Thursday, January 31, 2008

US Patent 7323432 - Auto exhaust purification using nanofilament array

This patent from Denso is at the intersection of nanotech and cleantech and includes some basic claims to nanofilaments for purifying automobile exhaust gas. Claim 1 reads:

1. An automobile exhaust gas purifying device comprising a catalyst assembly comprising a substrate, nanofilaments which have a nanometer-size diameter and are formed on the substrate, and particles which have a nanometer-size diameter of not more than approximately 100 nanometers, at least one of the nanofilaments and the particles having a catalytic function; wherein the nanofilaments extend from a surface of the substrate; and the particles are supported on the nanofilament.


US Patent 7323387 - Sub-25 nm fabrication using side walls

Forming lateral dimensions below 25 nm on a semiconductor substrate is a difficult problem for conventional mask based lithography. However, creating a thin film with a thickness below 25 nm is much easier using physical or chemical deposition processes. This patent from Seagate takes advantage of this distinction by deposition on side walls to establish lateral features of less than 25 nm resolution. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a nano structure smaller than 25 nanometers, the method comprising: depositing a nano film onto horizontal and vertical surfaces of a substrate using an atomic layer deposition process; forming a dielectric layer on top of the nano film; and planarizing the dielectric layer and the nano film so that the nano film is positioned between surfaces of the substrate and the dielectric layer and has a top surface with a width of about 25 nanometers or less; and forming a nano trench by etching the nano film positioned between vertical surfaces of the substrate and the dielectric layer.


US Patent 7323246 - Carbon nanohorn aggregate

This patent from Sumio Iijima (often credited as the discoverer of carbon nanotubes) focuses on related carbon nanohorn structures which may have improved electron emission properties due to the tip arrangement. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano horn carrier, wherein two or more carbon nano horn aggregates are bonded by heat treatment at a temperature range from 1200° C. to 2000° C. and mutually carried.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

US Patent 7323218 - Composite nanofiber fabrication using nanoporous template

This patent discloses an interesting technique for forming composite core/cladding nanofibers useful for lithium batteries using a nanoporous template such as AAO. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for fabricating composite nanofibers, comprising the steps of: forming a plurality of tubular first nanofibers in a plurality of nano-scale pores of a template; placing the template on a conductive current collector; forming a plurality of second nanofibers on inner surfaces of the first nanofibers; and removing the template and obtaining a plurality of composite nanofibers.


US Patent 7323190 - Nanofiber matrix for stem cell delivery

This patent from the State University of New York discloses a system to deliver viable stem cells to treat defective tissue including a nanofiber matrix. Claim 1 reads:

1. A cell delivery system comprising a biodegradable and/or bioabsorbable fibrous matrix containing at least about 20 weight percent of fibers having fiber diameters in the range of about 10 up to about 1000 nanometers of a biodegradable and/or bioabsorbable fiberizable material, and viable cells physically associated with said matrix as a carrier whereby said cells are contained and released at a controlled rate.


US Patent 7323136 - Fullerene dispersion using levitation

One of the major roadblocks to using carbon nanotubes as strengthening material for metal composites is the agglomeration or clumping resulting in a poor distribution of the nanotubes. This patent from Rice University claims a method for forming a composite with a uniform distribution of carbon nanotubes or other fullerenes by using acoustic or electromagnetic levitation techniques. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a composite of dispersed fullerenes in a matrix, comprising: incorporating a plurality of fullerenes in a matrix, said incorporation forming a plurality of agglomerates; and uniformly distributing said fullerenes by exposing the agglomerates to heat and levitation; and aligning said fullerenes by shear flow during levitation.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

US Patent 7323033 - Variable permeability surface using nanoposts

This patent from Lucent teaches using nanoposts to maintain a fluid separated from a porous membrane. Application of a voltage can be used to control the surface tension of the fluid and create a variable permeability membrane. Applications include controlling the electrolytic fluid in a battery to preserve battery life and controlling the breathability and water resistance of fabrics. Claim 1 reads:

1. Apparatus comprising: a substrate having a plurality of openings; and a plurality of nanostructures disposed on a surface of said substrate, the plurality of nanostructures being able to suspend a fluid above the surface without the fluid contacting the surface, wherein said plurality of openings are disposed between at least a portion of the nanostructures in a way such that at least a portion of said fluid passes through said plurality of openings when the fluid is caused to penetrate the plurality of nanostructures and contact the substrate.


US Patent 7322622 - Silicon nanogrippers

Nanotweezers have been developed by Daiken Chemical of Japan as a molecular positioning element using carbon nanotubes as positioning arms. This patent from another Japanese company is along the same lines but uses silicon as the material forming the nanoscale positioning arms. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-gripper comprising; a pair of arms disposed side by side, each arm having a base portion, the base portions of the arms being fixed to a base, each arm having a face at its front end, the front-end faces of the arms facing each other; and a protrusion with a tip formed on the front-end face of each arm, the tips of the protrusions facing each other, the pair of protrusions being etched to a silicon crystal disposed between the front-end faces, the silicon crystal having a silicon-oxide film parallel to a (100) face of the silicon crystal and perpendicular to the front-end faces; wherein each of the paired protrusions is a triangular-pyramidal silicon crystal with (011), (100), (111) side faces.

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US Patent 7322267 - Enhanced lightweight armor formed from metallic nanopowder

This patent discloses an enhanced armor plating for protection against surface-to-air missiles which uses zirconium nanopowder as a component. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for protecting against an explosive warhead, comprising: an arrangement of multiple structural layers that includes a thin metal sheet imprinted on a first side with a network of adjoining hollow pockets, said sheet coated with a layer of metallic nanopowder and said pockets filled with water and anti-freeze and sealed; a coat of potassium bicarbonate powder on a second side opposite the first side of the thin metal sheet; and a composite foam material used to form a matrix with multiple overlapping layers of said thin metal sheet imbedded so that the second side faces toward the surface of a building or vehicle and the first side faces away from the surface of a building or vehicle and arranged so that said layers of metal sheets overlap at an angle relative to the surface of the building or vehicle, said formed matrix referred to as a first foam block.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

US Patent 7321714 - Nanoparticle material on IC package

This patent from ERS Company includes some very basic claims to a moisture resistant seal for integrated circuits formed from nanoparticle material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A packaged electronic device, comprising: a substrate with a first surface having an integrated circuit thereon; and a nano-particle material adjacent to the first surface.


US Patent 7321422 - SERS-active structure with nanoscale dimensions

Raman spectroscopy is a popular technique used to characterize and analyze molecules and nanostructures using laser light. This patent from Hewlett-Packard teaches a structure for surface enhanced raman spectroscopy which includes a voltage application structure to study the effects of voltage on molecules which can be useful analyzing molecular structures used in electronics.

1. A SERS-active structure comprising: a substrate; a plurality of features located at predetermined positions on a surface of the substrate, each feature of the plurality of features including a SERS-active material, each feature of the plurality of features having nanoscale dimensions and being separated from one another by a predetermined distance of between about 1 and about 50 nanometers; and an electric potential between at least two features of the plurality of features.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

US Patent 7321188 - Carbon nanotube yarn light emitter

Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) is probably the dominant source of nanotechnology patents from China. This patent focuses on a light filament formed from carbon nanotube yarn. The last time a patent issued this broadly for a carbon fiber light filament was probably the time of Edison (see US Patent 223,898). Claim 1 reads:

1. A light filament comprising a carbon nanotube yarn, the carbon nanotube yarn being configured for emitting light by application of an electric current to said carbon nanotubes.


US PAtent 7321097 - Vertical nanotube electronic component

Infineon already holds several of the basic patents to nanowire FETs (see for example US 6,740,910). This patent expands their hold on nanowire electronics by claiming a basic vertical nanotube electronic device. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic component, comprising: a first conductive layer; a nonconductive layer on the first conductive layer, the nonconductive layer having a hole through the nonconductive layer; a second conductive layer on the nonconductive layer; and an electrical connection conductively connecting the first conductive layer and the second conductive layer, which are electrically insulated from one another by the nonconductive layer, wherein the electrical connection is formed by at least one nanotube in the hole, the nanotube being a grown nanotube.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

US Patent 7320842 - Fuel cell electrode catalyst with carbon nano-onion structure

This patent from Sanyo proposes a cheaper substitute for platinum in fuel cell electrode catalysts by using carbon layers formed around metal particles (metallofullerenes). Claim 1 reads:

1. A fuel cell, comprising: a cathode and an anode; and a layer comprising an electrode catalyst on the cathode or the anode. said electrode catalyst comprising graphitization-resistant carbon, at least a portion of the electrode catalyst having a random layer structure developed into lamination shell layers. said electrode catalyst being formed into a layer on at least one side of a solid polymer electrolyte film, wherein said random layer structure is a carbon nano-onion structure in which the lamination shell layers wind around metal particles.


US Patent 7320283 - Capillary nanoimprinting method

This patent from the National Research Council of Italy employs capillary patterns within a nanoimprint stamp to facilitate the transfer of nanoscale patterns to a substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A printing process for obtaining patterns of nanometer and micrometer dimensions on a substrate, comprising the steps of sequentially: forming a solution or suspension of a volatile liquid and a printing material, applying a layer of the solution or suspension to said substrate, positioning, without applying pressure, of a stamp provided with relief patterns at a distance of 0 nm to 500 μm from the substrate with the relief patterns in contact with the layer of the solution or suspension, evaporating only the volatile liquid from said solution or suspension from between the substrate and the stamp without evaporating the printing material so as to draw the suspension or solution by capillarity to the relief patterns and deposit the printing material on the substrate in accordance with the relief patterns of the stamp, and thereafter separating the stamp from the substrate and leaving the printing material on the substrate.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

US Patent 7319416 - Tunnel resistor addressing of nanowire crossbars

This patent from Hewlett Packard teasches using tunneling resistance junctions as an addressing interface between microscale and nanoscale wires. Claim 10 reads:

10. A method for addressing signal lines in a mixed microscale/nanoscale demultiplexer, the method comprising: determining a number of signal lines that need to be addressed; determining a signal margin needed between a signal output to a selected, addressed signal line and any signal output to a non-selected, addressed signal; and implementing a tunneling-resistor-junction-based encoder-demultiplexer to address the number of signal lines.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

US Patent 7319288 - Flat carbon nanotube array

This patent from Hon Hai Precision includes some basic claims to carbon nanotube arrays in field emitters having a flatness of less than 1 micron for improved uniformity of emission.

1. A carbon nanotube-based field emission device comprising: a cathode electrode; and a carbon nanotube array of nanotube members, the carbon nanotube array of the nanotube members extending from a root end to a growth end, the carbon nanotube array being aligned perpendicular to the cathode electrode with each given growth, end embedded in the cathode electrode and the corresponding root end being outwardly directed and exposed; wherein the growth end of die carbon nanotube array is in electrical contact with the cathode electrode, and the root end thereof defines a planar surface with a flatness of less than one micron across the carbon nanotube array.

However, the patent examiner may have neglected some pertinent prior art such as US Patent 6,283,812 ( which specifically teaches truncating the endcaps of a nanotube array to achieve a flat profile or which anticipates this patents priority by about a year (see specifically Fig. 1 and note the scale bar).


US Patent 7319235 - Nanoporous dielectric for resistance switching memory

Chalcogenide and conductive polymer materials are attracting increased interest for non-volatile memory. This patent from Infineon teaches nanoporous materials as an alternative material that can achieve a better stability under temperature change. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nonvolatile, resistively switching memory cell, comprising: a layer of a solid-state ion conductor arranged between a first electrode and a second electrode, wherein the solid-state ion conductor includes a nanoporous low-k dielectric and is free of chalcogenide glass, wherein the porosity of the dielectric is in the range of 1 to 50%, and wherein the dielectric includes ions of a metal from which one of the electrodes is formed.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

US Patent 7318957 - Semiconductor nanoparticles coated with electron releasing material

This patent from Hitachi discloses coating methods for nanocrystals that provide a multiple organic coating that provides improvements in the solubility and fluorescent properties of the nanocrystals. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor nanoparticle comprising a core with a core surface modified to include at least one electron-releasing group thereon; and an organic material layer formed over said modified core surface, wherein said modified core surface including at least one electron-releasing group and said organic material layer are made of different materials.


US Patent 7318908 - Multi-chemical carbon nanotube sensor

This patent from Stanford has priority going back to 2001 and includes basic claims to carbon nanotube chemical sensors that are functionalized to detect more than one chemical. Claim 1 reads:

1. A molecular sensor comprising a plurality of carbon nanotubes including: a first carbon nanotube having a first composition and adapted for detecting a first molecular species; and a second carbon nanotube having a second composition and adapted for detecting a second molecular species, the first composition being different from the second composition.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

US Patent 7318763 - Fabrication of metallized nanotube array

This patent from General Electric teaches a CVD method of forming field emission devices by metallizing carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a metallized carbon nanostructure, comprising the steps of: a. placing at least one carbon nanostructure formed on a substrate in a furnace; and b. applying a metallic vapor to the carbon nanostructure at a preselected temperature for a preselected period of time so that the metallic vapor reacts with carbon nanostructure to form a metallized nanostructure including a solid core about the carbon nanostructure.

However, the patent examiner may have missed some relevant prior art such as US Patent 6,504,292
( ) which teaches regarding the formation of metallized carbon nanotube field emitters:

"As shown in FIGS. 3 ( a ) to 3 ( c ), the metal coating 5 can be applied by different known techniques of physical vapor deposition such as sputtering, evaporation or ion beam process, chemical vapor deposition by decomposing metal-containing precursor gas, or electrochemical deposition such as electroless or electrolytic coating. The desired average thickness of the metal film coating on nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes, and on the substrate is in the range of 0.2-100 nanometer, and preferably in the range of 0.5-20 nanometers. The metal coating 5 does not necessarily have to cover 100% of the surface of the nanostructures 1 or the substrate 2 , as long as continuous paths for electrical conduction along the length is provided to most of the emitting tips 3 . For the purpose of exceeding the percolation limit for continuity of the conducting path, the surface area coverage by the metallic coating is desirably at least about 30%, although a much lower fraction of area coverage is also acceptable if the metal deposition pattern is anisotropic, e.g., with at least ˜5%. In the case of line-of-sight metal deposition such as sputtering, evaporation or ion-beam deposition, the substrate may be rotated, if desired, to overcome the shadowing effect, to ensure sufficient area coverage and to provide symmetry. The result is an assembly 9 of metallized nanostructures on a metallized substrate. "


US Patent 7318651 - Multicolor quantum dot flash module

Depending on the type of light source used for the flash from various cameras a different color tint may appear in the captured image. This patent from Avago Technologies teaches the use of quantum dots to produce red, green, and blue LEDs for a flash module to control the color temperature of the flash. Claim 14 reads:

14. A flash module comprising: a first light source emitting a first primary light and having a first wavelength-converting overlay disposed on the first light source providing a first color of light, the first wavelength-converting overlay including matrix material, and a first plurality of quantum dots dispersed in the matrix material; a second light source providing a second color of light; and a third light source providing a third color of light wherein the flash module mixes light from the first light source, the second light source, and the third light source to provide essentially white light.


Friday, January 11, 2008

US Patent 7317257 - Inhibiting underfill flow using nanoparticles

Adhesive material is used to fill cracks in IC during manufacture by capillary action but if too much adhesive is provided it may flow to undesirable areas. This patent from Intel teaches the use of nanoparticles in a barrier to prevent flow of the adhesive outside of a desirable area.

1. An apparatus, comprising: a substrate; a component disposed adjacent to the substrate; a plurality of nanoparticles disposed adjacent to the substrate and proximate to at least a first side of the component; the nanoparticles each having an outer surface, the outer surface having a characteristic of being substantially immiscible with a flowable adhesive material.


US Patent 7317047 - Nanoparticle doped conductive polymer for OLEDs

This patent from du Pont teaches the use of nanoparticles to reduce the conductivity of buffer layers used in electroluminescent devices to help prevent electrical crosstalk. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition comprising an aqueous dispersion of an electrically conductive organic polymer doped with a polymeric acid and a plurality of nanoparticles wherein said electrically conductive organic polymer is selected from combinations of any two or more of polyanilines, polythiophenes and polypyrroles.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

US Patent 7316982 - CNT motion control using optical trapping

This is another patent to Intel with broad claims to using optical trapping to control the motion of carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: focusing a laser beam to a carbon nanotube (CNT) in a fluid, the CNT being responsive to a trapping frequency; and manipulating the carbon nanotube (CNT) by controlling the focused laser beam.


US Patent 7316967 - Flow method for nanocrystal fabrication

This patent from M.I.T. discloses a liquid/gas fabrication method for creating nanocrystals in a microfluidic reactor. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of manufacturing a population of nanocrystals, comprising: transporting alternating gas and liquid volumes through a flow path, the liquid volume including a nanocrystal precursor; heating the alternating gas and liquid volumes to a temperature for a time sufficient to grow a nanocrystal; and cooling the alternating gas and liquid volumes to form the population of nanocrystals.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

US Patent 7316789 - Liquid crystal polymer matrix for carbon nanotube alignment

This patent from IBM teaches using an interesting technique of using a liquid crystal polymer matrix to align carbon nanotubes to achieve improved thermal conductivity. Claim 1 reads:

1. A structure comprising a conducting liquid crystal polymer matrix comprising carbon nanotubes aligned in the matrix located between opposed surfaces wherein the conducting liquid crystal polymer matrix contains crosslinked liquid crystal polymers.

Unfortunately, the patent examiner may have missed some pertinent prior art from Nano-Proprietary-US Patent 6,312,303

which teaches in column 2, lines 18-27

"The present invention exploits the fact that carbon nanotubes are similar to elongated particles (molecules), which can be placed with a host phase of ordered elongated particles. Such ordered elongated particles could be liquid crystals, ordered metal fibers in a liquid under a magnetic or electric field, geometrically anizotropic particles, anizotropic crystals (elongated) possessing a strong dipole moment, etc. By selecting the size of the nanotubes with respect to the host phase, the present invention aligns the carbon nanotube fibers by aligning the particles of the host phase."


US Patent 7316061 - CNT heat sink grown in porous layer

This patent from Intel presents some basic claims for the use of the anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) method of carbon nanotube growth for the purpose of forming a heat sink for an IC. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming an electronic assembly, comprising: forming a porous layer on a microelectronic die having an integrated circuit formed therein, the porous layer having a plurality of pores; and growing a plurality of carbon nanotubes in the plurality of pores.

However, the use of porous AAO templates was well known prior to the filing of this patent for growing vertical arrays of nanowires or nanotubes. See for example earlier prior art such as


Thursday, January 03, 2008

US Patent 7315374 - Optical trap for CNT analysis

This patent from Intel teaches a method of investigating individual carbon nanotubes using optical tweezers to properly position the nanotube. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: manipulating a carbon nanotube (CNT) in a fluid by a laser beam; aligning an illuminating light from a light source along axis of the CNT to produce an optical response from the CNT; and monitoring the CNT using an optical sensor to control the laser beam according to the optical response.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

US Patent 7315106 - Gel laminate actuator formed from carbon nanotubes

This patent from Japan Science and Technology Agency teaches a new type of polymer actuator which can be used in air at low voltages and can be used in micromachines. Claim 1 reads:

1. An actuator element, comprising: a first electrode layer comprising a first gel film comprising carbon nanotubes, an ionic liquid and a polymer; an ion-conductive layer comprising a second gel film comprising the ionic liquid and the polymer, formed on the first electrode; and a second electrode layer comprising a third gel film comprising carbon nanotubes, the ionic liquid and the polymer, formed on the ion-conductive layer, the second electrode layer being insulated from the first electrode layer; the actuator element being capable of being flexed or deformed by creating a potential difference between the electrode layers.


US Patent 7314764 - Semiconductor nanocrystal with affinity molecule

This patent is based on a series of continuations from the University of California with priority going back to 1997 and presents basic claims to quantum dots in biolabels. Claim 1 reads:

1. An organo-luminescent semiconductor nanocrystal probe structure, comprising: (a) a semiconductor nanocrystal which emits light when excited; and an affinity molecule linked to the semiconductor nanocrystal.