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Nanowire-Based Chemical and Biological Sensor Arrays

Acontinuing effort that supplements and complements the one summarized in the immediately preceding article is dedicated to the development of nanowire-based sensor arrays, with emphasis on maximizing the utility of such arrays for real-time sensing of molecular species associated with chemical and biological threats. Like the sensors described in the immediately preceding article, most of these sensors are based on chemically functionalized semiconductor nanowires that are parts of fieldeffect transistors. In addition, some of these sensors are based on piezoelectric nanowire resonators.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Sensors and actuators, Biological sciences, Chemicals, Nanotechnology
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Improved Magnetic Sensor Based on Giant Magneto-Impedance

A low-power, highly stable electronic sensor circuit for measuring a small change in the ambient magnetic field with high sensitivity exploits the giant magneto-impedance (GMI) effect, in which the radio-frequency (RF) impedance of a fiber made of a suitably formulated material varies with the externally generated magnetic field to which it is exposed. The GMI effect has been observed in fibers thinner than a human hair made of amorphous (in the sense of lacking crystalline structure) alloys of cobalt, iron, silicon, and boron.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Sensors and actuators, Fibers
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Miniature Hyperspectral Sensors for Imaging on Small UAVs

As unmanned vehicles get smaller and smaller, operational expectations and mission objectives demand a much broader array of platform capabilities — a necessity even with reduced payloads requiring less weight, smaller size, and less power consumption. An interesting dichotomy exists between the need for increasing amounts of valuable information and the operational ability to capture and synthesize this information in real time.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Imaging, Sensors and actuators, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Solid-State Viscosity Sensors For Military and Aerospace Applications

Embedded OEM application markets such as the military and aerospace industries are experiencing a growing demand for sensors that provide instantaneous and continuous process control and machine health information. For a large segment of these industries, fluid viscosity is the key physical parameter that can assist in final process control and machine diagnostics. To that end, it is imperative that a solid-state chip be cost-effective and provide the functionality and scalability that is demanded.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Sensors and actuators
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Progress in Canted Sector Antennas and Non-Periodic Arrays

Progress has been made in a continuing effort to develop low-geometricprofile, wide-frequency-band microwave antennas intended for incorporation into wide-band aperiodic arrays for use in high-speed communications. The effort has produced improved designs for canted sector antennas, cost-effective approximations of random arrays of such antennas, and software for simulating the performances of such antennas and arrays.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Telecommunications
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Photonic Analog-to-Digital Converters

Early steps have been taken toward the development of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that would incorporate photonic quantizers based on the technology of InP semiconductors. These photonic ADCs are intended to overcome the sampling speed and temporal resolution limitations of state-of-the-art all-electronic ADCs, so that outputs of radar and other sensor systems at frequencies as high as tens of gigahertz could be sampled directly, without need for analog signal processing to effect down-conversion in frequency prior to sampling.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Radar, Sensors and actuators, Semiconductors
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Photonic Analog-to-Digital Converters

Early steps have been taken toward the development of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that would incorporate photonic quantizers based on the technology of InP semiconductors. These photonic ADCs are intended to overcome the sampling speed and temporal resolution limitations of state-ofthe- art all-electronic ADCs, so that outputs of radar and other sensor systems at frequencies as high as tens of gigahertz could be sampled directly, without need for analog signal processing to effect down-conversion in frequency prior to sampling.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Electronic equipment, Radar, Sensors and actuators, Semiconductors
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Photonic-Crystal-Based Devices for Commercial Applications

Several analog-to-digital converter (ADC) devices and part of a multispectral receiver have been designed, fabricated, and tested to demonstrate their feasibility as part of an effort to establish the organizational and technological foundation for development of photonic-crystal-based devices for commercial and military applications. Also known as photonic-band-gap devices, photonic crystals contain periodic structures having feature sizes in the submicron range — less than the wavelengths of light that the devices are intended to handle. Photonic crystals can be fabricated by techniques used in the integrated-circuit and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) industries.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Optics
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Infrared Data Link Using an MQW Modulator on a Retroreflector

A n infrared data link between a ground station and a small uninhabited helicopter in flight has been demonstrated in an effort to develop a type of system for free-space optical communication between (1) a larger and relatively stationary platform, and (2) a smaller and relatively mobile platform. In a system of this type, rather than using laser transmitters with their associated gimbaled telescopes and pointing/tracking subsystems on both platforms, one uses only a single such laser transmitter on the larger platform (in this case, the ground station). The single laser transmitter is capable of tracking the smaller platform (in this case, the helicopter) and transmitting data to the smaller platform in the conventional way via modulation of the outgoing laser beam. The field of view of the receiver on the smaller platform is wide enough to capture the laser beam, without need for a large receiving telescope and its aiming subsystem. For transmitting data from the smaller to the larger platform, a large fraction of the laser power incident on the smaller platform is modulated and retroreflected to the larger platform, by means of an InGaAs-based multiple-quantum-well (MQW) light modulator on a cornercube retroreflector (see Figure 1).

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Data exchange, Optics, Rotary-wing aircraft
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Self-Lubrication of Hot YSZ-Ag-Mo Nanocomposite Coatings

An experimental study has been performed to learn about the physical and chemical mechanisms of self-lubrication of coatings that comprise nanostructured composites of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), silver, and molybdenum. These and other YSZ-based nanocomposite coatings have received increasing attention in recent years because they offer a combination of hardness, toughness, resistance to wear, and low-friction C properties that make them attractive for reducing wear and friction and increasing the lifetimes of hot, sliding components of mechanical systems. In addition to the excellent mechanical and thermal stability of the basic YSZ ceramic material, the nanocomposite structures of these coatings, consisting of combinations of amorphous and crystalline phases, provide a “chameleon” surface adaptation, in which different phases turn into lubricants in response to different test environments, contact loads, sliding speeds, and temperatures. Moreover, proper sizing of nanocrystalline grains can restrict crack sizes and create large volumes of grain boundaries, thereby increasing the toughness and contact-load-bearing capabilities of these coatings.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Lubricants, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Composite materials, Nanomaterials, Wear
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