Friday, September 28, 2007

US Patent 7274458 - Adjustment of sensor wavelength using stretched nanoparticle films

This patent from 3M is based on the finding that the detection wavelength of optical sensors formed from nanoparticle films may be altered by stretching (or shrinking) the substrate on which the nanoparticles are formed. This can be useful in tuning sensors to particular wavelengths. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical film having surface plasmon resonance comprising a thermoplastic film substrate and a discontinuous coating of metallic nanoparticles thereon wherein the absorbtion peak maximum of said optical film shifts at least 10 nm as the film is either further stretched or shrunk.

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US Patent 7274208 - Nanoscale crossbars for programmable logic arrays

There is some interest in using nanoscale crossbars as elements in programmable logic devices. This patent from CalTech research Andre DeHon claims several configurations for nanoscale crossbars used in PLA designs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A programmable logic array (PLA) comprising: a first plurality of nanoscale wires forming PLA inputs; and a restoring inverting arrangement connected with the PLA inputs, comprising a second plurality of nanoscale wires, the restoring inverting arrangement restoring signals on the PLA inputs and inverting the signals on the PLA inputs.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

US 7274118 - MEMS accelerometer battery switch

This patent teaches a fairly interesting application of MEMS accelerometers. For a variety of portable devices it can be a hassle to turn the device on (or even find the ON button). In order to solve this problem a cantilevered accelerometer is incorporated as a switch to turn on the portable device by providing a sufficient jerk. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system comprising: a substrate; a circuit connected to the substrate; a thin-film battery formed on the substrate and connected to the circuit, the thin-film battery operable to power the circuit; and an acceleration-enabled switch connected to the substrate and operably coupled to electrically activate the circuit, wherein the acceleration-enabled switch is a cantilevered-beam MEMS device.


US Patent 7274078 - Vertically oriented nanotube fabric switch

The use of carbon nanotubes as mechanical switches has been significantly developed by Nantero but most of the configurations call for patterned ribbons formed horizontally to a substrate. This patent teaches an alternative of vertically grown nanotube switches which may be more easily fabricated. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electro-mechanical device, comprising: a structure having a major horizontal surface and a channel formed therein, the channel having first and second wall electrodes defining at least a portion of first and second vertical walls of the channel; first and second nanotube articles vertically suspended in the channel and in spaced relation to a corresponding first and second wall electrode, and electromechanically deflectable in a horizontal direction toward or away from the corresponding first and second wall electrode in response to electrical stimulation.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

US Patent 7274064 - Offset nanotube switch for FETs

Nantero obtains yet another patent on carbon nanotube electronics this time focused on using the carbon nanotubes as switching elements offset from FETs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A non-volatile field effect device, comprising: a lithographically-dimensioned source, drain, and gate with a field-modulatable channel between the source and drain, each of the source, drain, and gate having a corresponding terminal, wherein the source and drain are directly connected to their corresponding terminals; and a lithographically-dimensioned, electromechanically-deflectable, nanotube switching element that is coincident with an abutted edge of the gate such that it is in electrical and physical contact with the gate, wherein the nanotube switching element is electromechanically-deflectable in response to electrical stimulation at two control terminals to create one of a non-volatile open and non-volatile closed electrical communication state between the gate and its corresponding terminal, wherein one of the control terminals is positioned over the gate; and wherein the nanotube switching element is offset from and non-overlapping with the field-modulatable channel.


US Patent 7273904 - Manufacture of dendron box

Dendrons are fractal-like branched molecular component with applications in drug delivery and optoelectronics. This patent from the Univesity of Arkansas teaches the use of nanocrystals to stabilize the groth of dendrons and form a dendron box which may be more stable than conventional dendrimers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a dendron box comprising: contacting a solid nanoparticle core between about 1 nm and about 100 nm in diameter with a plurality of cross-linkable dendron ligands to form a dendron-nanoparticle; cross-linking the dendron ligands to form a box-nanoparticle; and removing the solid nanoparticle core from the box-nanoparticle to form the dendron box.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

US Patent 7273732 - Nanowire harvesting using doped sacrificial portions

This patent from Nanosys teaches a method to mass produce nanowires having more consistent characteristics based on the use of doping to create sacrificial portions of the nanowires that can be removed. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of harvesting a nanowire, comprising the steps of: (a) growing a desired portion of the nanowire; (b) growing a sacrificial portion of the nanowire which is doped differently than the desired portion of the nanowire; (c) differentially removing the sacrificial portion of the nanowire; and (d) removing a growth stub from the desired portion of the nanowire.

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US Patent 7273636 - Metal oxide deposition using DPN

Metal oxides are an important material for semiconductor manufacture to form a variety of structures such as contact electrodes for semiconductor devices such as FETs. This patent from NanoInk uses the technology of Dip Pen Nanolithography to pattern precursor material for metal oxides. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of nanolithography comprising: providing a substrate, providing a nanoscopic tip having an inking composition thereon, wherein the inking composition comprises at least one metal oxide precursor; transferring the inking composition from the nanoscopic tip to the substrate to form a deposit on the substrate comprising at least one metal oxide precursor.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

US Patent 7272511 - DNA memory with carbon nanotube addressing

This patent from STMicroelectronics proposes a molecular memory using hybridization of DNA based using carbon nanotube addressing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manufacturing a molecular memory device, comprising: forming an array of first nanoelectrodes on a substrate of insulating material; forming on said substrate a plurality of carbon nanotubes; functionalizing said nanotubes so that they are suitable for making contacts with DNA strands; contacting said first nanoelectrodes to first ends of the DNA strands; contacting said nanotubes to second ends of the DNA strands; hybridizing or not hybridizing said DNA strands to store desired data in the DNA strands.

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US Patent 7272010 - Heat dissipation using carbon nanotube circuit board

This patent from Advanced Micro Devices presents some basic claims to carbon nanotubes used for thermal dissipation. Apparently the point of novelty is that the nanotubes are dispersed in a binding matrix rather than bundled together. Claim 1 reads:

1. A circuit board, comprising: a substrate including a source material interspersed and in physical contact with a first plurality of unbundled carbon nanotubes; and at least one conductor coupled to the substrate.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

US Patent 7271434 - High surface area for capacitors formed from nanostructures

This patent from Intel continues to fortify it's IP protection of the use of nanostructures to form high surface area capacitors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising: a lower conductor; an insulating nanostructure disposed over said lower conductor, said insulating nanostructure being part of a discontinuous layer, said insulating nanostructure being loosely arranged as discrete insulating nanostructure; a thin conductor disposed over said insulating nanostructure wherein portions of said thin conductor are disposed in contact with said lower conductor; a thin dielectric disposed over said thin conductor; and an upper conductor disposed over said thin dielectric.

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US Patent 7270880 - Electrochromic nanoparticles

Electrochromatic materials have the property of changing color based on an applied electrical potential and can be used in a variety of applications including displays and smart glass that can change shading properties. This patent from NTERA Ltd. presents some basic claims to the use of nanoparticles with electrochromatic compounds adsorbed on the surface. Claim 1 reads:

1. Discrete electrochromic particles comprising conducting, semiconducting or insulating nanoparticles, said nanoparticles having an average particle size of up to 80 nm and one or more electrochromic compounds adsorbed on the surface thereof.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

US Patent 7269052 - Nanotube ribbon addressing element

Nantero continues to receive basic patents for the use of carbon nanotubes in electronics. This patent (with priority going back to 2001) focuses on a nanotube ribbon used as an addressing element. Claim 13 is representative.

13. An addressing trace to carry an electrical signal, the trace comprising a nanotube ribbon.

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US Patent 7268423 - Carbon nanotubes for rewiring plate

When connecting a semiconductor chip to a circuit board differing thermal expansion effects can cause mechanical problems. In order to overcome this difficulty a rewiring plate is often used as a buffer. This patent from Infineon teaches the incorporation of carbon nanotubes in such rewiring plates to increase connection density. Claim 1 reads:

1. A rewiring plate for components with a dense connection grid, the rewiring plate comprising: a base body having passages and including silicone; and a plurality of carbon nanotubes positioned within the passages, a lower end of the passages opening out into contact connection surfaces, wherein the carbon nanotubes form an electrically conductive connection from the contact connection surfaces to a front surface of the base body.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

US Patent 7268269 - Decontamination of textiles using nanocrystals

This patent from Gentex uses nanocrystals for chemical/biological disinfection of clothing. In order to prevent agglomeration of the nanocrystals ionized air is used to provide a repelling effect. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of protecting against a chemical or biological agent with a textile-based decontaminant, comprising the steps of: providing finely-divided metal-containing nanocrystals which possess protective properties and which cling together; aerating the nanocrystals with ionized air so that the nanocrystals become charged and therefor repel each other; and bonding the charged nanocrystals directly to the textile to non-occludingly retain the nanocrystal surface structure such that an interior of the textile is adapted to decontaminate chemical or biological agents disposed within a portion of the environment that encounters the interior of the textile.


US Patent 7268077 - Carbon nanotube reinforced metallic layer

This patent from Intel (filed Dec. 2, 2005) teaches a method of using carbon nanotubes to reinforce electrical interconnections. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising: providing a plurality of carbon nanotubes adjacent to a surface of an interconnect structure; and disposing a metallic layer adjacent to the surface of the interconnect structure, the carbon nanotubes being substantially included within and in direct contact with the metallic layer.

However, some prior art may have been overlooked such as (for example):

a) US patent application 2003/0068432 teaching "an interconnected film 32 of single-walled carbon nanotubes on the substrate grown from the catalyzed reaction of the methane. Two metal electrodes 33 and 34 are formed over the substrate 30 using, for example, evaporation with a shadow mask" (see paragraph [0034]) or

b) Zhang et al. "Metal coating on suspended carbon nanotubes and its implication to metal–tube interaction" published in Chemical Physics Letters in 2000

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

US Patent 7267875 - Convertible nanostructure coating

This patent to Nanosys (filed June 7, 2005) presents a very broad patent claim to nanostructure coatings having an alterable property.

1. A discrete coated nanostructure comprising: an individual nanostructure coated with a first coating, wherein the first coating has a first optical, electrical, physical or structural property, and wherein the first coating is convertible to a second coating having a different optical, electrical, physical or structural property than the first coating.

The specification teaches core/shell nanoparticles in which multiple shell layers are used each with different properties. The outer shells may be removed to change the properties of the nanoparticles. However, the claims seem so broadly written that prior art using molecularly configurable coatings such as in electrochromatic films or rotaxanes/catenanes, which have adjustable electrical properties, may " read on" the claims. For example HP has used rotaxane films as coatings for nanowires which may be switched between resistance states in their nanowire crossbar arrays (see


US Patent 7267789 - Melt blowing method used to form nanofiber webs

Melt blowing is a process for producing fibrous material using high velocity air to attenuate filaments. This patent from Procter & Gamble uses this method to embed particles into nanofiber webs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a nonwoven web comprising the steps of: a. forming fibers from a melt film fibrillation process including a central fluid stream, b. introducing particulates into the central fluid stream, c. mixing said fibers with said particulates to form a fiber-particulate mix, and d. depositing the mix on a surface to form a web.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

US Patent 7265406 - Nanostructure array capacitor

The capacitance of electrical storage devices is a function of the surface area separating the electrodes that make up the capacitor as well as the dielectric material used in the separation. While hafnium-based dielectrics have been proposed to increase the capacitance this patent from Intel focuses on another route based on the high surface areas of nanostructures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising: a substrate; a lower insulator disposed over said substrate; a lower conductor disposed over said lower insulator; a conducting nanostructure disposed over said lower conductor, said conducting nanostructure being part of a discontinuous layer over said lower conductor, said conducting nanostructure being part of a highly regular, systematic array; a thin dielectric disposed over said conducting nanostructure; an upper conductor disposed over said thin dielectric; and an upper insulator disposed over said upper conductor.

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US Patent 7265376 - Vertical nanochannel non-volatile memory

Vertical nanochannel FETs are likely to be the next (last?) stage of electronic design that exploits Moore's law, which predicts an exponential increase in circuit density over time. This patent from Infineon Technologies is fairly fundamental to the use of vertical nanochannel FETs in electrically programmable memory. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nonvolatile memory cell comprising: a vertical field-effect transistor with a nanoelement designed as the channel region, the nanoelement containing at least one of a nanotube, a bundle of nanotubes, or a nanorod; and an electrically insulating layer, which at least partially surrounds the nanoelement, as a charge storage layer and as a gate-insulating layer such that electrical charge carriers can be selectively introduced into or removed from the electrically insulating layer and an electrical conductivity of the nanoelement can be influenced in a characteristic way by electrical charge carriers introduced in the electrically insulating layer.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

US Patent 7265174 - Highly transparent halogen containing polymer matrix for CNTs

This patent from Clemson University teaches carbon nanotube/polymer composites with improved optical transparency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition, comprising: carbon nanotubes; and a halogen containing polymer; wherein the composition is optically transparent and electrically; and the composition exhibits an optical transmission greater than 80%.

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US Patent 7264990 - Semiconductor processing using nanotube films

This patent from Nantero is fairly fundamental to the use of basic semiconductor processing methods in forming electronic devices using nanotube films. Claim 7 is representative.

7. A method of making a conductive article on a substrate, comprising: providing a substantially planar fabric of pre-formed nanotubes on the substrate; depositing a mask layer over the fabric of pre-formed nanotubes; defining a pattern in the mask layer, the pattern corresponding to the shape of the conductive article; removing nanotubes in accordance with the pattern of the mask layer to define the conductive article.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

US Patent 7264726 - Metal oxide nanoparticles for water filtration

One application of nanotechnology that has gathered much interest is environmental control and cleaning. This patent for instance teaches using metal oxide nanoparticles as a binding agent for carbon particles so as to create a high efficiency water filter. Claim 1 reads:

1. A filtration media for water, comprising: a plurality of metal oxide nanoparticles, wherein the metal oxide comprises aluminum oxide, and optionally further comprises titanium oxide, zinc oxide, zirconium oxide, or a mixture thereof; a plurality of activated carbon particles; and a polymeric binder matrix present in sufficient amount to adhere the activated carbon particles to each other in the form of a porous water filter block, and wherein the metal oxide nanoparticles are dispersed and encapsulated within the polymeric binder matrix.

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US Patent 7264527 - Q-dot light source using primary and secondary light

This patent seems to present some fairly basic claims to a method of formed quantum dot light sources in a host matrix. In has a fairly early priority date (Apr. 1 1998) and provides an alternative to epitaxal growth of the quantum dots on a semiconductor layer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing a light-emitting device, comprising steps of: (a) providing a population of quantum dots (QDs) and a host matrix, wherein each QD of the population comprises a core of an independently selected size and composition, the population comprises a selected size distribution of QDs, and the QDs have a surface adapted to allow the QDs to be dispersed in the host matrix; (b) dispersing the QDs in the host matrix; and (c) providing a light source in optical communication with the host matrix with QDs dispersed therein, wherein the light source emits primary light and when used to illuminate the QDs dispersed in the host matrix causes the QDs to photoluminesce secondary light, and wherein the matrix is disposed to allow both the primary light emitted by the light source and the secondary light emitted by the QDs to pass therethrough, thereby causing the light-emitting device to emit light comprising a mixture of primary and secondary light.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US Patent 7264167 - Bar code scanner using MEMS array

This patent from NCR Corporation teaches an array of micromirrors which are cooperatively adjusted to change a focal point in barcode readers which makes the reader less sensitive to variations in bar code distances or orientations. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical scanner comprising a scanner housing including a scan window, a laser light source, reflected light detector and a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) mirror array arranged to produce a scan line pattern, wherein the light from the laser light source is adjustably focused by the MEMS mirror array so as to enable auto-focusing of the laser light during the scanning of a bar code.

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US Patent 7263838 - MEMS flow control for refrigerator

This patent from Raytheon teaches using microelectromechanical actuators for more dynamic flow control in refrigerator operation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A regenerative refrigerator comprising: a compressor; a regenerator coupled to a downstream end of the compressor; a pulse tube coupled to a downstream end of the regenerator; and a MEMS flow controller for controlling flow within the refrigerator.