Tuesday, July 31, 2007

US Patent 7250139 - Nanotip dispensing device


Based on work from a Northwestern University professor named Chad Mirkin a company called Nanoink was founded which uses an atomic force microscope in a fashion analogous to a pen to write molecular patterns of nanometer width. This patent is also from Northwestern and takes the pen analogy to another level by including thin film capillary structures to direct the molecular "ink". Claim 1 reads:

1. A material dispensing device, comprising an elongated cantilever comprising a plurality of thin films arranged relative to one another to define a microchannel in the cantilever, said cantilever having a material dispensing tip proximate an end of the cantilever and communicating with the microchannel to receive material therefrom, said material dispensing tip comprising a pointed tip body and an annular shell comprising one of the thin films spaced about the tip body to define a material dispensing annular space about the tip body.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7249604 - Magnetic nanoparticles for blood flow control


This patent from VASMO, Inc. teaches a fairly interesting application of microparticles or nanoparticles in medicine. Basically the particles are used to form configurable valves based on external magnetic fields to control blood flow. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for occluding or controlling blood flow wherein: (a) magnetic microparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, or magnetic colloids are administered in the form of a dispersion or suspension into a blood vessel that flows through the vessel in the bloodstream, and (b) an external magnetic field source is placed or held at the desired site near or above the path of the blood stream, and (c) a plug or blockade is formed within said blood vessel as a result of acts (a) and (b) that occludes or controls blood flow through the vessel.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

US Patent 7247980 - CNT/Diamond electron emitter paste


Carbon nanotubes are very efficient electron emitters with emission occurring at fields of about 1 V/micron to produce current densities over 1 A/cm2. However, when mixed with paste to form a film the efficiency is decreased. This patent focused on an optimized emitter paste using carbon nanotubes, diamond and other components. Claim 1 reads:

1. An emitter paste composition of a field emission cell, comprising 2 wt % to 20 wt % of a carbon nanotube, a binder, glass frit, a dispersing agent, an organic solvent, and 0.1 wt % to 20 wt % of diamond, based on a weight thereof.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7247897 - Integrated CNT/phase change memory


Certain phase change materials capable of changing between amorphous and crystalline states based on electrical or thermal stimulation are currently being explored for applications in memory devices. This patent from Samsung teaches using a carbon nanotube as a connection wire to phase change film to increase the density of such memory devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor device, comprising: a substrate; a first electrode formed on the substrate; a porous active layer formed on a surface of the electrode; an insulating layer, which is formed on the porous active layer, having a contact hole therethrough to expose a portion of the porous active layer; a carbon nanotube, which is grown on the porous active layer in the contact hole and forms a conductive line as a pathway for electron migration; and a memory thin film on the insulating layer and electrically connected to the carbon nanotube, wherein the memory thin film is made of a phase-change material.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

US Patent 7247877 - Integrated circuit monitor using CNTFET


Several integrated circuit designs include monitoring circuits built into the chip to assure proper functioning of the circuit. However, the space taken up by these circuits can increase the size of the chips and reduce overall performance. This patent from IBM teaches the use of carbon nanotube field effect transistors to detect defective transistors with a greater economy of space.

1. An integrated circuit comprising: a primary transistor device to be monitored; and an embedded carbon nanotube field effect transistor (CNT FET) spaced apart from said primary transistor device to be monitored, wherein said CNT FET is adapted to detect defective circuits and measure physical characteristics within said integrated circuit, wherein said CNT FET is adapted to measure any of mechanical and thermal stress and strain in said integrated circuit, and wherein said primary transistor device to be monitored comprises: a gate; a source region; a drain region; and a gate insulator layer separating said gate from each of said source region and said drain region.

Labels: , ,

US Patent 7247670 - Nanotube dispersion using polybenzyl ethyl dendrimer


This patent from General Electric alleges an improved method for single walled carbon nanotube dispersion that can separate the semiconducting nanotubes from the metallic nanotubes using non-covalently bonded chemical moiety bonded to a polybenzyl ester dendrimer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanostructure comprising: at least one nanotube; at least one chemical moiety non-covalently attached to the at least one nanotube, wherein the at least one chemical moiety is one of a soluble polymer, a soluble oligomer, and combinations thereof; wherein the at least one chemical moiety enhances dispersion of the at least one nanotube; and at least one dendrimer bonded to the at least one chemical moiety, wherein the at least one dendrimer comprises a polybenzyl ether dendrimer.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

US Patent 7247375 - Halogen polymer encapsulated nanoparticle


Encapsulation of phosphorescent particles by polymers and inorganic materials is a used to avoid quenching of the phosphorescence in oxygen or water containing environments. This patent claims an improvement of such encapsulation for nanoparticles using halogen containing polymers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A phosphorescent particle comprising a phosphorescent material encapsulated in a halogen-containing polymer, wherein the size of the particle is from about 10 nanometers to about 10 micrometers.


US Patent 7247290 - Coagulation spun SWNT fiber


In order to use single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in a composite product not only do problems related to the SWNT manufacture have to be minimized but problems related to post-processing such as sorting, orienting and otherwise processing the manufactured SWNTs need to be resolved. This patent from Honeywell teaches a particular post-processing method resulting in a SWNT spun structure with improved alignment and less swelling than prior art methods. Claim 1 reads:

1. A coagulation spun structure comprising single-wall carbon nanotubes containing no binding agent or carbonaceous impurities, the structure swelling by less than about 10% in diameter when immersed in water and being produced by forming a uniform suspension in liquid of single-wall carbon nanotubes made from carbon monoxide at a pressure of at least 10 atmospheres, coagulation spinning the suspension to form the structure, submitting the structure to tension, and annealing the structure under a state of tension.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 23, 2007

US Patent 7244799 - Siloxane manufacturing using nanoparticle catalysts


Siloxanes are components of material such as synthetic rubber. This patent from Kansas State University is directed to a new method of making siloxanes using catalytic nanoparticles such that the siloxane can be formed with a nanostructured morphology. Claim 1 reads:

1. In a method of preparing siloxanes wherein a substituted silane is polymerized in an solvent system comprising water, the improvement which comprises carrying out said polymerization in the presence of an effective amount of a nanoparticle metallic catalyst.

Friday, July 20, 2007

US Patent 7244694 - Nanotube viscoelastic fluid


Viscoelastic fluids have been used in the past in order to extract oil from oil fields. This patent claims the use of nanotubes to use such fluids at higher temperatures and less fluid loss. Claim 1 reads:

1. A viscoelastic nanotube fluid composition comprising: an aqueous medium; an amount of a viscoelastic surfactant effective to render said aqueous medium viscoelastic; a member selected from the group consisting of organic acids, organic acid salts, inorganic salts, and combinations of one or more organic acids or organic acid salts with one or more inorganic salts; and, a nanotube component effective to impart increased viscosity to said fluid composition at temperatures of up to about 150 C.


US Patent 7244513 - Porous silicon powder used to make nanoparticles


Patent claims to intermediate products used in a manufacturing process often may be preferred over claiming the process itself since claims to structure may often be easier to enforce than claims to methods. This patent from Nano Proprietary is directed toward an intermediate product used in the formation of silicon nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A porous silicon powder comprising a plurality of silicon particles wherein only the outermost layers of said particles are porous, and wherein the outermost porous layers of said silicon particles comprise a thickness which ranges from at least about 1 angstrom to at most about 500 nanometers.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

US Patent 7244499 - Polymer wrapped CNT stucture bonded to second structure


In order to form electronic devices using multiple nanotubes several configurations have been proposed including patterning nanotube films on arrangements of electrode arrays and growing bent nanotubes from catalytic particles placed on electrodes. This patent proposes one interesting configuration that uses polymer wrapped nanotubes combined with specific interacting molecules (such as antigen/antibody) to facilitate interconnection between nanotubes or between a nanotube and substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A bonded structure comprising: a first structure which is a carbon nanotube-based structure including a carbon nanotube and a polymer layer wrapping a rounded surface thereof; a second structure bonded with said carbon nanotube-based structure; and a bonding material between said polymer and said second structure to be bonded therewith, wherein said carbon nanotube-based structure and said second structure are bonded via said polymer, wherein said bonding material comprises a set of molecules with a specific interaction, and wherein said set of molecules with a specific interaction includes a combination of a ligand and a receptor, or a combination of an antigen and an antibody.


US Patent 7244408 - MWCNT distribution by arc discharge


Carbon nanotubes used in composites often have lengths exceeding 1 micron. This patent is focused on methods of making shorter nanotubes of a particular diameter distribution using the arc discharge method. Although, I'm not exactly certain why this would be useful (the application cites "more suitable for certain applications" without going into specifics). Claim 1 reads:

1. Nanotubes comprising of short multi-walled nanotubes (sh-MWNTs) formed from concentrically arranged nanotube layers having a mean outer diameter of from 2 to 15 nm, a median outer diameter of 6 to 8 nm and a natural length of 100 to 500 nm.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

US 7244374 - Carbon nanotube/metal composite


Metal/carbon nanotube composite material is useful in a variety of applications including improved heat sinks. This patent from Fuji Xerox teaches using cross-linking of functional groups bonded on the carbon nanotube sidewalls to reduce discontinuity of conduction paths and approve the effectiveness of these materials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composite comprising a carbon nanotube structure and a metal-containing material that are mixed together, wherein the carbon nanotube structure has a network structure constructed by mutually cross-linking functional groups bonded along the lengths of plural carbon nanotubes through chemical bonding of the functional groups together.

Labels: , ,

US Patent 7244367 - Platinum/Palladium MEMS


Micromechanical structures have been fabricated from a variety of materials including silicon, polysilicon, metals, and polymers. However, for a variety of applications these materials may not have sufficient electrical conductivity and mechanical durability. This patent teaches a metal alloy with some improved mechanical characteristics for micromechanical structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microelectromechanical device, comprising: at least one freestanding flexible member that bends, flexes, twists, or is deformed during operation of the microelectromechanical device and is formed from an alloy consisting essentially of about 40 to 80 wt% platinum and about 20 to 60 wt% palladium, said member exhibiting at least one performance characteristic at least 50% greater than either noble metal alone, said performance characteristic selected from the group consisting of yield strength, tensile strength and hardness.


Friday, July 13, 2007

US Patent 7242601- Microscale to nanoscale memory addressing


A variety of memory and logic systems are currently being developed by companies such as Hewlett packard and Nantero using nanoscale crossbars. One difficulty in working with nanoscale crossbars is addressing the nanowires using microscale wires. Andre DeHon is an inventor at CalTech working on realizing a variety of solutions to this problem. This solution uses a particular coding system for microscale to nanoscale wiring interfaces. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for addressing a memory comprising: selecting a nanoscale wire from a plurality of nanoscale wires through a first set of microscale inputs; associating a code to the selected nanoscale wire through a second set of microscale inputs; repeating the selecting and associating steps in accordance with a number of nanoscale wires to be programmed; associating memory addresses of the memory to codes associated with the selected nanoscale wires; and selecting memory addresses of the memory by means of the second set of microscale inputs.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 12, 2007

US Patent 7242512- Resistance based addressing in MEMS display


Interferometric based micromechanical displays is a technology being developed by companies such as Iridigm Display and Silicon Light Machines with improved energy efficiency. As opposed to LCDs or other flat panel displays no special material is needed and the pixel reflection is determined in terms of the mechanical state of reflective microribbons. This patent from Iridigm teaches a more efficient method of addressing such displays by assigning different resistance values to subrows in a row thereby allowing a greater number of pixels and larger displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A display comprising: a plurality of MEMS elements arranged in rows, wherein the MEMS elements of each of the rows are further arranged in subrows and wherein the subrows of each row are electrically connected; and a plurality of resistors, each of the resistors connected to a respective one of the subrows, the respective one of the resistors for each of the subrows of each row having a different resistance from the resistors connected to the other subrows of the row.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7242215 - Nanoscale hysteretic resistor latch


The term "hysteresis" is most often used in reference to magnetic materials and generally refers to an effect lagging cause phenomena useful for data storage. However, various companies including HP, Micron Technologies, Ovonics, etc. are working on using molecular, polymer, or chalcogenide-based materials to achieve hysteresis of electrical resistance as well. These materials are useful in creating a variety of switching and logic devices and may be integrated in nanowire based electronic structures using printing based fabrication that can be far cheaper than the standard fab methods used in electronics. As more companies begin to be attracted to these materials it is possible that hysteretic resistance materials may one day rival semiconductors as the leading material in electronics. This patent from HP teaches a basic latching circuit using hysteretic resistance materials.

1. A nanoscale latch that stores a logical value, the nanoscale latch comprising: a nanoscale control-voltage input line; a nanoscale input/output signal line; and a nanoscale hysteretic resistor linking the control-voltage input to the input/output signal line that represents a first logic value when in a low-impedance, closed state and that represents a second logic value when in a high-impedance.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

US Patent 7242129 - Piezoelectric/electrostatic MEMS actuator


MEMS actuators have a variety of uses including read head drive controllers for optical disk drives or atomic force microscopes. As portable electronic devices continue to shrink MEMS becomes even more important in these types of memory drives. One problem however is the range of movement can be limited depending on the type of actuator used. This patent teaches using both piezoelectric and electrostatic combtooth actuation to enhance the range. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microelectromechanical system (MEMS) actuator comprising: a stationary comb fixed on a substrate; a movable comb disposed separately from the substrate; and a spring connected to the movable comb and the substrate to resiliently support the movable comb, wherein the movable comb includes a piezoelectric material layer in a laminated manner to be perpendicularly moved by a piezoelectric phenomenon and laterally moved by an electrostatic force to the stationary comb.


US Patent 7241987 - Nanoparticle-coated near-field probe


Near-field microscopes have been developed over the past several decades to overcome the wavelength limited resolution of conventional optical microscopes. Within the past few years surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a technique used to enhance detection by several orders of magnitude via rough surfaces, has been used in combination with near-field probes, however inconsistency existed because of differences in the ways the surface were formed to promote SERS. This patent teaches the formation of metal nanoparticles to achieve the SERS effect in a near field probe in a more consistent manner.

1. A probe for a near-field microscope comprising: a probe body is inserted into an evanescent field generated in a sample surface so that scattered light is detected by scattering the evanescent field using a probe tip of the probe body, one part or all of the probe body which interacts with the evanescent field being coated with metal particles which do not mutually adhere, each of the metal particles having a particle diameter of 10 nm or larger and a radius of curvature of 50 nm or smaller.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

US Patent 7241496 - Non-wrapping polymer backbone for nanotube


One problem with carbon nanotubes is their tendency to stick and clump together making solubility of the nanotubes difficulty. This problem is partially resolved by using polymers to wrap around the nanotubes. However the polymer wrapping is problematic with certain small diameter nanotubes. This patent co-owned by Zyvex and the University of Pittsburgh teaches how to form polymer bonds to the sidewall of nanotubes so as to achieve solubility of the nanotubes while avoiding problems with polymer wrapping. Claim 1 reads:

1. A polymer comprising: a backbone portion for noncovalently bonding with a nanotube in a non-wrapping fashion.


US Patent 7239378 - "MEMS or nanotechnology-modified" invention


This patent wins the award of most blatant attempt of using MEMS and nanotechnology as buzzwords to receive a patent. The inventor should be very proud (especially since only very generic discussion of what "MEMS and nanotechnology modified" refers to in the specification). Claim 1 reads:

1. A platform-based imaging system comprising:
a multi-spigot lens assembly mounted on a platform; wherein the multi-spigot lens assembly comprises at least one MEMS or nanotechnology-modified component; wherein at least one of the MEMS or nanotechnology-modified components of the lens assembly is a mirror; a MEMS or nanotechnology-modified information processing module; and a MEMS or nanotechnology-modified connection mechanism adapted and constructed to operatively and remotely connect the lens with the information processing module.

Friday, July 06, 2007

US Patent 7239074 - Carbon nanotube field emitters formed in recess


Various constructions have been proposed and implemented by companies such as Nanoproprietary, Samsung, and others for forming large arrays of carbon nanotube electron emitters to enable applications in flat panel displays. Usually the fabrication of these emitter arrays requires several steps of depositing and patterning insulating films formed on a conductive or semiconductive substrate and subsequently etching the insulating film to prepare barriers and wells in which the emitters can be formed. This patent from Hon Hai Precision of Taiwan teaches a simplified fabrication process which avoids several deposition and etching steps by using an insulating substrate with a recess formed therein as a starting material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A field emission device comprising: an insulative substrate, the substrate defining a recess therein; and a cathode with a plurality of electron emitters formed thereon, the cathode being positioned in the recess.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7239073 - New carbon structure for electron emission


Several different carbon-based nanomaterials have been proposed and implemented in electron emitting devices including fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and nanocrystalline diamond. Energy efficiency is achieved by using these materials due to the low threshold voltages necessary to achieve emission. In addition the materials can be coated or patterned to cover large area substrates so as to enable surface emission electronic devices for applications such as flat panel displays and massively parallel electron beam lithography. This patent from Futaba Corp. proposes another new type of carbon structure that includes nanosized extensions from a microscale body to further enhance emission from a substrate on which the carbon structures are formed. Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon substance comprising: a structure having a diameter ranging from about 1 micron to about 100 microns and including carbon and a metal or a metallic oxide; and a plurality of line-shaped bodies whose diameters are smaller than about 200 nm, wherein the line-shaped bodies include carbon as a main component thereof and grow radially from a surface of the structure; and wherein the structure has a curved shape of sphere, hemisphere, ellipse or half ellipse.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

US Patent 7238952 - Carbon nanotube for metal ion emission


The use of carbon nanotube materials for electron emission has been proposed for numerous applications including flat panel displays, lighting, and microwave amplifiers. This patent from Canon teaches how to use carbon nanotubes for ion emission as well which may have some applications in mass spectroscopy and focused ion beam devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A metal ion emission device for emitting a metal ion by applying voltage to a molten liquid metal, comprising: a needle-like part having an internal opening in which a liquid metal can be moved, and the needle-like part is a carbon nanotube and has a first opening for supplying the liquid metal to the internal opening and a second opening for emitting the liquid metal as a metal ion.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7238952 - Molecular motors for controlling DNA flow through nanopores


Nanopore sequencing is a method of determining the sequence of nucleic acid molecules (e.g. RNA, DNA) by flowing such molecules through a nonopore aperature resulting in a detectable alteration of ionic current. This patent co-owned by Harvard, the University of California, and Agilent Technologies forms a molecular structure such as polymerases or ribosomes at the nanopore to act as a motor to better control the rate of analysis. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanopore analysis system, comprising: (a) a structure having a nanopore aperture; and (b) a molecular motor adjacent the nanopore aperture, wherein the molecular motor is capable of moving a polynucleotide with respect to the nanopore aperture at a rate of 350-2000 Hz.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

US Patent 7238425 - Multiwall nanotube bearing


Some of the early speculation about nanotechnology included forming mechanical components such as gears and drive shafts from molecular materials. This patent from the University of California proposes such a molecular mechanical component in the form of a multiwall nanotube that acts as a translational or rotational bearing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising a telescoped multiwall nanotube comprised of: (a) an outer shell having a cylindrical wall, a closed end, and an interior cavity defined by the cylindrical wall and the closed end; and (b) a telescoped segment partially housed within the interior cavity of the outer shell and partially extending from the outermost shell, wherein said telescoped segment has a cylindrical segment wall, a closed segment end, and a segment cavity.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7238413 - Porous conductive film formed with carbon microfibers and carbon nanofibers


The formation of gas diffusion layers for fuel cells requires thin, flexible, strong material that is electrically conductive. This patent discloses forming such a sheet material using both carbon microfibers and carbon nanofibers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A conductive microporous sheet material comprising primary carbon fibers having a cross-sectional dimension of at least 1 micron, secondary carbon fibers in the form of carbon nanofibers and a binding agent for binding said primary and secondary fibers, wherein the binding agent constitutes less than 10 wt % of the sheet material and the binding agent is selected from the group comprising thermoplastic resins and thermosetting resins; and wherein the sheet has a tensile strength of between 0.7 and 1.3 kN/m.