Tuesday, June 30, 2009

US Patent 7553471 - Manufacturing hydrophilic carbon nanotubes


This patent from Honda teaches a method of making carbon nanotubes dispersible in aqueous solutions without clumping which could be useful in forming carbon nanotube inks and paints. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of manufacturing hydrophilic carbon nanotubes, comprising the steps of introducing hydrophilic functional group(s) into the surface of carbon nanotubes by irradiating the carbon nanotubes with an ultraviolet ray at an output ranging from 10 to 70 mW/cm2, wherein the hydrophilic functional group(s) is one or more groups selected from the group consisting of a hydroxyl group (—OH), a carbonyl group (—CO—), an aldehyde group (—CHO), a carboxyl group (—COOH), a nitro group (—NO2), and an amino group (—NH2).


US Patent 7552636 - Nanomechanical gyroscope


This patent from UT-Battelle teaches a gyroscope formed with dimensions small enough to be influenced by quantum phase interference effects. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanomechanical (NEMS) gyroscope, comprising:

an integrated circuit substrate;

a pair of spaced apart contact pads disposed on said substrate, and

a movable nanoscale element forming at least a portion of a first electrically conductive path electrically coupling said contact pads, wherein said movable element experiences movement comprising rotation, changes in rotation, or oscillation upon said gyroscope experiencing angular velocity or angular acceleration, said movement inducing phase changes in current flow through said movable element.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

US Patent 7551884 - Carbon nanotube cleaning blade


Cleaning blades are important to laser printers for removing toner from the photosensitive drum used in transferring images to paper. This patent from Toshiba teaches how to use carbon nanotube or fullerene material to enhance the durability and lifetime of such cleaning blades. Claim 1 reads:

1. A cleaning apparatus provided with a cleaning blade which removes a developer remaining on a surface of an image carrier, wherein the cleaning blade is made of a resinous matrix dispersion in which at least one of a fullerene and a carbon nano tube is dispersed, and at least one of the fullerene and the carbon nano tube is mixed and dispersed in a total amount of from 0.02 to 20 parts by weight based on 100 parts by weight of the resinous matrix in the cleaning blade.


US Patent 7550907 - Carbon nanotube yarn electron emitter


This patent from Hon Hai Precision teaches wrapping carbon nanotube yarn around an elongated structure to form an electron emitting device with enhanced efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A field emission element, comprising:

an elongated solid body;

a carbon nanotube yarn wrapping round the elongated solid body;

an electrically conductive adhesive agent applied between the elongated solid body and the carbon nanotube yarn, the electrically conductive adhesive agent being configured for fixing the carbon nanotube yarn to the elongated solid body, wherein substantially all of the carbon nanotube yarn is entirely adhered on a peripheral surface of the elongated solid body by the adhesive agent.


US Patent 7550747 - Nanotip electron beam maskless lithography


Since electron beam lithography usually uses only a single electron source it is usually considered too slow to be used in the semiconductor processing necessary for mass production. However, the inclusion of massively parallel arrays of electron sources can increase throughput. This patent teaches using a high density of carbon nanotube electron emitters as both a lithography tool and an alignment sensor. Claim 1 reads:

1. A Parallel Electron Beam Lithography Stamp (PEBLS) apparatus comprising:

a substrate with a first side and a second side;

an array of lithographic nanotips capable of electron emission formed substantially normal to the first side of the substrate;

a target to be lithographically patterned by the array of lithographic nanotips; and

an array of sensing nanotips formed substantially normal to the first side of the substrate and provided on at least two sides of the lithographic nanotips so as to provide an alignment reference for the lithographic nanotips,

wherein the array of lithographic nanotips is formed in a pattern corresponding to a desired lithographic pattern on the target to be processed and wherein the apparatus is constructed to allow at least a portion of the first side of the substrate to contact the target during lithography.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

US Patent 7550129 - Faceted graphene nanofibers


This patent from Catalytic Materials teaches manufacturing a variation of carbon nanotubes in which the nanotube walls are faceted instead of cylindrical. Claim 1 reads:

1. A crystalline graphitic nanofiber consisting essentially of at least one uninterrupted, unbroken, substantially graphite sheet that is aligned substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the nanofiber and which has a substantially non-cylindrical multifaceted tubular structure, wherein when two or more of said sheets is present they are present as a tube within a tube structure and wherein the distance between graphite sheets is from about 0.335 nm to about 0.67 nm, wherein said substantially crystalline graphitic nanofiber has a crystallinity greater than about 95%.


US Patent 7550097 - Thermally conductive and electrically insulating nanocomposite


Thermal conduction and electrical conduction is found in metallic materials but for electronics cooling it can be undesirable to provide electrical conduction which can short out circuitry. This patent from Momentive Performance Materials teaches a nanocomposite thermal interface which provides the thermal conduction while avoiding electrical conduction. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thermal interface composition, comprising:

a blend of a polymer matrix, wherein the polymer matrix comprises a curable polymeric composition, at least one micron-sized filler, and nanoparticles that are electrically conductive relative to the micro-sized filler, wherein the thermal interface composition is thermally conducting and electrically non-conducting.


US Patent 7549759 - MEMS ribbon display with enhanced contrast


This patent from Alces Technology teaches an optical system which can improve the contrast of micromechanical display devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A polarization light modulator comprising:

a polarization displacement device;

a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS ribbon device); and,

a polarizer;

wherein, the polarizer passes light that has propagated through the polarization displacement device after being reflected by deflected ribbons in the MEMS ribbon device.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

US Patent 7547931 - Nanoelectronic capnometer adaptor


Capnography involves the measurement of carbon dioxide in air samples which is important to monitoring patients in a hospital. This patent from Nanomix teaches using nanostructured material to increase the responsiveness and reduce the cost of capnography sensors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A capnometer comprising:

an airway adaptor having at least one channel configured for the passage of respiratory gas;

at least one nanostructure sensor in fluid communication with the passage, the sensor configured to selectively respond to at least one gaseous constituent of exhaled breath comprising carbon dioxide;

electronic hardware connected to the nanostructure sensor and configured to provide a signal indicative of a response of the sensor to the at least one gaseous constituent of exhaled breath;

wherein the at least one nanostructure sensor comprises:

a substrate;

a first nanostructure over the substrate;

at least two conducting elements in electrical communication with the first nanostructure; and

at least one recognition material operatively associated with the first nanostructure, wherein the at least one recognition material comprises a material selected from the group consisting of benzylamine, naphthalenemethylamine, antracene amine, and pyrene amine.


US Patent 7547881 - Nanowire electron scattering spectroscopy


Nanotubes and nanowires offer enhanced sensitivity in molecular detectors but often require functionalization of the nanotube or nanowire surfaces to tailor the sensor to a particular molecular structure to be detected which can make manufacture more difficult. This patent from the California Institute of Technology instead teaches using an analysis of vibrational energy modes from molecules bound to nanowires as a basis for the detection. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for spectroscopic identification of molecules, comprising:

providing a nanoscale wire;

injecting electrons into the nanoscale wire; and

measuring inelastic electron scattering via excitation of low-lying vibrational energy levels of molecules bound to the nanoscale wire.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

US Patent 7547467 - Nanoparticle brightness enhancing film


This patent from 3M teaches another variation of a nanoparticle brightness enhancing film to improve the appearance and efficiency of digital displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A brightness enhancing film comprising the reaction production of a polymerizable resin composition including inorganic nanoparticles surface modified with a surface treatment comprising a monocarboxylic acid having a refractive index of at least 1.50.


US Patent 7547347 - Synthesis of nanomaterials in ionic liquids


Compared with conventional solvents ionic solvents are non-volatile, non-flammable, and thermally stable. This patent from the University of Rochester teaches using and recycling these solvents to achieve a more eco-friendly nanoparticle fabrication method. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of synthesizing nanoparticles formed of a material selected from the group consisting of metals, alloys, and intermetallics, comprising:

combining at least one stabilizing agent, at least one precursor and an ionic liquid to form a reaction mixture;

heating the reaction mixture to a first predetermined temperature to form the nanoparticles;

heating the reaction mixture to a second predetermined temperature to cause the nanoparticles to separate from the ionic liquid;

collecting the nanoparticles from the reaction mixture; and

reusing the separated ionic liquid.


US Patent 7547344 - Nanosized intermetallic powder barcode


This patent from Philip Morris teaches a magnetic nanopowder barcode providing the capacity to print smaller lines of barcodes and providing increased sensitivities allowing for lower energies to be used in bar code readers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A magnetic bar code comprising nanosized intermetallic powder, the nanosized intermetallic powder comprising copper aluminide.


Monday, June 15, 2009

US Patent 7546013 - Nanoparticle photon emitter for fiber optics


This patent from HP teaches a single photon generator input to a fiber waveguide of a quantum computer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising:

an individually addressed nanoparticle for emitting single photons;

a photonic crystal fiber waveguide for receiving the single photons, the waveguide optically coupled to the nanoparticle at an endface of the waveguide not treated to increase reflection, the waveguide endface disposed adjacent to the nanoparticle; and

a single backreflector optically coupled to the waveguide and configured to reflect at least some of the single photons toward the waveguide, the backreflector disposed adjacent to the nanoparticle and the waveguide endface;

wherein the nanoparticle is placed on one of the backreflector and the waveguide.


US Patent 7546000 - Color center quantum computer


This patent from HP proposes a diamond lattice structure with atomic vacancies as a basis for quantum computers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A node of a quantum computer architecture, the node comprising:

a first photonic device configured to transmit electromagnetic waves;

a color center embedded in diamond and coupled to the first photonic device; and

a switch located between the first photonic device and a bus waveguide, and the switch configured to selectively control transmission of electromagnetic waves between the bus waveguide and the color center.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

US Patent 7545241 - Nanoparticle transmission line


This patent from NEC teaches improved frequency independence of transmission line elements used to couple large scale integrated circuits of computers by using conductive nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microstrip line having at least a dielectric layer and a conductor layer disposed in order on a first electrode layer, said microstrip line characterized in that said dielectric layer is formed by oxidizing, nitriding, or oxynitriding said first electrode layer, and said conductor layer comprises at least conductive nanoparticles and a binder resin.


US Patent 7545051 - Vertical nanowire array solar cells


This patent from the University of California teaches growing high density arrays of metal oxide nanowires to form a high efficiency photovoltaic converter. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic device, comprising:

a first conductive layer;

an array of nanowires, the nanowires having first ends and second ends, the first ends adjacent the first conductive layer, the nanowires extending approximately perpendicular to the first conductive layer, wherein the nanowire array has a density of approximately 10^10 nanowires per cm2;

a second conductive layer approximately parallel to the first conductive layer and adjacent the second ends of the nanowires; and

an electronic material filling spaces between and around the nanowires.


US Patent 7545030 - Metal impregnated CNT heat sink


Intel continues to focus on the thermal management applications of carbon nanotubes with this latest patent teaching a metal film coated CNT heat spreader. Claim 1 reads:

1. An article comprising:

a substrate;

a carbon nanotube (CNT) array on the substrate;

a metal impregnated within the CNT array and coupled to the substrate; and

a metallization first film in contact with the CNT array and the substrate, and wherein the metallization first film includes a titanium-containing first layer disposed against the CNT array and the substrate and a gold-containing second layer disposed against the metal first film.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

US Patent 7544978 - Lipid nanowire sensor


This patent from Lawrence Livermore National Security teaches a new biochemical sensor nanostructure with improved signal detection efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sensor apparatus, comprising:

a nanotube or nanowire,

a lipid bilayer around said nanotube or nanowire,

a hydrophilic cushion between said nanotube or nanowire and said lipid bilayer,

wherein said hydrophilic cushion is a polymer cushion, and a sensing element connected to said lipid bilayer.


US Patent 7544977 - Nanoscale/Microscale interface


Over the past 10 years Hewlett-Packard has been developing nanoscale crossbar circuit architectures as a platform for molecular electronics which may be applicable to their new memristor designs. However, there is some difficulty in addressing these nanoscale structures with wires formed using conventional microlithography due to incompatibility in the size of the wiring. This patent teaches an integration approach based on a multi-layered structure with interconnection pins. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoscale/microscale interface comprising:

a predominantly microscale layer with a surface having regularly patterned pins; and

a predominantly nanoscale layer comprising an ordered arrangement of pad-interconnected nanowire units, a first pad of a pad-interconnected nanowire unit overlying a first pin of the predominantly microscale layer to electrically interconnect the first pin to a second pin through a pad-interconnected nanowire unit overlying the second pin and connected to the first pad-interconnected nanowire unit through a conductive nanowire junction.


US Patent 7544938 - Statistical characterization of nanoparticles


In order to effectively use nanoparticles it is important to something about the size distribution of the particles. This patent from FEI teaches forming an electrostatic pattern to attract small groups of nanoparticles sufficient to perform statistical analysis. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of determining properties of nano-particles, comprising:

forming a charge pattern on a substrate;

distributing nano-particles onto the charge pattern, the charge pattern causing the nano-particles to spread across the surface of the substrate; and

automatically measuring a property of a plurality of nano-particles to determine statistical characteristics of the nano-particle population.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

US Patent 7544747 - Photovoltaic fullerene


This patent from Konarka Technologies teaches a composite fullerene materials that may be useful in producing flexible solar cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fullerene derivative, comprising a pendant cyclic ether and a fullerene comprising a number Cj carbon atoms, wherein j ranges from 50 to 250 and the pendant cyclic ether and the fullerene are spaced apart by an ester group or a ketone group.


US Patent 7544626 - Self-assembled silicon nanotubes


While there have been a large variety of manufacturing methods used in the development of carbon nanotubes over the past two decades, other nanotube materials have been more difficult to produce. Silicon nanotubes may be easier to integrate into conventional semiconductor devices but have been fabricated mostly based on nanostructured templates. This patent from Hunan University in China teaches a method which may be simpler and lead to better scalability in the production of these materials based on self-assembly. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for preparing self-assembled silicon nanotubes (SiNTs) comprising:

forming a mixture of silicon oxide and water, wherein said mixture has a silicon oxide to water ratio of 0.01 to 10% by weight; and

maintaining said mixture at a temperature of about 200° C. to about 500° C. and a pressure of about 3 MPa to about 40 MPa for 1 to 5 hours while stirring.


US Patent 7543638 - Nanoparticle enhanced oil recovery


In the later stages of oil recovery operations it is necessary to perform chemical procedures to recover heavy oils or tar which can require a great deal of energy expenditure. This patent from Schlumberger Technology Corporation teaches a method of using nanoparticle catalysts to reduce these energy costs in recovering oil from late stage oil reserves. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for enhancing oil recovery in a formation, comprising:

placing a metal or metal oxide catalyst in a wellbore, wherein the metal or metal oxide catalyst comprises nanoparticles having diameters less than about 1 micrometer; and

introducing an oxidizing agent into the wellbore to contact the metal or metal oxide catalyst such that a hydrocarbon in the formation is oxidized to produce heat and at least one gas.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

US Patent 7542334 - Nanotube SRAM


This patent from Nantero teaches a latch cell structure analogous to that used in SRAM but formed with nanotube junctions. Claim 1 reads:

1. A latch circuit, comprising:

at least one input terminal and an output terminal;

a first and a second inverter circuit, each inverter circuit includes a nanotube switching element having an input node, an output node, a nanotube channel element having at least one electrically conductive nanotube, a control structure disposed in relation to the nanotube channel element to controllably form and unform an electrically conductive channel to the output node;

wherein the output node of the first inverter circuit is coupled to the control structure of the second inverter circuit, and the output node of the second inverter circuit is coupled to the control structure of the first inverter circuit.


US Patent 7541623 - ZnO nanorod heterostructure


The bandgap of zinc oxide semiconductors makes then useful for LED and laser applications. This patent from Postech Foundation teaches the fabrication of ZnO nanorods to achieve pn junctions for LEDs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-device comprising a p-n hetrojunction structure of a p-type semiconductor thin film and an n-type ZnO-based nanorod epitaxially grown thereon, wherein free space around portions other than tip portions of the ZnO nanorod grown on the semiconductor thin film is filled with an insulating material.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Free Mem-resistor Patent Database

Memory resistors represent a new type of nanoscale circuit element proposed to replace flash memory in the next decade and provide a platform to new types of neuromorphic computer architectures. I put together a database of patents related to the materials having memristive characteristics including the patents of Hewlett Packard, Micron Technology, Samsung, Axon Technology, Energy Conversion Devices, Advanced Micro Devices, and Unity Semiconductor which each have patents covering different variations or aspects of memristors.

The database is available by sending an E-mail to TinyTechIP@gmail.com with “mem-resistor patent database” in the title.

For more information on the business landscape of memory resistor electronics see this link.

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