Software System for Microbial Genome Sequence Annotation

The annotation of genomes from next-generation sequencing platforms needs to be rapid, high-throughput, and fully integrated and automated. Although a few Web-based annotation services have recently become available, they may not be the best solution for researchers that need to annotate a large number of genomes, possibly including proprietary data, and store them locally for further analysis.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Biological sciences, Medical equipment and supplies, Test equipment and instrumentation

Tunable Infrared Material System

The objective of this work was to lay the groundwork for the development of a new tunable II-VI infrared (IR) material system using mature III-V semiconductors as lattice-matched substrates. Mercury cadmium selenide (HgCdSe) was studied as an alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (HgCdTe) as an IRdetecting material.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Optics, Nanomaterials, Semiconductors

Nonlinear Acoustic Metamaterials for Sound Attenuation Applications

An acoustic crystal composed of tightly packed spherical particles can exhibit a wide spectrum of acoustic properties with responses varying from linear to highly nonlinear regimes. The physical attractiveness of these crystals resides in the controllability of such acoustic responses by simple manipulation of static pre-compression applied to the material.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Materials properties, Acoustics, Noise

Transparent Ceramics for High-Energy Laser Systems

When a high-energy laser (HEL) beam transmits through a window material, a part of the laser energy is absorbed by the material and causes optical aberrations. This absorbed energy results in material heating in the local exposed region, changing its refractive index based on the material’s thermo-optic coefficient, thermal expansion coefficient, and stress optic coefficient. These changes result in beam distortion and loss of output power, measured as optical path distortion (OPD), which has a severe impact on system performance.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Windows and windshields, Lasers, Ceramics, Heat resistant materials

Prototyping with Multi-Layer Boards

As electronic components continue to move increasingly into surface- mount packages exclusively, prototype manufacturing firms are seeing a shift in the fabrication and assembly work needed to implement engineering prototypes. The shift is subtle but relentless; as new components come to market in SMT packages, QFPs, BGAs and the like, board design and assembly for prototypes must change to accommodate the surface mount components.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Rapid prototyping, Electronic equipment, Assembling, Fabrication

Five Approaches to Cooling Military Electronics

Seventy-one degrees C is the temperature of a steak done medium-well. It is also the temperature of an oven used to test thermal characteristics of military electronics. Electronic components in the COTS industry often have temperature limits of 85°C, leaving 14°C of thermal potential to move the heat generated by the components away. Among various cooling approaches, the correct solution for your application depends on meeting your requirements at the lowest possible cost and complexity.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation, Thermal testing, Military vehicles and equipment

Impact of Materials on Microwave Cable Performance

The environments in which microwave cable assemblies are being used today are becoming more challenging with exposure to such conditions as extreme temperatures, chemicals, abrasion, and flexing. Additional challenges include the need for smaller, lighter packaging for cable systems that last longer and cost less. To ensure signal integrity and product reliability, it is essential to identify the electrical, mechanical, environmental, and application-specific constraints that can affect the cable’s overall performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Electric cables, Materials properties, Polymers

Realistic Simulation Makes Army Helmets Safer

As materials, ergonomic design, and ballistics protection have evolved, the U.S. Army helmet has improved in form and function, from the M1 of WWII, to the 29-layer Kevlar PASGT (Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops), to finally the lighter Kevlar/Twaron ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) design of today (Figure 1). Helmet liners have progressed too, from compressed paper fibers, plastic, and rayon in the early days to more sophisticated suspension-webbing systems with chin straps constructed from stronger synthetics.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Defense industry, Materials properties, Helmets

Gas Turbine Exhaust Recovery Design Improves Propulsion Efficiency

In January, Concepts NREC (CN) was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the Navy to improve the power efficiency of its gas turbine prime movers used for ship propulsion. The eight-month analytical study is in collaboration with the Maine Maritime Academy and its principal consultant, Travis Wallace, President, Thermoelectric Power Systems, LLC. The Navy’s RFP required that the power recovery system improve the power output of the prime mover by at least 20%. However, considerations included the effects that transient power demand from the prime mover has on the waste heat flow rate and temperature, which may consequently affect the fatigue integrity of the heat exchangers and stability of the turbomachinery subsystems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Waste heat utilization, Thermodynamics, Gas turbines, Marine vehicles and equipment

Precision Targeting with a Tracking Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

Adaptive optics (AO) has become increasingly utilized in research ophthalmic diagnostic instruments since their first use nearly ten years ago. Integration of adaptive optics in scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) is a flying-spot technique whereby scattered light in images is blocked by placement of an aperture at a back conjugate focal plane. Adaptive optics systems sense perturbations in the detected wavefront and apply corrections to an optical element that flattens the wavefront and allows near diffraction-limited focus.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Adaptive control, Lasers, Medical equipment and supplies