Sunday, April 26, 2009

US Patent 7522040 - Wireless nanostructure chemfet

US Patent 7522040

Nanomix is a company applying nanoelectronics to biomolecule analysis. This patent from Nanomix teaches a wireless nanostructured chemfet which when combined with MEMS robotics may form the basis for some interesting nanoswarm technology. Claim 1 reads:

1. A remote sensor device, comprising:

a nanostructure sensor comprising a nanostructure conducting channel between a source electrode and a drain electrode, wherein the nanostructure sensor is configured to respond to an analyte;

a measurement circuit operatively connected to the nanostructure sensor, the measurement circuit configured to provide a signal indicating a response of the nanostructure sensor to the analyte; and

a transmitter operatively connected to the measurement circuit, the transmitter configured to wirelessly transmit the signal, wherein the nanostructure sensor, the measurement circuit, and the transmitter are assembled together in a portable unit.


US Patent 7521672 - Quantum dot array for mass spectroscopy

US Patent 7521672

Mass spectrometry attempts to discover the chemical components of an unknown sample using mass separation via differing charge to mass ratios. However, the sample holders conventionally used in mass spectroscopy can often produce unwanted debris obscuring operation after repeated use. This patent teaches a quantum dot surface formed in the sample plate which avoids such fouling and makes cleaning easier. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sample plate for laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry, comprising a surface, on which a plurality of convex quantum dot structures contacting a sample are distributed.


US Patent 7521492 - Flame retardant polymer formed using surface modified nanoparticles

US Patent 7521492

This patent from 3M teaches a nanoparticle modified polymer providing flame retardant capabilities and which offers a more environmentally favorable alternative than some more conventional flame retardant additives. Claim 1 reads:

1. A polymer composition comprising an organic polymer having dispersed therein a azido polymer surface-modified nanoparticle phase.


US Patent 7521394 - TiO nanofiber

US Patent 7521394

Titanium oxide is useful to create white pigments, as a photocatalyst, or in photovoltaic energy conversion. Forming nanostructures for TiO can enhance the utility of the material by providing more reactive surface area. This patent from the University of Illinois teaches a method of making a new TiO nanostructure capable of producing larger quantities at lower cost. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanofiber, comprising: anatase titanium oxide, where the nanofiber has a longest dimension of at least 2 micrometers, and an aspect ratio greater than 20:1.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

US Patent 7521274 - GaN nanowire LED fabrication using pulsed growth

US Patent 7521274

GaN is a semiconductor compound useful to the formation of LEDs for lighting and displays. Formation of GaN nanowires can enhance the density of electron states and improve the optical efficiency of LED or other optoelectronic devices however fabrication methods have been based on the vapor-liquid -solid method requiring catalytic material with limited control of uniformity and position of the nanowire growth. This patent from the University of New Mexico teaches an alternative approach based on the formation of patterned apertures servng as a template for the growth of a vertical array of GaN nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making nanowires comprising:

forming a selective growth mask over a substrate, wherein the selective growth mask comprises a plurality of patterned apertures that expose a plurality of portions of the substrate;

using a selective non-pulsed growth mode to grow a semiconductor material on each of the plurality of portions of the substrate exposed in each of the patterned apertures;

performing a growth-mode transition from the non-pulsed growth mode to a pulsed growth mode; and

forming a plurality of semiconductor nanowires by continuing the pulsed growth mode of the semiconductor material.


US Patent 7521225 - Nanotube having a surfactant bilayer inner wall coating

US Patent 7521225

Lipid bilayers are useful as encapsulants for drug delivery as well as for biosensing applications. This patent from North Carolina State University teaches a method of forming the bilayers on the inner surface of nanotubes offering greater stability and surface area for bilayer formation. Claim 1 reads:

1. An article of manufacture comprising:

(a) a nanotube having an inner wall portion, said nanotube having (i) an inner diameter between 10 nanometers and 500 nanometers and (ii) a length from two to one thousand times said diameter; and

(b) a bilayer coating formed on and parallel to said inner wall portion, such that only the hydrophilic portion of the bilayer coating is in contact with said inner wall portion, with said bilayer coating comprised of (i) from 10 to 90 percent by weight surfactant and (ii) from 10 to 90 percent by weight water.


US Patent 7520742 - Nanoimprint mold-releasing agent

US Patent 7520742

Nanoimprint lithography provides a technique to mechanically pattern structures on the nanometer scale using surface contours of a mold structure. However, one difficulty is in the release of the mold from the material being patterned without deforming the structures being formed. This patent from Hitachi teaches a mold structure including a release agent to solve this problem. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoprinting mold for forming a fine structure on a resin substrate or on a resin film on a substrate using a press machine, wherein said mold has a concave-convex pattern including a plurality of concave portions and convex portions, and a mold-releasing agent is provided only on top surfaces of said convex portions of said mold, and wherein said mold-releasing agent is a solid and has a coefficient of friction smaller than that of said concave portions.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

US Patent 7518780 - Nanolaminate deformable mirror

In order to increase the precision of micromirror devices this patent from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory teaches using nanolaminate materials formed from alternating layers of copper and zirconium to achieve an ultra-flat surface. Claim 1 reads:

1. A deformable mirror, comprising:

a substrate;

a resilient layer coupled to said substrate;

a plurality of electrodes electrically coupled to said resilient layer, wherein each of said electrodes and said resilient layer are adapted to have a respective applied potential so as to dynamically change the shape of said resilient layer; and

a nanolaminate configured with an optical finish of less than about 0.5 nm and conformably coupled to said resilient layer.


US Patent 7517558 - Mask structure for CNT patterning

This patent from Micron Technology teaches a deposition system for accurately placing carbon nanotubes in desired patterns and counting the number of nanotubes that are deposited. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of positioning carbon nanotubes, comprising:

creating a dusty plasma comprising a plurality of carbon nanotubes;

positioning a mask between said dusty plasma and a desired target for said carbon nanotubes, said mask having a plurality of openings extending therethrough;

extinguishing said dusty plasma;

the carbon nanotubes falling out of the extinguished plasma and toward said mask, the mask patterning the falling carbon nanotubes to form a pattern of the carbon nanotubes on said target;

wherein said plurality of openings correspond to a plurality of funnels;

wherein each of said funnels comprises an inlet and an outlet, with the outlet being narrower than the inlet along at least one cross-section; and

using parallel spaced-apart conductive plates to count nanotubes exiting the outlets of the funnels.


US Patent 7516610 - Nanoparticle propulsion

This patent from the University of Michigan proposes a new type of propulsion system using charged nanoparticles as fuel. Claim 1 reads:

1. A propulsion system, comprising:

a grid;

a gimbal supporting the grid; and

a plurality of micron-size vias disposed in the grid, the grid establishing electrical fields to extract and accelerate a plurality of nano-particles providing propulsion system thrust.


Friday, April 10, 2009

US Patent 7515333 - Nanocomposite optical amplifier

This patent from Nanosys teaches the use semiconductor nanorods to expand the range of optical amplification in telecommunications. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical device, comprising:

an optical amplifier that comprises a nanocomposite material that includes:

InAs or CdSe nanorod cores having one or more core-overcoating shell layers made of a semiconductor material selected from the group comprising ZnS, InP, CdSe, CdS, and ZnSe disposed thereon, wherein the core-shell nanorods emit light at from about 1200 nm to about 1700 nm; and have Auger scattering times greater than 5 ns.


US Patent 7514853 - Stress inverter MEMS resonator

This is another patent from Silicon Clocks teaching a solution to thermal expansion mismatch in MEMS structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A MEMS structure, comprising:

a stress inverter member coupled with a substrate; and

a resonating member housed in said stress inverter member and suspended above said substrate.


US Patent 7514760 - IC compatible MEMS resonator

Although the fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) involves many of the same process steps as integrated circuit fabrication it is often difficult to integrate control circuitry with MEMS structures without excessive complication of the process. This patent from Silicon Clocks teaches a new type of process they call CMEMS which may make such integration easier leading to reduced cost of microsensor and microactuator fab. Claim 1 reads:

1. An integrated circuit having a MEMS device, comprising:

a plurality of semiconductor devices formed on a substrate;

a plurality of interconnects above and coupled with said plurality of semiconductor devices, wherein said plurality of interconnects incorporates said plurality of semiconductor devices into said integrated circuit; and

a MEMS resonator above and coupled with said plurality of interconnects, wherein said MEMS resonator is comprised of a member, a driver electrode and a sensor electrode, wherein said driver electrode and said sensor electrode are electrically coupled with said plurality of interconnects.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

US Patent 7514491 - Polymer/Inorganic clay nanocomposite fabrication

This patent from ExxonMobile teaches the manufacture of a clay nanocomposite for enhancing the air barrier in tires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process to produce a nanocomposite comprising the steps of:

(a) mixing an aqueous slurry of clay with a solution of polymer in an organic solvent to form an emulsion comprising a polymer-clay nanocomposite;

(b) recovering the nanocomposite from the emulsion.


US Patent 7514214 - Functionalized CNT probe tip

This patent from Caltech with priority going back to 2003 includes some basic claims to a carbon nanotube molecular sensor formed on an atomic force microscope tip. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising:

a nanostructure having a surface and a passivation layer coating all but a unique site on the surface, the unique site exhibiting at least one of chemical, biological, electrical, and physical activity, wherein the nanostructure comprises a carbon nanotube, wherein a material is attached to the unique site, and wherein a moveable probe is connected to the nanostructure.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

US Patent 7514116 - Horizontal carbon nanotubes by vertical growth and rolling

The growth of vertical arrays of carbon nanotubes over a wide array is commonly practiced for applications such as field emission displays and has potential for mass production. However, other electronic structures such as interconnect wiring benefit from aligned arrays of nanotubes that are formed horizontal to the substrate which requires special alignment steps and is difficult to mass produce. This patent from Intel teaches a simple method of converting vertically aligned nanotube arrays to horizontally aligned array using a roller. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

applying a catalyst to a plurality of different points on a substrate;

growing carbon nanotubes vertically on the plurality of different points to form a plurality of vertical carbon nanotube structures on the substrate; and

rolling the vertical carbon nanotube structures to form horizontal carbon nanotube structures.


US Patent 7513437 - CNT security mark for gaming card

In order to prevent cheating in casinos it is useful to mark card decks with a security mark that is transparent to the players but is easily verifiable. This patent teaches providing such security marks using a carbon nanotube coating to modify the resistance level of gaming cards. Claim 1 reads:

1. A gaming card having a security feature incorporated therein, said gaming card comprising:

a gaming card; and

a conductive material comprising carbon nanotubes located on said gaming card, said conductive material being formed as a patterned layer comprising identifying indicia;

wherein said patterned layer of identifying indicia is contactable by and readable by a conductivity meter to provide a resistance value of at least a portion of said identifying indicia to impart a security feature to said gaming card.

Friday, April 03, 2009

US Patent 7511318 - Nanotube ribbon memory array

This patent from Nantero has priority going back to 2001 and is basic to the use of nanotube fabric in electronic structures such as memory and logic arrays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A structure, comprising:

a substrate having a surface, the substrate comprising patterned regions of conductor and patterned regions of insulator below the surface of the substrate; and

a nonwoven nanotube fabric of unaligned nanotubes disposed on the surface of the substrate, wherein the nonwoven nanotube fabric is parallel to the substrate.


US Patent 7511294 - Nanoparticle RRAM

By using voltage pulses to alter the resistance states of certain materials a new form of non-volatile memory called RRAM has been under development over the past year and has recently been popularized by the memristor theory. This patent from Infineon teaches incorporating nanoparticles in the material to reduce the time necessary for data erasure. Claim 1 reads:

1. A resistive memory element for reversibly switching between a high-resistance OFF state and a low-resistance ON state, the resistive memory element comprising:

a reactive electrode;

an inert electrode;

a solid electrolyte arranged between the reactive and inert electrodes; and

a nanoparticle structure arranged on the inert electrode, wherein the nanoparticle structure is formed of a plurality of nanoparticles that are arranged at a distance and are separated from each other so as to define openings within the nanoparticle structure between the nanoparticles through which the solid electrolyte makes contact with the inert electrode, and the openings within the nanoparticle structure have a defined average size.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

US Patent 7510982 - Porous low-k films formed using sacrificial nanoparticles

The speed bottleneck in integrated circuit design usually comes from the interconnect lines which can generate capacitance that increases signal delays. To solve this problem there is an interest in low-k dielectrics which can be formed from porous oxides or polymers. This patent from Novellus Systems teaches a method using nanoparticles as pore forming structures for an integrated circuit dielectric layer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of fabricating an integrated circuit comprising:

embedding nanoparticles in a dielectric network on a substrate in a chamber to form a layer of composite dielectric material, wherein the nanoparticles are selected from silicon or carbon allotropes;

patterning the layer of composite dielectric material to define paths for the conductive lines and filling the paths with conductive material;

removing excess conductive material to thereby form an exposed pattern of conductive lines in the composite dielectric material; and removing at least some of the nanoparticles by UV-initiated photo-dissociation, thereby creating a porous dielectric network.


US Patent 7510802 - Bionanobattery

Research into microscopic batteries has developed over the past few years to achieve power sources for microrobotic and implantable medical devices. This patent from NASA is based on a spin-coating technique which takes advantage of self-assembly of proteins to achieve a biological nanobattery. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thin-film electrode material for a bio-nanobattery, which is produced by a process comprising:

consecutively depositing arrays of an iron storage protein ferritin on a substrate, employing a spin self-assembly procedure which comprises alternately depositing a plurality of oppositely-charged ferritin layers on the substrate by first forming a first ferritin layer on the substrate, followed by building a second, oppositely-charged ferritin layer on the top of the first ferritin layer to form a bilayer structure, and continuing to deposit oppositely-charged ferritin layers on top of each other until a desired number of bilayer structures is produced, so that an ordered, uniform, stable and robust electrode material of enhanced packing density is presented, which provides optimal charge density for the bio-nanobattery.