Wednesday, March 26, 2008

US Patent 7349085 - Detecting CNT orientation using lasers

In order to properly characterize a carbon nanotube it is helpful to actually know the orientation of the nanotube. This patent from Intel teaches a method of doing this using dual laser beams. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: illuminating a carbon nanotube with a first laser beam and a second laser beam transverse to one another; and monitoring the effect on transmission of light from said first laser beam as the polarization of the second laser beam is changed.


US Patent 7348274 - CNT alignment using intaglio mold

This patent from Samsung teaches an imprinting method used to align carbon nanotubes for a field emission display. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of aligning carbon nanotubes, comprising: preparing a mold having an intaglio pattern; coating an aqueous solution containing an amphiphilic organic material and the carbon nanotubes on a surface of a substrate; positioning the mold on the substrate surface to cause the aqueous solution to flow into the intaglio pattern due to a capillary force; and removing the mold from the substrate surface to vertically align the carbon nanotubes on the substrate surface.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

US Patent 7348026 - Nanoparticle drug delivery for treating liver cancer

This patent teaches a nanoparticle drug delivery system designed to target liver cancers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A pharmaceutical composition of nanoparticles for treating liver cancer in a patient, said nanoparticles comprising γ-PGA-PLA block copolymers that are conjugated with galactosamine.

US Patent 7347085 - Optical resonator and cantilever probe for nanoscale displacement detection

Atomic force microscopes usually include a cantilever with a probe tip in which laser light is reflected from the cantilever to detect nanoscale displacements of the cantilever. This patent from Agilient Technologies teaches an alternative approach using structural mating features between the cantilever and an optical resonator. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoscale displacement detector comprising: an optical resonator including a first structural feature; and a cantilever including a probe tip and a second structural feature engaging with the first structural feature; wherein the first and second structural features are configured such that displacement of the cantilever relative to the optical resonator causes a change in the resonant frequency of the optical resonator.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Nanotechnology Law & Business Blog

A new nanotechnology blog (nanoREV) was recently created by Nanotechnology Law & Business providing running commentary on legal and business developments pertinent to nanotechnology. I'll be providing commentary on patent issues for the blog going a little bit more in depth than I do here while pointing out some of the more fundamental nanotech. patents that are beginning to appear in commercial products.


US Patent 7345805 - Integration of MEMS micromirrors with MEMS switches

This patent from Iridigm Display (which was acquired by Qualcomm in 2004) is basic to displays using micromirrors which can switch between reflective and opaque states depending on interference patterns created by the micromirrors. This patent focused on an all-MEMS display design which uses micromechanical structures as the addressing elements for driving the rows and column pixels as well as for the micromirrors. This may simplify fabrication in comparison to the formation of both drive transistors and MEMS in the display which requires diverse fabrication steps which may be non-compatible. Claim 1 reads:

1. A display device comprising:

a MEMS display portion comprising rows and columns of MEMS elements; and

a plurality of MEMS switches formed as one or more additional rows or columns of additional MEMS elements adjacent to the MEMS elements of said display portion, wherein the pitch of the additional MEMS elements is matched with the pitch of the MEMS elements of the display, and wherein the additional MEMS elements are configured to switch signals to the display portion.

Labels: ,

US Patent 7345307 - Nanowire array FET

This patent from Nanosys teaches a conductive polymer transistor formed using nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A transistor device comprising:

a. a substrate;

b. a conductive polymer layer deposited on said substrate, said conductive polymer layer including a plurality of nanowires at a sufficient density of nanowires to achieve an operational current level, wherein said plurality of nanowires are oriented substantially parallel to their long axis;

c. a source and drain region defined in said conductive polymer layer; and

d. a gate formed over said conductive polymer layer.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

US Patent 7344832 - Nanoarrays formed on probe tip

Microarrays are specially designed supports for facilitating bioanalysis such as by using antibody-antigen attraction. The formation of such microarrays usually requires inkjet printing or other processes that have limited resolution making the formation of comparable "nanoarrays" difficult. This patent from BioForce Nanosciences teaches an interesting technique using an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) cantilever to facilitate the formation of such nanoarrays. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for analyzing a sample comprising a probe, the probe comprising a pointed member, the pointed member having a plurality of domains disposed thereon, wherein the domains comprise one or more biomolecules and wherein the domains form an array.


US Patent 7344756 - Dip pen nanolithography with patterned probe tip

This is a fairly basic patent from Chad Mirkin, one of the founders of NanoInk (priority 5/16/2003) on scanning probe lithography using chemical or biological "ink" materials patterned on a probe tip for a contact printing process. The use of scanning probes to transfer atoms and molecules was actually pioneered by Don Eigler of IBM in the late 1980's and several earlier patents have been issued to the such uses of scanning probes for molecular transfer (see for example US Patent 5808311). Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for contact printing comprising: patterning a first ink on a surface of a scanning probe microscopy probe to form a first ink pattern on the surface; and positioning the surface near a first substrate, wherein the first ink pattern is transferred from the surface to the first substrate.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

US Patent 7344725 - Inorganic nanoparticles for stabilizing hydrogen peroxide

This patent is based on the discovery that inorganic nanoparticles helps stabilize hydrogen peroxide. Claim 1 reads:

1. In an aqueous hydrogen peroxide solution that is suitable for disinfecting contact lenses and, has a pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.5, the improvement which comprises including in said solution an amount of inorganic nanoparticles effective to stabilize the hydrogen peroxide.


US Patent 7344691 - Manipulating carbon nanotubes with solid organic material

In order to create a variety of new single walled nanotube (SWNT) chemistries it is useful to cut SWNTs into smaller segments. Techniques exist to perform such cutting using abrasive materials but it can then be difficult to separate the abrasive material from the SWNTs. This patent from Zyvex (priority 2001) teaches using solid organic material such as cyclodextrin for such cutting which provides easier separation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manipulating single-walled carbon nanotubes comprising: presenting a solid organic material to a plurality of single-walled nanotubes; and using said solid organic material to manipulate said plurality of nanotubes, wherein said plurality of nanotubes are manipulated by at least one of: (a) dispersing at least a portion of said plurality of nanotubes; (b) dissolving at least a portion of said plurality of nanotubes in a solvent; and (c) functionalizing at least a portion of said plurality of nanotubes.

The corresponding scientific paper can be found here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

US Patent 7344617 - Nanofiber velcro

A patent was issued a while ago for nanotube based velcro. This patent from Nanosys teaches a similar system using silicon or silicon oxide as nanomaterials to produce a velcro effect on the nanoscale. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of joining two or more articles, the method comprising: i) depositing a first plurality of inorganic nanofibers on a first surface of a first article, wherein the plurality of nanofibers have a curved or curled configuration; ii) contacting the first surface of the first article with a second surface of a second article, whereby each nanofiber contacts the second surface of the second article at a plurality of contact points wherein the contacting creates van der Waals forces between each of said nanofibers and the second surface of the second article, such that the van der Waals forces between the nanofibers and the second surface of the second article are sufficient to adhere the first and second articles together.


US Patent 7344491 - Magnetically responsive nanoparticles for hearing aid

Nanobiomagnetics is a company devoted to using magnetic nanoparticles for targeted therapeutic delivery. This patent discloses magnetic nanoparticles used as a component of a hearing aid. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for affecting a function of a mammalian ear, the method comprising: moving at least a single-domain magnetically responsive nanoparticle into a cell of the ear using a controllable first magnetic field; supporting the nanoparticle in the ear of the mammal; and transmitting a second magnetic field to move the nanoparticle.


Monday, March 17, 2008

US Patent 7342656 - Enhanced raman spectroscopy using adjustable nanoparticle distance

Raman spectroscopy uses energy shifts from reflected monochromatic (laser) light to characterize various materials and when combined with silver and gold nanoparticle colloids for the specimen can produce highly sensitive results for individual molecule detection in what is called Nano-enhanced raman spectroscopy (NERS). This patent teaches using an electrostatically driven cantilever or piezoelectric member to adjust the spacing between nanoparticles to facilitate NERS tuning. Claim 1 reads:

1. A NERS-active structure comprising: a first nanoparticle comprising a NERS-active material; a second nanoparticle comprising a NERS-active material, the second nanoparticle being disposed proximate the first nanoparticle and separated from the first nanoparticle by a distance; and a deflectable, active nanoparticle support structure for supporting the first nanoparticle and the second nanoparticle, the deflectable, active nanoparticle support structure being configured to vary the distance between the first nanoparticle and the second nanoparticle while performing NERS.


US Patent 7342479 - CNT resistance sensor

This patent from Eikos includes some broad claims to a carbon nanotube resistance sensor. Claim 1 reads:

1. A chemically sensitive resistor comprising: a resistive region comprising carbon nanotubes; and a conducting electrode on a side of the resistive region, wherein the resistor measures a change in resistance of the carbon nanotubes from a known baseline resistance upon exposure to an analyte.

Too bad the examiner missed prior art such as US Patent 6,528,020.


Friday, March 14, 2008

US Patent 7342413 - Scanning tip electrical connector for nanowire crossbar circuit

One of the difficulties in reading or writing data to nanowire-based electronics is that it is difficult to address individual nanowires having diameters on the order of 10 nm with conventional electronics having wiring diameters in the micrometer range. Their are a variety of proposed solutions to this problem based on demultiplexing schemes but which would result in the necessity of including extra circuitry and design constraints. Scanning probe devices such as Atomic Force Microscopes or Scanning Tunneling Microscopes have the capability of transferring current between a nanoscale device and a microscale device, however scanning probes have mostly been limited to performing diagnostics and testing of circuits (as in the patent of the previous post) rather than as electrical circuit interconnects. This patent is based on an idea I had a few years ago on using arrays of scanning probe tips to address nanowire crossbar arrays so as to selectively configure the states of a programmable molecular or thin film material of the array. For more info. see my other blog NanoMorphware. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising:

a nanowire crossbar array including a programmable material layer;

at least one of input or output circuitry; and

at least one array of input or output probe tips to provide an electrical connection between the nanowire crossbar array and the input or output circuitry, wherein the input or output tips are able to be scanned so as to provide movement of the tips relative to the nanowire crossbar array.


US Patent 7342403 - CNT IC test probe

Due to their high aspect ratios nanowires and nanotubes are popular choices for the tips of scanning probes microscopes used to inspect matter on a molecular or atomic level. This patent from Hon Hai is a variation of this idea and teaches nanotubes directly grown from a cantilever probe (not using a scanning probe tip) for testing the functionality of ICs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A test apparatus for integrated circuits comprising a data collector, the data collector comprising: a cantilever having a free end; a substrate formed at the free end; at least one electrically conductive film formed on a surface of the substrate facing away from the free end; at least one catalyst film formed on the corresponding electrically conductive film; and at least one probe grown from the corresponding catalyst film and each of the at least one probe comprising at least one carbon nanotube.


US Patent 7342311 - MEMS sensor within silicone body

This patent from Lawrence Livermore National Security teaches a "peel and stick" MEMS sensor which can be attached to a spherical silicone body (such as a safety airbag for an automobile). Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic apparatus, comprising: a spherical silicone body, and at least one electronic unit operatively connected inside said spherical silicone body, wherein said at least one electronic unit comprises a MicroElectroMechanical System (MEMS) sensor.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

US Patent 7342277 - CNTFET with quantum dot gate

There are a variety of proposals for carbon nanotube channels for FETs as well as proposals for using semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) to achieve floating gates in memory design. this patent from Intel teaches combining both concepts by providing a transistor design using both carbon nanotube channel and quantum dots. Claim 1 reads:

1. A transistor, comprising: a source electrode; a drain electrode; at least one semiconducting carbon nanotube electrically coupled between said source and drain electrodes; a gate electrode; and, dielectric material containing one or more quantum dots between said carbon nanotube and said gate electrode, wherein said one or more quantum dots are closer to said gate electrode than to said at least one carbon nanotube.


US Patent 7342179 - Metallic nanoparticle bonding layer

This patent from Seiko Epson (priority 1/14/2004) includes some basic claims to using fused nanoparticles as a bonding material. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic device comprising: two components; a receiving layer on at least one of the two components, the receiving layer including at least one of conductive particles and conductive fibers; and metallic nanoparticles on the receiving layer and bonding the two components together; wherein at least some of the nanoparticles are bonded together and closely contacted with the receiving layer by fusing.


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.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

USPTO Nanotechnology Customer Partnership Meeting 2008

The U.S. Patent Office is holding their annual Nanotech. meeting on April 22.
More info. can be obtained here.

US Patent 7341756 - Metal/bone integration using hydroxyapatite nanoparticles

Medical implants often fail because of failure to integrate artificial components with natural bone. This patent teaches using nanoparticles based on an inorganic mineral found in bone as a fusing agent. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: chemically charging a surface of a medical or dental implant; and after chemically charging a surface of the implant, forming a layer of crystalline hydroxyapatite nanoparticles on the implant.


US Patent 7341734 - Skin or hair care products formed using semiconductor nanocrystals

There is some controversy over the use of nanostructured material in products designed to interact with bioorganisms. However, there are a large variety of such products available such as sunscreens and cosmetics. This patent from Evident technologies presents some basic claims to the use of semiconductor nanocrystals such as ZnO in such products. Claim 1 reads:

1. A personal care composition comprising: a personal care ingredient; and a semiconductor nanocrystal dispersed or dissolved in the personal care ingredient, the semiconductor nanocrystal having a diameter between one and twenty nanometers.

However, some prior art may have been overlooked during the examination such as US 6403653 or US 2005/0265935.


US Patent 7341651 - Atomic nanofluidics

Electrophoresis is a well known phenomena of microfluidics in which dispersed particles are moved in microchannels using electrostatic forces. This patent from the University of California teaches an analogous nanoscale system using a carbon nanotube as the channel and atoms as the particles under electrostatic transport which can potentially be used in a nanofluidic delivery system. Claim 1 reads:

1. A mass transport device for delivering atoms from source particles, comprising: (a) a channel having an atomically smooth surface; (b) at least one source particle fixed to the surface of the channel at a position along its length; and (c) an electrode operatively coupled to the channel on one side of the source particle, and a counter electrode operatively coupled to the channel on another side of the source particle, said electrodes being adapted to be attached to a controllable voltage source, wherein the device is configured to reversibly transport the atoms from the source particle along the channel towards one electrode and away from the other in response to the applied voltage.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

US Patent 7341498 - Laser irradiation of CNT field emitters

Hyperion Catalysis was one of the early companies experimenting with carbon nanotubes (which they call "fibrils"). This patent teaches using laser radiation to treat carbon nanotubes so as to create more emission sites when used in field emission applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of treating a field emission cathode comprising the step of irradiating a cathode with laser radiation, said cathode comprising carbon nanotubes that are substantially cylindrical having one or more graphitic layers concentric with their cylindrical axes, the nanotubes being substantially free of pyrolytically deposited carbon overcoat, having a substantially uniform diameter between 0.4 nm and 100 nm and having a length to diameter ratio greater than 5.

However, the applicant and the examiner seem to have been unaware of relevant prior art such as US Patent 6,283,812 which teaches in column 5, lines 22-26:

"According to one embodiment of the invention, reflected in FIG. 1, a high-energy beam 10 is used to truncate a ensemble of aligned nanotubes 12. Suitable beams include, but are not limited to, laser beams, electron beams, and ion beams (e.g., argon or oxygen plasma). Ion beams or plasma beams are advantageous."


US Patent 7341222 - Microfabricated insect sensor swarms

This is a fairly interesting patent from the U.S. Department of Energy that teaches a method for making microscale winged flying machines. A swarm of such machines are taught to be useful in remote sensing applications and are taught to be powered by solar or rf energy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a micro-unmanned vehicle comprising: using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology; and forming on a substrate at least a pair of wings with leading wing beams and trailing wing beams, at least two actuators, a leading actuator beam pivotably coupled to said leading wing beams, a trailing actuator beam pivotably coupled to said trailing wing beams, a vehicle body having a plurality of fulcrums pivotally securing said leading wing beams, said trailing wing beams, said leading actuator beam and said trailing actuator beam and having at least one anisotropically etched recess to accommodate a lever-fulcrum motion of said coupled beams, and a power source.


US Patent 7340956 - Built-in self test of MEMS

A variety of self-testing methods and systems exist for MEMS sensors including piezoresistive and capacitive diagnostic elements built into the MEMS structure. This patent from Carnegie Mellon teaches using dual sensing elements for generating a differential signal to detect asymmetries of the MEMS sensor. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising: actuating a MEMS device; and comparing outputs from a first and a second sensor electrically isolated from one another and positioned to produce signals of substantially identical characteristics so as to identify asymmetries in said MEMS device.


Monday, March 10, 2008

US Patent 7340356 - Nanowire crossbar readout using resistance enhancing biasing

RRAM is a non-volatile memory type that works based on the storage of data in the form of high or low resistance states instead of by storing charge as in flash memory. Hewlett-Packard is using rotaxane molecules between intersecting nanowires to form a nanowire crossbar RRAM memory however one of the problems is that the high or low resistance states of different crosspoints can be inconsistent during a read out operation. This patent teaches a method and system of increasing the resistance states of crossbar junctions to make read out easier. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for determining a resistance state of a crossbar junction, the method comprising: biasing a pair of wires interconnected through the crossbar junction to determine a first signal level transmitted through the crossbar junction after biasing the pair of wires; biasing the pair of wires interconnected through the crossbar junction to increase the resistance of the crossbar junction; biasing the pair of wires interconnected through the crossbar junction to determine a second signal level transmitted through the crossbar junction after biasing the pair of wires; and outputting the resistance state of the crossbar junction based on comparing the first signal level to the second signal level.


US Patent 7339446 - Dual wafer MEMS resonator

One of the popular applications of MEMS devices is in tuning resonant circuits. This patent from Intel teaches forming the tuning MEMS portion on one substrate and the resonant circuitry on an opposite substrate which provides a reduction in the total lateral dimensions required for MEMS-based tunable filters.

1. An apparatus comprising: a resonator to resonate a radio frequency signal; a microelectromechanical system element to tune the resonator to a frequency, wherein the microelectromechanical system element is provided on a first wafer and the resonator is provided on a second wafer; a plurality of bonding pads to electrically bond the first and second wafers; and a plurality of seal rings to bond the plurality of bonding pads.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

US Patent 7339401 - Boolean logic with CNT switches

This is yet another basic patent to Nantero for carbon nanotube electronics which lays claim to basic Boolean logic circuits such as NOT, NOR, and NAND which is a sufficient basis to establish any conceivable logic function. Due to the resistance switching capabilities of nanotube fabrics this can present some useful advantages to programmable logic networks such as FPGAs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A Boolean logic circuit, comprising at least one set of differential input terminals and an output terminal; a network of nanotube switching elements electrically disposed between said at least one set of differential input terminals and said output terminal; said network of nanotube switching elements effectuating a Boolean function transformation of Boolean signals on said at least one set of differential input terminals.


US Patnet 7339244 - 3D MEMS lattice structure

This patent from Cornell Research Foundation included some basic claims to treelike silicon structures formed so as to create a 3D structure useful as a filter for nanofluidics or in optical sensors/amplifiers. Claims 1 and 13 read:

1. A pair of columns formed from a semiconductor substrate, the columns comprising: multiple wires of silicon extending substantially parallel to a floor of the substrate between the pair of columns; and oxide surrounding each wire.

13. A three dimensional lattice of tips formed from a semiconductor substrate comprising: an array of substantially parallel pillars; and a nanotip on each pillar extending substantially perpendicular from the pillar to an adjacent pillar.


US Patent 7339186 - IC chip with dummy nanowires

This patent from Infineon teaches a memory device that uses nanowires in an interesting way. The doping of the nanowires is changed to make nonfunctional areas of the memory which makes the content of the memory more difficult to determine by covert observation. Presumably applications are for storing classified or highly secure data. Claim 1 reads:

1. An IC chip comprising an electronic circuit formed with a plurality of nanowires as vertical conductors, vertical diodes or vertical transistors, arranged in a dielectric layer wherein at least one of said nanowires is provided as a dummy, wherein the dummy is unsuitable as a vertical conductor, vertical diode or vertical transistor: wherein at least one dummy is formed by a relevant nanowire being interrupted by a dielectric region formed in the nanowire between first and second doped region; and the nanowires are silicon and the dielectric region is silicon dioxide or silicon nitride.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

US Patent 7339184 - Metal/oxide/semiconductor nanowire

This appears to be a fairly fundamental patent for Nanosys which claims a basic metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) nanowire structure. Most electronics commonly used are MOSFETs and if nanowires become an active part of electronics devices this patent will likely become important to industry. While it is not the first MOS based nanowire structure (Infineon has an earlier patent to a vertical nanowire transistor which is integrally formed on a silicon substrate), the nanowire structure of this patent is formed to be part of a coating material that can be printed on a variety of different substrates allowing for the development of flexible electronics useful for large area solar cells and pliable displays. One difficulty though will be the alignment of the nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanowire deposited on a substrate surface such that a long axis of the nanowire is aligned substantially parallel to the substrate surface, the nanowire comprising a semiconductor core, an oxide shell layer disposed about the core, and a metal shell layer deposited on the oxide shell layer, wherein the semiconductor core is provided recessed within the oxide shell layer.


US Patent 7338915 - Conductive SWNT rope

This is one of a series of basic SWNT patents from Rice (with priority going back to 1995) and focuses on the metallic variety of single walled carbon nanotubes formed in relative abundance using a dual laser pulse method. Claim 1 reads:

1. A rope of single-wall carbon nanotubes having 50 to 5000 single-wall carbon nanotubes of which greater than 10% are (10, 10) single-wall carbon nanotubes.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

US Patent 7338812 - Nanoparticle biolabel material formed by imprinting

In order to make nanoparticles sensitive to particular molecule a functionalization procedure is necessary to create a binding site for the molecule. This patent from Industrial Technology Research Institute teaches an interesting method for developing such binding sites by applying molecular imprinting to a plurality of semiconductor nanoparticles (quantum dots). Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manufacturing a biochemical labeling material, comprising:

providing a plurality of nanoparticles;

bonding the nanoparticles to template molecules by molecular imprinting, wherein the nanoparticles are semiconductors;

polymerizing the nanoparticles to form a matrix with uniformly-distributed template molecules, wherein a functional monomer, a crosslinking agent, and an initiator are added during polymerization of the nanoparticles; and

removing the template molecules from the matrix to leave a cavity with specific area serving as a detection group of the matrix.


US Patent 7338711 - Explosive organic molecular coated nanoparticle

Due to their high surface-to-volume ratios providing certain metal nanoparticles are very effective for catalytic and explosives applications. Oxides have been used as a protective coating for such nanoparticles but this often leads to uneven distribution of the particles in a fuel. This patent from Quantum Logic Devices teaches organic/polymeric coatings to provide more effective distribution to increase the effectiveness of nanoparticle based explosives or propellants. Claims 1 and 25 read:

1. A reactive nanoparticle, comprising: a nanoparticle; and a reactive organic molecular coating covalently bound to said nanoparticle, wherein the organic molecular coating comprises an explosive or a propellant.

25. A reactive nanoparticle, comprising: a metal nanoparticle; and a reactive polymeric ligand monolayer shell covalently bound to said metal nanoparticle, wherein the monolayer shell comprises an explosive or a propellant.


Monday, March 03, 2008

US Patent 7335983 - CNT microchimney for IC cooling

As more and more circuits are crammed into smaller and smaller spaces for processor designs heat generation is becoming a dominating issue. This patent from Intel uses carbon nanotubes which are whimsically referred to as "micro-chimneys" to facilitate heat removal from ICs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor package comprising: a die, including an integrated circuit, formed of a bulk material further forming a cavity; a plurality of carbon nanotubes disposed within the cavity and coupled to the die near a region heated by the integrated circuit; and a plurality of plates, wherein the plurality of carbon nanotubes is divided into a plurality of groups according to carbon nanotube length, each group corresponding to one plate coupled to one or more carbon nanotubes of the group.


US Patent 7336412 - Micromirror adaptive optics using piezoelectric actuation

Micromirrors have found numerous applications in displays, fiber optic switching, and 3D imaging. Typically the micromirrors are electrostatically actuated but this patent proposes a piezoelectric actuator for driving the micromirror in adaptive optics applications to generate a higher actuation stroke with smaller voltage. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microcontrollable, deformable mirror comprising: a mirror membrane to which a two dimensional pixel map is assigned; and a plurality of controllable piezoelectric microactuators forming two dimensional pixel map, each of the microactuators being coupled to the mirror membrane and separately controllable to selectively deform at least a portion of the mirror membrane corresponding to a pixel in the two dimensional pixel map.