Patents Represented by Attorney, Agent or Law Firm John H. Kusmiss
  • Patent number: 5706084
    Abstract: An improved interferometer is produced by modifying a conventional interferometer to include amplitude and/or frequency modulation of a coherent light source at radio or higher frequencies. The phase of the modulation signal can be detected in an interfering beam from an interferometer and can be used to determine the actual optical phase of the beam. As such, this improvement can be adapted to virtually any two-beam interferometer, including, for example, Michelson, Mach-Zehnder, and Sagnac interferometers. The use of an amplitude modulated coherent light source results in an interferometer that combines the wide range advantages of coherent interferometry with the precise distance measurement advantages of white light interferometry.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 6, 1998
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Roman C. Gutierrez
  • Patent number: 5698771
    Abstract: A hydrocarbon gas detection device operates by dissociating or electro-chemically oxidizing hydrocarbons adsorbed to a silicon carbide detection layer. Dissociation or oxidation are driven by a varying potential applied to the detection layer. Different hydrocarbon species undergo reaction at different applied potentials so that the device is able to discriminate among various hydrocarbon species. The device can operate at temperatures between 100.degree. C. and at least 650.degree. C., allowing hydrocarbon detection in hot exhaust gases. The dissociation reaction is detected either as a change in a capacitor or, preferably, as a change of current flow through an FET which incorporates the silicon carbide detection layers. The silicon carbide detection layer can be augmented with a pad of catalytic material which provides a signal without an applied potential. Comparisons between the catalytically produced signal and the varying potential produced signal may further help identify the hydrocarbon present.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 16, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Virgil B. Shields, Margaret A. Ryan, Roger M. Williams
  • Patent number: 5685946
    Abstract: Lattices of alternating layers of monocrystalline silicon and porous silicon-germanium have been produced. These single crystal lattices have been fabricated by epitaxial growth of Si and Si--Ge layers followed by patterning into mesa structures. The mesa structures are stain etched resulting in porosification of the Si--Ge layers with a minor amount of porosification of the monocrystalline Si layers. Thicker Si--Ge layers produced in a similar manner emitted visible light at room temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 11, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Robert W. Fathauer, Thomas George, Eric W. Jones
  • Patent number: 5670378
    Abstract: Trace levels of molecular oxygen are measured by introducing a gas containing the molecular oxygen into a target zone, and impacting the molecular oxygen in the target zone with electrons at the O.sup.- resonant energy level for dissociative electron attachment to produce O.sup.- ions. Preferably, the electrons have an energy of about 4 to about 10 eV. The amount of O.sup.- ions produced is measured, and is correlated with the molecular oxygen content in the target zone. The technique is effective for measuring levels of oxygen below 50 ppb, and even less than 1 ppb. The amount of O.sup.- can be measure in a quadrupole mass analyzer. Best results are obtained when the electrons have an energy of about 6 to about 8 eV, and preferably about 6.8 eV. The method can be used for other species by selecting the appropriate electron energy level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 23, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Kin Fung Man, Said Boumsellek, Ara Chutjian
  • Patent number: 5665959
    Abstract: A solid-state focal-plane imaging system comprises an N.times.N array of high gain, low-noise unit cells, each unit cell being connected to a different one of photovoltaic detector diodes, one for each unit cell, interspersed in the array for ultralow level image detection and a plurality of digital counters coupled to the outputs of the unit cell by a multiplexer (either a separate counter for each unit cell or a row of N of counters time shared with N rows of digital counters). Each unit cell includes two self-biasing cascode amplifiers in cascade for a high charge-to-voltage conversion gain (>1 mV/e.sup.-) and an electronic switch to reset input capacitance to a reference potential in order to be able to discriminate detection of an incident photon by the photoelectron (e.sup.-) generated in the detector diode at the input of the first cascode amplifier in order to count incident photons individually in a digital counter connected to the output of the second cascode amplifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 9, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration
    Inventors: Eric R. Fossum, Bedabrata Pain
  • Patent number: 5654818
    Abstract: A polarization insensitive electro-optic modulator is constructed by providing a polarization beamsplitter to separate an incoming light beam into two orthogonally plane polarized beams. Each of the polarized beams passes through a separate electro-optic modulator where each beam is modulated by the same data signal. After modulation the beams are combined to yield a modulated beam having modulated components that are orthogonally polarized. Not only is this device insensitive to changes in polarization of the input beam, the final modulated beam can be detected by optical receivers without regard to polarization alignment of the modulated beam and the receiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 5, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Xiaotian Steve Yao
  • Patent number: 5652871
    Abstract: The present invention discloses a system for performing proximity detection in computer simulations on parallel processing architectures utilizing a distribution list which includes movers and sensor coverages which check in and out of grids. Each mover maintains a list of sensors that detect the mover's motion as the mover and sensor coverages check in and out of the grids. Fuzzy grids are included by fuzzy resolution parameters to allow movers and sensor coverages to check in and out of grids without computing exact grid crossings. The movers check in and out of grids while moving sensors periodically inform the grids of their coverage. In addition, a lookahead function is also included for providing a generalized capability without making any limiting assumptions about the particular application to which it is applied. The lookahead function is initiated so that risk-free synchronization strategies never roll back grid events.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 29, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jeffrey S. Steinman, Frederick P. Wieland
  • Patent number: 5650869
    Abstract: A scanning system uses a polygonal mirror assembly with each facet of the polygon having an ellipsoidal mirror located thereon. One focal point of each ellipsoidal mirror is located at a common point on the axis of rotation of the polygonal mirror assembly. As the mirror assembly rotates, a second focal point of the ellipsoidal mirrors traces out a scan line. The scanner can be utilized for scanned output display of information or for scanning information to be detected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 22, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Paul K. Manhart, Robert J. Pagano
  • Patent number: 5648297
    Abstract: Extended cutoff wavelengths of PtSi Schottky infrared detectors in the long wavelength infrared (LWIR) regime have been demonstrated for the first time. This result was achieved by incorporating a 1-nm-thick p+ doping spike at the PtSi/Si interface. The extended cutoff wavelengths resulted from the combined effects of an increased electric field near the silicide/Si interface due to the p+ doping spike and the Schottky image force. The p+ doping spikes were grown by molecular beam epitaxy at 450 degrees Celsius using elemental boron as the dopant source, with doping concentrations ranging from 1.times.10.sup.19 to 1.times.10.sup.21 cm.sup.-3. The cutoff wavelengths were shown to increase with increasing doping concentrations of the p+ spikes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 15, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: True-Lon Lin, Jin S. Park, Sarath D. Gunapala, Eric W. Jones, Hector M. Del Castillo
  • Patent number: 5645900
    Abstract: Composite films consisting of diamond crystallites and hard amorphous films such as diamond-like carbon, titanium nitride, and titanium oxide are provided as protective coatings for metal substrates against extremely harsh environments. A composite layer having diamond crystallites and a hard amorphous film is affixed to a metal substrate via an interlayer including a bottom metal silicide film and a top silicon carbide film. The interlayer is formed either by depositing metal silicide and silicon carbide directly onto the metal substrate, or by first depositing an amorphous silicon film, then allowing top and bottom portions of the amorphous silicon to react during deposition of the diamond crystallites, to yield the desired interlayer structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 8, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Tiong P. Ong, Yuh-han Shing
  • Patent number: 5632022
    Abstract: Intelligent browsing through a collection of reusable software components is facilitated with a computer having a video monitor and a user input interface such as a keyboard or a mouse for transmitting user selections, by presenting a picture of encyclopedia volumes with respective visible labels referring to types of software, in accordance with a metaphor in which each volume includes a page having a list of general topics under the software type of the volume and pages having lists of software components for each one of the generic topics, altering the picture to open one of the volumes in response to an initial user selection specifying the one volume to display on the monitor a picture of the page thereof having the list of general topics and altering the picture to display the page thereof having a list of software components under one of the general topics in response to a next user selection specifying the one general topic, and then presenting a picture of a set of different informative plates depict
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1991
    Date of Patent: May 20, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Lloyd V. Warren, Brian C. Beckman
  • Patent number: 5617413
    Abstract: The invention in one embodiment is a communication network including plural non-blocking crossbar nodes, first apparatus for connecting the nodes in a first layer of connecting links, and second apparatus for connecting the nodes in a second layer of connecting links independent of the first layer, whereby each layer is connected to the other layer at each one of the nodes. Preferably, each one of the layers of connecting links corresponds to one recirculating network topology that closes in on itself.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 1, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Steve P. Monacos
  • Patent number: 5614918
    Abstract: An improved Global Positioning em antenna adaptor allows fixed antenna height measurements by removably attaching an adaptor plate to a conventional surveyor's tripod. Antenna height is controlled by an antenna boom which is a fixed length rod. The antenna is attached to one end of the boom. The opposite end of the boom tapers to a point sized to fit into a depression at the center of survey markers. The boom passes through the hollow center of a universal ball joint which is mounted at the center of the adaptor plate so that the point of the rod can be fixed in the marker's central depression. The mountains of the ball joint allow the joint to be moved horizontally in any direction relative to the tripod. When the ball joint is moved horizontally, the angle between the boom and the vertical changes because the boom's position is fixed at its lower end. A spirit level attached to the rod allows an operator to determine when the boom is plumb.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 25, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Steven J. Dinardo, Mark A. Smith
  • Patent number: 5602883
    Abstract: In a new formulation for digital phase-locked loops, loop-filter constants are determined from loop roots that can each be selectively placed in the s-plane on the basis of a new set of parameters, each with simple and direct physical meaning in terms of loop noise bandwidth, root-specific decay rate, and root-specific damping. Loops of first to fourth order are treated in the continuous-update approximation (B.sub.L T .fwdarw.0) and in a discrete-update formulation with arbitrary B.sub.L T. Deficiencies of the continuous-update approximation in large-B.sub.L T applications are avoided in the new discrete-update formulation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1993
    Date of Patent: February 11, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Scott A. Stephens, J. Brooks Thomas
  • Patent number: 5602968
    Abstract: The invention is embodied in a method of controlling a robot manipulator moving toward a target frame F.sub.0 with a target velocity v.sub.0 including a linear target velocity .nu. and an angular target velocity .omega..sub.0 to smoothly and continuously divert the robot manipulator to a subsequent frame F.sub.1 by determining a global transition velocity v.sub.1, the global transition velocity including a linear transition velocity .nu..sub.1 and an angular transition velocity .omega..sub.1, defining a blend time interval 2.tau..sub.0 within which the global velocity of the robot manipulator is to be changed from a global target velocity v.sub.0 to the global transition velocity v.sub.1 and dividing the blend time interval 2.tau..sub.0 into discrete time segments .delta.t. During each one of the discrete time segments .delta.t of the blend interval 2.tau..sub.0, a blended global velocity v of the manipulator is computed as a blend of the global target velocity v.sub.0 and the global transition velocity v.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 11, 1997
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Richard A. Volpe
  • Patent number: 5561066
    Abstract: Organic and inorganic contaminants of an environmental sample are analyzed by the same GC-MS instrument by adding an oxidizing agent to the sample to oxidize metal or metal compounds to form metal ions. The metal ions are converted to chelate complexes and the chelate complexes are extracted into a supercritical fluid such as CO.sub.2. The metal chelate extract after flowing through a restrictor tube is directly injected into the ionization chamber of a mass spectrometer, preferably containing a refractory metal filament such as rhenium to fragment the complex to release metal ions which are detected. This provides a fast, economical method for the analysis of metal contaminants in a sample and can be automated. An organic extract of the sample in conventional or supercritical fluid solvents can be detected in the same mass spectrometer, preferably after separation in a supercritical fluid chromatograph.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 1, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Mahadeva P. Sinha
  • Patent number: 5557511
    Abstract: Periodic gain adjustment in plants of irreducible order, n, or for equalization of communications channels is effected in such a way that the plant (system) appears to be minimum phase by choosing a horizon time N>n of liftings in periodic input and output windows .rho..sub.u and .rho..sub.y, respectively, where N is an integer chosen to define the extent (length) of each of the windows .rho..sub.u and .rho..sub.y, and n is the order of an irreducible input/output plant. The plant may be an electrical, mechanical or chemical system, in which case output tracking (OT) is carried out for feedback control or a communication channel, in which case input tracking (IT) is carried out. Conditions for OT are distinct from IT in terms of zero annihilation, namely H.sub.s H.sup.+.sub.s =I for OT and H.sub.s.sup.+ H.sub.s =I of IT, where the OT conditions are intended for gain adjustments in the control system, and IT conditions are intended for equalization for communication channels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 17, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: David S. Bayard
  • Patent number: 5550953
    Abstract: A simple and computationally efficient approach is disclosed for on-line coordinated control of mobile robots consisting of a manipulator arm mounted on a mobile base. The effect of base mobility on the end-effector manipulability index is discussed. The base mobility and arm manipulation degrees-of-freedom are treated equally as the joints of a kinematically redundant composite robot. The redundancy introduced by the mobile base is exploited to satisfy a set of user-defined additional tasks during the end-effector motion. A simple on-line control scheme is proposed which allows the user to assign weighting factors to individual degrees-of-mobility and degrees-of-manipulation, as well as to each task specification. The computational efficiency of the control algorithm makes it particularly suitable for real-time implementations. Four case studies are discussed in detail to demonstrate the application of the coordinated control scheme to various mobile robots.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 27, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Homayoun Seraji
  • Patent number: 5548773
    Abstract: The invention computes the optimum path across a terrain or topology represented by an array of parallel processor cells interconnected between neighboring cells by links extending along different directions to the neighboring cells. Such an array is preferably implemented as a high-speed integrated circuit. The computation of the optimum path is accomplished by, in each cell, receiving stimulus signals from neighboring cells along corresponding directions, determining and storing the identity of a direction along which the first stimulus signal is received, broadcasting a subsequent stimulus signal to the neighboring cells after a predetermined delay time, whereby stimulus signals propagate throughout the array from a starting one of the cells. After propagation of the stimulus signals throughout the array, a master processor traces back from a selected destination cell to the starting cell along an optimum path of the cells in accordance with the identity of the directions stored in each of the cells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 20, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Sabrina E. Kemeny, Eric R. Fossum, Robert H. Nixon
  • Patent number: 5546508
    Abstract: A robot manipulator controller for a flexible manipulator arm having plural bodies connected at respective movable hinges and flexible in plural deformation modes corresponding to respective modal spatial influence vectors relating deformations of plural spaced nodes of respective bodies to the plural deformation modes, operates by computing articulated body quantities for each of the bodies from respective modal spatial influence vectors, obtaining specified body forces for each of the bodies, and computing modal deformation accelerations of the nodes and hinge accelerations of the hinges from the specified body forces, from the articulated body quantities and from the modal spatial influence vectors. In one embodiment of the invention, the controller further operates by comparing the accelerations thus computed to desired manipulator motion to determine a motion discrepancy, and correcting the specified body forces so as to reduce the motion discrepancy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 1992
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1996
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Abhinandan Jain, Guillermo Rodriguez