Thursday, March 13, 2008

US Patent 7341774 - High efficiency electronics/optoelectronics using nanostructured porous material

The large surface-to-volume provided by nanostructured materials allows for a high degree of electric charge accumulation which can be very valuable in applications such as supercapacitors and photovoltaics. This patent from Penn State Research (which may have priority going as far back as 2000) includes some basic claims to nanostructured porous material useful to such applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic or opto-electronic device comprising: a first conductive layer electrode; a nanostructured porous material disposed on said first conductive layer electrode such that said nanostructured porous material is in substantial electrical connectivity with said first conductive layer electrode; an organic or inorganic material substantially embedded into at least one void of said nanostructured porous material such that an interface is substantially formed between said nanostructured porous material and said embedded material; and a second conductive layer electrode in substantial contact with said embedded material, wherein charge separation, charge injection or charge storage occurs at or near said interface.

I'm not entirely sure what the novel feature of the claims are though. The PTO gave a double patenting rejection which was overcome by a terminal disclaimer but there may be prior art such as this article published in 1998 which seems very similar to the claimed subject matter.