Wednesday, July 30, 2008

US Patent 7404831 - Fullerene abrasive composite

This patent from Hon Hai Precision Industry teaches an abrasive polishing composite formed using carbon nanomaterials. Claim 1 reads:

1. An abrasive composite comprising:

a matrix; and

a plurality of nano-particles distributed therein, the nano-particles being comprised of nano carbon spheres and fullerenes, the nano carbon spheres each being polyhedral carbon cluster constructed of a plurality of concentric graphitic sheets, each of the concentric graphitic sheets having a closed spherical structure.


US Patent 7404698 - Vacuum pump with CNT charge source for de-ionization

Turbomolecular pumps are used to create high vacuums but can be subject to charge accumulation that can deteriorate operation. This patent from Edwards Vacuum teaches using carbon nanotube as a charge particle source for charge neutralization. Claim 1 reads:

1. A turbo-molecular vacuum exhaust pump, comprising:

a pump housing;

a turbo-molecular pump rotor mounted for rotation in the housing;

an insulating bearing system that supports the rotor for rotation and electrically insulates the rotor from the housing; and

a charged particle source for providing charged particles that interact with the rotor, thereby reducing a static electrical charge of the rotor and wherein the charged particle source is a carbon nanotube.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

US Patent 7404338 - Dual nanostructures for environmental compensation sensor

This patent from ETH Zurich teaches using carbon nanotubes in a force sensor. Two carbon nanotubes are used to allow for common mode rejection to eliminate variations from environmental effects. Claim 1 reads:

1. A force sensor device, comprising:

a support of two arms carrying a longitudinal electromechanical element in form of a nanostructure, said nanostructure having an electrical property changeable in response to a mechanical deformation due to a force, said nanostructure defined as a first nanostructure;

a moveable element disposed to transmit a force to said nanostructure; and

a second nanostructure carried by said arms for compensating for environmental effects.


US Patent 7404332 - Porous silicon gettering for micromechanical sensor

Getter materials are often used to absorb contaminates and trace gases. This patent from Robert Bosch GmbH teaches a porous silicon gettering material more convenient for semiconductor based micromechanical structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A micromechanical component for a sensor, comprising:

a body having a first substrate and a second substrate that form a hollow space; and

a region of porous silicon located contiguously thereto, wherein the region of porous silicon is provided for lowering a pressure prevailing in the hollow space, in that a gas is bound to the porous silicon.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

US Patent 7403322 - Micromirror alignment platform

Micromechanical mirrors have been developed over the past several decades in applications such as fiber optic switching, projection displays, 3D imaging, and adaptive optics. In many of these applications alignment between the light source and the micromirrors can be critical. This patent from Lucent Technologies teaches a common positioning stage provided for a plurality of micromirrors to facilitate such alignment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A MEMS device, comprising:

a stationary part; and

a movable part movably connected to the stationary part, wherein the movable part comprises a platform and a plurality of mirrors mounted on the platform, wherein: each mirror is adapted to move with respect to the platform; and the platform is adapted to translate with respect to the stationary part.


US Patent 7402909 - CNT anisotropic conductive film

Anisotropic conductive films are often used to provide electrical connections between wiring arrays of a device such as an LCD and a connection board. This patent from Intel teaches using carbon nanotubes to form an anisotropic film usable with wiring arrays having a smaller pitch. Claim 11 reads:

11. An Anisotropic Conductive Film (ACF) comprising:

a plurality of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) to provide a conductive path between a first side of the ACF and a second side of the ACF, wherein the CNTs run from the first side of the ACF to the second side of the ACE; and

a polymer layer positioned to fill the gaps between adjacent CNTs.


US Patent 7402829 - Nanostructured silicon lithium battery

A variety of microelectromechanical applications would benefit from the integration of "on-chip" batteries to further miniaturization and facilitate implantable medical devices. This patent from a UK based company called Nexeon teaches a lithium battery formed from nanostructured silicon. Claim 1 reads:

1. An energy storage device comprising:

an anode comprising an array of sub-micron silicon structures supported on a silicon substrate; and

a cathode comprising lithium, arranged to form a battery.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

US Patent 7402736 - Scanning probe with nanotube tip grown from FET

Scanning probe microscopes are important tools for molecular and nanoscale characterization. This patent from Postech Foundation of S.Korea teaches a method of fabricating the tip of a scanning probe microscope from a carbon nanotube grown on a field effect transistor for producing a sharper tip with increased measurement speed. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for fabricating a probe having a field effect transistor channel structure, comprising:

a) fabricating a field effect transistor;

b) forming a seed electrode for growing a carbon nanotube at a top portion of a gate electrode formed on the field effect transistor; and

c) growing the carbon nanotube on the seed electrode.


US Patent 7402573 - DNA administration to organs using nanopartilces

This patent from NanoDel Technologies teaches a method of using polymeric nanoparticles to transport cancer treatment drugs or DNA across the blood-brain barrier. Claim 13 reads:

13. A method for administering DNA to a target organ in a human or animal body, the method comprising contacting the target organ with a polyalkylcyanoacrylate nanoparticle loaded with DNA, whereby the DNA enters one or more cells of the target organ.


US Patent 7402531 - Fabrication of multiple length nanowire array

This patent from Hewlett Packard teaches a method of forming an array of nanotubes differentiated by length useful for applications such as optical sensing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for selectively controlling lengths of nanowires in a substantially non-uniform array of nanowires, the method comprising:

establishing at least two different catalyzing nanoparticles on a substrate; and

substantially simultaneously growing a nanowire from each of the at least two different catalyzing nanoparticles, wherein at least one of the nanowires has a length different from that of at least an other of the nanowires.

Similar technology for bending nanotubes was also developed by Hon Hai Precision (see US 7,291,319).


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

US Patent 7402505 - Single electron device formed by thermal annealing

Single electron transistors and similar devices have been in the experimental stage for several decades now however, due to low temperature operation and difficulty in fabrication they have not seem much commercialization outside of research labs. This patent from Advanced Micro Devices teaches stacking dielectric and amorphous silicon layers with a laser annealed nanocrystal layer to improve controllability in fabrication. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of manufacturing a semiconductor device, comprising the steps of:

forming a gate dielectric over a channel region in a substrate;

forming a layer of amorphous silicon over the gate dielectric;

forming a layer of nanocrystals by laser thermal annealing the layer of amorphous silicon;

forming a dielectric layer on the layer of amorphous silicon; and

repeating the steps of forming the layer of amorphous silicon and forming the dielectric layer.


US Patent 7402445 - Nanotip fabrication using film melting and cooling

This patent from Wayne State University teaches a novel method for forming a nanotip useful as an electron emitter by laser irradiation of semiconductor (e.g. Si, Ge, GaAs, etc.) thin films followed by cooling. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a nano-structure, the method comprising:

irradiating an area on a first surface of a thermal conductive film to melt the area across the film, the film being insulated at a second surface thereof to provide two-dimensional heat transfer across the film, the liquid density of the film being greater than the solid density thereof; and

cooling the area inwardly from the periphery thereof to form the nano-structure having an apical nano-tip.


US Patent 7402194 - Air filtration using CNT ionization

This patent from IBM teaches a small scale and low energy air purifying filter formed using carbon nanotube as an ionization source. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of electrostatically precipitating airborne particulates, said method comprising:

positioning a first electrode and a second electrode in a housing unit at a distance from one another, said first and second electrodes comprising poles of an electrostatic field;

growing at least one carbon nanotube on the second electrode, wherein said at least one carbon nanotube ionizes gas in said housing unit; and

applying an electrostatic field between said first and said second electrodes.


Monday, July 21, 2008

US Patent 7400395 - Metal coated nanoporous silicon

This patent from Intel teaches a substrate useful for Raman spectroscopy based on metal coated nanoporous silicon useful for enhanced molecular detection. Claim 1 reads:

1. A wafer comprising a layer of metal-coated nanocrystalline porous silicon, wherein the metal coating covers substantially the entire exposed surface area of the nanocrystalline porous silicon, and wherein the nanocrystalline porous silicon has a pore size of from 2 nm to 200 nm.


US Patent 7400159 - Nanotube/Nanorod probe card

In order to test integrated circuits probe cards are often used. However, the resolution of such probe cards is often limited to the pitch of pins making up the probe. This patent teaches using nanotubes or nanorods as the pins for higher resolution addressing of circuitry under testing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A complex nano probe pin comprising:

a bundle of aligned parallel nanotubes/nanorods grown from a patterned catalyst strip on a planar substrate, and

a bonding material bonded to said bundle of aligned parallel nanotubes/nanorods and filled in gaps between said nanotubes/nanorods;

wherein said planar substrate has a porous surface; and wherein said bonding material covers said bundle of aligned parallel nanotubes/nanorods and fills up gaps in between said nanotubes/nanorods.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

US Patent 7399988 - Wide temperature range quantum dot photodetector

With a rise in temperature quantum dot photodetectors can have a reduction in sensitivity. This patent from Fujitsu teaches a configuration which avoids this problem using a stacked quantum well/embedded quantum dot structure. Claim 1 reads:

1. A photodetecting device having quantum dots, comprising:

a quantum dot structure including a first embedding layer, and quantum dots embedded by said first embedding layer; and

a quantum well structure formed at a location downstream of said quantum dot structure in a direction of flow of electrons which flow perpendicularly to said quantum dot structure during operation of the photodetecting device, said quantum well structure including second and third embedding layers, and

a quantum well layer which is sandwiched between said second and third embedding layers, and whose band gap is smaller than those of said second and third embedding layers.


US Patent 7399794 - Ionization resistance using CNT polymer composite

This patent from the University of South Florida teaches the use of carbon nanotube composites for space shielding. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for resisting ionizing radiation comprising:

(a) providing a device that is subjected to ionizing radiation when in use, wherein the device comprises a transparent polymer and a plurality of carbon nanotubes at least on the device's surface, wherein the carbon nanotubes are incorporated into the matrix of the polymer; and

(b) exposing the device to ionizing radiation, whereby the device exhibits improved resistance to ionizing radiation.

One possibly relevant earlier patent is US 6,265,466 teaching a nanotube/polymer composite forming an electromagnetic interference shield.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

US Patent 7399691 - Aligning nanotubes for crossbar array

This is a continuation patent originating from Harvard based on technology used to fabricate the NRAM technology developed by Nantero. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

aligning a plurality of nanoscopic wires using a mechanically patterned surface to define a set of aligned nanoscopic wires on the surface, wherein the mechanically patterned surface comprises a plurality of elongated trenches in the mechanically patterned surface, the elongated trenches each having a first dimension on the surface that is substantially longer than a second dimension on the surface, the second dimension being substantially greater than the greatest depth of the trenches; and

contacting the plurality of aligned nanoscopic wires on the surface with a common electrode.

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US Patent 7399429 - III-V nanocrystal with >25% quantum efficiency

This patent from Evident Technologies teaches a metal coated nanocrystal composition with high quantum efficiencies. Although earlier quantum dot core-shell structures with similar efficiencies were earlier patented (see US 7,125,605) the metal coating in this configuration offers the advantage of increased chemical stability. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor nanocrystal complex comprising:

a semiconductor nanocrystal core comprising a III-V semiconductor material, and

a metal layer formed on at least a portion of an outer surface of the semiconductor nanocrystal core, wherein the semiconductor nanocrystal complex is electronically and chemically stable with a luminescent quantum yield of at least 25%.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

US Patent 7399400 - Polymer CNT biosensor

There have been various proposals and designs for biosensors formed form aligned nanotube arrays but which be costly to fabricate. This patent from Nano-Proprietary teaches a biosensor using disordered nanotubes to lower production costs and enhance reproducibility. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sensor for detecting an analyte comprising:

carbon nanotubes lacking alignment;

a polymer immobilized to the carbon nanotubes; and

a sensing element for detecting the analyte,

wherein the sensing element is immobilized to the carbon nanotube, wherein the polymer is an insulating, redox or conducting polymer and wherein the polymer is polyaniline, polypyrrole, polythiophene or any substituted derivatives thereof.


US Patent 7399215 - Carbon fiber electron emitter formed in reactive media

This patent from Canon teaches reducing the threshold voltage for electron emitting carbon fibers (e.g. carbon nanotubes) by applying a burn off voltage to the carbon fibers in a reactive atmosphere such as oxygen. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of manufacturing an electron-emitting device, the method comprising the steps of:

preparing a first electrode having a plurality of carbon fibers;

preparing a second electrode separated, by a predetermined space, from the first electrode and also from the plurality of carbon fibers; and

applying a voltage between the first electrode and the second electrode so that a potential of the first electrode is higher than that of the second electrode,

wherein the step of applying the voltage is performed within an atmosphere containing a substance which can react with the carbon fibers.

However, there appears to be some pertinent prior art overlooked during the examination such as Wang et al. "Field emission from nanotube bundle emitters at low fields" (teaching oxygen plasma for enhancing electron emission from carbon nanotubes) and Kung et al. "Oxygen and ozone oxidation-enhanced field emission of carbon nanotubes"


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

US Patent 7398035 - Nanotube array charging device for electrophotography

In many printers a variety of charging devices are required to charge belts and drums to facilitate the transfer of toner or paper during printing processes. A variety of nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes have been noted to have high efficiency election emission properties. This patent from Xerox teaches the incorporation of such nanomaterials in charging devices for printing. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electrophotographic charging device comprising:

a dielectric layer;

a first electrode disposed adjacent to a first surface of the dielectric layer;

a second electrode, wherein the second electrode has a first surface disposed adjacent to a second surface of the dielectric layer; and

a plurality of nanostructures, wherein each of the plurality of nanostructures has an end in electrical contact with a second surface of the second electrode, wherein at least one of the first electrode and the second electrode includes a plurality of electrodes disposed essentially parallel to each other.


US Patent 7397558 - Partially coated nanoparticles for enhanced Raman scattering

Raman scattering is an important method for molecular analysis. There have been a variety of efforts to use nanoscale structures in enhancing the effects of Raman scattering and this patent from HP teaches one variation in which the outer shells of metallic nanoparticles are partially coated with organic ligands in order to space apart the nanoparticles and regulate the enhancement of the scattering. Claim 1 reads:

1. An NERS-active structure comprising:

a substrate;

a two-dimensional array of nanoparticles usable for enhancing Raman scattered radiation, the two-dimensional array of nanoparticles affixed to the substrate; and

an outer shell partially coating at least some nanoparticles of the two-dimensional array of nanoparticles, wherein each coated nanoparticle of the two-dimensional array of nanoparticles is separated from adjacent nanoparticles by a predetermined distance.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

US Patent 7396502 - Apparatus for making polymer coated Fe nanopowder

Magnetic nanopowder is useful to applications such as high density data storage and high sensitivity magnetic sensors. This patent from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials teaches an apparatus for forming Fe nanopowder with a protective polymer coating that prevents oxidation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system of producing nano-sized Fe powder having a polymer coated layer on a surface thereof, comprising:

a means for gasifying an Fe-containing liquid precursor;

a means for separating nano-sized Fe-particles from the gasified Fe-containing precursor to present Fe as an outermost layer; and

a means for injecting the separated nano-sized Fe particles into a polymer solution to produce the nano-sized Fe powder having a polymer coated layer.


Monday, July 07, 2008

US Patent 7394997 - Anti-counterfeiting tag formed from nanoparticles

This is yet another patent claiming the use of nanoparticles/nanocrystal/quantum dots as barcode type indicia. Claim 1 reads:

1. An article of manufacture with anti-counterfeit properties comprising:

a consumable;

a plurality of taggant nanoparticles dispersed within the consumable, each taggant nanoparticle having at least one known physical characteristic; wherein the plurality of taggant nanoparticles comprise a predetermined combination of nanoparticles providing at least two different taggant physical characteristics of at least two different categories as a taggant code encoding product identification for the consumable so as to permit identification of the consumable; and

wherein a machine receiving the consumable is enabled upon the determination of the consumable as non-counterfeit as indicated by the taggant code.

Some prior art overlooked during the patent prosecution and which may be relevant to the claims of this patent include:

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 7394192 - Uniform CNT distribution for field emission

When fabricating field emission devices (such as displays) using carbon nanotubes a problem of clumping can arise when low diameter nanotubes are formed resulting in an uneven distribution of tubes. Larger diameter nanotubes avoid this problem but require a higher threshold voltage for electron emission and are thus unsatisfactory. This patent from Noritake Co. teaches a manufacturing method capable of forming a mixture of large and small diameter nanotubes to provide a more even distribution without sacrificing the emission efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electron-emitting source comprising:

a plurality of first carbon nanotubes which are formed on a cathode structure made of a metal containing any one of iron, nickel, cobalt, and chromium;

a catalyst metal layer which is formed on said first carbon nanotubes and made of said metal that forms said cathode structure; and

a plurality of second carbon nanotubes which are formed on said catalyst metal layer and are thinner than said first carbon nanotubes.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

US Patent 7394118 - High aspect ratio nanowire backgate chemfet

This patent from the University of Southern California teaches improved response time chemical sensors formed from high aspect ratio metal oxide nanowires. Claim 11 reads:

11. A method, comprising:

exposing a nanowire of a semiconductor metal oxide material made from a laser ablation assisted chemical vapor deposition process to have a uniform diameter throughout a length of said nanowire with an aspect ratio of at least 100:1 to an unknown material; and

electrically characterizing the nanowire after said exposing to determine characteristics of the nanowire connected between two drains of a back gate field effect transistor to detect the unknown material.


US Patent 7394094 - Barbell shaped nanocrystal with electron/hole separation

This patent from M.I.T. teaches a nanocrystal heterostructure in the shape of a barbell that allows for electron and hole separation for enhanced quantum efficiency electronic and photonic applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor nanocrystal comprising:

a central region and a first end, the central region including a first semiconductor material; and

a distal region at the first end of the nanocrystal, the distal region including a second semiconductor material,

wherein the first semiconductor material and the second semiconductor material are selected so that, upon excitation, one charge carrier is substantially confined to the central region and the other charge carrier is substantially confined to the distal region.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

US Patent 7393736 - ZrHfSnO2 nanolaminate dielectrics

As the continuation of Moore's law becomes more difficult with conventional semiconductor materials a search is underway for better dielectrics. This patent from Micron Technology teaches one variety of high-k dielectrics formed using nanolaminated oxides. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising: forming a substantially planar nanolaminate dielectric layer including at least zirconium oxide, hafnium oxide and tin oxide on a surface of a substrate by atomic layer deposition; and forming a metal layer on the planar nanolaminate dielectric layer.


US Patent 7393618 - Quantum dot color conversion

This patent from Idemitsu Kosan teaches the use of quantum dot material to enhance color conversion for electroluminescent devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A color conversion member composition comprising
(A) a color filter material,
(B) a photoluminescent inorganic nanocrystal,
(C) a medium, and
(D) a solvent,
the color filter material (A) and the photoluminescent inorganic nanocrystal (B) differing in affinity to the medium (C) and/or the solvent (D).

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

US Patent 7393391 - Nanoporous membrane with hydrophilic and hydrophobic sides

This patent from the University of New Mexico teaches forming nanoporous films in which one side of the porous film is provided with a hydrophobic treatment and the other side is provided with a hydrophilic treatment in order to facilitate nanofiltration and nanofluidic transport. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a nanoporous membrane comprising:

growing a nanoporous oxide film on a substrate;

forming a nanoporous membrane comprising a top side and a bottom side by partially separating the nanoporous oxide film from the substrate;

depositing a fluorocarbon film on the top side of the nanoporous membrane by plasma polymerization.


US Patent 7393259 - Electron emitter alignment using polymer gel

This patent from Samsung teaches an interesting method of placing and aligning carbon nanotubes (or other field emission material) on a substrate using a stimulated polymer film. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming emitters, the method comprising:

forming a volume-changeable structure on an electrode, the volume-changeable structure including a polymer which reversibly swells and shrinks in response to an external stimulus;

injecting an electron-emitting material into the volume-changeable structure;

aligning the electron-emitting material; and

removing the polymer to form the emitters.