Thursday, February 28, 2008

US Patent 7335882 - Electron beam nanofabrication

Manipulation of individual atoms and molecules has been achieved via scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy in the 1980's and similar manipulation has been performed with lasers in so-called "optical tweezers". This patent from the University of Texas suggests yet another method and includes some very broad claims to a transmission electron microscope for molecular manipulation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of nanofabrication comprising the steps of: identifying one or more target molecules for manipulation with an electron beam; and targeting the one or more target molecules with the electron beam, wherein the electron beam causes an event at the target molecule.

However, some prior art may have been overlooked during the examination such as an article published in 1996 entitled "Structural Modification of Single-Layered Carbon Nanotubes with an Electron Beam" by IBM Research.


US Patent 7335603 - Vertical CNT array formed in silicon porous layer

In order to effectively use carbon nanotube arrays in a variety of applications such as flat panel displays or heat sinks it is necessary to vertically align the nanotubes on a substrate. Porous aluminum templates are the most common approach I have seen but this patent teaches a porous silicon template as an alternative. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising: a horizontally oriented substrate having: a silicon layer containing at least one nano-sized diameter silicon pore, a patterned conductive layer, wherein at least one carbon nanotube is fabricated within the silicon pore, wherein the at least one carbon nanotube is electrically coupled to the patterned conductive layer; and wherein substantially all of the carbon nanotubes are vertically oriented.

The priority of for this patent is relatively early (Feb. 7, 2000) however this paper from A. Huczko also discloses porous silicon templates at around the same time or earlier (see Fig. 12 and cited reference [59] which was published in 1999).


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

US Patent 7335408 - CNT with magnetic or metal inner coating

There is an interest in nanoscale magnetic media for high density data storage devices. This patent from Fujitsu and Tohoku University teaches a method for coating the inner surfaces of nanotubes with magnetic or metal material for information storage and other purposes. Claims 1 and 6 read:

1. A carbon nanotube composite material comprising: a carbon nanotube; and a continuous layer of a metal covering an inner surface of the carbon nanotube, wherein the carbon nanotube is closed at one end and open at the other end.

6. A magnetic material comprising: a carbon nanotube; and a continuous layer of a magnetic metal covering an inner surface of the carbon nanotube, wherein the carbon nanotube is closed at one end and open at the other end.

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US Patent 7335395 - Selective etching of CNT fabric

Nantero continues to lead the pack in patents related to carbon nanotube electronics. This patent includes some basic claims to patterning nanotube fabric on a substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making an article, comprising: providing a substrate; applying preformed nanotubes to a surface of the substrate to create a non-woven fabric of carbon nanotubes; selectively removing portions of the non-woven fabric by etching the fabric according to a defined pattern to create the article.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

US Patent 7335259 - Si nanowire growth using supercritical fluid

Common nanowire growth methodologies include a vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) processes in growth occurs due to condensation followed by precipitation. This process teaches an alternative approach for producing straighter and more uniform nanowires which uses a supercritical fluid in which the fluid which is above a critical point so that it has both both liquid and vapor properties. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process for growing crystalline Group IV metal nanowires comprising:
providing a substrate comprising catalyst sites attached to the substrate surface, and continuously reacting the catalyst sites with a supercritical fluid mixture comprising at least one Group IV metal precursor, whereby crystalline Group IV metal nanowires grow from the catalyst sites.


US Patent 7334965 - Treating polluted medium using iron nanoparticles

Iron nanoparticles have been found to degrade contaminants in soil and this patent from National Sun Yat-Sen University teaches using an electric field to facilitate the transport of the nanoparticles in the soil. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for treating a body of a polluted porous medium, comprising the steps of: preparing a reactive solution containing nanoparticles; injecting the reactive solution into the body of the polluted porous medium so as to decompose pollutants in the polluted porous medium by reacting the nanoparticles with the pollutants; and applying an electric field to the body of the polluted porous medium so as to enhance transporting effect of the nanoparticles in the body of the polluted porous medium.


Monday, February 25, 2008

US Patent 7332769 - NOR type non-volatile memory having nanocrystalline charge storage

This patent from Gregorio Spaden (unassigned) teaches a NOR type non-volatile memory configuration which uses nanocrystals to enhance charge trapping. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory block of a semiconductor memory array of a NOR type, comprising a bit line. memory cells which comprise a multilayer charge trapping medium containing nanocrystals, a metal-oxide-semiconductor select transistor that separates said bit line and said memory cells, a semiconductor region enclosed within the drain of said select transistor with a conductivity type that is opposite to that of said drain, and a semiconductor well region shared by said select transistor and said memory cells.


US Patent 7332740 - CNT memory with molecular adsorption layer

According to the 2007 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors 2011-2013 is the time frame for nanowires and nanotubes to move from the experimental to the development stage in FET design. The basic patents for nanotube channel FETs belong to Infineon and this patent to Samsung teaches a configuration of a CNT memory cell. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory device comprising: a substrate; a source electrode and a drain electrode formed on the substrate and separated from each other; a carbon nanotube (CNT) electrically connected to the source electrode and the drain electrode; a memory cell contacting the CNT so as to store a charge from the CNT; and a gate electrode formed on the memory cell, wherein the memory cell comprises: a first insulating layer formed on the CNT; a charge storage layer which is formed on the first insulating layer, which stores charges and includes molecular adsorption layer of molecules having an energy level within an energy band gap of the CNT; and a second insulating layer formed on the molecular adsorption layer.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

US Patent 7332738 - Phase shift coupling for quantum state readout

Quantum computing depends on the entangling of states such as spin or polarization of fundamental particles such that there is a certain degree of information sharing between physically separated particles. D-Wave has taken the lead in patents in this area focusing on quantum computers formed using superconducting materials and one of the problems that they are trying to solve is maintaining entanglement during a readout process. This patent teaches a method in which readout is facilitated by the use of a charge device which has a quantum state entangled with that of a phase device. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for reading out the quantum state of a mesoscopic phase device, the method comprising: coherently coupling said mesoscopic phase device to a mesoscopic charge device using a phase shift device; and measuring the quantum state of said mesoscopic charge device.


US Patent 7332736 - Sharpened nanowire electron emission arrays

One important consideration for nanowire/nanotube electron emission devices is the density of the nanowires used for emission. If the emitters are too close a field screening effect can reduce the efficiency of emission. This patent from Samsung teaches a sharpened tip nanowire array to improve the efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electron beam emitting source comprising: a gated field emission structure including an array of gated electron emission cells, each cell including an emitter support element, a gate electrode structure, a gate aperture and one or more nanowire electron emitters disposed on the support element and centrally positioned within the gate aperture, the total number of emitters in each cell limited to 10 or fewer, wherein each nanowire electron emitter is tapered from a thickest diameter portion to a sharp tip having a radius of curvature less than 1/10 of the thickest diameter.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

US Patent 7332533 - Golf ball with evenly distributed nanofiller

This patent discloses evenly dispersed nanoparticles to optimize the controllability as well as other parameters of a golf ball. Claim 1 reads:

1. A golf ball comprising: 1) a core; a 2) an intermediate layer; and 3) a cover layer; wherein the core comprises: a) a matrix polymer selected from the group consisting of thermoplastics, thermosets and combinations thereof, b) particles of one or more nanofillers, and c) a compatibilizing agent coated on the surfaces of the nanofiller particles, selected to ensure that the nanofiller particles are substantially evenly dispersed in said matrix polymer.


US Patent 7332222 - Carbon nanotube peapod

Filling the cavities (i.e. lumens) of SWNTs is used as a method to functionalize or dope nanotubes for specific applications. Metal is often used as such a dopant creating metallofullerenes but this patent focuses on an alternative using fullerene as interior material for the SWNTs creating a structure similar to a peapod (with fullerene buckyballs forming the "peas" and the SWNT forming the "pod"). Claim 1 reads:

1. A hybrid material comprising: a. a first single-walled nanotube having a lumen; and b. a plurality of regularly spaced fullerene molecules contained within the lumen of the first single-walled nanotube.

Interestingly, an earlier patent (US 6,473,351) which was applied by the examiner disclosed using similar carbon nanotube peapods for a data storage application. However, the applicant submitted a Rule 131 declaration swearing behind the priority date of US 6,473,351 (Feb. 12, 1999) and actually published a paper in 1998 disclosing the discovery (Smith et al. Encapsulated C-60 in Carbon Nanotubes, Nature, Vol.396, No.6709, 323-324, 1998).


US Patent 7332211 - Phase separated nanoparticle matrix

This patent from M.I.T. includes some broad claims to a nanoparticle composite formed via phase separation from an organic binding matrix such as NPD or TPD to form a layered structure useful for optical, electronic, magnetic, or catalytic devices. Claims 1 and 14 read:

1. A composition comprising: a matrix material and a plurality of nanoparticles phase separated from the matrix material, wherein the matrix material and the nanoparticles are chemically dissimilar, and wherein the matrix material and the nanoparticles are soluble in a mutual solvent.

14. A composition comprising: a matrix material and a plurality of nanoparticles phase separated from the matrix material, wherein the composition includes a structure comprising at least a portion of the nanoparticles on the matrix material.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

US Patent 7330369 - Molecular magnetic nanolayer memory

This patent from Bao Tran (assumedly an independent inventor) claims a molecular memory system similar to that suggested by Hewlett-Packard's QSR group but which uses single molecular magnets (SMMs) instead of the rotaxane molecular switches used by HP. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory device, comprising: an array of memory cells disposed in rows and columns and constructed over a substrate, each memory cell comprising a first signal electrode, a second signal electrode, and a single molecule magnetic nano-layer disposed in the intersecting region between the first signal electrode and the second signal electrode, a plurality of word lines each connecting the first signal electrodes of a row of memory cells; and a plurality of bit lines each connecting the second signal electrodes of a column of memory cells.


US Patent 7330299 - CNT heterodyned optical amplifier

This patent from Ambit Corp. is fairly fundamental to the use of carbon nanotubes in optical heterodyning which is important for modulation and demodulation in communication applications. Ambit Corp. actually has a fairly impressive patent portfolio for basic optical applications of CNTs with priority going back to 1997. If applications are created based on optical resonances of nanotubes, Ambit's patents may become as critical as Till Keesmann's patent for electron emitting CNTs used in flat panel displays. Claims 1 and 9 read:

1. A method of amplifying a signal with a carbon nanotube device, comprising: applying a first signal to said carbon nanotube device; applying a second signal to said carbon nanotube device; and outputting a sum or product of said first signal and said second signal from said carbon nanotube device.

9. A method of using a carbon nanotube assembly, comprising: arranging a signal responsive array of nanotubes on a substrate; heterodyning a signal processed by said array of nanotubes on said substrate.


US Patent 7329931 - Nanotube mechanical switch for differential receiver circuit

This patent from Nantero applies their carbon nanotube switching devices toward the creation of a differential pair receiver circuit. Claim 1 reads:

1. A receiver circuit, comprising:

a differential input having a first and second input link;

a differential output having a first and second output link;

first and second switching elements in electrical communication with the input links and the output links, each switching element having an input node, an output node, a nanotube channel element, and a control structure disposed in relation to the nanotube channel element to controllably form and unform an electrically conductive channel between said input node and said output node; and

first and second MOS transistors, each in electrical communication with a reference signal and with the output node of a corresponding one of the first and second switching elements.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

US Patent 7329902 - IR light emitter using SWNTs

This patent from STMicroelectronics discloses a new IR LED using single walled carbon nanotubes as an active component. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light-emitting device including: a thin insulating dielectric film including semiconducting single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), the thin insulating dielectric film being a part of a p-insulator or a Si-n nanojunction; wherein the thin insulating dielectric film is Si or a SiO2; and a p-doped silicon electrode and an n-doped silicon electrode that delimit the thin insulating dielectric film including said SWNTs.


US Patent 7329555 - Selective interconnection to MEMS device during fabrication

Integration of the fabrication processes for CMOS and MEMS can allow for an increase in economies of scale and a reduction in overall device sizes. However, the chip area necessary for control circuits is often much less than the chip area required for the MEMS portions leading to a size mismatch during integration that wastes chip area. This patent from National Semiconductor teaches a solution of selective interconnection at the end of a fabrication cycle. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a semiconductor structure, the semiconductor structure including an integrated circuit and a MEMS device, the integrated circuit including a number of MEMS support circuits, the MEMS device including two or more MEMS sensors, the method comprising electrically connecting the integrated circuit to the MEMS device so that only one MEMS sensor of the two or more MEMS sensors is connected to the integrated circuit after the integrated circuit has been completely connected to the MEMS device.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

US Patent 7329369 - Semiconductor nanoparticle including electrostatically bound polymer

US Patent 7329369

This patent from Hitachi (priority 1/6/2005) includes some broad claims to functionalized semiconductor nanoparticles for luminescence applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor nanoparticle with electron-releasing groups arranged on the surface thereof, which is modified with a functional group-containing polymer that electrostatically binds to the surface of said semiconductor nanoparticle.

However, it seems that very little prior art was considered during examination (3 patent references and 0 non-patent literature were cited) and the patent was allowed immediately by the patent examiner. Some prior art may have been missed such as the article "Semiconductor Nanocrystals with Multifunctional Polymer Ligands" published in 2002.


US Patent 7329301 - Silver nanoparticle composite

This patent from Kodak teaches a manufacturing method for a silver colloidal composition that can be performed at relatively lower temperatures (<90 C). The resultant composition is useful as an anti-bacterial agent or an electrical conductor. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition of matter comprising associated predominantly silver metal nanoparticles, a polymer that is soluble in a non-aqueous solvent and a non-aqueous solvent, wherein greater than 80% by number of the nanoparticles touch or connect with at least one other particle.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

US Patent 7328851 - Quantum dot color coding

US Patent 7328851

This patent from Xerox (priority 10/31/2006) includes some broad claims focusing on quantum dots to achieve a multicolor fluorescent glyph for marking items. Claim 1 reads:

1. Machine readable code comprising a set of distinguishable symbols including at least a first symbol for encoding zeroes and a second symbol for encoding ones, wherein the first symbol exhibits a first color during machine reading and the second symbol exhibits a second color during machine reading, wherein the first color and the second color are recognized as different by the machine under machine reading conditions, wherein the first color and the second color are provided by fluorescent marking materials including quantum nanoparticles.

Based on the file history the "novel" feature that the attorney argued was that the marking material was quantum nanoparticles.

Unfortunately there seems to be many pieces of prior art that were overlooked such as:

US Patent 6617583- "A novel encoding system and methods for determining the location and/or identity of a particular item or component of interest is provided. In particular, the present invention utilizes a "barcode" comprising one or more sizes of semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) having characteristic spectral emissions, to either "track" the location of a particular item of interest or to identify a particular item of interest. " (from abstract)

US Patent 6633370-"Quantum dots, semiconductor nanocrystals and semiconductor particles used as fluorescent coding elements" (title)

US Patent 7077329- "Spectral coding by fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals for document identification and security applications" (title)


US Patent 7328604 - Combined MEMS fluid quality sensor

US Patent 7328604

This patent from Teledyne Technologies teaches the integration of a MEMS viscosity sensor with other sensor components such as a temperature sensor, electrochemical sensor, accelerometer, or lubication sensor to determine the quality of engine oil or hydraulic fluid. Claim 5 reads:

5. A microelectromechanical (MEM) fluid health sensing device, comprising: a MEM viscosity sensor arranged to, when immersed in a fluid, provide an output which varies with the viscosity of said fluid; and a MEM contact switch lubricity sensor arranged to, when immersed in said fluid, provide an output which varies with said fluid's lubricating performance.


Monday, February 11, 2008

US Patent 7327000 - Patterned thin film graphite

This patent (priority 6/12/2003) includes some broad claims to a patterned thin film graphite layer on silicon which can be used in field emission display and other applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A functional structure, comprising: a. a crystalline substrate having a preselected crystal face; and b. a thin-film graphitic layer disposed on the preselected crystal face, the thin-film graphitic layer patterned so as to define at least one functional structure.

However, some pertinent prior art may have been overlooked such as US 6,617,798 (see column 3, lines 61-67 and column 4, lines 13-20) or US 6,653,366 (see column 5, line 66 - column 6, line 15).


US Patent 7326633 - Anisotropic conductive film including metal filled nanotubes

Anisotropic conducting films are useful for bonding semiconductor pins to a circuit board or as an epoxy in LCD manufacture. However, these films generally contain microparticles which limits the effectiveness as scales are reduced to sub-micron dimensions. This patent from Hon Hai Precision teaches an improved anisotropic conductive film including metal filled nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. An anisotropic conductive film, comprising an insulative adhesive film and a plurality of nano-scaled conductive particles, the nano-scaled conductive particles being dispersed in the insulative adhesive film, the nano-scaled conductive particles comprising nanotubes each containing metal particles and polyaniline therein, the polyaniline having at least one of hydrogen atoms and metal ions in its molecular chain.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

US Patent 7326605 - Conversion of metallic CNTs to semiconducting CNTs using hydrogen doping

Single wall carbon nanotubes have metallic or semiconducting properties depending on the diameter of the tubes and the arrangement of the carbon lattice with respect to the length of the tubes. Several techniques such as DNA wrapping have been proposed to sort between these two types. This patent from Samsung teaches an alternative method using hydrogen to convert metallic carbon nanotubes to a semiconducting material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for fabricating semiconductor carbon nanotubes, the method comprising: heating carbon nanotubes in a vacuum; dissociating hydrogen molecules in hydrogen gas into hydrogen atoms; and exposing the carbon nanotubes to the hydrogen gas to form chemical bonds between carbon atoms of the carbon nanotubes and the hydrogen atoms, wherein the chemical bonds between the carbon and hydrogen atoms are sp3 hybrid bonds.


US Patent 7326380 - Polymerization by dip pen nanolithography

This patent teaches a method for polymerization of the nanoscale using the dip pen nanolithography system developed by Nanoink. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of direct-write nanolithography comprising: a) patterning at least one first nanostructure of a polymerizable compound on a substrate; wherein the patterning is carried out with use of a tip to transport the polymerizable compound to the substrate; and wherein the patterning is a patterning of a plurality of nanostructures which are separated from each other by an average edge-to-edge distance of about a micron or less; b) adding polymerization catalyst to the nanostructure of polymerizable compound to form a second nanostructure which can initiate the polymerization reaction; and c) polymerizing monomer on the second nanostructure to form a third polymeric nanostructure; wherein the first nanostructure, the second nanostructure, and the third nanostructure have a lateral feature which is about 100 nm or less.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

US Patent 7326368 - Toxicity reduction of liquid metal using nanoparticles

This patent from Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute discloses the use of nanoparticles to reduce reactivity and enhance flow resistance of liquid metals used in coolants for nuclear reactors. Claims 1 and 5 reads:

1. A method of reducing reactivity or toxicity in a liquid metal heat transfer medium consisting of the liquid metal itself by dispersing nano-particles selected from the group consisting of metals, alloys and metallic compounds in the liquid metal.

5. A method of enhancing flow resistance in a liquid metal heat transfer medium consisting of the liquid metal itself by dispersing nano-particles selected from the group consisting of metals, alloys and metallic compounds in the liquid metal.


US Patent 7326365 - Nanocrystal composite temperature sensor

This patent from M.I.T. (priority 2/9/2001) includes some very basic claims to semiconductor nanocrystal composites which are disclosed as useful as temperature sensing materials. Claims 3 and 12 read:

3. A method of making a composite, comprising: providing a semiconductor nanocrystal including a first compound on an outer surface of the nanocrystal, wherein the compound includes a reactive moiety; and reacting the first compound with a second compound to form an inorganic matrix.

12. A composite comprising a plurality of semiconductor nanocrystals incorporated in a binder including a matrix, wherein an outer surface of at least one nanocrystal includes a compound that includes a moiety that reacts with a component of the matrix, or is incorporated into the matrix; wherein the binder includes an inorganic matrix, and at least one semiconductor nanocrystal includes a first semiconductor material and an overcoating including a second semiconductor material.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

US Patent 7326328 - Nanorod field emitter formed in AAO template

This patent from GE discloses a method for making a nanorod field emitter array using an AAO template formed in a mesa structure (note: nanorods are typically larger diameter nanowires with smaller aspect ratios). The method produces a smaller emitter to gate distance for more efficient emission. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising the steps of:
a) providing a thin film material comprising: i) a substrate; ii) a dielectric layer on the substrate; and iii) a conductive film on the dielectric layer;
b) lithographically-patterning a patternable material deposited onto the conductive film so as to selectively remove portions of this material;
c) selectively etching the conductive film and dielectric layer in regions where the patternable material has been removed so as to form microcavities;
d) depositing Al inside the microcavities to form Al mesas;
e) anodizing the Al mesas to form localized nanoporous AAO templates; and
f) electrochemically-depositing nanorods in the nanopores of the AAO templates to yield at least one gated nanorod field emission device.


US Patent 7326293 - Multiple atomic layer patterning

This patent from Zyvex teaches an multilayer patterning procedure using atoms, molecules, or nanoscale particles as the building blocks and naoimprint stamps or scanning probe tips as the fabrication tools. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising: patterning a layer by removing each of a plurality of nanoscale passivating particles which each passivate a corresponding one of a first plurality of nanoscale structural particles forming the layer; and depositing each of a second plurality of nanoscale structural particles on each of corresponding ones of the first plurality of nanoscale structural particles from which one of the plurality of nanoscale passivating particles was removed; wherein at least one of the patterning and the depositing is at least partially automated.


Monday, February 04, 2008

US Patent 7323815 - Nanoporous AAO template for LED

Nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates are a structure that is very important for the creation of parallel arrays of nanowires or nanotubes. This patent from an Italian company claims a light emissive device formed from electroluminescent material placed in an AAO template to produce a cheaper easier to manufacture light source. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting device comprising a substrate, a porous alumina layer having a regular series of substantially parallel and straight cavities of nanometric size containing an emitting material, a first electrode and a second electrode, wherein the first electrode and the second electrode are connected to an electric voltage source, both in electrical contact with the emitting material, and designed to excite said material, to cause emission therefrom of an electromagnetic radiation, and wherein said cavities are through cavities configured such that the emitting material is in direct electrical contact with said electrodes, the first electrode is arranged between the substrate and a face of the alumina layer at which an end of the through cavities opens, and comprises at least part of an aluminum film onto the substrate, on which aluminum film the alumina layer has been previously made to grow through an anodization process.


US Patent 7323730 - Semiconductor nanowire or nanotube functionalized with photosensitive material

Much of the research in functionalization of carbon nanotubes has been applied to chemical sensing. This patent from France's Atomic Energy Commision also teaches functionalization of carbon nanotubes (or nanowires) but for optical rather than chemical sensing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor device comprising at least two electrodes and at least one nanotube or nanowire, the device including at least one semiconductive nanotube or nanowire having at least one region that is covered at least in part by one to twenty layers of molecules or by nanocrystals of at least one photosensitive material, an electrical connection between said two electrodes being made by said semiconductive nanotube or nanowire and optionally by at least one other nanotube or nanowire.


US Patent 7323635 - Flexible photovoltaic cell including semiconductor nanoparticles

This patent from the University of Massachusetts (and co-owned by the Dept. of Defense) teaches a photovoltaic cell which can be manufactured at reduced temperature so that the cells can be formed on alternative substrates (such as a flexible plastic sheet). Claim 1 reads:

1. A photovoltaic cell, comprising: a first substrate having semiconductor particles disposed thereon, and an electronically conducting, molecular crosslinking agent that forms oxide bridges to the particles; and a second substrate electrically connected to the first substrate, wherein the crosslinking agent is different than the semiconductor particles, comprises a metal, comprises an identical chemical bond as in the semiconductor particles, and provides an electronic connection between the semiconductor particles.