Real-Time Simulation and Semiautomated Design of Complex ICs

A project called “System on a Chip Real-Time Emulation” (SOCRE) was undertaken to develop and demonstrate a methodology of simulation of operation and semiautomated design of complex mixed-signal (analog/digital) integrated circuits (ICs). The methodology includes the use of a simulation engine (consisting of computer hardware and software) for real-time emulation of a designed IC, in conjunction with an automated design flow that enables automated or semiautomated synthesis of a final design and automated or semiautomated fabrication of the ICs of the designed IC without need for manual reentry of a description of the design.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, CAD / CAM / CAE, Integrated circuits, Test procedures

A Study of Two Ferrocene-Based Molecular Electronic Devices

Acomputational-simulation study of two ferrocene-based molecular electronic devices was performed as part of a continuing effort to develop a capability for ab initio design of metallocene-based electronic devices in general. In addition to the obvious technological advantage for realization of the potential of molecular electronic devices, such a capability would afford an economic advantage by enabling avoidance of the cost of synthesis of many organic molecules that subsequent testing would show to be unpromising for electronic-device applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Simulation and modeling, Electronic equipment

Continuous-Wave Atom Laser

Progress has been made toward realization of a continuous-wave, phase-andamplitude- stable atom laser based on magnetic guiding, magnetic compression, and continuous distributed evaporative cooling of a sparse cloud of 87Rb atoms. This apparatus is intended to serve as a prototype of sources of coherent matter waves for future atom-interferometric field and motion sensors.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Lasers, Sensors and actuators

Adaptive Optoelectronic Eyes

Aprogram of research has built a technological foundation for further development of systems that could be characterized, variously, as "smart" cameras or adaptive optoelectronic eyes. A system according to this concept would function in an optimal manner to capture images under a variety of lighting conditions and would be capable of semi-autonomous recognition of objects.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Imaging, Optics

Innovations Pertaining to Carbon-Based Materials

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, Materials, Composite materials, Aircraft, Spacecraft

Polymeric “Smart” Skin Materials

"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, Materials, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Smart materials

Nanoparticle AlxMoyOz/Al Thermites

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, Materials, Nanomaterials

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, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Medical equipment and supplies

Nanosensor Arrays for Detecting Breast-Cancer Compounds

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, Medical, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Diagnosis, Production, Biomaterials, Nanotechnology

Traveling-Wave Wide-Band Microstrip Antennas

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, Physical Sciences, Antennas, Product development