Wednesday, May 17, 2006

US Patent 7045205 - Intersecting Coated Nanopores

Nanostructured material often refers to material employing nanoparticulate matter, however this is not the only form nanostructured material can take. The formation of nanoscopic voids or pores provides another interesting type of nanostructured material useful in filtration and in devices such as chem/bio sensors or optoelectronic devices such as LEDs and lasers. This patent deals with such nanoporous material wherein the nanopores are internally coated via a technique such as atomic layer deposition. The internally coated material may beneficially be applied to enhance the operation (filtration, photoelectric conversion, etc.) of the nanopores. Claim 1 reads

1. A nanostructured apparatus, comprising: a mesoporous template having a network of regularly-spaced intersecting pores, wherein a characteristic dimension of the pores is between about 1 nm and about 100 nm; and a layer of material that substantially coats one or more walls of the pores to a substantially uniform thickness.

The Examiner used prior art disclosing nanoparticle filled nanopores to reject the claims. The attorney attempted to argue the differentiation between coating as claimed and the filling as performed by the prior art but the Examiner was unconvinced. Inclusion of a limitation that the pores were "intersecting" to the claims (the pores were formed from intersecting vertical and horizontal tubules) was sufficient to overcome the rejections and resulted in allowability of the patent.