I have had the good fortune to work in and around laboratories rich with new materials and well stocked with tools.   This facilitates the design and development of novel mechanical, opto-mechanical and cryomechanical devices.  A dozen of these devices won NASA new technology awards. Others are products in the catalogs of various vendors, or are in use as facility instruments in National Laboratories. 

Links to NASA New Technology Awards 

The following are links to devices for which a NASA Tech Brief award was issued, and for which a NASA new technology aware was assigned to me individually as the inventor or as a contributing inventor.  All are devices for cryogenic operation.

Inertial Reaction Motor

Magnetostrictive Micropositioner

Magnetostrictive Liquid Helium Valve

Push-Pull High Resolution Actuator 

Polycrystalline Tb/Dy for Actuators

Magnetostrictive Heat Switch

Filter Wheel Drive

Extruding Tb/Dy

Magnetostrictive Value w/ Flux Tube

Valves for Cryosurgical Probes

Magnetostrictive Damping

Cryogenic Damping for Industrial Applications

A Group of Inventions in Low Temperature Mechanisms

The definition of a revolution in material science is its ability to produce subsequent large groups of inventions in related fields of application.

In a program of NASA- Advance Technology Development Grant sponsored research in applications of magnetostriction for which I was PI, a group of mechanical inventions were generated which grew out of two such revolutions in material science.  These revolutions were the extraordinary increase in the capability of giant magnetostriction (GM)  by Arthur Clark, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), and separately the revolutionary increase in the operating temperature of high temperature superconductivity (HTSC) solenoids, developed in smaller packages, by researchers at American Superconductor Corporation. I was one of the few mechanical designers who had the opportunity and the facilities to work with these materials and so the work was very productive.

Applications of these simple and robust devices include optics manipulation in high performance IR cameras, valve actuation in cryosurgery, sample manipulation in condensed matter physics, and actuation of many other instruments operating from 77 Kelvin down to milli-Kelvin temperatures.

Device Descriptions

For more individual pages, on this site, on the following inventions go to

Cryogenic Filter Wheel Drive

Magnetostrictive Valve

Heat Switch for Cryogenic Use


Devices claimed under JPL and Caltech patent include

• motors, 3 types, 2 linear, 1 rotary, with a 4th motor invented by a co-investigator  See also:
• valves, 2 types (1 energize to activate, 1 persistent on or off state)
• heat switches,  2 types (1 energize to activate, 1 persistent on-or-off state)
• magnetostrictive etalon

These claims are described under a US patent entitled "Magnetostrictive Actuation", filed, Oct. 29, 1998 claiming the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/063, 991, filed October 29, 1997. This patent covers some methods of manufacturing the material, a formulation of polycrystalline material which has potential for low cost manufacture and the various motors and mechanical devices that are based on the crystals and polycrystals themselves.

The rights to this patent are held by my former employer JPL and the California Institute of Technology.
See the legal notice on this site for details and contact information.

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