, enables substantial innovations in
medical imaging.
Streamlining Multi-Sensor
Network Architectures
Originally, point-to-point connections
between a camera sensor or detector and
a computer (PC) were used to achieve
real-time functionality. In the operating
theater, images often need to be viewed
on multiple displays in different areas,
even remotely. With a point-to-point ar-
chitecture, each of these connections re-
quires a dedicated connection, often in-
cluding its own PC, frame grabber, or
display controller. A more efficient archi-
tecture would reduce both the complex-
ity and costs of this arrangement.
This became possible in 2006 when
the AIA (www.visiononline.org) stan-
dardized a set of protocols for transmit-
ting video and control data over Ether-
net: the GigE Vision standard. This
open, freely available standard provides
medical system designers and integra-
tors with a reliable, flexible, and inex-
pensive interface alternative to more
cumbersome and costly legacy options.
Furthermore, as the resolution and
frame rate of medical imaging devices
increases, interfaces will need to accom-
modate the additional data throughput,
and GigE Vision over 10 GigE provides
the necessary capacity.
Clinical Benefits of GigE Vision
Medical system designers have been
converting legacy analog systems to
more powerful digital systems for some
time. This is expanding the range of ap-
plications for image-guided surgical and
diagnostic systems. Common applica-
tions of medical imaging now include:
• Computed tomography (CT scan)
• Image-guided or robotic surgery
• Digital radiography
• Fluoroscopy
• Dental imaging
• Veterinary radiology
As medical imaging technology
evolves, however, it exceeds the capabil-
ity of both analog interfaces, as well as
legacy digital interfaces. Video-over-Eth-
ernet is particularly well suited for these
types of applications because it ad-
dresses the following common chal-
lenges associated with achieving high-
resolution, real-time video:
Accommodating High-Resolution Images
Interfaces traditionally used in imag-
ing equipment do not have the band-
width required to carry the advanced
resolution and high frame rates neces-
sary in many modern medical imaging
applications.
Video compression is a standard cod-
ing practice used to reduce the size of
video files while maintaining the in-
tegrity of the image. The process, how-
ever, adds latency to image transmission
and can reduce image detail. Latency
must be reduced to a point where move-
ment on the display is practically indis-
tinguishable from that of a surgeon’s di-
rect visual perception. Most system
designers aim for an end-to-end latency
Figure 1. A diagram of real-time digital imaging in networked hospital operating rooms.
Figure 2. A diagram of a digital X-ray system with a flat panel detector.
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Intro
92 www.techbriefs.com Imaging Technology, September 2012
of 200 ms or less, a figure achieved by
careful selection of the interface and
networking technology, including an op-
timized implementation of the GigE Vi-
sion standard.
Gigabit Ethernet (both at 1 and 10
Gbps) is particularly well suited to ac-
commodate high data rates, and so com-
pression is not required in most cases.
The GigE Vision standard employs a low-
overhead network protocol, and can
benefit from the use of jumbo Ethernet
frames, thereby reducing the overhead
even further.
Transferring Images Reliably
Patients must not be exposed twice to
obtain an image, and physicians must
work from accurate, real-time images.
Although data packets are unlikely to go
missing or to arrive out of order in a
properly architected network, the GigE
Vision standard includes a packet resend
mechanism that ensures such an occur-
rence would not cause data loss. Also,
GigE Vision is built upon known, stan-
dard technologies (Ethernet, IP, UDP)
that have been widely used for decades,
and which have been heavily invested in
and developed by giants like Intel and
Cisco. GigE has been in use since 1999,
while 10 GigE was ratified by the IEEE in
2003 and has a decade of widespread ac-
ceptance and development behind it.
Accommodating Sterile Rooms
Sterilization requirements make it
risky and sometimes impossible to intro-
duce new systems into medical environ-
ments. Video-over-Ethernet resolves this
challenge through distance. With a
reach of 100 meters over copper wire
(1 GigE) or even further over fiber (1 or
10 GigE), GigE Vision systems can be lo-
cated and serviced outside of sterile
rooms, as Figure 1 illustrates. Each net-
work element can also be located in the
appropriate department, providing
more flexibility in system design.
Minimizing System Cost
The GigE Vision standard helps lower
the costs of new systems and system up-
grades:
• The data is transmitted using GigE net-
work interface cards (NICs), which are
standard on PCs.
• Ethernet is a standards-compliant solu-
tion already in place in healthcare fa-
cilities.
• For GigE networks, standard, afford-
able Cat 5/6 cabling is used. For 10
GigE networks, cost-effective GigE
fiber connections are most often used
(providing electrical isolation), and
Cat 6A cabling can also be used up to
100 meters.
• System designers avoid the risk of sin-
gle-source or proprietary architectures
because the GigE Vision standard is an
open, global standard that ensures
seamless interoperability between
equipment designed by different man-
ufacturers.
• Multiple sensors or channels of video
can be aggregated into a single net-
work link. Multiple cables can be re-
placed with a single connection, and a
number of sensors can be connected
over the same link.
Maximizing System Design Life
Medical imaging systems are substan-
tial investments, both in R&D effort as
well as capital cost. To extend the life -
span of these valuable systems, the use of
a GigE Vision interface enables design-
ers to leave a system’s imaging compo-
nent as-is while extending cable dis-
tances, eliminating frame grabbers, and
integrating more flexible connectors
and cables. This is possible with GigE Vi-
sion products available today that em-
ploy one or more image sources using
Camera Link
®
interfaces and transmit
them over GigE. Alternatively, a manu-
facturer could simply change the inter-
face of a medical imaging product from
a proprietary interface to GigE Vision by
means of a small adapter board.
Future Clinical Applications
of GigE Vision
GigE Vision provides the technologi-
cal platform for networked video suit-
able for use in medical environments. In
a networked video architecture, all ele-
ments (image sensors, cameras, comput-
ers, video receivers, video servers, con-
trol units, and displays) are connected
to each other. With this streamlined ap-
proach, every component uses the same
standard framework to transmit or re-
ceive video and control data. While GigE
Vision over GigE is already commonly
used in medical environments, the grow-
ing adoption of GigE Vision over 10
GigE will open up further opportunities
to enhance medical imaging applica-
tions and patient care, as the following
examples illustrate:
Digital Fluoroscopy
Advances in X-ray imaging, such as
image intensifiers and flat-panel digital
detectors, are reducing the radiation dose
to which patients are exposed (see Figure
2). This is especially beneficial in fluo-
roscopy, which provides physicians with
real-time X-ray images of a patient’s
anatomy by using radiation exposure over
time. The process, however, results in a
greater cumulative radiation exposure.
Innovative new fluoroscopy systems
minimize the patient’s exposure by
using multiple moving X-ray sources to
irradiate tissue from numerous incre-
mental angles in just seconds. To do so
using traditional vision interfaces and
connections, though, would be uneco-
nomical and cumbersome.
Using GigE Vision over 10 GigE, the
multi-source image data can be transmit-
ted over Ethernet to a processor to gen-
erate 3D images on a CMOS X-ray detec-
tor. If required, a systems integrator
could add an additional GigE Vision
compliant X-ray detector from another
Figure 3. Dexela’s GigE Vision compliant CMOS X-ray detector is based on an innovative CMOS sensor
design that improves speed and image quality.
GigE Vision
®
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Intro
manufacturer to further increase the
utility of the system (see Figure 3). Be-
cause all imaging components and soft-
ware are GigE Vision compliant, the in-
tegration is very simple.
MRI
MRI machines output substantial
amounts of video data. Today, that data
is transferred using proprietary inter-
faces that can be expensive to maintain
and costly for R&D teams to develop in
the first place. GigE Vision over 10 GigE
offers a solution to these challenges and
may make magnetic resonance imaging
more affordable, easier to maintain, and
more widely available in the near future.
Tomorrow’s Hospitals
As medical technologies grow in so-
phistication, the bandwidth, resolutions,
and frame rates required for imaging
will grow in parallel. Within three to five
years the average radiation oncology de-
partment, for example, will experience
exponential growth in the size, complex-
ity, and volume of medical images, as il-
lustrated in Figure 4. The increase is
due, in part, to the success of image-
guided oncology programs, which gen-
erate new images at each step in the
treatment process — diagnosis, staging,
planning, verification, setup, response,
and follow-up.
As these kinds of medical imaging sys-
tems continue to evolve, real-time video
networks will be important technology
elements for the medical community as
it expands into new areas of image-
guided surgery and diagnostics.
This article was written by John Phillips,
Senior Product Manager at Pleora Technolo-
gies (Kanata, ON, Canada). For more infor-
mation, visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-
141.
www.IOINDUSTRIES.com
CHOOSE THE 3G/ HD- SDI CAMERA THAT’ S RI GHT FOR YOU
Video Cameras and
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Models
- Color
- Monochrome
- Near-|P
Resolution
- l080p (23.98 to 60)
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- 2K x l080p24
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- Handheld remote
- US8 to PC
- Genlock (Trl-level)
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Imaging Technology, September 2012 93 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-831
Figure 4. Projected image storage per patient. (Graph courtesy of Varian Medical Systems)
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Intro
Imaging Sensor
OmniVision Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) offers the OV12830, a 12.7-megapixel CameraChip™ sensor de-
signed to meet the image and video recording standards of smartphones and tablets. The OV12830 utilizes the Om-
niBSI-2 pixel architecture to capture 1080p high definition (HD) video at 60 frames per second (FPS).
The sensor supports an active array of 4,224 x 3,000 pixels (12-megapixel) operating at 24 FPS, and 4,224 x 2,376 pixels
(10-megapixel in a 16:9 aspect ratio) at 30 FPS, minimizing shutter lag from shot-to-shot. An on-chip RAW scaler allows the
sensor to record video at 30 FPS while maintaining full field of view.
Additionally, the OV12830 is capable of capturing video with increased sensitivity for low-light recording, and at 60 FPS
with additional pixels for EIS. The sensor pro-
vides alternate row output from full-resolution
at two different exposures, enabling high-dy-
namic range (HDR) still or video recording.
The OV12830 comes in die format with indus-
try standard 4-lane MIPI interface connectivity.
For Free Info Visit
http://info.hotims.com/40437-148
GigE Vision Cameras
Teledyne DALSA (Billerica, MA) has ex-
panded its Genie™ TS camera series with the
addition of three color models that use CMOS
imaging sensor technology. The Genie TS
color cameras, which include 5M, 8M, and
12M models, reach speeds up to 29 fps.
The GigE-Vision-compliant Genie TS Se-
ries transmits data over standard CAT-5e and
CAT-6 cables to distances of up to 100m. The
Genie TS cameras are supported by Teledyne
DALSA’s Sapera™ Essential software and its
Genie Framework package. The Genie Frame-
work employs Trigger-to-Image Reliability en-
gineering, accelerating application develop-
ment and deployment time by providing
developers with a 360° view of the entire ac-
quisition process.
For Free Info Visit
http://info.hotims.com/40437-146
Digital High-Speed
Cameras
Vision Research (Wayne, NJ) has added
the v411 to its 1 Megapixel (Mpx)-v-Series line
of digital high-speed cameras. The 4Gpx/s
v411 has a top speed at full resolution of 4200
fps. V-Series cameras feature high-definition,
widescreen 1280x800 CMOS sensors
and have larger 20 micron
pixels that allow shooting
in low light.
The cameras also
include Phantom
CineMag compatibil-
ity for on-camera storage and
long record time applications. They also fea-
ture Image-Based Auto-Trigger functionality,
Extreme Dynamic Range, and an internal
capping shutter for hands-free and remote
black references.
For Free Info Visit
http://info.hotims.com/40437-154
TRUST MATTERS.
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94 Imaging Technology, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-832
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Intro
6 – 8 November 2012 Messe Stuttgart
www.vision-fair.de
One VISION
What do brake assist systems and intraoral scanners have in
common? Both applications have only been made possible
thanks to machine vision. VISION will be presenting the entire
spectrum of this unique technology – from components to
turnkey complete systems, from mechanical engineering to
endoscopy. This is where the industry meets – and has done
for the past 25 years.
One VISION. 25 Years of VISION.
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-833
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Intro
96 Imaging Technology, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-835
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-834
15 Jonathan Drive, Unit 4
Brockton, MA 02301-5566
Tel: (508) 580-1660
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www.krohn-hite.com
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Certified to N.I.S.T.
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CCD Scientific Cameras
Photometrics (Tucson, AZ) has introduced
CoolSNAP™ MYO and CoolSNAP™ KINO
CCD cameras, which are designed to discern
finer details in biological samples under
lower light levels. The MYO, capable of cool-
ing to 0°C, features a fan that can be disabled.
The KINO is cooled to 20°C without a fan, making it suitable for sensi-
tive applications where vibration is not tolerated. The cameras provide
2.8 megapixel imagery with 75% peak quantum efficiency. Additional
features include 4.54 μm pixel pitch, a rate of 6.2 frames per second,
and a USB 2.0 interface.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-152
Human-Machine Interface
The HMI5121P from Maple Systems (Everett,
WA) is equipped with a bright 12.1" TFT touch-
screen; up to 16.2 million colors can be shown on
the 1024 × 768-pixel display. The model has a 800-
MHz microprocessor, designed for graphic anima-
tion and heavy data processing.
The HMIs connect to PLCs through two serial ports, USB ports, a
CAN bus port, and an Ethernet port. The EZwarePlus configuration soft-
ware enables the importing of tag data. Two video input ports allow two
motion cameras for remote monitoring, and video files can be played
using the built-in media player for training or instructional purposes.
The EZwarePlus configuration software has also increased recipe
functionality, advanced macro support, and diagnostic tools. Security
options manage user accounts and privilege settings, and remote mon-
itoring and control of the HMI can be configured from any networked
PC. The HMI also supports VNC (Virtual Network Computing) to mon-
itor from a handheld device or smartphone.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-143
3D Visualization
Christie
®
(Cypress, CA) has added three Mi-
rage M Series digital projectors: Mirage DS+14K-
M, Mirage HD14K-M, and Mirage WU14K-M.
New Christie Twist™hardware provides built-in geo-
metric warping with sharper imagery, and advanced edge-blending ca-
pabilities that reduce or eliminate electronic blending artifacts. The Mi-
rage M series projectors consist of either SXGA+, HD, or WUXGA
resolution, and now feature a range of 6,000 to 12,500 lumens.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-144
Infrared Camera
The IR-1000 near-infrared camera from Dage-
MTI (Michigan City, IN) features automatic con-
trast and real-time edge enhancement. The real-
time CCD camera includes electronics that
automatically and instantaneously readjust when a scene changes. The
user also has continuous access to the manual gain and may engage the
camera’s black-level control to achieve specific grey-scale contrast.
The camera’s real-time edge enhancement feature sharpens edges
and resolves fine details in the image. With enhanced sensitivity across
the visible and infrared spectral wavelength, the 0.5-inch sensor in-
cludes a 5x increase in sensitivity at 900 nm. An optional computer in-
terface board is also available.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-149
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 97 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-837
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Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-836
Product of the Month
Dell, Round Rock,
TX, has introduced the
Dell Pre cision M4700
and M6700 15" and 17"
mobile workstations that
incorporate Intel Core
i5, i7, and Extreme Ed ition processors with Turbo Boost tech-
nology. Available graphics include the NVIDIA Quadro K-series
GPUS and AMD FirePro. The workstations feature edge-to-edge
Corning
®
Gorilla
®
Glass 2 for resilience. They offer DDR3
SDRAM with up to 32 GB of system memory and 1600 MHz of
memory speed, and up to 16 GB of 1866 MHz memory. They
offer an optional SATA3 512-GB solid-state drive. Both offer a
range of ports that includes two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and one
eSATA/USB combo port, as well as three integrated video ports
supporting VGA, HDMI, and DsiplayPort 1.2.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-120
Position Sensors
ASM, Elmhurst, IL, offers the
PCST27 POSICHRON
®
magne-
tostrictive position sensors. The sen-
sors consist of a magnetostrictive
waveguide and a movable position
magnet. The rod-profile sensors feature a stainless steel housing,
are available up to protection class IP68, and are pressure resistant
up to 15 bar. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-100
Ultrasonic Sensors
Pepperl+Fuchs, Twinsburg, OH, has intro-
duced F260 Series ultrasonic sensors that
deliver 12-bit resolution over a 10-meter (33-
ft.) sensing window, providing both analog
and dual switch point outputs. Analog adjust-
ments are made in a software-programming
environment, while dual potentiometers control switch point
adjustment. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-101
Proximity Sensors
AutomationDirect, Cumming, GA,
offers a line of round-bodied stainless
steel inductive proximity sensors includ-
ing 3-wire NPN output versions in 8-, 12-,
18-, and 30-mm models. Also available
are unshielded 3-wire 12-, 18-, and 30-
mm models. All have a full 316L stainless steel barrel and sensing
face that provides durability in harsh environments. For Free Info
Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-102
Product Focus: Sensors
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Intro
98 NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-839
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-838
Humidity/Temperature Sensors
The SHT20 humidity and temperature
sensors from Sensirion, Stafa, Switzerland,
feature typical accuracy of 3% RH. The sen-
sors are based on the CMOSens
®
technolo-
gy, and offer temperature measurement
accuracy of ±0.4 °C and a measuring range
of -40 to +120 °C. They feature a 3x3-mm footprint and 1.1-mm
profile. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-103
Force/Torque Sensor
ATI Industrial Automation, Apex, North
Carolina, has introduced a multi-axis force/
torque sensor system that measures six compo-
nents of force and torque (Fx, Fy, Fz, Tx, Ty,
Tz), and features hardened stainless steel con-
struction, high-speed output, overload protection, span tempera-
ture compensation options, and high signal-to-noise ratio. Custom
and standard sensor models are available from 17 mm to 330 mm,
and include environmental protection (IP) on most models.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-104
Design Software
Siemens PLM Software, Plano, TX, has
released Solid Edge
®
ST5 design software featur-
ing Synchronous Technology, a history-free, fea-
ture-based design technology for digital product
development. Enhancements include the ability
to show an assembly in multiple positions within a drawing view, to
automatically place parts lists across sheets, and easily align the posi-
tion of dimensions. The Solid Edge Mobile Viewer is a free 3D viewer
mobile device application for the iPad that includes the ability to
rotate, pan, zoom, show and hide parts, and create and email images.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-105
Electromagnetic Flow Meters
OMEGA Engineering, Stamford, CT, offers plas-
tic-body, battery powered, corrosion-resistant
FMG800 full-bore electromagnetic flow meters that
feature a built-in rate and total indicator. With no
moving parts, the magmeter permits unobstructed
flow, minimizing flow disturbances and straight pipe requirements.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-106
Film Adhesive
NuSil Technology LLC, Carpinteria, CA, has
released CV-2681-12, an electrically conductive,
controlled volatility (low-outgassing) film adhe-
sive. Static-dissipative with controlled volatility,
the film is suited for electronics and space applications that require
minimal outgassing in sensitive applications. The adhesive can be die
cut and can maintain adhesion in a broad range of temperatures. The
two-part material consists of HCR sheeting reinforced with a mesh and
a separate catalyst, or activator, to induce curing. For Free Info Visit
http://info.hotims.com/40437-110
Product Focus: Sensors
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Intro
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-856 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-857 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-858
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-867
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-863
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-866 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-865 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-864
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-861 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-862
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-860 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-859
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 99
Product Spotlight
FREE MAGAZINE
ON MULTIPHYSICS
SIMULATION IN
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Are you interested in what
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and science have achieved
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gives you 60 pages worth of case studies that illus-
trate recent achievements in industry — all made
possible by COMSOL’s modeling tools. Check out
a complimentary copy of the magazine today at
www.comsol.com/ntblit.
COMSOL
AIRCRAFT
BONDING
RESISTANCE
AND INSULATION
The METRAHIT27AS is used
for testing airplane and heli-
copter electrical systems
(voltage, insulation, milliohm, and temperature
measurement). All-in-one, handheld instrument
includes multimeter functions for electrical quanti-
ties, milliohm measurement, megaohm measure-
ment function with insulation test voltages up to 500
V, and temperature measurement. Call us at 800-372-
6832 x335; www.dranetzusa.com
Dranetz/Gossen Metrawatt
HAZARDOUS
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SERVO TABLES
Explosion-proof, wash-
down, and sealed/air
purged rotary tables from Centricity are built to your
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to over 20' and capacities to tens of thousands of
pounds. Unique modular construction ships stan-
dard freight for easy on-site assembly. Includes com-
plete servo drive package. Machine bases, dial plates,
slip rings, rotary unions, z-axis positioning and many
other features available. www.centricity.net; Tel: 330-
545-5624; sales@centricity.net
Centricity
PRECISION
ORIFICES & FILTERS
Bird Precision offers laser-
drilled, wire-lapped ruby and
sapphire orifices.
• Huge variety of Orifices,
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more information. Bird Precision, Waltham, MA;
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Bird Precision
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BRL Test’s world-class repair facility features:
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Free info at BRLTest.com
BRL Test
THE NEXT
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DEWESof t , LLC. ,
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offers the SIRIUS line of data acquisition, featuring
dual core auto-ranging 24-bit A/D per channel
(160dB dynamic range) with anti-alias filtering and
isolation, along with built-in signal conditioning for
voltage, IEPE, strain, real-time counters, encoders
and more. Along with our aptly titled software pack-
age DEWESoft, we have SIRIUSly changed data
acquisition! WWW.DEWESoft.com/sirius
DEWESoft, LLC.
LOW POWER,
HIGH PERFORMANCE
SEMICONDUCTORS
Lemos International offers AXSEM semiconductors
for the high-volume wireless communication market.
• Narrow-band Line: AX5042, AX50424, and
AX5043 are some of the world’s most sensitive
integrated RF ICs.
• General Purpose Line: AX5031, AX5051 and
AX5051-510 have unsurpassed wide channel per-
formance.
• TSSOP Line: AX5131, AX5151 and AX5151-510
are unmatched in terms of their performance/
price ratio.
www.lemosint.com
Lemos International
PUT TEMPERA-
TURE SENSORS
WHERE THE
HEAT IS!
Monitoring the heat at
critical points in a product or assembly can result in
improved product performance and reliability. Use
DCC’s HotSpot Welders to fabricate thermocouple
junctions, attach leads to sensors, filaments and com-
ponents, and hardware to structures. These capaci-
tive discharge welders are portable, quick, and sim-
ple to operate. View our video and get specifications
and pricing at dcc-c.com. Call us at 856-662-7272 to
explore your particular applications.
DCC Corporation
VACUUM
BRAZING
Omley Industries
specializes in a wide
variety of vacuum
brazed components
including specialty hermetic feedthroughs and
stand-offs; sapphire, diamond and beryllium win-
dows; optical and infrared probes. Omley focuses
exclusively on prototype and OEM production vacu-
um brazing. We braze specifically for your designs
and applications. Limited quantities are no problem.
To learn more, visit www.omley.com.
Omley Industries
MEMS
ACCELEROMETER
WITH REMOVABLE
CONNECTOR
The Silicon Designs industry
exclusive model 2266 is a
high-precision MEMS vari-
able capacitive accelero m -
eter with simple four-wire
snap-in removable connector, also supplied with a
one meter cable. The series is designed to allow users
the added ability to exchange, move, reposition, and
replace accelerometers within a given test setup for
greater flexibility, convenience and cost savings.
www.silicondesigns.com/ds/ds2266.html
Silicon Designs
POROUS
CERAMIC
VACUUM
CHUCK
PhotoMachining of -
fers a porous ceramic
vacuum chuck for use
with thin films and other flat samples. Pore sizes
under 25 microns assure uniform suction and holding
power for even the smallest parts. PhotoMachining
also provides contract laser-manufacturing services,
and designs and builds custom laser-based manufactur-
ing equipment. PhotoMachining, Inc., 4 Industrial Dr.,
Unit 40, Pelham, NH 03076; Tel: 603-882-9944; Fax:
603-886-8844; rschaeffer@photomachining.com;
www.photomachining.com
PhotoMachining, Inc.
POWER & TEMPERATURE
CONTROL
MANAGEMENT
SYSTEMS
This publication illustrates our
experience as a UL 508A Cert -
ified Panel Shop in designing and
building custom electrical control panels. It also
presents a user-friendly guide to selecting a tempera-
ture control based on the performance required.
Tempco is an ISO 9001 Certified Quality Company
manufacturing Electric Heaters, Temperature Sen -
sors, Temp erature Controls and Process Heating
Systems. Tempco Electric Heater Corporation; Tel:
800-323-6859; www.tempco.com; info@tempco.com.
Tempco Electric Heater Corporation
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Intro
One of the challenges for Manned and Unmanned Aircraft Systems is the cooling of flight-critical avionics that must be maintained
below a specific temperature for mission success.
This Webinar will provide design engineers for aviation applications with a good understanding of the benefits and potential issues
associated with operation and implementation of heat pipes, HiK plates, vapor chambers, phase change materials, and related
technologies in aviation systems.
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar111
Aviation Thermal Management -
Survivability of Mission Critical Electronic
Components for Commercial and
Military Aircraft
Webinars Upcoming
Live Presentation – Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 2:00 pm ET
John Hartenstine
Manager, Aerospace
Products
Advanced Cooling
Technologies, Inc.
Presenters:
This 30-minute webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived event on demand
Dr. Bill Anderson
Chief Engineer
Advanced Cooling Systems, Inc.
Additive manufacturing technologies are also commonly known as "Rapid Prototyping" or "3D Printing" as well as other names.
Learn how this process can help designers create better products and get them to market faster and cheaper. You will also
discover how companies like BMW, GM, and Boeing use additive manufacturing and what is in store for the future.
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar112
Additive Manufacturing 101:
Changing the Future of Product
Development and Manufacturing
Jonathan L. Cobb
VP of Global Marketing
Stratasys, Inc.
Presenter:
This 30-minute webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived event on demand
Live Presentation – Thursday, September 13, 2012, 2:00 pm ET
This Webinar focuses on presenting simulation approaches to aeroacoustic problems in ANSYS CFD. They include a direct
Computational Aeroacoustics (CAA) methodology, far-field noise propagation using the Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings acoustics
analogy, and broadband noise models.
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar110
Modeling Airborne Noise
Live Presentation –
Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 1:00 pm ET
Konstantine A. Kourbatski, Ph.D.
Lead Technical Services Engineer
ANSYS, Inc.
Presenter:
This 60-minute webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived event on demand
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Intro
Is Early Performance Testing Really
Valuable AND Viable?
Many organizations are neglecting to include a comprehensive performance testing process in their quality arsenal as it is too
expensive or time consuming to measure the stability and scalability of business critical functionality prior to releasing to production.
What if there was a way to test the performance of your applications before deploying to production at a lower cost?
Join Scott Barber, Thought Leader, as he shares his thoughts on how organizations can improve their performance abilities during
this IBM sponsored Webinar.
The single-platform concept has proved to be both convenient and effective across the technology landscape, from smartphones to
converged media that employ a single platform to allow viewing and seamless shifting of a broadcast on TV set-top boxes, mobile
phones, laptops, tablets, and other screens.
The Webinar will focus on the solution Altair has developed that translates single-platform efficiency to the world of multiphysics
analysis. Join market leaders as they share experiences that have rapidly improved their design process.
Solver Matters: Scalable, Accurate, and
Robust Multiphysics Analysis
Live Presentation – Thursday, September 20, 2012, 2:00 pm ET
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar115
Detlef Schneider
Senior VP,
Solver Products
Altair
Presenters: This 60-minute
webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived
event on demand
Warren Dias
Business Development
Manager
Altair
Learn the fundamentals of tolerancing and testing for surface roughness and mid-spatial frequency errors. These factors affect all
elements of the optics fabrication process – from design to manufacturing.
®
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar114
Basics of Optical Surfaces:
Roughness, Texture, and Mid-Spatial
Frequency Form Errors
Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Ph.D.
Research and Development Manager
Optimax Systems, Inc.
Presenter:
This 30-minute webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived event on demand
Live Presentation– Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 2:00 pm ET
Dante Sanchez Rojas
CAE Specialist
MABE
Please visit www.techbriefs.com/webinar113
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist
PerfTestPlus
Presenter:
This 60-minute webinar includes:
• Live Q&A session
• Application Demo
• Access to archived event on demand
Live Presentation – Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 2:00 pm ET
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Intro
102 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
NASA’s Technology Sources
If you need further information about new technologies presented in NASA Tech Briefs,
request the Technical Support Package (TSP) indicated at the end of the brief. If a TSP is not
available, the Innovative Partnerships Office at the NASA field center that sponsored the
research can provide you with additional information and, if applicable, refer you to the
innovator(s). These centers are the source of all NASA-developed technology.
Ames Research Center
Selected technological strengths: Information
Technology; Biotechnology; Nanotechnology;
Aerospace Operations Systems; Rotorcraft;
Thermal Protection Systems.
Lisa L. Lockyer
(650) 604-1754
lisa.l.lockyer@nasa.gov
Dryden Flight Research Center
Selected technological strengths:
Aerodynamics; Aeronautics Flight Testing;
Aeropropulsion; Flight Systems; Thermal
Testing; Integrated Systems Test and
Validation.
Yvonne D. Gibbs
(661) 276-3720
yvonne.d.gibbs@nasa.gov
Glenn Research Center
Selected technological strengths:
Aeropropulsion; Communications; Energy
Technology; High-Temperature Materials
Research.
Kathleen Needham
(216) 433-2802
kathleen.k.needham@nasa.gov
Goddard Space Flight Center
Selected technological strengths: Earth and
Planetary Science Missions; LIDAR; Cryogenic
Systems; Tracking; Telemetry; Remote Sensing;
Command.
Nona Cheeks
(301) 286-5810
nona.k.cheeks@nasa.gov
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Selected technological strengths: Near/Deep-
Space Mission Engineering; Microspacecraft;
Space Communications; Information Systems;
Remote Sensing; Robotics.
Indrani Graczck
(818) 354-4906
indrani.graczck-1@nasa.gov
Johnson Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Artificial
Intelligence and Human Computer Interface;
Life Sciences; Human Space Flight
Operations; Avionics; Sensors;
Communications.
David Leestma
(281) 483-3809
david.c.leestma@nasa.gov
Kennedy Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Fluids and
Fluid Systems; Materials Evaluation; Process
Engineering; Command, Control, and Monitor
Systems; Range Systems; Environmental
Engineering and Management.
David R. Makufka
(321) 867-6227
david.r.makufka@nasa.gov
Langley Research Center
Selected technological strengths: Aerodynamics;
Flight Systems; Materials; Structures; Sensors;
Measurements; Information Sciences.
Elizabeth B. Plentovich
(757) 864-2857
elizabeth.b.plentovich@nasa.gov
Marshall Space Flight Center
Selected technological strengths: Materials;
Manufacturing; Nondestructive Evaluation;
Biotechnology; Space Propulsion; Controls and
Dynamics; Structures; Microgravity Processing.
Jim Dowdy
(256) 544-7604
jim.dowdy@nasa.gov
Stennis Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Propulsion
Systems; Test/Monitoring; Remote Sensing;
Nonintrusive Instrumentation.
Ramona Travis
(228) 688-3832
ramona.e.travis@ssc.nasa.gov
National Technology Transfer Center
Darwin Molnar
Wheeling, WV
(800) 678-6882
NASA HEADQUARTERS
Innovative Partnerships Program Office
Doug Comstock, Director
(202) 358-2221
doug.comstock@nasa.gov
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) &
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
Programs
Carl Ray, Program Executive
(202) 358-4652
carl.g.ray@nasa.gov
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...........................................................................at (973) 545-2565
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...........................................................................at (973) 545-2566
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...........................................................................at (973) 545-2464
Reprints........................................................................Jill Kaletha
.................................................................at (866) 879-9144, x168
w w w . t e c h b r i e f s . c o m
NASA’s Technology Sources
If you need further information about new technologies presented in NASA Tech Briefs,
request the Technical Support Package (TSP) indicated at the end of the brief. If a TSP is not
available, the IPO at the NASA field center that sponsored the research can provide you with
additional information and, if applicable, refer you to the innovator(s). These centers are the
source of all NASA-developed technology.
Ames Research Center
Selected technological strengths: Information
Technology; Biotechnology; Nanotechnology;
Aerospace Operations Systems; Rotorcraft;
Thermal Protection Systems.
David Morse
(650) 604-4724
david.r.morse@nasa.gov
Dryden Flight Research Center
Selected technological strengths:
Aerodynamics; Aeronautics Flight Testing;
Aeropropulsion; Flight Systems; Thermal
Testing; Integrated Systems Test and
Validation.
Ron Young
(661) 276-3741
ronald.m.young@nasa.gov
Glenn Research Center
Selected technological strengths:
Aeropropulsion; Communications; Energy
Technology; High-Temperature Materials
Research.
Kimberly A. Dalgleish-Miller
(216) 433-8047
kimberly.a.dalgleish@nasa.gov
Goddard Space Flight Center
Selected technological strengths: Earth and
Planetary Science Missions; LIDAR; Cryogenic
Systems; Tracking; Telemetry; Remote Sensing;
Command.
Nona Cheeks
(301) 286-5810
nona.k.cheeks@nasa.gov
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Selected technological strengths: Near/Deep-
Space Mission Engineering; Microspacecraft;
Space Communications; Information Systems;
Remote Sensing; Robotics.
Indrani Graczyk
(818) 354-2241
indrani.graczyk@jpl.nasa.gov
Johnson Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Artificial
Intelligence and Human Computer Interface;
Life Sciences; Human Space Flight
Operations; Avionics; Sensors;
Communications.
John E. James
(281) 483-3809
john.e.james@nasa.gov
Kennedy Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Fluids and
Fluid Systems; Materials Evaluation; Process
Engineering; Command, Control, and Monitor
Systems; Range Systems; Environmental
Engineering and Management.
David R. Makufka
(321) 867-6227
david.r.makufka@nasa.gov
Langley Research Center
Selected technological strengths: Aerodynamics;
Flight Systems; Materials; Structures; Sensors;
Measurements; Information Sciences.
Michelle Ferebee
(757) 864-5617
michelle.t.ferebee@nasa.gov
Marshall Space Flight Center
Selected technological strengths: Materials;
Manufacturing; Nondestructive Evaluation;
Biotechnology; Space Propulsion; Controls and
Dynamics; Structures; Microgravity Processing.
Terry L. Taylor
(256) 544-5916
terry.taylor@nasa.gov
Stennis Space Center
Selected technological strengths: Propulsion
Systems; Test/Monitoring; Remote Sensing;
Nonintrusive Instrumentation.
Ramona Travis
(228) 688-3832
ramona.e.travis@ssc.nasa.gov
NASA HEADQUARTERS
Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer
Program Executive
(202) 358-2037
daniel.p.lockney@nasa.gov
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small
Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs
Rich Leshner, Program Executive
(202) 358-4920
rleshner@nasa.gov
w w w . t e c h b r i e f s . c o m
NASA’s Innovative Partnerships
Office (IPO)
NASA’s R&D efforts produce a robust supply of promising technologies with applications in many indus-
tries. A key mechanism in identifying commercial applications for this technology is NASA’s national
network of laboratories and business support entities. The network includes ten NASA field centers,
and a full tie-in with the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for Technology Transfer. To explore tech-
nology transfer, development, and collaboration opportunities with NASA, visit www.ipp.nasa.gov.
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Intro
NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 103
Advertisers Index
For free product literature, enter advertisers’ reader service numbers at www.techbriefs.com/rs, or visit the
Web site listed beneath their ad in this issue.
Advertisers listed in bold-face type have banner ads on the NASA Tech Briefs Web site — www.techbriefs.com
Reader Service
Company Number Page
Reader Service
Company Number Page
ACCES I/O Products ........................................802............................62
Advanced Technical Ceramics Company ............704..............................6a
Aerotech, Inc. ........................................................815..............................74
Aerotek ..................................................................792..............................49
Agilent Technologies ............................................759, 779..................9, 31
Allied Electronics, Inc...........................................783, 784................36, 37
AllMotion, Inc. ......................................................825..............................84
Altos Photonics, Inc. ............................................707............................12a
American Aerospace Controls..............................836..............................97
ASM Sensors, Inc...................................................826..............................85
Astro-Med Inc. ......................................................787..............................44
ATI Industrial Automation ..................................774........................26, 38
AutomationDirect ................................................777..............................29
Avago Technologies (Select Editions)................................................32A-B
Avnet Electronics ..................................................758................................7
Basler Vision Technologies ..................................832..............................94
BINDER Inc...........................................................762..............................12
Bird Precision........................................................856..............................99
BRL Test, Inc. ........................................................857..............................99
c3controls ..............................................................764..............................15
Centricity Corporation..........................................858..............................99
COMSOL, Inc. ..................................................763, 859 ..............13, 99
Crane Aerospace & Electronics............................871..............Opp. COV I
Data Translation....................................................788..............................45
DCC Corporation..................................................860..............................99
Deposition Sciences Inc. ......................................747..............................3a
DEWESoft ..............................................................867..............................99
Dewetron Inc. ....................................................785............................41
Digi-Key Corporation ........................................754..............................2
Dimension..................................................................................................56
Dranetz/Gossen Metrawatt ..................................861..............................99
DRS Technologies, Inc. ........................................769..............................21
dSPACE, Inc...........................................................771..............................23
Dynetic Systems ....................................................817..............................76
Eagle Stainless Tube ..........................................808............................68
Edmund Optics ................................................830............................90
Enwave Optronics, Inc. ........................................708............................13a
FLIR Commercial Vision Systems ......................819............................78
FORTUS 3D Production Systems ........................767..................19, 38, 56
Fotofab ..................................................................799..............................58
Futek Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. ............768........................20, 38
Goodfellow Corporation ......................................840 ....................COV III
GPD Optoelectronics Corp. ................................748............................10a
HARTING Technology Group..............................804..............................64
Heidenhain Corporation......................................790..............................47
Helical Products Co., Inc. ....................................812..............................71
Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik ........................801............................61
Image Science Ltd.................................................701..............................2a
Imagineering, Inc. ............................................755..............................3
Indium Corporation ............................................822..............................81
InnoDisk Corp.......................................................818..............................77
Integrated Engineering Software Inc. ................814............................73
International Rectifier ..........................................800..............................60
IO Industries..........................................................831..............................93
KAMAN Corporation............................................765..............................16
Keil, Tools by ARM................................................810..............................69
Krohn-Hite Corporation ......................................834..............................96
Laser Institute of America ....................................705............................11a
Lemos International ............................................862..............................99
Littelfuse, Inc. (Select Editions) ........................................................16A
LPKF Laser & Electronics ....................................813..............................72
M.S. Kennedy Corporation ................................757..............................6
Maplesoft ..............................................................772........................24, 38
Master Bond Inc. ..................................................837..............................97
MathWorks ............................................................756................................5
Matrox Imaging ....................................................828..............................88
Measurement Computing Corp. ..........................791..............................48
Memory Protection Devices, Inc. ........................870 ..........................13B
Metrigraphics, LLC ..............................................703..............................5a
Micro-Epsilon Messtechnik GmbH......................824..............................83
MicroCare Corp. ..................................................766..............................18
MicroStrain, Inc. ..................................................789..............................46
Mill-Max Mfg. Corp. ..............................................803..............................63
Miller-Stephenson Chemical Co. ........................809..............................69
Minalex Corporation ............................................780..............................32
Morehouse Instrument Company........................823..............................82
Mouser Electronics, Inc. ....................................752....................COV II
MPL........................................................................835..............................96
nanoplus GmBh ....................................................776........................28, 38
National Instruments ............................................868 ....................COV IV
Newark/element14 ..............................................761..............................11
Newcomb Spring Corporation ............................797..............................59
Omega Engineering ..........................................753..............................1
Omicron USA........................................................793..............................50
Omley Industries, Inc. ..........................................863..............................99
Optimax Systems, Inc. ..........................................781........................34, 38
OriginLab Corporation ........................................782..............................35
PennEngineering ..................................................816..............................75
PhotoMachining Inc. ............................................864..............................99
PI (Physik Instrumente) LP ..............................827............................86
Pletronics, Inc. ......................................................760..............................10
Proto Labs, Inc. ....................................................796..............................57
PTI Engineered Plastics, Inc.................................773..............................25
Radiant Zemax ......................................................778........................30, 38
RedEye RPM ..............................................................................................56
RF Monolithics, Inc...............................................821..............................80
Roithner Lasertechnik GmbH..............................710............................14a
SAE International..................................................869 ..........................13A
Santest Co., Ltd. ....................................................838..............................98
Sealevel Systems, Inc. ............................................805..............................65
Seastrom Mfg.........................................................798..............................59
Siemens PLM Software ........................................775........................27, 38
Silicon Designs, Inc. ..............................................865..............................99
Smalley Steel Ring Company................................811..............................70
Spectrogon US Inc. ..............................................709............................13a
SPIE Defense, Security + Sensing ........................795..............................53
SPIE Photonics West ............................................702..............................7a
Stanford Research Systems Inc. ........................794............................51
Suhner Manufacturing Corporation....................770........................22, 38
TAL Technologies Inc...........................................839..............................98
TDK-Lambda Americas Inc. ................................820..............................79
Tech Briefs TV............................................................................................9a
Teledyne DALSA................................................829............................89
Tempco Electric Heater Corp. ............................866..............................99
Vision 2012........................................................833............................95
Voltage Multipliers Inc. ........................................847..............................86
W.L. Gore ..............................................................806, 807................66, 67
Wavelength Electronics ........................................706............................12a
yet2.com................................................................................................54-55
Yokogawa Corporation of America ......................786..............................43
Reader Service
Company Number Page
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Intro
Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized
NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development
of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods,
transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.
Spinoff
104 www.techbriefs.com NASA Tech Briefs, September 2012
An Ionic Twist on Hair Care
Nanomaterials developed by NASA play a big role in professional hairstyling tools.
D
isinfecting can be dirty work. Typical
cleaning agents, like chlorine and
alcohol, release fumes that don’t go away
when applied in the contained environ-
ment of a spacecraft. So NASA scientists
developed an alternative method to keep
surfaces disinfected, using a material
whose antimicrobial properties have long
been known: nanosilver.
Nanosilver acts as a passive sterilizing
component, creating an area that is, in
effect, self-cleaning; airborne contami-
nants like fungi and bacteria quickly die
after settling on the surface.
Inspired by NASA, Houston-based
Farouk Systems decided in 2004 to
incorporate nanosilver into its line of
hairstyling irons and nail polish. The
chemical-free sterilization it provides is
especially attractive to salons and spas,
where an emphasis is placed on reduc-
ing fumes and contamination.
This wasn’t the first time Farouk
Systems looked to NASA for inspiration.
An unlikely connection from years
before supplied the company with
unique NASA technology that makes it a
great example of just how diverse the
applications of space technology can be
for life on Earth.
Cancer-Fighting Drugs to
Hair Conditioners
NASA-derived improvements to hair-
styling products began with decades of
research on nanomaterials — materials
10,000 times smaller than the width of a
human hair. Dennis Morrison, a former
NASA scientist, spent much of his career
with the Agency developing ceramic
microcapsules that could be filled with
cancer-fighting drugs and then injected
into solid tumors deep within the body.
In order to release the contents of the
microcapsules on demand, Morrison
constructed them using special ceramic
nanoparticles. When placed in a mag-
netic field, the material produced ions
and heated to a predictable tempera-
ture. This caused the ceramic particles
to melt holes in the microcapsules,
which released the drugs.
Originally, these liquid-filled micro -
balloons were made in low Earth orbit
where the absence of gravity aided in the
formation of the outer membrane.
NASA’s space-based experiments eventu-
ally resulted in the development of a
device that could make the drug-filled
microcapsules on Earth.
“I never had any idea that it might be
beneficial to someone in the hair indus-
try making a hair iron with ceramic
plates,” said Morrison. But that potential
became apparent after talks with Farouk
Systems at a nanotechnology conference.
Farouk Systems eventually incorporat-
ed the NASA-developed technology into
its CHI (Cationic Hydration Interlink)
hairstyling iron. When heated, the spe-
cial ceramic material releases ions that
smooth and soften the hair, making it
easier to manage and style. The company
has also developed a second level of hair
conditioning and protecting products
engineered to complement its unique
styling tools. These products are special-
ly formulated to work with the combina-
tion of ions and infrared wavelengths
caused by the CHI irons and hair dryers.
Morrison may have had no idea that
his research in ceramic nanomaterials
would lead to breakthroughs in profes-
sional hairstyling, but he knows the value
of looking for such applications as a nat-
ural extension of scientific research.
“Alternate uses may not be envisioned
for a certain technology, but once you
understand the mechanisms of the tech-
nology, you can look for spinoff applica-
tions,” he explained. “As a NASA
employee, I was encouraged to spread
information about the concepts and
results of our research, as well as talk to
people about potential new applications
of what we were discovering.”
Farouk System’s reliance on NASA
technology continues to this day:
Morrison is now one of the company’s
senior vice presidents. Leaning on his
experience, the company continues to
pioneer products that bring the benefits
of NASA technology from space to your
local salon.
This article was written by Lisa
Rademakers for Spinoff. Visit www.
techbriefs.com/component/content/article/
10647 for the full story. CHI
®
is a registered
trademark of Farouk Systems Inc.
The CHI line of hairstyling irons features a unique ceramic composite, which releases ions that make
hair softer, smoother, and easier to style.
These liquid formulations were specially
designed to work with the combination of ions
and infrared wavelengths created by Farouk
Systems’ CHI styling tools.
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Intro
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Intro
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Intro
Photonics Solutions for the Design Engineer
September 2012
Supplement to NASA Tech Briefs
Digital
Imaging Systems
for Ballistics Testing...........IIa
Photovoltaic Tracking
Control Systems ...............4a
Glass Solder Approach for
Fiber-to-Waveguide Coupling.........................8a
General MACOS Interface for
Modeling Controlled Optical Systems ...........8a
ASIC Readout Circuit Architecture for
Large Geiger Photodiode Arrays....................8a
Product of the Month/New Products ..........11a
A properly designed
and controlled photovoltaic
tracking system can capture up
to 40 percent more energy from
each panel than fixed racks. The key to
achieving optimum energy production and
reliability from such a system is selecting
the right hardware and control algorithm.
To learn more about photovoltaic tracking
control systems, read the applications
article on page 4a.
(Image courtesy of
Sedona Solar Technology)
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Intro
IIa www.techbriefs.com Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012
T
raditionally, the recording of ord-
nance proofing data has been split
into two main areas: instrumentation
and high speed photography. Instru -
mentation was more focused on the col-
lection of analytical data from various
instruments, e.g. Doppler radar, yaw
screens (for pitch and yaw), and velocity
traps (i.e. skyscreens or acoustic trig-
gers), whereas high speed photography
was more concerned with obtaining
high quality images for later qualitative
analysis. The photographic images were
obtained using an assortment of high
speed film cameras, often requiring a
specialist photographic team to survey
in, set up and align the camera, illumi-
nate the subject, synchronise the camera
to the firing system, process the film
records and produce the final images
for later manual analysis.
From Film to Digital
The introduction of the Hadland
Photonics BR553 high-speed ballistic
digital range camera in 1988 marked the
beginning of the demise of high-speed
film cameras. These early cameras pro-
vided almost instant viewing of near
photographic quality images. This
allowed ballisticians and engineers to
make changes to development rounds
without having to wait sometimes several
hours for films to be developed. The
digital imaging systems also facilitated
instant, on-site, measurement and analy-
sis of ordnance performance. This, in
turn, provided significant time savings
that resulted in much faster firing rates
being achieved and more productive use
of range time.
The ensuing 25 years have seen the
introduction of many major products
which have helped revolutionize the way
proofing and experimental ranges oper-
ate. Today the two main areas of record-
ing ordnance proofing are instrumenta-
tion along with digital high speed imag-
ing and post-production. Digital imag-
ing, with the ability to post-process
images, has now allowed the role, previ-
ously the preserve of dedicated photog-
raphers, to be fully integrated into the
overall instrumentation suite. New
image post-production operations,
including ballistic/projectile perform-
ance, image/data analysis and collation,
enable the trial data to be presented,
within a very short time-frame, to the
test sponsor/ordnance manufacturer in
an accurately integrated format.
Since the introduction of the early
ballistic range cameras, the quality and
versatility of these instruments has grad-
ually improved with advances in CCD
sensor technology and improvements in
image intensifiers (both of which are key
elements in the capture of extremely
short exposure still images). An exam-
ple of a state-of-the-art ballistic range
camera today is the SIR3 ballistic range
camera (Figure 1). This new camera is
capable of shutter speeds as short as
10ns, resulting in the elimination of
motion blur in images of objects travel-
ling at up to 4000 m/s. Offering 11 mil-
lion pixel resolution images, the quality
of results from the SIR3 is fast approach-
ing film quality.
Nowadays, while a well-exposed and
presented, sharp-focus picture is appre-
ciated by ballisticians, their prime con-
cern is the analytical data that can be
derived from that image. This includes
information such as projectile/fragment
velocity, spin rates, pitch and yaw etc.
With this in mind the SIR3 camera was
developed with the unique ability to take
a second full-resolution image (within
100us) so that analytical measurements
taken from the images could be extend-
ed into the time domain without any loss
of quality, and without the additional
investment of a second camera. An
added advantage of the second image
facility is the ability to monitor projectile
performance and integrity further into
its flight path.
High-Speed Video
The mid 1990s saw the introduction of
high-speed video (HSV) cameras onto
the proofing ranges in place of high-
Digital Imaging Systems
for Ballistics Testing
Figure 1. Specialised Imaging SIR3 ballistic range
camera
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Intro
speed framing cameras. The new high
speed video cameras were used to look at
a multitude of events ranging from firing
pin behaviour, barrel flexing, muzzle
blast formation, as well as terminal/
impact ballistics. Initially terminal and
impact ballistic events were often far too
fast for the early HSV cameras, but with
modern HSV cameras capable of exceed-
ing 250,000 fps and exposure time of
<5μs per frame, the study of these types
of events has become more feasible.
The number of frames that a high-
speed video can record offers a range of
test scenarios which cannot be achieved
using a single shot camera. This makes
them ideally suited to record longer
time frame events not requiring sub-
microsecond triggering accuracy, given
that they have a post event triggering sys-
tem. Using a single-shot high-resolution
still camera, on the other hand, necessi-
tates extremely precise triggering to
even guarantee seeing the subject within
the field of view!
HSV cameras are very flexible, offer-
ing many modes of operation so that
the subject can be filmed. However,
very often compromises have to be
made in order to acquire images at an
appropriate exposure and framing rate,
which may result in failure to produce
the required data from an entire high-
speed sequence.
Ultra-high-speed cameras with a limit-
ed number of images (such as the SIR3
ballistic range camera or the SIM multi-
ple framing camera) have the ability to
capture an image or sequence of images
at exactly the time when it is needed,
with extremely high resolution, high
frame rate and timing accuracy. With
frame rates of over 330 Mfps and shutter
speeds down to 3ns, these types of cam-
era can remove motion blur of projec-
tiles or fragments travelling at speeds of
up to 4000m/s.t
Modern HSV cameras have allowed
their users to broaden the scope of bal-
listic testing, and to consider detailed
recording of many aspects of ballistics
that were recently beyond the realms of
possibility. Unfortunately, this broaden-
ing of requirements sometimes means
that the capability of the high speed
video camera is over-stretched, resulting
in poor quality and the inability to
extract meaningful data from the
recorded sequences. An example of this
is where the test engineers want to study
a projectile travelling over several meter
and yet need at least 10,000fps (100us)
to minimise the projectile motion blur
to an acceptable level. This field of view
will produce a very small image of the
projectile in each frame of the video and
together with the residual motion blur
adding to the uncertainty of projectile
position and attitude, this will reduce
the accuracy/viability of any data that
can be extracted from the sequence.
This has caused the parallel develop-
ment of ideas to further enhance the
ability of users to extract data from fast
ballistic events. One example of this is
producing a digital streak camera that
sweeps the image at a constant speed
across a CMOS sensor to produce a long
Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 www.techbriefs.com 1a
Double image of a projectile travelling at 800m/s.
Eight sequential images of a detonating explosive charge “overlaid” as a composite onto original
images of an intact explosive sample. Inter-frame time of 275n-secs. Exposure=25ns
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Intro
2a Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-701
record-time image. This methodology
was known as a SMEAR (ballistic-syn-
chro) camera in the days of film. The
film was moved across a narrow slit at a
speed that matched the predicted image
velocity of a projectile as it passed the
recording point. The matching of the
direction of film travel past the slit and
its velocity to the predicted projectile
flight path and velocity enabled a very
high resolution image of a fast moving
projectile to be recorded. This method
of recording tended to give a distorted
image of the projectile if the film speed
was not matched to the projectile image
velocity, and the peripheral components
(such as sabots, driving rings, pusher
plates, etc.) were also usually distorted
due to their difference in speed from
the main projectile.
Driven by the limited amount of data
that could be extracted using this
method - Specialised Imaging intro-
duced, in 2006, a Trajectory Tracker sys-
tem (Figure 2) that allows a HSV camera
to record over a large part of the flight
path, or any portion of the flight path
that is of interest. The Trajectory
Tracker employs a triggered scanning
mirror that is programmed to scan in
synchronism with a passing projectile so
that it relays the image of the subject
into the HSV camera. Because the mir-
ror is programmed to match the velocity
of the projectile, motion blur is eliminat-
ed, enabling the high-speed camera to
now operate at a much more modest
frame rate that only needs to eliminate
any vertical movement. Realistic framing
rates are typically less than 6000fps - giv-
ing far better resolution and sensitivity.
Conclusion
High speed digital imaging cameras,
which provide high resolution results
and rapid data analysis, have replaced
high speed still and film cameras.
Modern cameras, such as the SIR3 and
SIM, offer much more flexibility and
capability for imaging external and ter-
minal ballistics.
The continuous demand for complex
and sophisticated data analysis has
resulted in rapid advances in imaging
technology to give high resolution and
better quality images.
This article was written by Wai Chan,
Managing Director; Keith Taylor, Technical
Director; Wayne Smethurst, Engineering
Director; and Richard Briggs, Applications
Consultant; Specialized Imaging Ltd. (Tring,
UK). For more information, contact Mr.
Chan at wai@specialised-imaging.com, or
visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-200.
Ballistics Testing
Figure 2. Specialized Imaging Trajectory Tracker
MTF Testing – Multi-Waveband
Image Science has been providing customised systems
for MTF measurement since 1991 for both production
and R&D applications. Other optical parameters meas-
ured include Distortion, EFL, Field Curvature, Encircled
Energy, Transmission and
Strehl Ratio. Please visit:
www.image-science.co.uk
for more information.
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A
Intro
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Intro
T
racking systems are included in
more than one-third of new photo-
voltaic developments in Europe, but less
than 10% in the US. If properly con-
trolled, they can capture more energy
from each panel than fixed racks – up to
40% more in most parts of North
America – so selecting the best hardware
and the right control algorithm is criti-
cal to realizing optimum energy produc-
tion and reliability.
Requirements
Key requirements for control systems
are cost, reliability, and energy produc-
tivity. Energy productivity can be defined
as the number of kilowatt-hours pro-
duced by each panel (or each kilowatt of
panels). Photovoltaic panels carry power
ratings – typically 200 watts to 400 watts
per panel – based on standard testing
methods
1
. Control systems that enable
effective tracking of the sun can pro-
duce significantly more energy, as shown
in Figure 1.
This article considers flat-plate photo-
voltaic arrays, which should be con-
trolled to within about 1 degree of the
optimum orientation east-west and
north-south. Concentrated PV technol-
ogy requires much higher precision
tracking.
Hardware for control systems includes
printed circuits, connectors, weather-
proof enclosures, and cables – all com-
mercial parts or custom components
made with common and inexpensive
technologies. Thus cost considerations
are generally less critical than reliability
and energy productivity.
For large systems, hardware costs are
typically less than $0.04 per peak watt,
compared with $2.00 to $5.00 for all sys-
tem costs combined. Systems less than 10
kilowatts may have control hardware costs
about $0.10 per watt.
Similarly, control systems for photo-
voltaic tracking systems can be held to
high standards of reliability, because
they can be protected from extreme
weather and generally do not carry high
current. Care is taken to use best prac-
tices, such as de-rating of components,
and sealing of junction boxes against
weather. Cables which are exposed to
sunlight must be chosen for life under
ultraviolet exposure, or shrouded with
uv-resistant material.
Types of Mounting Systems
The primary difference among con-
trol systems is in energy production, and
it depends largely on the type of mechan-
ical motion. The National Renewable
Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts database
2
defines the following array types:
Horizontal fixed racks: panels mount-
ed on fixed racks and held horizontal at
all times. This type does not track the
sun and hence requires no tracking con-
trol system.
Tilted fixed racks: panels mounted on
fixed racks which are tilted toward the
south, typically at an angle approximate-
ly equal to the latitude of the site. This
arrangement is typically about 20% more
productive than fixed horizontal racks,
and requires no tracking control system.
Horizontal one-axis tracking systems:
panels tracking the sun east-west
through the day but fixed at a tilt of 0
degrees. This arrangement is typically
40% more productive than fixed hori-
zontal racks, and requires a control sys-
tem for the east-west motion.
Tilted one-axis tracking systems: pan-
els tilted up toward the south (in the
northern hemisphere), typically at an
angle approximately equal to the lati-
4a www.techbriefs.com Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012
Applications
Photovoltaic Tracking Control Systems
Applications
Figure 1. Comparison of tracking system impact on energy production.
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Intro
tude, and tracking the sun east-west
through the day. Systems with this con-
figuration typically produce about 60%
more energy than horizontal fixed racks,
and have control requirements the same
as horizontal one-axis tracking systems.
Two-axis tracking systems: panels
track the sun east-west through the day
and north-south through the seasons,
producing typically 70% more energy
than horizontal fixed racks (Figure 2).
The control system is more complex
than one-axis systems but typically not
much more expensive.
a. Upright-pole two-axis tracking sys-
tems typically pivot in the azimuth
direction, requiring a rotational con-
trol moving the panels from east to
west through the day and a linear or
rotational control adjusting the tilt of
the panels through the seasons.
b. Rail tracking systems use linear con-
trols to adjust the orientation of the
panels in both the east-west direction
and the north-south direction.
Inputs
Two strategies are employed to deter-
mine the position of the sun. The first
employs sensors and iterative adjust-
ment of the array to find the orientation
that produces the maximum power.
This strategy has the advantage of sim-
plicity, but can be disrupted by the pres-
ence of clouds or other shadows. Once
the position of the sun is lost, it may not
be found again, and the array can
remain poorly oriented.
A second strategy is based on the
location (latitude and longitude) of the
array and date/time data. Location
data can be established within a micro-
processor at the time of installation,
and the microprocessor can include a
clock. With these data, and a well-cho-
sen solar position algorithm, the micro-
processor can determine the position
of the sun, even if it is obscured by
clouds or other obstacles. The array
can be positioned accurately regardless
of weather, so when the sun comes out
the array will already be correctly posi-
tioned.
Both methods are commonly
employed, with the latter being general-
ly considered more reliable.
An additional input to some con-
trollers comes from an anemometer
(wind speed sensor). When wind speed
exceeds a set limit, the panels may be
“stowed” – oriented so as to minimize
drag against the wind and reduce risk of
damage to the array. The stow position
may be horizontal in regions with no
snow, or tilted to the south in snowy
regions to allow snow to slide off.
Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 5a
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Figure 2. Two-axis tracking systems: upright-pole type (left) and rail tracking type (right)
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Intro
6a Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-704
Applications
Outputs
Tracking systems may include motors,
actuators, and/or hydraulics. The con-
trol system must be configured accord-
ingly, typically using encoders.
“Back-tracking”
When panels are close together, they
may partially shade each other early and
late in the day. Simple algorithms provide
for “back-tracking” – panels are kept at the
“noon” position during those hours, so
they continue to produce energy and do
not shade each other (Figure 3). This fea-
ture reduces total energy produced, typi-
cally by 1% to 2%, but allows closer spac-
ing of panels which increases the amount
of energy produced per unit array area.
Data Management
Tracking control systems typically
gather little information; energy pro-
duction is more commonly logged by
the inverters that convert DC power to
AC power. Data gathered by the track-
ing control system is primarily for eval-
uating its function and providing
alerts when the system is not working
properly.
On advanced networked solar track-
ing control systems, power and energy
data can be logged by the solar tracker
controller. In these systems, the data
can be directly correlated with the track-
er movements to verify correct and opti-
mum operation.
Selection
Energy lost due to system down-time
may be many times the energy con-
sumed for operation of the tracking sys-
tem, and of much more value than the
cost of the control hardware. Thus, the
primary considerations for control sys-
tem selection are reliability and energy
production.
Energy production can be accurately
estimated by analysis of the control sys-
tem algorithm together with insolation
data from NREL or another proven
source. Reliability can be evaluated
using data for the hardware compo-
nents and analysis of the control algo-
rithm to understand potential failure
modes during operation.
Summary
Tracking systems can increase energy
production dramatically, reducing the
number and cost of the panels and other
system components needed to meet a
given load. Control systems of high reli-
ability and low relative cost are available
to optimize the function of tracking sys-
tems and minimize the cost per unit of
energy produced.
This article was written by Matt Kesler,
CEO of Sedona Solar Technology (Flagstaff,
AZ), with assistance from Mogens Lauritzen,
President of Lauritzen, Inc. (Mountain
View, CA). For more information, contact
Mr. Kesler at matt@sedonaenergylabs.com,
Mr. Lauritzen at mogens@lauritzen.biz, or
visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-201.
References:
1. http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/
pdf/fsec-gp-68-01.pdf
2. http: //www. nrel. gov/rredc/pvwatts/
changing_parameters.html
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A
Intro
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A
Intro
8a www.techbriefs.com Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012
The objective of this work was to devel-
op a new class of readout integrated circuit
(ROIC) arrays to be operated with Geiger
avalanche photodiode (GPD) arrays, by
integrating multiple functions at the pixel
level (smart-pixel or active pixel technolo-
gy) in 250-nm CMOS (complementary
metal oxide semiconductor) processes. In
order to pack a maximum of functions
within a minimum pixel size, the ROIC
array is a full, custom application-specific
integrated circuit (ASIC) design using a
ASIC Readout Circuit Architecture for Large Geiger
Photodiode Arrays
Commercial applications include 3D imaging, positron emission tomography (PET), laser
ranging (LADAR), night vision, and surveillance.
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
The key advantages of this approach
include the fact that the index of inter-
face glass (such as Pb glass n = 1.66)
greatly reduces Fresnel losses at the
fiber-to-waveguide interface, resulting in
lower optical losses. A contiguous struc-
ture cannot be misaligned and readily
lends itself for use on aircraft or space
operation. The epoxy-free, fiber-to-wave-
guide interface provides an optically
pure, sealed interface for low-loss, high-
power coupling. Proof of concept of this
approach has included successful attach-
ment of the low-melting-temperature
glass to the x–y plane of the crystal, suc-
cessful attachment of the low-melting-
temperature glass to the end face of a
standard SMF (single-mode fiber), and
successful attachment of a wetted low-
melting-temperature glass SMF to the
end face of a KTP crystal.
There are many photonic compo-
nents on the market whose performance
and robustness could benefit from this
coupling approach once fully devel-
oped. It can be used in a variety of fiber-
coupled waveguide-based components,
such as frequency conversion modules,
and amplitude and phase modulators. A
robust, epoxy-free, contiguous optical
interface lends itself to components that
require low-loss, high-optical-power han-
dling capability, and good performance
in adverse environments such as flight
or space operation.
This work was done by Shirley McNeil,
Philip Battle, and Todd Hawthorne of AdvR,
Inc.; and John Lower, Robert Wiley, and Brett
Clark of 3SAE Technologies, Inc. for Goddard
Space Flight Center. For more information,
download the Technical Support Package
(free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp
under the Manufacturing & Prototyping cat-
egory. GSC-16348-1
Glass Solder Approach for Robust, Low-Loss, Fiber-to-
Waveguide Coupling
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
The General MACOS Interface (GMI)
for Modeling and Analysis for Controlled
Optical Systems (MACOS) enables the
use of MATLAB as a front-end for JPL’s
critical optical modeling package,
MACOS. MACOS is JPL’s in-house opti-
cal modeling software, which has proven
to be a superb tool for advanced systems
engineering of optical systems. GMI, cou-
pled with MACOS, allows for seamless
interfacing with modeling tools from
other disciplines to make possible inte-
gration of dynamics, structures, and ther-
mal models with the addition of control
systems for deformable optics and other
actuated optics.
This software package is designed as a
tool for analysts to quickly and easily use
MACOS without needing to be an
expert at programming MACOS. The
strength of MACOS is its ability to inter-
face with various modeling/develop-
ment platforms, allowing evaluation of
system performance with thermal,
mechanical, and optical modeling
parameter variations. GMI provides an
improved means for accessing selected
key MACOS functionalities. The main
objective of GMI is to marry the vast
mathematical and graphical capabilities
of MATLAB with the powerful optical
analysis engine of MACOS, thereby pro-
viding a useful tool to anyone who can
program in MATLAB. GMI also
improves modeling efficiency by elimi-
nating the need to write an interface
function for each task/project, reducing
error sources, speeding up user/model-
ing tasks, and making MACOS well suit-
ed for fast prototyping.
This work was done by Norbert Sigrist, Scott
A. Basinger, and David C. Redding of Caltech
for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more
information, contact iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov.
This software is available for commercial
licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of
the California Institute of Technology at
danielb@caltech.edu. Refer to NPO-48009.
General MACOS Interface for Modeling and Analysis for
Controlled Optical Systems
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Photonics Tech Briefs
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Intro
What’s On
Vibration Test and Thermal Deformation Monitoring
From NIWeek 2012: a quick demo of National Instruments’ optical sensor
interrogator — a flexible, modular PXI platform with rapid, secure LabWindows/CVI
development, and static and dynamic tests using a single platform. Designed for
portable test and monitoring with optical sensing.
www.techbriefs.com/tv/vibrationtest
Creating a Mars Environment on Earth
The Mars Chamber re-creates the temperatures, pressures, and atmosphere of
the Martian surface. Scientists and engineers use this refrigerator-size box to test
experiments on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite - a fully
functioning chemistry lab aboard the Curiosity Rover.
www.techbriefs.com/tv/marschamber
Lab-on-a-Disk: Faster Medical Diagnostics
Sandia National Lab researchers have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform called
SpinDx that they believe will be faster, less expensive, and more versatile than
current medical diagnostic tools. The technology can determine a patient's white
blood cell count, analyze important protein markers, and process up to 64 assays
from a single sample — all in a matter of minutes.
www.techbriefs.com/tv/SpinDx
Easy Access to Remote Sensing Data
SatNet, an online interface developed at Langley Research Center, connects users
to NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites, providing easy access to
information that can be used in real-world applications such as disaster mitigation
and resource management.
www.techbriefs.com/tv/SatNet
Mercury MESSENGER Spacecraft Detector
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Morgan Burks
describes the gold-plated detector placed aboard NASA's Mercury MESSENGER
spacecraft, designed to provide information about the elements and minerals
found on the planet closest to the Sun.
www.techbriefs.com/tv/MercuryMessenger
View these and hundreds of other videos at:
www.techbriefs.tv
Have a video you would like to submit for Tech Briefs TV?
Contact Kendra Smith, managing editor, kendra@techbriefs.com.
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D A T A A C Q U I S I T I O N C H A N N E L A A C Q U I S I T I O N C H A N N E L T D A A A C Q U I S I T I O N C H A N N E L A A C Q U I S I T I O N C H A N N E L A A C Q U I S I T I O N C H A N N E L
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Intro
mixed-signal CMOS process with com-
pact primitive layout cells.
The ROIC array was processed to allow
assembly in bump-bonding technology
with photon-counting infrared detector
arrays into 3-D imaging cameras
(LADAR). The ROIC architecture was
designed to work with either common-
anode Si GPD arrays or common-cath-
ode InGaAs GPD arrays. The current
ROIC pixel design is hardwired prior to
processing one of the two GPD array con-
figurations, and it has the provision to
allow soft reconfiguration to either array
(to be implemented into the next ROIC
array generation). The ROIC pixel archi-
tecture implements the Geiger ava-
lanche quenching, bias, reset, and time
to digital conversion (TDC) functions in
full-digital design, and uses time domain
over-sampling (vernier) to allow high
temporal resolution at low clock rates,
increased data yield, and improved uti-
lization of the laser beam.
The non-uniformity of the breakdown
voltage over large GPD arrays (a serious
concern in InGaAs GPD arrays) is partial-
ly corrected by a digital-to-analog circuit,
capable of detecting the first breakdown
event at pixel level, storing the break-
down voltage bin, and correcting for the
breakdown voltage excursion. The cor-
rection is written at the pixel level. It is
performed once at the first power-up
and could be repeated any time prior to
field operation after ROIC hard reset.
Implementing this feature is critical for
large and very large GPD arrays, for
which I/O limitations impose on-die
time binning on multiple pixels.
A pixel-level interface integrated into
the ROIC pixel was developed to work
with the GPD pixel (active quenching or
AQC). The AQC interface detects the
Geiger pulse, quenches the Geiger ava-
lanche, and then resets (drains) the
charge at the GPD-AQC node. The
ROIC-GPD array is fully gated — GATE
enable generates the START signal for
the pixel-level TDCs and biases the GPD
pixel above the breakdown voltage. The
stop event in TDC is driven by the AQC
output (following the photon detection
registration) and identifies the time
stamp with respect to the system clock
generating the synchronized GATE
(START) signal. The signal is fed through
multiple taps for fine time sampling
(vernier bits) to a synchronized random
counter. A programmable delay in the
time vernier module allows extending the
dynamic range without adding counter
bits to the raw range TDC module, but at
the expense of decreased timing resolu-
tion. ROIC arrays processed in 250-nm
CMOS allowed increasing the count rate
of the Geiger arrays (less than 20-ns
reset) and reading out the time stamp of
Geiger events detected in each pixel with
350-ps timing resolution. Fine time sam-
pling is created by using redundant clock
phase shifting as a time vernier, thus
allowing the pixel to over-sample the time
domain at low clock frequency (200
MHz), and thus decreasing the uncer-
tainty due to setup time violations and
improving the utilization of the laser puls-
es. The programmable delay allows also
super-fine timing — in this mode the
ROIC should be capable of 175-ps timing
resolution. The row-column driver, inte-
grated with the ROIC array, enables shift-
ing sequentially the row data. The imple-
mentation into 16×32 or mosaic 32×32
pixel ROIC arrays should be scalable to
much larger ROIC/GPD arrays.
This work was done by Stefan Vasile and
Jerold Lipson of aPeak Inc. for Goddard Space
Flight Center. For more information, download
the Technical Support Package (free white
paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the
Electronics/Computers category. GSC-16107-1
10a Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012
TE-cooled Extended Response to 2.6 microns available
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-748
Photonics Tech Briefs
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Presented by:
www. l aser event . or g
Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
Schaumburg, Illinois USA
October 23-24, 2012
ATTEND North America’s One-of-a-Kind
Lasers for Manufacturing Event!
Pre Pre Presen sen senttted ted ted b
“You get the pulse of the industry, see what everybody’s doing”
Roger Burg, senior eld sales engineer, Aerotech, Pinckney, MI

“It’s a good opportunity for everybody to learn about
all laser technology in the same place”
Octavio Islas, product engineer, Magna/Cosma, Mexico

“We came to let people know
we’re serious about laser processing”
Todd Rockstroh, aviation consultant engineer, GE
Use code TECHBRIEFS
for Free Registration ($50 value)
Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 11a Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-705
New Products
New Products
Product of the Month
Blue Tunable Laser
New Focus™ (Santa Clara, CA) a Newport Corporation Brand, has introduced the Vortex™ Plus Blue
TLB-6802 precision series, single-mode, finely-tunable laser. This is the world’s first precision tunable blue
laser that operates at 461nm, the critical wavelength for next-generation atomic clocks that are currently
being built by National Labs and other top research labs worldwide. The blue Vortex Plus replaces com-
plex resonant second-harmonic generation, or SHG systems.
The innovative Vortex Plus laser head delivers a narrower linewidth than prior versions. The new fea-
ture combines with the same reliable stability (1% over 1 hour) and true continuous-wave, mode-hop-
free operation that New Focus’ legacy Vortex II product offers. For added flexibility, an industry-stan-
dard SMA port for direct-to-diode, high-speed modulation (useful for precise wavelength locking) is
also included.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-205
Smart Camera
The In-Sight
®
7000 smart camera from Cognex Corp. (Natick, MA) features a vision tool library; In-Sight measure-
ment, location, and inspection vision tools; and the EasyBuilder
®
setup and deployment environment. The smart cam-
era provides various model options, all with a tough metal IP67 package. Each includes acquisition speeds of more than
100 image captures per second. The device has the capability to power and control specialized lighting directly.
Additional features of the In-Sight 7000 smart camera include CognexConnect™, which offers a range of built-in com-
munication protocols that interface directly with the vision system. The compact In-Sight 7000 has built-in Ethernet, RS-
232 serial, and multiple discrete I/Os. The system can communicate directly to PLC or robot controllers, or manage
multiple smart cameras remotely from a networked PC or HMI.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-210
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12a Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-707
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-706
New Products
Optical Matrix Switch
Polatis (Andover, MA) has intro-
duced its Series 6000 Optical Matrix
Switch — a non-blocking, all-optical
single-mode fiber cross-connect for
up to 192x192 fiber ports. The switch
features less than 1dB typical optical loss. The Series 6000, based on Po-
latis’ patented DirectLight
®
optical switch technology, doubles the max-
imum matrix size previously available from Polatis.
The DirectLight
®
beam-steering technology uses piezoelectric actua-
tors to connect light directly between switch ports. The Series 6000
switch enhances network availability by enabling fast automatic recovery
from network equipment or fiber failures. DirectLight
®
allows optical
connections to be established with or without light on the fiber, en-
abling pre-provisioning of dark fiber paths for disaster recovery, M:N
protection switching, and intelligent network monitoring and test. Di-
rectLight
®
supports transparent, protocol-agnostic connections, and
can switch bi-directional and transient signals used in FTTx access net-
works and other transmission systems.
The Series 6000 optical switch features a control architecture with
dual redundant control interfaces and power systems. Network inter-
faces provide support for SNMP, TL1, and SCPI protocols to allow seam-
less integration with higher-level management systems. A web browser
GUI enables setup, provisioning, monitoring, and control.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-206
DC Cabling
Amphenol Industrial (Sidney, NY)
has announced an active trunk and drop
cabling product, in conjunction with
Ampt (Fort Collins, CO), a designer of
active electronics for photovoltaic (PV)
solar modules.
Comprised of one major cable con-
ductor with a number of smaller cables connected to a PV panel, the
new assembly allows for up to 40 percent more modules per string, as
well as lower current carrying requirements. Ampt’s integrated ‘smart
technology’ monitors power generation, ground faults, and fire protec-
tion on the assembly.
Integrated into Amphenol’s ModLink junction box, Ampt’s active
electronics turn the module from a current source into a power source,
monitoring power generation conducted down the trunk and drop
cable assembly, while providing power monitoring and optimization for
solar panels attached by a wire harness.
The ModLink junction box base has built-in industry standard con-
nections that allow a direct connection between panels, using jumper
cables available in various standard lengths. The ModLink base accepts
a range of smart modules such as DC/DC converters/optimizers,
micro-inverters, or monitoring modules. Optional wireless communica-
tion is also provided with each PV module.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-207
Machinable Glass Ceramic
MACOR
®
machinable glass ceramic from
Goodfellow Corp. (Oakdale, PA) is machinable
with ordinary metalworking tools rather than
diamond grinding equipment. The rigid, radia-
tion-resistant ceramic, which has a maximum-
use temperature of 1000°C, has a low thermal
conductivity, and can be highly polished. MACOR
®
machinable glass
ceramic is available as rods, bars, sheets, and finished components.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-208
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Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 13a Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-709
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-708
Fiber-Pigtailed Laser
Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) has expanded its
OBIS family of plug-and-play smart laser modules
with a new fiber-pigtailed (FP) option at several
wavelengths, including 405nm, 488nm, and
640nm. The OBIS FP lasers are offered with 1
meter of single-mode, polarization-preserving fiber, terminating in a
standard FC/APC connector. OBIS FP lasers achieve low noise and out-
put stability due to two factors: an output beam with low beam drift to
maintain efficient coupling, and telecom-type architecture and meth-
ods, such as laser welding to yield drift-free opto-mechanical coupling.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-209
Digital Laser Diode Driver
Portable Power Systems (St. Louis,
MO) has expanded its line of Digital
Laser Diode Drivers by offering the new
series of PPS drivers, which are offered in
CW, Pulsed or CW/Pulsed versions. The
pulsed versions have rise times of <10 sec-
onds and the CW versions reach maximum current in less than 100 sec-
onds. Voltages up to 250 Volts and currents up to 500 Amps are avail-
able. All units have EE Prom memory that allows the user to store and
recall up to 16 sets of parameters such as Current, Pulse width, and Fre-
quency on pulsed units and Current on CW units. Communications
can be from the front panel, Analog, RS-232, or USB formats. Fault
alerts include Open Load, Over Voltage, Over Current, Laser Over
Temperature (optional), Driver Over Temperature, Remote Interlock,
Coolant Interlock, and Emergency Stop.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-211
CMOS Cameras
Baumer (Southington, CT) has introduced
new HXG cameras that combine CMOS sensor
technology with a dual GigE interface and PoE
(Power over Ethernet). Available with 2- and 4-
megapixel resolutions, Baumer HXG cameras
transfer more than 100 frames/s. Dual GigE
technology allows the cameras to double GigE bandwidth, achieving a
bandwidth of 240 MB/s. If one GigE line becomes disconnected, the
camera continues to operate on the remaining GigE line without re-
quiring a power-down or reset.
The camera supports cable lengths of up to 100 meters. It enables
high resolutions of up to 2048 x 2048 pixels. A Global Shutter sensor
with Correlated Double Sampling (CDS) provides sharp images and
low readout noise.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-212
Diode Laser Bars
DILAS (Mainz, Germany) offers water-cooled
laser diodes for alkali laser pumping at 766nm,
780nm, and 852nm on micro-channel heat sinks at
CW power levels of 40W, 60W, and 100W, respec-
tively. The laser bar geometry has a 1cm bar width,
with 19 emitters on a 500μm pitch. Typical power
conversion efficiency is in the range of 56% at rated power for all three
wavelengths, as measured at 20C. The diodes are assembled in water-
cooled stacks to power scale up to kW levels, according to customer re-
quirements. Diode laser stack arrays can also be offered with volume
Bragg gratings (with standard or low reflectivity coatings), and with
both optical axes collimated.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-213
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14a Photonics Tech Briefs, September 2012 Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/40437-710
New Products
Silicone Solar Cables
Rated for voltages up to 42,000 Volts DC, Cicoil’s (Valencia, CA) Silicone Jacketed Solar Power Cables have been
designed to provide absolute reliability in solar panel interconnection and photovoltaic applications. These halo-
gen-free cables are flame retardant, highly flexible and perform exceptionally well when exposed to severe cold
& heat (-65°C to +260°C).
Cicoil’s exclusive crystal-clear silicone encapsulation is resistant to tearing, and will not deform, break or wear
during a lifetime of more than 10 million cycles, even under tight bending radius and constant flexing conditions.
The ultra-durable silicone compound is “self-healing” from small punctures and cable jacket damage can easily be
repaired in the field ensuring continued service life. Cicoil’s unique silicone extruded cables do not require ex-
ternal “armor” or conduit for protection, and are unaffected when exposed to UV-radiation, sunlight, ozone, abrasion, salt, coarse sand, submer-
sion, acid rain, ice, vibration, shock, humidity, mechanical stress, many chemicals and difficult weather conditions.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-217
Near-Infrared Photon Counter
The id220-FR-SMF from id Quantique
(Carouge, Switzerland) provides a cost-effective
tool for applications that require asynchronous
photon detection. The cooled InGaAs/InP
avalanche photodiode and associated elec-
tronics achieve low dark count and afterpuls-
ing rates in free-running mode. The module operates at two detection
probability levels of 10% and 20%, with a deadtime that can be set be-
tween 600ns and 25ms. Arrival time of photons is reflected by a 100ns
TTL pulse available at the SMA connector; the timing resolution is as
low as 250ps at 20% efficiency. A USB interface allows users to set the
efficiency level and the deadtime. A standard FC/PC connector fol-
lowed by a single mode fiber is provided as optical input.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-216
InGaAs Camera
FLIR Systems (Portland, OR) has an-
nounced its SC2600 near infrared (NIR) cam-
era. The device features a 640 × 512 InGaAs
sensor. The SC2600 combines a spectral sensi-
tivity range of 0.9-1.7μm and small 25μm pix-
els. Other features include independent ana-
log and digital (gigabit Ethernet) video outputs, external frame
synchronization, video windowing, and independent data streams.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-214
Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning Tools
US Conec (Hickory, NC) has re-
leased two new fiber optic connector
cleaning tools in the IBC™ family.
The Zi series tools feature a 117mm
(4.6") housing, and a lanyard at-
taches to the operator’s belt. The IBC™ Brand Cleaner Zi125 tool
cleans LC and MU connectors, as well as 2.5mm-based connectors in-
cluding the SC, ST, FC, E2000, OptiTap
®
, MIL 83526 (TFOCA series)
and other MIL/AERO connectors.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-215
Debris Shields
Debris Shields from Optical Surfaces Ltd. (Ken-
ley, Surrey, UK) are specifically designed to protect
target-facing optics located in high-power laser fa-
cilities. The use of debris shields to protect typically
expensive final reflective or refractive focusing high
power optics is a well-established technique of ex-
tending their lifetime. Working with a range of glasses including BK-7
and fused silica, which offer good homogeneity and transmission from
the UV to the Near-IR, Optical Surfaces Ltd. is able to supply customer
specified debris shields of virtually any shape and thickness. Debris
shields can be produced up to 600mm in diameter with typical wavefront
error of lambda/10 and surface finish of 40/20-10/5.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-219
Facial Recognition Video Technology
Hood Technology (Hood River, OR) offers
new facial recognition capability, utilizing sta-
bilized airborne video imagery in small, tacti-
cal unmanned aerial vehicles (Small-UAVs).
The company’s Alticam 09 EO+ payload ex-
tends EO optical zoom to 160X, and delivers a standard-definition hor-
izontal field of view of 0.3 degrees. The 3.5-kg imagers are stabilized in
HoodTech’s proprietary 4-axis gyro-stabilized gimbal design.
For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/40437-223
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