Monday, July 24, 2006

US Patent 7078683 - Nanowire Sample Holder For Mass Spectrometer

Last week I mentioned a patent that included nanotubes in the housing of a mass spectrometer. This patent also uses nanostructured material, this time nanowires, to improve mass spectrometers by providing an increased surface-to-volume area for the sample. Claim 9 is representative:

9. An ion source for use in ionizing a sample, comprising: (a) a laser; and (b) a nanowire surface for holding the sample.

This patent also explicitly excludes carbon nanotubes from the definition of nanowire. I have also seen patents which explicitly include nanotubes from the definition of nanowires. For patents that do not explicitly exclude or include nanotubes as a type of nanowire this divergence of nomenclature may eventually create some legal confusion.