Sunday, November 30, 2008

US Patent 7457508 - High optical transmission nanocrystal composites

This patent from Lucent (now Alcatel-Lucent) teaches improved fiber optics based on nanocrystal/polymer composites. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition of matter, comprising:

a polymer matrix including polymer chains having a plurality of carbon-halogen bonds; and

a plurality of nanocrystal quantum dots dispersed and separated apart from each other within the polymer matrix,

wherein the polymer chains include aromatic groups.


US Patent 7457021 - Fiber based MEMS

Micromachined materials have traditionally been limited to silicon, metal, and ceramic films with some more recent work being done with polymers. However, this patent from Cornell Research Foundation teaches an entirely different approach using carbon fibers as the actuation material for a micromirror type actuator having improved mechanical and flexure properties. Claim 1 reads:

1. A micro-electro-mechanical device scanner comprising:

a substrate;

an array of fibers supported by the substrate at a clamped end of the array of fibers; and

a mirror supported by a second, free end of the array of fibers.


US Patent 7456972 - Surface plasmon induction in MWCNTs

Surface plasmon resonance is an effect commonly associated with biosensor applications and for which metal coated dielectric nanoparticles are being used as the resonant material. However, such metal nanoshells can be difficult to fabricate and cause unwanted heat generation. this patent from Clemson university teaches an alternative way to achieve the SPR effect using carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical device comprising:

a carbon nanotube, wherein surface plasmons exist on the carbon nanotube;

a substrate, wherein the substrate allows the coupling of photons with the surface plasmons to give rise to surface plasmon polaritons;

a light source, wherein the light source provides photons to a first end of the carbon nanotube to give rise to the surface plasmon polaritons, and photonic energy is radiated from the surface plasmon polaritons at a second end of the carbon nanotube; and

a detector for detecting the photonic energy radiated from the surface plasmon polaritons.


US Patent 7456551 - Submersible marine microsensor module

Most sensors used in underwater exploration can be bulky and have limited maneuverability and sample size requirements. This patent based on a collaboration between the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas teaches using piezoelectric microsensors to facilitate miniaturize of the exploration equipment in use. Claim 1 reads:

1. A submersible marine micro-sensor module comprising:

a main body housing an intelligence module;

at least one piezoelectric shaker coupled to the main body;

a communication port coupled to the main body and in communication with the intelligence module;

at least one marine micro-sensor coupled to the main body and in communication with the intelligence module; and

a battery module to supply power to the intelligence module, the piezoelectric shaker, the communication port and the at least one micro marine-sensor.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

US Patent 7456131 - High thermal conductivity zeolite composite

Zeolites are nanoporous aluminosilicate materials useful to a variety of purification systems however heating of the zeolite can limit absorbing capacity. This patent from UT-Battelle teaches including thermally conductive material to cool the zeolite and improve performance. Claim 1 reads:

1. A monolith, comprising:


thermally conductive material, and

a binder,

wherein said material has a room temperature thermal conductivity greater than 100 W/m·K.


US Patent 7456052 - Tethered CNTs for thermal interface

This patent is another in Intel's continuing effort to find thermal interface solutions using carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process:

coating at least one surface of least one of a heat sink and of a die with a metal;

oxidizing carbon nanotubes ropes in sulfuric and nitric acids, whereby the carbon nanotubes ropes are cut into a plurality of short carbon nanotubes with open ends having carboxyl linkages attached thereto;

treating at least one end of at least some of a plurality of carbon nanotubes by applying organic moieties thereto; and

tethering one end of the at least some of the carbon nanotubes of the plurality of carbon nanotubes to the metal.


US Patent 7455825 - Manufacture of metal sulfide nanocrystals

This patent from Samsung teaches a method for making sulfide quantum dots (e.g. CdS, ZnS and PbS) with a more uniform size. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manufacturing metal sulfide nanocrystals by reacting a metal precursor and an alkyl thiol in a solvent, wherein the alkyl thiol reacts with the metal precursor to form the metal sulfide nanocrystals.


Monday, November 24, 2008

US Patent 7453789 - CNT core microtip write/read head

This patent from the French Atomic Energy Commission teaches forming a carbon nanotube wrapped in an insulating sheath as a read/write needle for ultrahigh density data recording. Claim 1 reads:

1. Data recording device comprising at least one electrically conducting microtip having an end designed to be brought into electric contact with a recording medium, the microtip comprising a longitudinal conducting core having a substantially constant cross-section, device wherein the microtip is surrounded by a sheath made of non-conducting material, so that the free ends of the core and of the sheath are at the same level at the end of the microtip.


US Patent 7453622 - Polyelectrolyte gel MEMS pump

This patent to Intel teaches a new type of actuation method for micromechanical structures which avoids the necessity of thermal, electrostatic, or piezo actuation mechanisms and which offers simpler and less costly manufacture. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising:

changing an electrical charge on a cross-linked co-polymer gel network assembly, the polyelectrolyte gel network assembly being coupled to a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) device; and

moving the micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) device from a first position to a second position in response to changing the charge on the cross-linked co-polymer gel network assembly.


US Patent 7453154 - CNT via flip chip interconnect

This patent from Delphi Technologies teaches forming the via connections between electronic circuit substrates with carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic package comprising:

a first electronic device including an electronic circuit having an input/output pad, and at least one electrically conductive carbon nanotube extending from the input/output pad and beyond a surface of the device to provide an interconnect;

a second electronic device, the first electronic device mounted on the second electronic device to form a stacked arrangement;

a substrate, the stacked arrangement mounted on the substrate, the carbon nanotube extending away from the first electronic device, through an opening in the second electronic device, and connected to the substrate.


US Patent 7453093 - CNT filler for LED package

This patent from Samsung teaches using the thermal transport properties of carbon nanotubes to improve heat dissipation in LED packaging. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting diode package comprising:

a substrate having at least one groove formed on an underside surface thereof;

a plurality of upper electrodes formed on a top surface of the substrate;

at least one light emitting diode chip mounted over the substrate, the light emitting diode chip having both terminals electrically connected to the upper electrodes; and

a carbon nanotube filler filled in the groove of the substrate.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

US Patent 7453085 - Nanoelastic memory

This patent from Samsung teaches a variation of the nanotube RAM originally developed by Nantero and which shapes the nanotubes as coils instead of ribbons. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-elastic memory device comprising:

at least one lower electrode;

at least one upper electrode vertically separated from the at least one lower electrode, the at least one lower electrode perpendicularly crosses the at least one upper electrode; and

at least one nano-elastic body grown on one of the at least one lower electrode and the at least one upper electrode towards the other of the at least one lower electrode and the at least one upper electrode.


US Patent 7453081 - Phase change memory cell including nanocomposite insulator

This patent from Qimonda North America Corp. teaches a variation of phase change memory which incorporates insulating nanoparticles to lower the power required to change bit states. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory cell comprising:

a first electrode;

a second electrode;

a storage material positioned between the first electrode and the second electrode; and

a nanocomposite insulator contacting the storage material;

wherein the nanocomposite insulator comprises a first material comprising a phase change material and a nano-scaled material comprising insulating nanoparticles distributed within a portion of the first material.


US Patent 7452659 - Molecular layer nanogap patterning

This patent from The Penn State Research Foundation teaches a new method of patterning lateral nanoscale gaps using molecular sacrificial materials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of patterning a surface for use in a nanoscale device comprising:

depositing a first material on the surface;

applying a resist to the first material and to the surface;

applying a molecular layer to the first material;

applying a second material to the surface, such that the first material is separated from the second material by the molecular layer, wherein the second material and the molecular layer are selected such that the second material penetrates the molecular layer to deposit on the first material; and

removing the molecular layer to result in a structure formed from the first material and the second material.


US Patent 7452592 - Biopolymer nanoparticle oxygen barrier

This patent from Innovia Films teaches food packaging serving as an oxygen barrier which can be made cheaper and more ecologically efficient via the use of biopolymer nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A substantially planar self-supporting sheet comprising on at least one side thereof a substantially continuous adherent coating thereon to create a barrier to oxygen, the coating comprising biopolymer nanoparticles in an amount of at least 20% by dry weight of the coating, forming a substantially continuous phase on the sheet, said biopolymer nanoparticles obtained from a mechanical thermoplastic process comprising a cross-linking step using a cross-linking agent.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

US Patent 7452565 - Microparticle immobilization using nanoparticles

In order to enhance the adhesion of microbeads used in bioassays to a substrate this patent teaches using silica nanoparticles to fill in gaps formed between the microbeads and wells in the substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of affixing an array of microparticles in a series of recesses in a substrate surface, comprising:

placing microparticles in said series of recesses in a manner such that one microparticle resides in any one recess;

placing a nanoparticle suspension on the substrate surface over said series of recesses having microparticles therein;

incubating the nanoparticle suspension with the microparticle containing substrate whereby numerous nanoparticles get deposited and wedged between the microparticle and the walls of the recess in which it resides.

US Patent 7452528 - Peptide-CNT hair colorant

This patent from DuPont identifies another use of carbon nanotubes as a component of hair colorant which offers the advantage of a more long-lasting black pigment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A diblock, peptide-based carbon nanotube hair colorant having the general structure (HBP)n-CNT, wherein

a) HBP is a hair-binding peptide;

b) CNT is a carbon nanotube; and

c) n ranges from 1 to about 500.


US Patent 7452452 - CNT nanoelectrode arrays

Nanoelectrode arrays are useful to characterize proteins and complex biological molecules. This patent from Boston College teaches nanoelectrode arrays formed from vertically oriented carbon nanotube arrays including an adhesive layer to improve chemical and mechanical stability. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoelectrode array comprising:

a carbon nanotube material comprising an array of substantially linear carbon nanotubes each having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the carbon nanotubes are attached to a catalyst substrate material to form the array with a pre-determined site density, wherein the carbon nanotubes are aligned with respect to one another within the array;

an electrically insulating layer on the surface of the carbon nanotube material, whereby the distal end of the carbon nanotubes extend beyond the electrically insulating layer;

a second adhesive electrically insulating layer on the surface of the electrically insulating layer, whereby the distal end of the carbon nanotubes extend beyond the second adhesive electrically insulating layer; and

a metal wire attached to the catalyst substrate material.


Monday, November 17, 2008

US Patent 7449758 - Organic piezoresistive MEMS resonator

Piezoresistive sensing is quite common to micromechanical sensors but is usually carried out using metal or semiconductor materials. This patent from researchers at CalTech teaches a biocompatible version using pentacene. Claim 1 reads:

1. A MEMS system comprising:

a micromechanical resonator; and

a piezoresistive sensing element comprising an organic semiconductor.


US Patent 7449672 - Quantum information conversion system

This patent from HP teaches a more efficient quantum information processing system involving conversion of the physical representation of the quantum state (e.g. photon number, polarization, time bin, or orbital angular momentum) at different stages of the processing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system comprising:

a channel for an input photon state that uses a first physical representation for quantum information; and

a photo-interactive system that interacts with the input photon state to generate an output photon state using a second physical representation for the quantum information, wherein:

the first physical representation uses a first property to encode the quantum information; and

the second physical representation uses a second property to encode the quantum information, the second property differing from the first property.


US Patent 7449631 - CNT shielding layer for coaxial cable

This patent from Hon Hai Precision teaches using carbon nanotube yarn as electromagnetic shielding for coaxial cable which has the potential for increasing cable yield at reduced cost in comparison with previous materials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A coaxial cable comprising:

at least one conducting wire;

at least one insulating layer, each insulating layer is located about a corresponding conducting wire;

at least one shielding layer surrounding the at least one insulating layer, each shielding layer comprising a plurality of carbon nanotube yarns; and

a sheath wrapping the at least one shielding layer.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

US Patent 7449432 - Carbon nanomaterial gear oil

This patent teaches using carbon nanotubes as a viscosity modifier for gear oil. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fluid composition comprising base oil, an oil soluble additive containing nanomaterials selected from the group consisting of carbon nanoplates formed by wet milling of bulk graphitic material, carbon nanotubes having a length of 50 nanometers to 100 microns, and mixtures thereof.

The claim actually appears anticipated by Moy et al. US 6,828,282 (column 4, lines 24-27). However looking at the prosecution history there appears to be an Examiner's amendment improperly entered that may have inadvertedly deleted claim limitations entered on 3/25/2008.


US Patent 7449256 - Surfactant coated nanoparticle memory

This patent from Seagate Technology teaches a new type of ultrahigh density memory storage using the surface tension of coated magnetic nanoparticles to produce the 0 and 1 bit states.

1. A system, comprising:

a recording medium including a substrate and having adjacent said substrate both a surfactant coated nanoparticle and a non-surfactant coated nanoparticle, wherein said surfactant coated nanoparticle and said non-surfactant coated nanoparticle are magnetic, said surfactant coated nanoparticle representing a first bit of recorded information and said non-surfactant coated nanoparticle representing a second bit of recorded information;

a write element adjacent said recording medium; and a read element adjacent said recording medium.


US Patent 7449237 - Quantum dot microspheres

This patent from M.I.T. teaches microspheres having quantum dots formed in the peripheral surface which provide a luminous biotag having chemical and light stability. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microsphere comprising:

a central region including a first inorganic material; and

a peripheral region on a surface of the central region, the peripheral region including a second inorganic material and a semiconductor nanocrystal incorporated in the second inorganic material and covalently linked to the second inorganic material.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

US Patent 7449133 - Transparent graphene

There has been some development by companies such as Eikos and Unidym in using carbon nanotubes in new transparent electrodes. This patent from Unidym moves in a slightly different direction using the related carbon material graphene which may offer even superior transparency properties. Claim 1 reads:

1. A film comprising at least one interconnected network of functionalized graphene flakes and a polymer in electrical contact with the interconnected network of functionalized graphene flakes, wherein the film is optically transparent and electrically conductive, and wherein the film has an optical transparency of at least 80% for 550 nm light.


US Patent 7448931 - CNT field emitter manufacture including adhesion injection

This patent from Hon Hai Precision notes that carbon nanotube field emitters used for displays have good electrical connection to an underlying substrate but weak mechanical connection and teaches the injection of adhesive to remedy this defect. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manufacturing a carbon nanotube field emission device, the method comprising the steps of:

(a) depositing a catalyst film on a substrate;

(b) forming a carbon nanotube array on the substrate; and

(c) injecting an adhesive into the carbon nanotube array, and drying the adhesive.

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US Patent 7448441 - CNT microchannel heat exchanger

This patent from Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC teaches a lightweight carbon nanotube heat exchanger suitable for miniature fuel cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon nanotube heat-exchange system, comprising:

a microchannel structure having an inlet end and an outlet end, the inlet end providing a cooling fluid into said microchannel structure and the outlet end discharging the cooling fluid from said microchannel structure;

at least one flow path defined in said microchannel structure, said at least one flow path fluidically connecting the inlet end to the outlet end of said microchannel structure; and

a carbon nanotube structure provided in thermal contact with said microchannel structure, said carbon nanotube structure receiving heat from the cooling fluid in said microchannel structure and dissipating the heat into an external medium that is external to the carbon nanotube heat-exchange system.


Monday, November 10, 2008

US Patent 7447828 - Reconfigurable mem-resistor crossbar signal processor

An article in Nature by Hewlett-Packard researchers earlier this year have popularized a nanoscale memristor material as a fourth fundamental passive circuit element (after resistors, capacitors, and inductors) which has the properites of programmable resistance. This is one of my patents teaching using similar materials as part of a reconfigurable signal processing system providing adaptive communication and control systems. More information is available here. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

providing a crossbar array including a programmable material layer, wherein the crossbar array is configured to function as part of a signal processing system; and

reprogramming at least one impedance value of the programmable material layer formed at crosspoints of the crossbar array to change the signal processing system, wherein the signal processing system is not configured to function as an arithmetic processing system for implementing basic logic functions but is instead configured to perform a matrix transformation on signals input to columns of the crossbar array and produce output signals from rows of the crossbar array based on combinations of the input signals,

wherein the crossbar array includes a rectifying layer.

US Patent 7447721 - Quantum optic random number generator

This patent from ID Quantique teaches a new type of quantum random number generator. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for generating true random numbers by way of a quantum optic process, the apparatus comprising:

a light source,

a detector array of single-photon detectors, and

electronic circuitry,

wherein the light source produces a beam of photons which propagate along a beam propagation direction to illuminate the detector array, and

wherein a transverse spatial distribution of the detection probability by the detector array of protons is used as a source of randomness so as to generate true random number values which are registered by the electronic circuitry.


US Patent 7447547 - MEMS interface to biological neural networks

This patent from Stanford University teaches a retinal prosthesis formed from a MEMS device to provide stimulation to neural cells in a more natural manner than electrical or chemical stimulation of prior methods. Claim 1 reads:

1. An interface to a biological neural network, the interface comprising:

a) a microelectromechanical (MEMS) device including a deformable membrane; and

b) a tactile-sensitive neural cell disposed on said deformable membrane;

wherein said neural cell provides a signal to said biological neural network responsive to deformation or motion of said membrane.


Friday, November 07, 2008

US Patent 7446926 - Regenerating protective coating for optical MEMS

Iridigm Display Corporation is one of a few companies developing MEMS-based display devices. This patent teaches including a self-repairing monolayer protective layer for the micromechanical pixels in which the self-repair is induced by a heating element. Claim 1 reads:

1. An interferometric light modulating device, comprising:

a transparent substrate;

an interferometric modulator array disposed on said transparent substrate, wherein said array comprises a transmissive layer and a reflective layer;

a protective coating disposed between at least a portion of said transmissive layer and said reflective layer; and

a heater configured to increase the temperature of said protective coating.

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US Patent 7446870 - Sensor for classifying nanoparticle sizes

This patent from Siemens teaches forming surfaces by molecular imprinting having different sized pores matching with corresponding nanoparticles that are desired to be detected and classified. Such a technique could potentially be useful to form multi-color LEDs using nanocrystals having emission frequencies that correspond to the nanocrystals diameter. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for verification of nanoparticles, said method comprising:

providing a plurality of sensor areas on which the nanoparticles to be verified accumulate when said nanoparticles are present, and

monitoring the characteristics of the plurality of sensor areas with respect to one parameter which varies on the basis of the accumulation of the nanoparticles,

wherein the plurality of sensor areas are made available, and are sensitive to nanoparticles of different sizes and the plurality of sensor areas have a specificity to specific size classes of nanoparticles.


US Patent 7446053 - Multilayer nanocomposite capacitor

This patent from Hynix Semiconductor teaches forming a capacitor using a ZrO2/TiO2 multilayer nanocomposite material as the dielectric to reduce leakage current in highly integrated semiconductor devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for fabricating a capacitor, comprising:

forming a lower electrode; forming a nano-composite layer over the lower electrode by mixing X number of different sub-layers, where X is a positive integer greater than approximately 1;

densifying the nano-composite layer; and

forming an upper electrode layer over the nano-composite layer.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

US patent 7446014 - Nanoelectrochemical cell

This patent from Sharp teaches a way to form perhaps the smallest electrochemical cell ever made by using nanowire shells and sleeves filled with electrolyte. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a NanoElectroChemical (NEC) cell, the method comprising:

providing a bottom electrode with a top surface;

forming nanowire shells, each nanowire shell having a nanowire connected to the bottom electrode top surface;

forming a top electrode overlying the nanowire shells; and,

forming nanowire sleeves filled with electrolyte.


US Patent 7445319 - Sustaining fusion reaction using forced collapse of nanoparticle nucleated cavities

Nuclear fusion powers the Sun and provides the basis for hydrogen bombs but has experienced little success as a controlled means of man-made energy production. However, this patent from Synergy Innovations teaches a new method of sustaining fusion reactions using metal nanoparticle suspensions. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for causing forced collapse of cavities in liquid droplets containing nanoparticles comprising the acts of:

producing at least one pressurized liquid jet stream comprising a liquid and nanoparticle material;

causing the break up of said at least one pressurized liquid jet stream comprising a liquid and nanoparticle material producing a plurality of droplets containing liquid and nanoparticle material from the breakup of the jet stream;

irradiating the droplets with energy to produce and expand cavities within the droplets, and causing the droplets to collide with a target to collapse the cavities within the droplets wherein the irradiating and the colliding are timed to enhance the implosion energy of the cavities' collapse.


US Patent 7444934 - Direct writing of nanoparticles using supercritical fluid

Supercritical fluids have properties between that of a liquid and gas with no surface tension due to no liquid/gas phase boundary. This patent from Micron teaches forming a nanoparticle solution using CO2 supercritical fluid suitable for an inkjet based maskless lithography. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of direct writing a pattern layer of a microelectronic device formed on a substrate, the method comprising the acts of:

providing a substrate in a chamber;

providing a functional material comprising particles of a predetermined size;

reducing the predetermined size of the particles of the functional material to form nanometer-sized particles of the functional material;

providing a supercritical fluid in contact with the nanometer-sized particles to form a suspension solution; and

delivering the suspension solution to a surface of the substrate in the chamber to form a pattern layer of a microelectronic device on the surface of the substrate.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

US Patent 7443720 - Quantum state readout using cooper pair boxes

Cooper pairs refer to an attraction of two electrons that occurs in superconductive material at low temperature. This attraction makes electrons behave more like photons and are what produce the effects of zero resistance and magnetic field expulsion which characterize superconductivity. This patent based on a collaboration of Riken and NEC teaches the use of Cooper pair boxes to readout multiple states in a quantum computer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A quantum-state readout circuit comprising:

two Cooper pair boxes;

two capacitors that are coupled to the two Cooper pair boxes, respectively; and

reading means that is coupled to the capacitors and that comprises a single-electron transistor, wherein the two capacitors coupled to the two Cooper pair boxes have capacitances that are different from each other.

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US Patent 7443711 - Nanoscale memristor

Just a few months ago researchers at Hewlett Packard announced the practical implementation of a fourth fundamental circuit element called a memristor (i.e. memory resistor). One of the interesting properties of the memristor is that it has the potential to combine both data storage and data processing capabilities in a single element and can thus offer a new building block for artificial intelligence. This patent from HP seems pretty fundamental to the memristor switch possessing a continuum of possible programmed resistance states. Claim 1 reads:

1. A programmable impedance device, comprising:

a first electrode;

a second electrode disposed to form a junction wherein the second electrode at least partially overlaps the first electrode; and

a programmable material of nanometer-scale thickness disposed between the first electrode and the second electrode at least at the junction, the programmable material operably coupling the first electrode and the second electrode such that the programmable impedance device exhibits a non-volatile programmable impedance that is tunable through a continuum of impedance values between and including a low impedance state and a high impedance state using a first bias direction to decrease the impedance and a second bias direction to increase the impedance.

However, some prior art overlooked during the examination includes a presentation by University of Houston researchers discussing a programmable impedance material tunable to a plurality of states (link).