Innovations Pertaining to Carbon-Based Materials

Advances in densification, microtubes, and tailoring surface tension have been made.

Some notable innovations in the design and manufacture of carbonbased materials have been made in a continuing program of basic research on carbon- based materials for use in propulsion systems of aircraft and spacecraft. The research has ranged over diverse topics that have included fabrication of carboncarbon composite-material components, protection of carbon against oxidation, microelectromechanical devices, and surface- tension phenomena.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Composite materials, Aircraft, Spacecraft

Polymeric “Smart” Skin Materials

Enhanced sensing and/or actuation functionalities are imparted to solid surfaces.

"Smart” skin materials based, variously, on polymers, dendrimers, carbon nanotubes, and/or other tailored molecular components are being developed for use as conformal coating surfaces of mechanical structures, including those of aircraft, to impart enhanced functionality to the coated surfaces. As used here, “smart” signifies that a material so characterized exhibits a useful physical response (e.g., a change in color) to a change in some aspect of its environment (e.g., temperature or pressure) or to a control or actuation signal. It is envisioned that smart skin materials could be used for diverse purposes, including sensing surface flow conditions and altering surface optical properties to enable detection, concealment, or display. It is further envisioned that smart skin materials could be integrated with microscopic electronic, optoelectronic, electro-optical, and microelectromechanical devices to obtain smart skins exhibiting even more varieties and higher degrees of functionality.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Smart materials

Nanoparticle AlxMoyOz/Al Thermites

These thermites are relatively insensitive, but burn relatively rapidly once ignited.

Research on the microstructures, chemical compositions, and reactivities of thermites that consist of or contain mixtures of MoO3 and Al particles has led to development of a process for making thermites that consist of or contain mixtures of AlxMoyOz and Al nanoparticles. The reactivities of the AlxMoyOz/Al thermites can be tailored through choices of ingredients at critical process steps. The findings of this and related research and development efforts may lead to the use of AlxMoyOz/Al thermites as components of insensitive weapon ignition systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Nanomaterials

Aptamer-Based Sensors for Detection of Proteins

Aptamer-Based Sensors for Detection of Proteins

Molecular aptamer beacons (MABs) are being investigated for use as rapid-signaling probe compounds for detecting specific proteins of interest (target proteins). In the MAB approach, one exploits a combination of (1) the molecular- recognition capability and high affinity of aptamers (defined below) with respect to molecules of interest and (2) the fluorescent- signaling transduction method of molecular beacon probes (also defined below) to enable real-time monitoring of target proteins. MABs could help to satisfy the increasing need for rapid, sensitive biosensing in diverse endeavors that include medical diagnosis, discovery of drugs, and homeland security. For example, rapid biosensing could enable early diagnosis and treatment of disease or rapid response to a chemical or biological attack.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Medical equipment and supplies

Nanosensor Arrays for Detecting Breast-Cancer Compounds

Multiple biomarkers would be detected rapidly in small samples.

Arrays of nanosensors for detecting biomolecules associated with breast cancer are undergoing development. It has been proposed to construct the arrays as silicon-based large-scale integrated circuits, each array containing possibly thousands of nanosensors, for rapid, simultaneous detection of molecules of many different species of interest. Some or all of the nanosensors in a given array could be based on a detection principle involving changes in electrical conduction in biofunctionalized nanowires. Alternatively, some or all of the nanosensors in a given array could be based on a detection principle involving changes in the vibrational resonance frequencies of nanocantilevers. By exploiting the experience of the semiconductor and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) industries, it should be possible to mass-produce such nanosensor arrays at low cost. The development work thus far has included computational simulations of the operation of nanosensors based on the aforementioned detection principles, and fabrication and testing of individual nanosensors and small nanosensor arrays.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Diagnosis, Production, Biomaterials, Nanotechnology

Traveling-Wave Wide-Band Microstrip Antennas

Resonances are suppressed by loading antennas with distributed capacitance.

Microstrip antennas that can be made to perform well over relatively wide frequency ranges but are mechanically and electrically simpler than prior such antennas have been invented. These antennas are designed to support traveling waves, in contradistinction to being designed traditionally to support standing waves. The exploitation of traveling waves to enable wideband operation is not new in itself; the novelty of the present invention lies in the electrical and mechanical antenna configuration for supporting traveling waves.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Antennas, Antennas, Product development

Spintronic Effects in Semiconductor Nanostructures

Theoretical advances could contribute to development of practical devices.

Progress has been made in calculation of spintronic effects in semiconductor nanostructures. The calculations contribute to the body of theoretical knowledge complementing recent experimental advances in generating, transporting, and detecting coherent spin-polarized populations of electron and nuclear spins in semiconductors. The experimental advances have demonstrated that spintronic effects could be harnessed as the basis of novel nanoscale devices. Theoretical advances are needed to understand and extend the experimental advances by enabling inference of previously unknown phenomena from results of experiments and incorporation of these phenomena into realistic models of operation and performance of spintronic devices, including devices that could be used in quantum computation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Nanotechnology, Semiconductors

Transceivers for Multi-Gigabyte Systems (Altera)

Altera Corp. (San Jose, CA) offers the high- density Stratix II GX family designed to provide up to 20 low-power transceivers operating between 600 Mbps and 6.375 Gbps with 127 Gbps of aggregate serial-link connectivity. The Stratix II GX FPGAs can be used to design and manufacture multi-gigabit interconnected sys- tems. Additionally, with the release of the EP2SGX30 and EP2SGX60 devices, Altera has completed the rollout of all Stratix II GX family members.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Multi-Cores: The Gateway to Next-Gen SBCs and Blades

With the introduction of Intel Core microarchitecture into embedded systems, history could very well repeat itself. The company that invented the microprocessor in 1971 and created the very first micro-controller in 1976 is about to revolutionize the embedded space once again. By bringing the power of parallel processing to embedded developers in an open-standards-based building block architecture, Intel is hoping to break down the cost barriers while taking embedded systems performance to new levels that once were reserved only for expensive computer systems specifically designed for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), while also accomplishing unrivaled levels of efficiency.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Architecture, Embedded software

How to Design an Embedded RDBMS Search

As the cost of micro-disk and NAND Flash continue to drop, devices are storing more and more data. It is common now for a person’s MP3 player to have more storage than their laptop. But this increase in storage capacity has not been matched with advances in the user interface. Typically, users still wrestle with a folder-based interface to find the data they want, searching by a few vendor-defined categories such as artist, album, and genre. But a new class of embedded database manage- ment systems (DBMS) is emerging to allow end users to search the way people think, rather than in this stat- ic manner. With a RAM footprint ranging from a few tens to a few hundred kilobytes, these products enable developers to deliver this sophisti- cated search on mobile devices. So how do they work? How do you write an embedded application to use a relational DBMS (RDBMS)? While there are a few kinds of DBMS, the relational model has tri- umphed over all the others, largely because it abstracts the data struc- tures so that applications don’t have to know them. A relational database management system offers a standard, high-level query language that allows access to data by content, not by pointer or location and offset.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Architecture, Human machine interface (HMI), Data management