Heterogeneous System-on-a-Chip for Self-Powered Wireless Sensor Networks

A new dimension of system architecture design is emerging where hundreds to thousands of ultralight (

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Remote sensing, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems

Sensing for Controls and Propulsion Health Management in Turbine Engines

Advances in engine performance and reliability require sensor components that operate reliably under extreme engine operating conditions (e.g., takeoff, max thrust) and in harsh environments (e.g., high temperature and radiation). The design of advanced controls and Propulsion Health Man agement (PHM) also depend on the use of components with increased susceptibility to atmospheric radiation. Current and future engine operating temperature environments that provide major challenges in sensor design for control and propulsion health management are being explored.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Sensors and actuators, Diagnostics, Gas turbines, Durability, Reliability

Tightly Coupled INS, GPS, and Imaging Sensors for Precision Geolocation

To address the issue of poor georegistration performance for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), navigation and target-location accuracy improvements achievable by tightly integrating an image-based feature-tracking algorithm with Global Positioning System (GPS) and a consumer-grade inertial navigation system (INS) sensor are being investigated. The image-aiding algorithms add to the solution across a wide variety of terrain types, thus allowing for additional estimates of camera position and orientation in the dynamic adjustment.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Mathematical models, Imaging, Navigation and guidance systems, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Fabricating Biologically Inspired Artificial Haircell Sensors

As electronics packaging and equipment have decreased in size and weight, so have the potential dimensions of unmanned aircraft. Specifically, a classification of micro air vehicles (MAVs) has emerged that limits the scale of the aircraft to approximately 6" (15 cm). A project is underway aimed at developing artificial haircell flow sensors following biological inspiration of insect flow sensors, and demonstrate the potential of these sensors for controlling the flight of MAVs.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Downsizing, Sensors and actuators, Biological sciences, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Polypeptide-Based Molecular Electronics

Polypeptide supramolecules that will self assemble from solution and will form molecular wires that exploit quantum mechanical transport mechanisms can enable the formation of molecular devices such as transistors, diodes, and sensors. The peptides were designed and then arranged on substrates using self-assembly, Dip-PEN nanolithography, and e-beam assisted lithography. The peptides were characterized using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the electrical properties of the self-assembled interconnects are characterized as well. These peptides can be nanoengineered/nanoassembled individual building blocks at the molecular level to form conducting channels towards realization of molecular MOSFETs/CMOS device technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Sensors and actuators, Transistors, Additive manufacturing, Forming, Materials properties, Semiconductors

Photon-Counting Chirped Amplitude Modulation Ladar

This work is a follow-on to an effort to develop a method using Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GM-APD) photon-counting detectors in the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s chirped amplitude modulation (AM) ladar receiver to yield sensitivities approaching the shot noise limit. Such sensitivities represent about four orders of magnitude improvement over the sensitivities of the currently used unity-gain, optoelectronic mixing (OEM) metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) detectors. A variant of the chirped AM ladar has been experimentally assembled and tested, and new single photon-counting detector products were evaluated in terms of their benefits to the chirped AM ladar.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Measurements, Radar, Semiconductor devices, Product development, Military vehicles and equipment

Measurement of Transient Heat Flux and Surface Temperature Using Embedded Temperature Sensors

A report describes approximate solutions for surface temperature and heat flux for two embedded temperature sensors. The solutions were verified and the range of validity was established using several methods including comparisons with an exact analytical solution for a linear problem and a numerical calculation for a non-linear problem.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Mathematical models, Sensors and actuators, Thermal testing

Considerations of Aeroacoustics in Turbojet-Engine Testing

A study of the aeroacoustics of a turbojet-engine test cell has been performed as one step in the development of a computational aeroacoustics capability (CAA) that could provide guidance for the design and operation of such cells. Ground testing of turbojet engines in test cells necessarily involves very high acoustic amplitudes, often severe enough to cause damage to test-cell equipment and to engines under test. Heretofore, the acoustic responses of test cells containing energetic jets have been poorly understood and generally unpredictable. The CAA capability is intended to enable prediction of deleterious acoustic events, making it possible to design test cells and choose operating conditions to prevent damage and thereby avoid the costly interruption of test schedules.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Acoustics, Turbojet engines, Performance tests, Aerodynamics

Imaging and Spectral Measurements of Explosions

A document describes experiments performed to investigate rates of delivery of energy onto targets from different explosive formulations. The experiments were designed to measure relative positions of blast fireballs and leading shock fronts; determine whether different explosive formulations exhibit unique spectral signatures; determine temperatures of gases and solids near fireball surfaces; and measure rates of heating as functions of time. In the experiments, unconfined explosions were observed using time-resolved laser shadowgraphy, spectrometry integrated over the first 50 ms following initiation, time-resolved three-wavelength pyrometry, and time-resolved heat-flux measurements.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Measurements, Imaging, Fire, Impact tests, Thermal testing

Satellite Phone

The 9555 satellite phone from Iridium Satellite LLC (Bethesda, MD) is compact and features an intuitive user interface, speakerphone, Short Messaging Service and e-mail capabilities, an upgraded mini-USB data port, and an internally stowed antenna. The phone is designed to withstand rugged, remote, and industrial environments, and is shock- and water-resistant. It utilizes Iridium’s commercial satellite global communications network for operation in any location or condition where cellular, radio, or landline services are not available.

Features include an illuminated, weather-resistant keypad; a 21-language menu; programmable international codes for automatic dialing; standby time up to 30 hours; and talk time to four hours.

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Posted in: Products