Tuesday, March 31, 2009

US Patent 7510695 - Patterned nanotube growth


This patent originating from Richard Smalley's group at Rice University has an early priority (1997) and teaches a basic method for patterning arrays of carbon nanotubes on a substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a macroscopic array of fullerene nanotubes, said method comprising the steps of:

(a) providing an array of microwells on a substrate;

(b) depositing a metal catalyst in at least some of said microwells; and

(c) directing a stream of hydrocarbon or CO feedstock gas at said substrate under conditions that effect growth of fullerene nanotubes from the deposited catalyst.


US Patent 7510595 - Metal oxide nanoparticle composite with high gas permeability


A variety of polymers are useful for gas separation processes but often require a sacrifice in permeability to achieve higher selectivity in the gases being separated resulting in a bottleneck in chemical processing. This patent from the University of Texas System teaches a polymer gas separation film achieving both high selectivity and high permeability by incorporating metal oxide nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nonporous metal oxide nanoparticle filled polymer with similar gas selectivity and greater gas permeability than a native polymer, wherein the nonporous metal oxide nanoparticle filled polymer comprises:

one or more nonporous metal oxide nanoparticles dispersed within one or more polymeric materials in a polymer:nanoparticle weight ratio of between 5:1 and 0.5:1, wherein the metal oxide nanoparticle filled polymer behaves as a nanocomposite that has a greater gas permeability than the native polymer.


US Patent 7509961 - Nanofibril cigarettes


This patent from Philip Morris teaches a way to manufacture cigarettes with less carbon monoxide in the smoke based on the use of nanofibrils for conversion of CO to CO2. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming nanostructured fibrils directly on a component of a cigarette comprising:

supporting a target in a chamber having first and second electrodes;

applying an electrical bias between the first and second electrodes to form electrical field lines between the electrodes;

supporting the cigarette component on the first electrode, and bombarding the target with energetic ions to form nanoscale particles from the target material that agglomerate with each other along the direction of the electrical field lines to form nanostructured fibrils on the cigarette component.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

US Patent 7507987 - Trench grown nanotubes


This patent from M.I.T. teaches a method of forming "nanopellets" of carbon nanotubes disposed in blocks of dielectric materials formed in trenches in order to facilitate the handling of carbon nanotube materials of uniform length and spacing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising:

a silicon substrate having first and second opposing surfaces, with the first surface having a trench provided therein, the trench having a base surface which corresponds to a bottom of the trench and wherein a depth of the trench is defined as a distance between the base surface of the trench and the first surface of the substrate;

a catalyst disposed at a first location on the base surface of the trench;

at least one nanostructure disposed in said trench such that each of said at least one nanostructures projects from the base surface of the trench at the first location with each of said at least one nanostructures having a length at least equal to the depth of the trench; and

a quantity of dielectric filler material disposed in said trench and such that each of said at least one nanostructure is entirely embedded in said quantity of dielectric filler material and such that said quantity of dielectric filler material holds each of said at least one nanostructures in a fixed position within said trench.


US Patent 7507958 - Ru coated CNT tip


Carbon nanotubes have been usefully employed as tips of atomic force microscopes due to their high aspect ratio. However, some applications require electrically conductive tips for the atomic force microscope in which the ohmic resistance of CNTs can be problematic. This patent from Samsung teaches a Ru coating for the nanotube as a solution. Claim 1 reads:

1. A conductive carbon nanotube tip comprising:

a carbon nanotube tip substantially vertically placed on a substrate; and

a ruthenium coating layer covering a surface of the carbon nanotube tip and extending to at least a part of the substrate.


US Patent 7507293 - Photonic crystal fabrication using sacrificial nanowires


Photonic crystals are to optics what semiconductors are to electronics and offer a route to superlenses capable of resolutions beyond the diffraction limits of conventional lenses. This patent from HP labs teaches a methodology for fabricating photonic crystals using nanowires as a template that are later removed. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for fabricating a photonic crystal, comprising:

forming a patterned array of nanowires extending outward from a surface, the nanowires comprising a catalytically grown nanowire material;

filling in spaces between the nanowires with a slab material, the patterned array of nanowires defining a patterned array of channels in the slab material;

removing the nanowire material from the channels; and

filling the channels with a channel material, said channel material and said slab material having different refractive indexes.


Friday, March 20, 2009

US Patent 7504628 - Nanoscale corona discharge electrode


Corona discharge is an electrical discharge effect used in applications such as air purification and laser printing. This patent teaches the use of conductive nanostructures to enhance the corona effect and increase the efficiency of ionization. Claim 1 reads:

1. A corona discharge electrode comprising:

a conductive support adapted to be exposed to air and to receive an electrical voltage;

a plurality of conductive nanostructures attached to and in electrical communication with the conductive support, wherein the nanostructures have a side attached to the conductive support;

the nanostructures arranged to provide electrodes extending into surrounding air and having radii less than 100 nm to ionize the air at the nanostructure with the electrical voltage.

US Patent 7504383 - Metal encapsulating peptide nanotube


Although carbon nanotubes can be formed with metallic properties it is often desirable to fill them with other metallic or magnetic materials to improve electrical, thermal, or mechanical properties for nanotube fillers. However, the filling of the carbon nanotubes can be difficult to accomplish. This patent from Ramot At Tel Aviv University teaches peptide nanotube encapsulation of metals as an alternative. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition comprising a metal at least partially enclosed by a discrete tubular, nanostructure composed of a plurality of aromatic homodipeptides.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

US Patent 7505102 - Carbon nanotrees


This patent from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute teaches the fabrication of a new type of nanostructure based on carbon or a variety of other materials having a nanoscale tree shape. Claim 1 reads:

1. A particle comprising a base having a shape of an inverted truncated right circular cone, wherein diameter of the inverted truncated right circular cone ranges from 1 nm to 100 microns, height of the inverted truncated right circular cone ranges from 5 nm to 1000 microns, and aspect ratio of the inverted truncated right circular cone ranges from 5 to 5000.


US Patent 7504078 - CNT alignment conveyor


This patent from the University of Kentucky teaches a fabrication method of aligned films of carbon nanotubes on a substrate providing potential for mass production of CNT electronics. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for continuous production of aligned carbon nanotubes, comprising:

a reactor defining a hollow interior;

a conveyor for continuously passing a substrate through the hollow interior of the reactor at a predetermined rate of travel; and

an injector for delivering a hydrocarbon feed solution dispersed in an inert carrier gas into the hollow interior of the reactor;

whereby aligned carbon nanotubes are formed on the substrate.


US Patent 7504051 - Purified nanotube applicator liquid


This patent from Nantero teaches forming a purified nanotube solution suitable for spin coating processes used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. Claim 1 reads:

1. An applicator liquid for use in an electronics manufacturing process, comprising:

an electronics-grade solvent and a plurality of nanotubes, wherein the applicator liquid is free of polymers and is free of surfactant, wherein the nanotubes are at a concentration of greater than or equal to 10 mg/L, wherein the nanotubes are separated from one another and are distributed in the solvent without precipitation or flocculation and can remain separated for about at least one week;

wherein the nanotubes are pretreated to reduce a level of metal impurities to less than about 1×1018 atoms/cm3, and wherein said applicator liquid is free of particulates having a diameter greater than about 500 nm.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

US Patent 7504050 - Nanoparticle enhanced electrophoretic display


Electrophoretic displays are one of the principle technology used to create electronic paper having the appearance and flexibility similar to paper. This patent from Sipix Imaging teaches a nanoparticle filler providing improved transparency and reduced wear of the displays. Claim 9 reads:

9. An electrophoretic display which comprises

a) microcups formed from a composition comprising a microcup forming material and a conductive filler in the form of nanoparticles and having a volume resistivity of less than about 10000 ohm cm; and

b) an electrophoretic fluid filled in the microcups wherein said electrophoretic fluid comprises charged pigment particles dispersed in a solvent.


US Patent 7504014 - Electrolytic CNT interconnect method


One problem with bottom-up manufacturing of conductive wires is the establishment of predictable conductivity in the aggregation of the nanoparticles or nanowires forming the wiring. For example, a single nanotube may have an electrical conductivity much higher than that found in a nanotube composite. This patent from Fujitsu teaches one approach to solving this problem by forming metal connections between aligned nanotubes using electrodeposition. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for manufacturing a carbon nanotube-based nanocircuit, the method comprising:

immersing carbon nanotubes in a solution to provide a suspension of charged nanotubes;

contacting the suspension with a substrate, wherein the substrate is patterned with metallic nanowire segments;

applying an electrical bias to the metallic nanowire segments, thereby causing at least one charged carbon nanotube to align with at least one segment; and

replacing the carbon nanotube suspension with an electrolyte containing ions; and

performing electrodeposition using the electrolyte to provide metal connections between carbon nanotubes.


US Patent 7503206 - Method for cavitation using scanning probe microscopy


Cavitation is a phenomena involving the formation of vapor bubbles based on the pressure of a flowing liquid. One application of cavitation is in the cleaning of surfaces and this patent from General Nanotechnology teaches cavitation as a nanofabrication technique. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for scanning probe microscopy (SPM) comprising:

inducing nanocavitation effects on a target surface with a nanocavitation inducing member;

applying an excitation signal to vary the distance between the nanocavitation inducing member and the target surface in accordance with the excitation signal; and

scanning the nanocavitation inducing member across the target surface during the step of applying the excitation signal, wherein inducing nanocavitation effects includes creating a plurality of cavitation bubbles.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

US Patent 7502769 - Nanoparticle fractal memory


This patent from Knowmtech teaches an interesting architecture for a nanoparticle based memory using a fractal tree organization. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fractal memory system, comprising:

a fractal tree comprising at least one fractal trunk;

at least one recognition trigger electrode that routes signals in said fractal tree; and

at least one object circuit associated with said fractal tree, wherein said object circuit is configured from a plurality of nanotechnology-based components to provide a scalable distributed computing architecture.


US Patent 7502533 - MEMS adjustable lens for minimizing optical modes injected in fiber


Using fiber optic cable high frequency communication links can be established over large distances. However, interference between different carrier frequencies can lead to dispersions which limits the transmission distance. This patent teaches a system from Intel using a MEMS device to adjust the position of a laser injection into a fiber optical cable to avoid such dispersion. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system an optical waveguide; and an optical transmitter, including:

a silicon layer having active optical components;

a spacer layer; and

a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) layer having an integrated adjustable lens to condition a launch of an optical beam into the optical waveguide to minimize a number of optical modes launched into the optical waveguide.


US Patent 7502106 - Nanoparticle enhanced breathalyzer


This patent from Honeywell teaches how nanoparticles can be used to enhance the operation of breath analysis devices such as those used to determine blood alcohol content. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sample analyzer comprising:

a chamber having a first end, a second end, a first input and a second input;

a light source situated at the first end; and

a detector situated at the first end; and wherein:

the first input is for an injection of nanoparticles;

the second input is for an insertion of a sample having molecules; and

the nanoparticles are for attachment of the molecules, the nanoparticles becoming aerosolized nanoparticles and providing a floating surface for surface enhanced Raman scattering by molecules attached to the aerosolized nanoparticles.


US Patent 7501985 - Nanostructured tunable antenna


This patent from Motorola teaches an antenna formed by growing nanostructures on a substrate which provides the advantages of lower power consumption and a higher frequency range for mobile electronics devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. An antenna comprising:

a substrate comprising a material;

a plurality of nanostructures forming an antenna structure on the substrate, the nanostructures selected from one of the group consisting of nanotubes, nanowires, nanorods, and nanobelts; and

a radio frequency signal apparatus comprising a dielectric waveguide formed within the substrate, a coupling between the radio frequency signal apparatus and the plurality of nanostructures consisting of electromagnetic waves-through the material of the substrate.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

US Patent 7501650 - P-type semiconductor carbon nanotube


This patent from Samsung teaches a method of manufacturing p-type carbon nanotube semiconductors which are stable at high temperature. Claim 1 reads:

1. A p-type semiconductor carbon nanotube comprising:

a carbon nanotube;

a halogen element that is attached to an inner wall of the carbon nanotube and accepts electrons from the carbon nanotube to achieve p-type doping of the carbon nanotube; and

fullerene attached to the inner wall of the carbon nanotube.


US Patent 7501618 - Bending nanocantilever with particle beam


It is well known to form sharp nanoscopic tips for micromechanical cantilevers using a variety of etching mechanisms or catalytic growth processes. Focused Ion Beam (FIB) manipulation is one known method for shaping the tip material and this patent from Korea Research Institute of Standards teaches bending the tip based on the FIB. Claim 1 reads:

1. A deformation method of nanometer-scale material using particle beam, which is characterized in that the nanometer-scale material is bent toward a direction of the particle beam by irradiating the particle beam on the nanometer-scale material.


US Patent 7501483 - Molecular nanoweaver


Chemical reactions have been induced with individual molecules using tools such as lasers, atomic force microscopes, and scanning tunneling microscopes. However, such bottom-up molecular reactions are typically limited to lab experiments rather than the creation of a macroscopic material. This patent from the University of Chicago teaches a free space method based on field gradients in order to weave macromolecular films. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of constructing macroscopic films with tailored assemblies of molecules, comprising:

providing starting molecules; and

applying a force selected from the group of a gravitational force, a centrifugal force, a magnetic field force, and an electric field force to the starting molecules causing them to move in space and then chemically react to form tailored assemblies of molecules in a particular pattern in a nanoscale size macroscopic film for removal and subsequent use.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

US patent 7501180 - Nanoparticles confined in polyelectrolytes


This patent from Vive Nano teaches a stabilizer for nanoparticles to minimized undesired chemical reactions between nanoparticle composites and the environment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoparticle composite comprising a nanoparticle surrounded within a layer of a plurality of collapsed polymeric polyelectrolyte stabilizing moieties, wherein the nanoparticle composite has a mean diameter in the range of between about 1 nm to about 100 nm.

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US Patent 7501024 - Carbon nanohorn production


Sumio Iijima is usually credited as the first to discover (or at least properly characterize) carbon nanotubes. This patent from Iijima's group teaches an apparatus for manufacturing a related type of carbon nanostructure called carbon nanohorns. Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon nanohorn producing apparatus comprising:

a target holding unit which holds a graphite target;

a light source which irradiates a surface of said graphite target with light, said light source being a laser beam source, and an irradiation angle of a laser beam emitted by the laser beam source is from 30° to 6°;

a cooling unit which cools carbon vapor vaporized from said graphite target by said light irradiation; and a recovery unit which recovers said carbon vapor cooled by the cooling unit to obtain a carbon nanohorn, wherein said recovery unit includes a recovery chamber and recovery pipe which introduces said carbon vapor to said recovery chamber, and said cooling unit is configured to cool at least inside of said recovery pipe.


US Patent 7501000 - Alpha alumina nanoparticle abrasive


This patent from 3M teaches a new nanostructured abrasive composite. Claim 1 reads:

1. A plurality of abrasive particles having a specified nominal grade, wherein at least a portion of the plurality of abrasive particles comprise a glass-ceramic, the glass-ceramic comprising alpha alumina having an average crystal size not greater than 150 nanometers, wherein the abrasive particles of the portion have a density of at least 90 percent of theoretical density.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

US Patent 7500213 - Nanoscale drivers for molecular electronics


This patent based on a collaboration between Caltech and Harvard teaches reconfigurable nanoscale crossbar circuit architectures providing both decoding and signal restoration capabilities. Claim 1 reads:

1. A circuit comprising:

a plurality of arrays having first and second sets of address lines and connections between the first and second sets of address lines; and

a plurality of driving devices for the plurality of arrays, the driving devices having third and fourth sets of address lines and connections between the third and fourth sets of address lines, wherein the second set of address lines is connected with the fourth set of address lines, wherein the driving devices have a first condition in which they act as decoders for the arrays, and a second condition in which they act as signal restoring devices for the arrays, and wherein the driving devices comprise nanoscale driving devices.

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US Patent 7499808 - Characterizing nanoparticles in gunshot residue


Conventional methods for gunshot residue analysis can produce inaccurate results for close range firing and can require a relatively large sample size. This patent teaches a method based on scanning electron microscopy for nanoparticulate analysis of the residue to improve the accuracy of forensic results with a smaller sample. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for analyzing gun-shot residue, the method comprising:

determining a size of at least one nanoparticle from the gun shot residue using a measurement system, wherein the size corresponds to a weapon caliber; and

computing a temperature of formation of the at least one nanoparticle based on the size of the at least one nanoparticle using an analysis application, wherein the temperature of formation corresponds to a firing distance, wherein the weapon caliber and firing distance are useful in forensic studies.

US Patent 7498832 - Quantum logic gate with coupled resonator


This patent from Northrop Grumman teaches more accurate control of quantum logic using resonators. Claim 1 reads:

1. In a quantum circuit having a qubit coupled to a resonator, a method for creating a quantum logic gate, comprising:

adjusting quantum state in the qubit by transitioning a classical control parameter between control points at a selected one of slow and fast transition speeds;

whereby a slow transition speed exchanges energy states of the qubit and the resonator, and a fast transition speed preserves the energy states of the qubit and the resonator.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

US Patent 7498423 - CNT-DNA complexes


DNA has been found to facilitate the dispersal of nanotubes in solution which is important so that the nanotubes may be uniformly distributed in a composite. This patent from duPont (with priority going back to 11/18/2003) seems basic to this technique. Claim 1 reads:

1. A dispersed, carbon nanotube-nucleic acid complex consisting of a single walled carbon nanotube bound to single stranded nucleic acid molecules by non-covalent means, wherein the carbon nanotube is unfunctionalized.


US Patent 7498215 - Fabrication of silicon nanowire sheets


There are two primary methodologies used to incorporate silicon nanowires into electronics -
1) growing the nanowires directly on the substrate (usually requiring high temperature processing that limit the choice of substrate) or 2) prefabricating the silicon nanowires and depositing the nanowires in a solution on the substrate using a printing or coating method (usually requiring an additional step for orienting the nanowires during or after deposition). This patent from Canon teaches a third alternative based on the fabrication of aligned silicon nanowire monolayers in a technique similar to Langmuir-Blodgett deposition. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing a product including silicon wires, comprising:

dispersing the silicon wires, which are covered with a hydrophobic insulating polymer solution, in a solvent having a polarity opposite to that of the silicon wires;

arranging longitudinal directions of the silicon wires so that each one of the silicon wires is positioned end to end to one another;

fixing the silicon wires whose longitudinal directions are arranged end to end to one another by using one of a crosslinking reaction and a polymerization reaction of the polymer, and collecting the silicon wires fixed in accordance with said fixing step by forming one of a silicon wire monolayer sheet and a silicon wire monolayer ribbon on a substrate.


US Patent 7498177 - Quantum dot with tiopronin capping group


This patent teaches using tiopronin to facilitate the coupling of quantum dots (aka semiconductor nanocrystals) to biological compounds. Claim 1 reads:

1. A quantum dot comprising:

a semiconductor core to which a plurality of ligands are covalently linked,

wherein the ligands comprise a tiopronin capping group linked to a targeting group,

said targeting group directing the quantum dot to a target selected from the group consisting of tissue type, a cell type and a cellular organelle,

wherein the targeting group is selected from the group consisting of a translocation signal peptide, a mitochondrial targeting sequence, a nuclear localisation signal, a perioxisomal targeting signal and a transport protein.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

US Patent 7498155 - Microbial nanowires


This patent from the University of Massachusetts teaches a merging of nanoelectronics and biotechnology by engineering a microorganism as an electrical circuit component. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of preparing a conductive electronic circuit component, said method comprising:

providing a bacterium expressing a conductive proteinaceous pilus;

providing a culture medium conditioned for conductive pilin production, said medium comprising an electron acceptor;

contacting said bacterium with said medium over a time sufficient for assembly of said pilus;

isolating said conductive pilus from said medium; and

coupling said conductive pilus to a circuit component.


US Patent 7497952 - Nanocrystalline anatase water treatment


This patent from Stevens Institute of Technology teaches a form of nanocrystalline titanium oxide useful for water purification. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for removing dissolved contaminants from a solution, comprising the step of contacting a surface-activated titanium oxide in the form of nano-crystalline anatase with a solution containing dissolved contaminants without irradiating the surface-activated titanium oxide.


US Patent 7497885 - Nanoparticle abrasive


In many semiconductor device manufacturing steps it is necessary to have a uniformly flat surface to work with after processing of a silicon wafer. One technique to achieve such flat surfaces is called chemical mechanical planarization. This patent from 3M teaches using nanoparticulate abrasives to enhance this type of planarization process. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fixed abrasive article comprising:

a plurality of three-dimensional abrasive composites fixed to the abrasive article,

wherein the abrasive composites comprise a plurality of abrasive particles having a volume mean diameter less than 500 nanometers (nm) in a matrix material,

the matrix material comprising a polymeric binder and a plurality of inorganic filler particles having a volume mean diameter no greater than 200 nanometers.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

US Patent 7495839 - Lens IR filter using oxide nanoparticles


In order to reduce the sensitivity of imaging sensors to infrared radiation dielectric multilayer films are often integrated into the lens. This patent from Hon Hai Precision teaches an easier fabrication procedure to achieve equivalent results by using nanoparticles. Claim 1 reads:

1. A lens, comprising:

a base; and

a plurality of nano-particles distributed in the base,

the nano-particles being configured for filtering infrared rays from incoming light,

the nano-particles consisting one of upconversion fluorescence material and absorption material selected from the group consisting of silicon oxide and titanium oxide.


US Patent 7495726 - Transflective nanoparticle LCD


Usually flat panel displays such as LCDs are either optically transmissive, in which light is selectively transmitted through the panel from a backlight, or optically reflective, in which ambient light is selectively reflected. Reflective LCDs consume less power but lack visibility under low lighting and transmissive LCDs have greater visibility but require significant power. In order to create a low-power, high visibility display transflective designs have been developed. This patent from Hon Hai teaches using reflective nanoparticles to achieve a transflective display with improved reflection and transmission parameters. Claim 1 reads:

1. A transflective LCD device comprising:

a liquid crystal layer; and

a transflective layer comprising:

a matrix made of a transparent material; and

a plurality of reflective nano-particles configured for reflecting ambient light, the reflective nano-particles having grain sizes in the approximate range from 2 nm to 20 nm, said reflective nano-particles being dispersed uniformly and randomly in the entire matrix.


US Patent 7495383 - Phosphor coated with quantum dots


One of the key advantages of quantum dots used in sensor and display applications is that the detection or emission wavelength can be tuned based on the particle size. However, using uniform size quantum dots in a colloidal system can result in too narrow a wavelength selectivity which is undesirable for some application such as a white light source. This patent from Avago Technologies teaches achieving a wider wavelength responsiveness by coating larger phosphor particles with the smaller quantum dots. Claim 1 reads:

1. A phosphor composition comprising:

first phosphor particles of a first size, said first phosphor particles of a first size converting light of an excitation wavelength to light having a first spectrum characterized by an intensity of light that varies as a function of wavelength, said first spectrum being independent of said size of said first phosphor particles; and

particles of a QD phosphor of a second size that convert light of said excitation wavelength to light having a QD phosphor spectrum characterized by an intensity of light that varies as a function of wavelength; wherein each of said first phosphor particles of a first size are coated with one or more of said particles of a QD phosphor of a second size.