Wednesday, February 28, 2007

US Patent 7183003 - Thermal interface using silver colloid and carbon nanotubes

Some R&D is underway by several different companies in the use of carbon nanotubes/polymer composites in heat sinks and thermal interface material. This patent from Hon Hai Precision prioposes a silver colloid base as the binding matrix for the nanotubes to improve the thermal conductivity and flexibility while reducing the thickness of the material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thermal interface material comprising: a silver colloid base having a first surface and a second surface opposite to the first surface; and a plurality of carbon nanotubes uniformly disposed in the silver colloid base, the carbon nanotubes being substantially parallel to each other, the carbon nanotubes extending from the first surface to the second surface of the silver colloid base.


US Patent 7182801 - Non-magnetic nickel nanoparticles

Nickel powders are useful in forming a variety of electronic circuit devices including the electrodes for multilayer ceramic capacitors. However, the powders tend to clump together based on their magnetic properties which causes difficulty in fabrication. This patent from Samsung teaches how to form nickel nanopowders that are non-magnetic to avoid such difficulties. Claim 1 reads:

1. Non-magnetic nickel powders having an hexagonal close packed (HCP) crystal structure wherein the average particle size of said non-magnetic nickel powders is in the range of 30 to 800 nm.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

US 7181811 - Nanotube velcro

This patent proposes the formation of bent or otherwise mis-shapen nanotubes to provide an adhesive fastening surfaces. Hopefully, they will be less annoying than velcro. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microfastening system comprising: a first fastening element including a plurality of extending nanotubes; and a second fastening element including a plurality of extending nanotubes; wherein the fastening elements comprise a substrate including an attachment surface and a plurality of functionalized non-linear nanotubes, the non-linear nanotubes of the first and second fastening elements each having a first end and a second end, the non-linear nanotubes of the first and second fastening elements each being attached at the first end to and extending from said attachment surface, wherein the second end is free of the surface.


US Patent 7181266 - Lymphatic imaging using nanoparticles

This patent from M.I.T. seems to lay claim to a fundamental usage of quantum dots in imaging the lymphatic system. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of imaging a lymphatic system of an animal comprising: introducing at an injection site a composition subcutaneously in the animal, the composition including a particle including a semiconductor nanocrystal; exciting the particle with an excitation light source; and detecting emission from the particle.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

US Patent 7180649 - Electrochromatic nanoparticle displays

E Ink is a company that is working on producing flexible electronic paper which can provide the attributes of electronic displays to media having a paper-like consistency. This patent uses electrochromatic (i.e. color controllable) nanoparticles for such displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A display comprising: first and second electrodes spaced from one another, at least one of the first and second electrodes comprising a layer of an electrically conductive metal or metal oxide, and a semiconductor layer; and a plurality of electrochromic nanoparticles disposed between the first and second electrodes, each of the nanoparticles having an electron-rich state and an electron-depleted state, the two states differing in at least one optical characteristic, such that injection of charge from at least one of the first and second electrodes will cause at least some of the nanoparticles to switch between their electron-rich and electron-depleted states.

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US Patent 7180174 - Nanotube modified solder

Heat sinks and circuit elements are commonly connected to circuit boards through solder. In order to improve heat transfer this patent from Intel proposes the use of nanotubes within the solder material. Claim 1 reads:

1. Apparatus, comprising: a die; a heat spreader; and a thermal intermediate material comprised of a plurality of carbon nanotubes blended with solder, the thermal intermediate material interposed in a gap between the die and the heat spreader, wherein some of the carbon nanotubes of the plurality of carbon nanotubes are chemically bonded to the solder.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

US Patent 7179561 - Nanowires on fuel cell membrane

This patent from Nanosys provides some basic claims toward the manufacture and structure of improved fuel cells including catalytic particles on the surface of nanowires to achieve higher efficiencies and power densities. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fuel cell comprising inorganic nanowires which are derivatized with at least a first functional group which binds to a metal catalyst deposited on a surface of the nanowires, wherein the nanowires are deposited or directly grown on a proton exchange membrane of the fuel cell.

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US Patent 7179533 - Quartz clad nanotube bundles

This patent covers a nanotube bundle capable of being used in acidic or toxic environments. Claim 1 reads:

1. An assembly comprising carbon nanotube bundles sealed in an axially extended quartz protective sheath, which sheath is chemically stable and prevents reaction of the bundles with acid or other toxic substances.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

US Patent 7179383 - Magnetomotive microfluidics

Most microfluidic flow control systems used in biological processing rely on electrostatic based flow processing (electrophoresis, electroosmotic, EHD, etc.) However, this patent from Iowa State University teaches a magnetic field based flow control that may be used in combination with GMR (giant magnetoresistance) detection of magnetically labeled analytes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method to move a magnetizable object along a microfluidic channel comprising the step of generating a local magnetic field gradient in conjunction with a uniform magnetic field in the presence of the magnetizable object.


US Patent 7178747 -Nanoparticle aspect ratio modification

While the mechanical, electrical, and optical benefits of various nanoparticles are favorable, there are still several issues restricting broad usage of nanoparticles such as nanoparticle clumping, undesired gas absorption, and variability on nanoparticle types produced. These problems necessitate post-processing of the nanoparticles and this patent from Nanoproducts Corporation teaches such post-process refining methods. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for modifying the shape of nanomaterials comprising: providing nanomaterials of a first aspect ratio; mixing the nanomaterials with a catalyst; processing the mixture at a temperature greater than 300 K; and collecting nanomaterials with an aspect ratio different than the first aspect ratio.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

US Patent 7176793 - Nanodetectors for cargo container security

There is interest in improving cargo container security since cargo containers can be used as a vessle for potentially harmful material (explosives, chemical weapons, etc.) This patent suggests the use of "nanodetectors" to assist in identifying such threats. Unfortunately the one page specification does not give much detail on the types of "nanodetectors" utilized. Claim 1 reads:

1. A detection strip for an enclosed container, comprising: a) many nano detectors for detecting materials, harmful to human beings, within an enclosed container and transmitting a corresponding resonance frequency, b) a serial number computer chip for identifying the detection strip and transmitting a corresponding resonance frequency, and c) a power source for operating the detection strip.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

US Patent 7176478 - Nanotube Vacuum Electronics

Vacuum tubes predate transistors as the switching element of choice and still have several advantages such as higher switching speeds (since electrons have higher mobility in vacuum than silicon). Unfortunately power requirements and size make vacuum electronics impractical on a large scale, that is of course unless someone invents a high efficiency nanoscale electron emitting element. This patent proposes one way to create such vacuum nanoelectronics. Claim 1 reads:

1. A diode, comprised of two electrodes laterally shifted from each other and placed on non conductive substrate, wherein the first electrode includes a dielectric layer deposited on the substrate, a conductive layer placed on top of said dielectric layer and a nanotube placed on top of said first conductive layer, the axis of said nanotube being essentially normal to one of the edges of the said conductive layer while said nanotube protrudes beyond said one of the edges of said conductive layer into the area of a second electrode which includes a conductive layer placed on the substrate next to said one of the edges of said first conductive layer, so that said nanotube is located above and protrudes into the area of said second electrode.

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US Patent 7175778 - Clumping resistant quantum dots

The company Nanocrystal Technology has developed a way to take advantage of single dopant atom inside of a nanocrystal to produce high efficiency optical devices. This patent teaches the inclusion of a clumping resistant coating material to avoid agglomeration of the nanocrystals. Claim 1 reads:

1. A particle of material comprising a plurality of host atoms in a nanoparticle of a size of less than 10 nm with a single atom of a dopant confined within, and an anti-agglomeration coating surrounding the nanoparticle, the anti-agglomeration coating surrounding the nanoparticle being selected from the group consisting of alkoxysilane, octylphosphine oxide, carboxylic acid, stearic acid, mercepto acetic acid, polyphosphates, polyethylene glycols and oleic acids.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

US Patent 7175762 - Nanocarpet bacteria trap

This invention from CalTech exploits the use of vertical nanotube arrays as actuators to trap bacteria, spores or other microscale biomatter for later analysis. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanotrap comprising: a substrate; and a plurality of densely packed self-assembled nanofeatures disposed on said substrate, each of said nanofeatures having first and second ends, wherein each of said first ends are independently attached to said substrate, and wherein the nanofeatures are at least 10 microns long such that said second ends are curled and randomly oriented above said substrate to create a collective Van der Waals force capable of attracting and trapping particulates; and a voltage source having a controllably oscillating polarity in independent and direct electrical communication with each of said nanofeatures such that application of the oscillating polarity of a voltage from the voltage source to the nanofeatures induces said plurality of nanofeatures to contract and expand to produce an electromechanical actuation of the Plurality of nanofeatures to dislodge any trapped particulates within said nanotrap.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

US Patent 7172953 - Nanowire placement using chemically patterned surface

This patent from Nantero includes some fairly basic claims to placement of nanowires or nanotubes on a surface using linear patterns formed by self-assembly. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: forming a nanoscopic wire on a surface in a pattern dictated by a chemically patterned surface, wherein the nanoscopic wire is a preformed wire and the chemically patterned surface comprises at least first and second portions which attract the nanoscopic wire and at which wire deposition is desired, the method comprising applying the preformed nanoscopic wire to the surface across the first and second portions.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

US Patent 7172747 - Double Helix Metal Oxide Nanotube

Nanoparticulate materials have attracted much interest in the area of hydrogen storage (useful for fuel cells) due to the high surface to volume ratio of these materials. This patent from Japan Science and Technology Agency claims a newly discovered nanomaterial in the form of a double helix nanotube made of metal oxide material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A metal oxide nanotube consisting solely of a metal oxide that may contain hydroxyl groups, which is constructed in a double spiral and a hollow cylinder and has a hole diameter distribution containing two peak hole diameters ranging from 1 to 2 nm and from 3 to 7 nm.

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US Patent 7172649 - Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Dentures

Dentistry is seeing it's fair share or nanotechnology applications. This is the third U.S. patent within a year teaching the use of nanoparticles in a dental implement citing the advantages of high bend strength and fracture resistance. Claim 1 reads:

1. A doped leucite glass ceramic powder, comprising (a) a leucite glass ceramic powder; and (b) a nanoscale metal oxide powder with a d50 value of 1 nm to 200 nm.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

US Patent 7171841 - Nanocluster Hydrogen Sensor

Hydrogen fuel cells require the use of hydrogen sensors for concentration and leak detection. This patent uses metal atom nanoclusters to form hydrogen sensors of higher reaction speed with greater energy efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device, comprising a non-conducting substrate having thereon, a metal film comprised of nanoclusters of metal atoms capable of absorbing hydrogen to form a stable metal hydride, said metal film being on the threshold of percolation, and mechanism in electrical communication with said metal film for sensing a change in electrical resistance in response to the presence of hydrogen in contact with said metal film, whereby hydrogen absorbed by said metal film forms a metal hydride larger in volume than the metal resulting in percolation of said metal film and an increase in the conductivity thereof; and wherein said non-conducting substrate has a stiction-reducing coating thereon.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

US Patent 7170842 - Ferrofluid Memory Storage

Scanning probe microscopy continues to receive a great deal of interest in high density memory applications many of which use phase change materials to store data. This patent from Hewlett-Packard uses magnetic particles imbedded in a fluid as a storage media for the scanning probes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A data storage device, comprising: a storage medium; nanometer-scaled data storage areas in the storage medium; an energy-emitting tip positioned in close proximity to the storage medium; a fluid medium positioned between the energy-emitting tip and the storage medium wherein the fluid medium comprises a ferrofluid; and particles contained in the fluid medium.

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US Patent 7170667 - Lifetime improvement in MEMS devices

Micromachined devices with movable members are often dependent upon resonant or other mechanical characteristics that can undesirably change over time due to deformation of the movable member. This patent from Texas Instruments teaches a method of reducing the rate of such deformation using an illumination pretreatment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: packaging a microelectromechanical device (MEMS) having a deformable element; reducing a rate of developing residual plastic deformation in the deformable element by illuminating the device with a beam of illumination light, wherein the rate of developing residual plastic deformation is defined as an amount of the residual plastic deformation developed over a time period divided by the time period; and delivering the device to a customer.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

US Patent 7170666 - Anti-reflective nanostructured surface formed by self-assembly

In order to reduce reflection in materials used in optical applications such as fiber optic switches or interference based displays this patent from HP teaches the use of self-assembled nanostructures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming an antireflection surface, comprising: forming a plurality of nanostructures of a first material on a surface of a second material, wherein the first material is different from the second material, and wherein the distribution of spatial periods of the nanostructures is set without lithographic patterning techniques; and converting the surface of the second material to operate as a graded index surface that is substantially antireflective for the wavelength of interest.

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