Thursday, October 30, 2008

US Patent 7443003 - Nanoimprinted thermoelectric module for selective memory erasure

This patent from GM teaches a novel system for selective thermal erasure of a shape memory alloy film used for information storage. Claim 1 reads:

1. An information storage device, comprising:

a substrate;

a shape memory alloy film established on the substrate, wherein the shape memory alloy film is adapted to at least one of receive, supply, and store digital information; and

at least one thermoelectric module nanoimprinted between the substrate and the shape memory alloy film, the at least one thermoelectric module adapted to selectively erase at least some of the digital information from the shape memory alloy film.


US Patent 7442926 - Carbon nanotip shaping

In order to provide sharper tips with higher aspect ratios carbon nanotubes have previously been implemented as tips of atomic force microscopes. This patent from Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials teaches a method of shaping the tips by irradiation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fabrication method of a nano tip, the nano tip being attached to a mechanical or electrical device and that is usable for detecting surface signals or biological and chemical signals or is usable as a source of a scanning energy beam, comprising:

providing a supporting holder that is fixed at one end thereof to the mechanical or electrical device;

bonding a carbon nanotube to the free end of the supporting holder, the carbon nanotube has one lengthwise end thereof fixed to the supporting holder; and

modifying the property of at least a part of the carbon nanotube from a crystalline to a non-crystalline by scanning an energy beam to the carbon nanotube.

However, some pertinent prior art which may have been overlooked during the examination includes US Patent 6,283,812 (see Fig. 1) and articles such as "Length Adjustment of Carbon nanotubes by electron bombardment" or "Length control and sharpening of atomic force microscope carbon nanotube tips assisted by an electron beam".


US Patent 7442575 - Semiconductor nanowire growth from graphite substrate

In manufacturing carbon nanotubes graphite is often used as a starting material. This patent from Texas Christian University teaches using graphite as a starting material for silicon nanowire growth as well. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing high surface area growth of semiconductor nanowires on conducting substrates, the method comprising the steps of:

providing a selected graphite material as a starting substrate;

growing a semiconductor nanowire on the starting substrate;

detaching the nanowire from the substrate; and

wherein the nanowires are detached from the substrate by pressing and pulling with a porous polymeric body.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

US Patent 7442358 - Nanocarbon aggregate flakes

Surface emission displays are a potential competitor to LCDs with advantages in energy efficiency. This patent from Canon is directed to a nanocarbon flake emission material used in the display with a basic claim reading:

1. A carbonaceous particle comprising a hexagonal flake formed of an aggregate of a plurality of nanocarbons and having a side length of 0.1 to 100 μm and a thickness of 10 nm to 1 μm.

One piece of relevant prior art which seems to have been overlooked during the examination is
US Patent 6,819,034, which also teaches carbon flakes for field emission displays.


US Patent 7442320 - Si + Ge quantum dot composites for photovoltaics

This patent from Ultradots, inc. takes advantage of band offsets between silicon and germanium semiconductor nanocrystals in the formation of high efficiency photovoltaics. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanostructured material, comprising:

(a) a first nano-network formed from a plurality of Si quantum dots that are at least one of fused and interconnected; and

(b) a second nano-network coupled to said first nano-network and formed from a plurality of Ge quantum dots that are at least one of fused and interconnected,

said plurality of Si quantum dots having a first peak size that is from about 1 nm to about 20 nm, said plurality of Ge quantum dots having a second peak size that is greater than said first peak size to define a staggered band offset between said first nano-network and said second nano-network,

said nanostructured material being configured to absorb light to produce a first type of charge carrier and a second type of charge carrier, said first type of charge carrier separating into said first nano-network in accordance with said staggered band offset and being-transported in said first nano-network, said second type of charge carrier separating into said second nano-network in accordance with said staggered band offset and being transported in said second nano-network, said nanostructured material having an absorption coefficient that is at least 1000/cm within a range of wavelengths from about 400 nm to about 700 nm.


US Patent 7442284 - Polymer coated nanotube electrodes for rechargeable batteries

This patent from Boston College teaches fabricating a carbon nanotube substrate uniformly coated with conductive polymer material providing a high efficiency electrode for rechargeable batteries. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electrical energy storage device comprising:

a conductive carbon nanotube electrode material having a carbon nanotube substrate with a plurality of longitudinally aligned carbon nanotubules in a three-dimensional array; and

at least one electrically conducting organic or organo-metallic polymer surface coating on a surface of the plurality of nanotubules establishing electrical continuity by producing contact throughout the three-dimensional array and cohesively holding together the plurality of nanotubules in the three-dimensional array, wherein a charge-discharge rate for the carbon nanotube electrode material remains substantially independent of a film formation charge of the electrically conducting surface coating.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

US Patent 7439501 - Direct write nanolithography using heated tip

This patent from Georgia Tech Research seems to be claiming a system identical to earlier technology such as IBM's millipede system for high density memory storage. Some prior art not considered during the examination can be found here. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device for sculpting a substrate, comprising:

a. a vertically displaceable probe having a nano-scale dimensioned probe tip;

b. a displacement mechanism configured to adjust a vertical displacement between the probe tip and the substrate; and

c. a heating mechanism that selectively heats the probe tip to a preselected temperature that is sufficient to cause a portion of the substrate in contact with the probe tip to decompose.


US Patent 7439081 - Multilayer CNT integrated circuit

This patent from IBM teaches manufacturing methods for incorporating multilayer carbon nanotube films into an integrated circuit in which the nanotubes in one layer are oriented orthogonally to that of another layer to control the direction of maximum conductivity between layers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making an integrated circuit chip, comprising the steps of:

providing a relatively broad, flat chip substrate having a planar orientation;

forming a plurality of active devices on said substrate;

forming at least one dielectric layer over said substrate and said active devices, said dielectric layer containing a plurality of electrically conductive vias for making electrical connections to said active devices;

forming a conductive layer over said at least one dielectric layer, said conductive layer being substantially parallel to said planar orientation of said chip substrate, said step of forming a conductive layer comprising:

(a) forming a first sublayer of carbon nanotubes oriented in a first direction substantially parallel to said planar orientation of said chip substrate; and

(b) forming a second sublayer of carbon nanotubes oriented in a second direction substantially parallel to said planar orientation of said chip substrate, said first direction and said second direction forming a non-zero angle.

Some earlier work in using carbon nanotubes into integrated circuitry is described here and in patents issued to Nantero.


US Patent 7438972 - Resin coated nanoparticle flexible film

This patent from PPG Industries Ohio teaches using resin-coated pigment nanoparticles in a film coating in order to avoid clumping of the nanoparticles upon distortion or stretching of the film. Claim 1 reads:

1. A coated flexible and/or drawable substrate comprising:

a flexible and/or drawable substrate; and

a cured film over at least a portion of the substrate, wherein the cured film has been deposited from a coating composition comprising a dispersion of resin-coated nanoparticles.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

US Patent 7438888 - Molybdenum oxide nanoparticles

This patent from Cyprus Amax Minerals Company teaches new manufacturing methods to produce high surface area molybdenum nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-particle of MoO3 having a surface area in a range of 33 to about 44 m2/g.


US Patent 7438887 - Manganese oxide nanowire molecular sieve

This patent from the university of Connecticut teaches a new film useful for molecular sieves formed of manganese nanowires and exhibiting less brittleness with superior thermal and chemical properties. Claim 1 reads:

1. A film, comprising a microporous network comprising a plurality of single crystal nanowires in the form of a layer, wherein a plurality of layers is stacked on a surface of a substrate, wherein the nanowires comprise ordered porous manganese oxide-based octahedral molecular sieves and have average lengths greater than about 10 micrometers and substantially uniform average diameters of about 5 nanometers to about 100 nanometers, and wherein the nanowires of each layer are substantially axially aligned.


US Patent 7438411 - Sunglasses incorporating plasmon resonant nanoparticles

This patent from Nanospectra Biosciences teaches sunglasses or protective goggles incorporating dielectric nanoparticles with a metallic shell to achieve enhanced tuning of optical radiation filtering. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device to reduce electromagnetic radiation entering the eye, comprising:

eyewear; and

plasmon resonant particles, embedded in said eyewear, wherein said plasmon resonant particles are characterized by a plasmon resonant peak in the electromagnetic frequency range between 670 nm and 1200 nm.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

US Patent 7438193 - Coated nanoporous membrane

This patent from Postech Foundation (Korea) teaches the formation of a filtration membrane having a high density of nanopores in which an inner portion and a surface portion are formed of different polymers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoporous membrane comprising:

a support; and

a separation layer including a plurality of nano-sized pores at a density of 10^10/cm2 or greater and a matrix wherein said matrix of said separation layer includes an inner portion and a surface portion covering said inner portion.


US Patent 7437938 - High modulus CNT diaphragm sensor

This patent from Rosemount Inc. teaches a high resolution pressure sensor formed from nanowires or nanotubes providing a high Young's modulus. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sensor comprising:

a composite structure formed by a mat of nanotubes or nanowires embedded in insulating material, wherein the composite structure has a Young's modulus of greater than about 1000 GPa; and

electrodes for deriving a sensor signal in response to deflection of the composite structure in response to a physical parameter, at least one of the electrodes connected to the mat.


US Patent 7437915 - Lateral thermal actuator for nanoscale probe

Scanning probe microscopes include nanoscale tips which are conventionally used in microscopy devices but which are finding new uses in lithography and ultrahigh density data storage. This patent from IBM teaches an improvement in their Millipede probe array using a thermal actuator to control the lateral movement of individual probes for more precise positioning. Claim 1 reads:

1. A probe for scanning over a substrate, comprising:

a spring cantilever being during operation of said probe mechanically fixed to a probe holding structure;

a tip with a nanoscale apex; and

an actuator for lateral positioning of said tip;

with said actuator comprising a thermally switchable element and a heating element for heating said thermally switchable element.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

US Patent 7435637 - Quantum wire gate

This patent from Intel teaches a method using quantum wires to form the channels of FETs in which isolation doping is used between the quantum wires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

forming a plurality of quantum wires in a substrate, wherein each of the plurality of quantum wires is narrower than the mean free path of semiconductive electron flow therein and wherein a trench is formed between adjacent quantum wires;

disposing a doping region in the substrate beneath each trench to resist electrical communication between adjacent quantum wires; and

forming a gate layer over the plurality of quantum wires, wherein a spacer mask is formed between the quantum wire and the gate layer.


US Patent 7435476 - Functionalized nanotube material for supercapacitor electrodes

This patent is based on a collaboration of Honda and Ohio State University and teaches a way to fabricate carbon nanotube supercapacitors with higher levels of capacitance. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing electrodes comprising:

chemically oxidizing carbon nanotube-containing material at a temperature of less than about 200 C.;

contacting the oxidized carbon nanotube-containing material with functional groups to form functionalized carbon nanotube-containing material; and

preparing electrodes from the functionalized carbon nanotube-containing material, wherein the carbon nanotube-containing material is substantially free of binder materials.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

US Patent 7435353 - Focused e-beam nanopatterning

This patent from Harvard teaches a new nanopatterning method for semiconductor processing involving vapor condensation and selective removal of the condensate using a focused electron beam. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a nano-patterned material layer on a structure, comprising:

condensing a vapor to an amorphous solid water condensate layer on a surface of the structure;

localized removal of at least one selected nanometric region of the condensate layer by directing a focused electron beam at the selected region.


US Patent 7434445 - Power spectrum analysis of microcantilevers

Microfabricated cantilevers are an important component of Atomic Force Microscopes as well as many MEMS sensors. This patent from Asylum Research teaches an apparatus for providing a more sensitive calibration of the cantilever using a power spectrum detector to detect shifts in resonance frequency. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for determining cantilever parameters, comprising:

means for measuring a drag force acting on a cantilever by monitoring a deflection of the cantilever;

means for determining a power spectrum of the cantilever;

means for measuring motion of a base of the cantilever; and

means for determining one or more characteristics of the cantilever based on the motion of the base, the power spectrum, and the cantilever deflection.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

US Patent 7433237 - Transistor utilizing dielectric oxide nanolaminates

This patent from Micron Technology teaches a transistor structure for DRAM memory cells that uses oxide nanolaminate dielectrics for enhanced read/write speeds with reduced cell sizes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A transistor device, comprising:

a first source/drain region;

a second source/drain region;

a channel region between the first and the second source/drain regions; and

a gate separated from the channel region by a multilayer gate insulator; wherein the multilayer gate insulator includes oxide insulator nanolaminate layers, wherein at least one charge trapping layer is substantially amorphous; and

circuitry coupled to the source/drain regions to program the transistor in a first direction, and read the transistor in a second direction opposite the first direction.


US Patent 7432522 - Nanowhisker pn junction

This patent from QuNano teaches the formation of a new type of pn junction formed from a nanowhisker (aka nanowire). Claim 1 reads:

1. A structure, comprising:

a crystalline semiconductor nanowhisker of a first conductivity type; and

an enclosure comprising a bulk semiconductor region of a second conductivity type opposite to the first conductivity type enclosing and in contact with said nanowhisker along at least part of its length;

wherein a combination of the nanowhisker and the bulk semiconductor region forms a pn junction.


US Patent 7432217 - Formation of uniform length nanotubes using organic film planarization

This patent from Samsung teaches a method of forming a uniform length carbon nanotube array for FED applications by planarization of an organic film. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of achieving uniform lengths of Carbon NanoTubes (CNTs), the method comprising:

forming CNTs of varying lengths on a predetermined material layer;

coating an organic film to cover the CNTs formed on the predetermined material layer;

etching the organic film to a predetermined depth to remove projected portions of the CNTs; and

removing the organic film to leave CNTs of uniform length.

One pertinent prior art patent that was overlooked during examination is US Patent 6,283,812 (see Fig. 4A-4D).


Thursday, October 09, 2008

US Patent 7432039 - Combined molecular and non-molecular lithography

Photoresists are commonly used in semiconductor processing to define patterns for doping, etching, and other microfabrication steps. This patent from the Penn State Research Foundation
teaches combining the patterning of resists with molecular film patterning to define nanoscale structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of fabricating a pattern on a surface of a substrate, said pattern comprising a plurality of features, the method comprising:

applying at least one non-molecular lithographic technique with at least one molecular lithographic technique to simultaneously define a size and shape of at least one of the features of the pattern;

wherein the applying the at least one non-molecular lithographic technique with the at least one molecular lithographic technique includes removing both a resist used in the lithographic technique and at least one molecular layers used in the at least one molecular lithographic technique to simultaneously define the size and the shape of the at least one of the features of the pattern.


US Patent 7431970 - Rewritable polymer nanolithography

IBM's Millipede system is one of a few designs for using arrays of atomic force microscope tips for nanoscale memory applications. This patent from the Air Force teaches a rewritable version based on thermal heating in which no polymer is removed during tip induced heating and using anneal processes for erasure of data. Claim 1 reads:

1. A polymer nanolithography method, comprising the steps of:

providing an atomic force microscope;

providing a conductive cantilever tip within said atomic force microscope;

providing a thin polymer film mounted upon a conductive wafer;

installing said thin polymer film within said atomic force microscope;

establishing a relative humidity within said atomic force microscope between about 10 to about 70 percent;

setting an initial tip-surface distance by applying a voltage to said cantilever tip such that no mechanical deformation of the surface of said polymer film during scanning occurs; and,

forming nanoscale features upon said polymer by selectively varying said voltage applied to said cantilever tip to effect a desired localized softening of attoliters of said polymer by Joule heating.


US Patent 7431964 - Angular porous metal film deposition for nanotube growth

This patent to Motorola teaches forming a porous metal catalyst film to support the growth of carbon nanotubes for field emission. Angular deposition is used to control the nanotube spacing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

providing a substrate having a surface;

depositing a metal onto the substrate at an angle to the surface resulting in a porous metal layer;

depositing a metal catalyst as a plurality of particles onto the porous metal layer; and

forming nanotubes on the metal catalyst particles.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

US Patent 7431867 - Uniform core/shell nanoparticles

Core/shell nanocrystals have potential as useful components to LEDs. By tuning the size of the nanocrystals the emission wavelength can be controlled. This patent from Konica Minolta Medical & Graphic teaches a processing method involving mixing silicon tetrachloride and a reducing agent and heating to form Si/SiO2 core/shell nanoparticles with uniform diameters for a better control of the luminescent wavelength. Claim 1 reads:

1. Nanosized semiconductor particles of a core/shell structure, wherein the particles each comprise a core and a shell and exhibit an average particle size of not more than 100 nm and a coefficient of variation in particle size distribution of not more than 30%, and an average core size being from 2 to 20 nm and a coefficient of variation in core size distribution being not more than 30%.


US Patent 7431856 - Nanotip fabrication by spatially controlled etching

Nanotips probes are being developed for a variety of applications including microscopy, lithography, and data storage on the nanoscale. This patent from Canadian researchers teaches a method for sharping such nanotips for higher resolution performance. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of fabricating nano-tips comprising:

placing a precursor nano-tip with an apex and shank in a vacuum chamber;

admitting an etchant gas to said vacuum chamber to perform field assisted etching by preferential adsorption of said etchant gas on said shank in the presence of an applied electric field; and

gradually reducing the applied electric field to confine the adsorption of said etchant gas to said shank as etching progresses.


US Patent 7430788 - Magnetorheological nanocomposite releasable fastener

This patent from GM teaches a hook and loop type fastener formed from nanocomposite materials and responsive to magnetic fields for ease of release. Claim 1 reads:

1. A hook portion for a releasable fastener system comprising:

a support and a plurality of hook elements disposed on a surface of the support,

wherein the plurality of hook elements comprise a magnetorheological elastomer adapted to change a shape orientation and/or a flexural modulus upon receipt of a magnetic signal,

wherein the magnetorheological elastomer comprises ferromagnetic or paramagnetic particulates in an elastomeric material.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

US Patent 7429904 - MEMS spread spectrum transmitter

This is another patent from Avago Technologies related to their work on the use of MEMS oscillators in spread spectrum communications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A spread-spectrum transmitter comprising:

microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based oscillation system comprising at least one MEMS resonator and being configured to generate signals at different frequencies; and

the MEMS based oscillation system further comprising a controllable switch configured to select one signal at a time within the MEMS-based oscillation system in response to a spread-spectrum code, the output from the controllable switch being a spread-spectrum signal.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

US Patent 7429418 - Porous friction material incorporating nanoparticles

This patent from BorgWarner teaches a new type of friction material for automotive applications based on nanoparticular material disposed in a porous material possessing improvements in heat resistance, high friction stability and durability, and strength compared to other materials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A friction material consisting essentially of:

a porous base material,

at least one resin material, and

nanoparticle-sized friction modifying particles dispersed within the porous base material,

wherein the nanoparticle-sized friction modifying particles are randomly dispersed within the friction material, wherein the nanoparticle-sized friction modifying particles are deposited on individual fibers and fillers comprising the porous base material at a thickness of about 0 to about 85 μm, wherein the friction material has substantially the same permeability in the radial direction and in the normal direction, wherein the nanoparticle-sized friction modifying particles have an average diameter size from about 10 nm to about 150 nm, wherein the porous base material has an average voids volume from about 65% to about 85%; and wherein the nanoparticle-sized friction modifying particles have an irregular shape.


US Patent 7429371 - Nucleic acid dispersant for CNTs

In applications such as pH sensors it would be advantageous to controllably reverse oxidation of carbon nanotubes. This patent from du Pont teaches using nucleic acid wrapped carbon nanotubes to achieve a stabilized charge storage device for such applications. Claim 1 reads:

1. A stable charge storage device comprising at least one dispersed oxidized or reduced carbon nanotube in an aqueous solution, said carbon nanotube associated with a nucleic acid dispersant.