NASA scientists have discovered a method for providing Fourier Imaging with as few as one or two grid pairs, while capturing the entire available spectrum.
Result: An imager that costs less to produce and offers high quality imaging.
- Cost: A 24-grid pair Fourier Imager could cost as much as 10 times more to produce.
- Quality: The 2-pair innovation provides superior imaging over 24- to 48-grid pair imagers.
- Medical Imaging: Offers finer resolution body scans, finding masses as small as 100 microns.
- Telescopes: Allows for imaging of “high energy events” such as solar flares or distant star activity in greater detail than current telescopes.
- Defect Analysis: Finds flaws, stress cracks, or other imperfections in metals or assembled metal components that x-rays might miss.
In the past, multiple grid pairs have been needed to create a Fourier telescope. It had been theorized that one or two grid pair telescopes were feasible, but no working prototypes had been developed, until now.
This MSFC invention, the Rotational-Translational Fourier Imaging System, has overcome the multiple grid pair hurdle, creating an imaging system that uses only two grid pairs.
- The first grid pair offers multiple real components of the Fourier-based image.
- The second grid pair provides multiple imaginary components of the Fourier-based image.
With the reduction in grid pairs, the major cost of producing the multiple grid pairs has been lowered. In fact, depending upon the application, the two grid pair production costs can be one tenth of the price of a comparable 24-grid pair imager.
While one would expect the quality of the invention’s spectrum analysis to decline with the reduction in grid pairs, the opposite is actually the case. In fact, the Rotational-Translational Fourier Imaging System provides the ability to capture images across the entire available spectrum, rather than at discrete, predetermined intervals within the spectrum.
Although the technology was developed for telescopes, its strength is full-spectrum imaging of atomic particles and electromagnetic radiation.
This technology is part of NASA’s technology transfer program. The program seeks to stimulate development of commercial uses of NASA-developed technologies. NASA is flexible in its agreements, and opportunities exist for licensing and joint development. MSFC is interested in a partnership to commercialize the technology.
Marshall has patented this technology.
If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA’s technology transfer program, please contact:
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Manager, Technology Commercialization and Licensing
Phone: (256) 544-5226
Fax: (256) 544-4810