Wednesday, March 31, 2010

US Patent 7687705 - Multi-layer thermoelectric device including nanocrystals

Microelectronic cooling devices will become more important as circuit densities continue to increase using stacked architectures. This patent from Alabama A&M University Institute teaches a periodic multilayer structure in which semiconductor nanocrystals are used to improve the thermal conversion efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thermoelectric device comprising:

a periodic multilayer structure having a plurality of periods, each of said periods comprising:

a first insulating layer comprising a first electrical insulating material, and a single composite layer comprising metal material mixture having nanocrystals, nanoclusters, or quantum dots of a metal material and a second insulating material;

a first contact layer for electrical and thermal coupling to said periodic multilayer structure; and

a second contact layer for electrical and thermal coupling to said periodic multilayer structure.


US Patent 7687431 - TiO2 nanotube

Titanium dioxide has a variety of uses in pigments, photocatalysts, solar cells, and memristors. This patent from Nippon Oil teaches the fabrication of a nanotube form of TiO2 which may improve the responsiveness of the material to external stimulus. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanotube-shaped titania with a diameter of 30 to 500 nm, a length of 0.9 to 100 microns and an aspect ratio of 30 or greater, obtained by anodizing a titanium metal or an alloy mainly containing titanium.


US Patent 7687160 - Magnetic storage with CNT material

This patent teaches iron particles encapsulated in carbon nanotubes forming an ultrahigh resolution magnetic storage device. Claim 1 reads:

1. A magnetic storage medium, comprising:

a substrate; and

a data layer on top of said substrate, said data layer comprising:

a plurality of magnetic nanoparticles contained within a carbon nanotube; and

a plurality of said carbon nanotubes encapsulated in a matrix.

Monday, March 29, 2010

US Patent 7683359 - Nanosilicon/Lithium battery

This patent covers a variation of lithium ion batteries developed by Nexeon Ltd. using nanostructured silicon as the anode. Claim 1 reads:

1. An energy storage device comprising:

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

a cathode comprising lithium; and

a lithium-based electrolyte, arranged to form a battery.


US Patent 7683303 - Nanoscale volumetric imaging

This patent from SRI International teaches the use of nanowire arrays in fabricating a 3D image capture device. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a nanoscale imaging device comprising the steps of:

a) depositing a plurality of nanoscale devices on a pre-selected form of transmissive material;

b) assembling an addressable array of said nanoscale devices on said transmissive material; and

c) establishing electrical connectivity between said addressable array to a logic device.


US Patent 7682973 - Buffer layer in CNT growth

When growing arrays of carbon nanotubes catalyst particles are often used as a basis for carbon to be precipitated in a tube shape. However, at high temperatures agglomeration of the catalytic particles can hinder the control of the size and density of nanotube growth. This patent from Samsung teaches using a buffer layer to prevent the agglomeration of the catalysts. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a Carbon Nanolube (CNT) structure, the method comprising:

forming an electrode on a substrate; forming a buffer layer on the electrode;

forming a catalyst layer in a particle shape on the buffer layer;

etching the buffer layer exposed through the catalyst layer; and

growing CNTs from the catalyst layer formed on the etched buffer layer.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

US Patent 7682970 - Laser ablation nanopatterning

This patent from the University of California teaches a maskless fabrication method for organic field effect transistors having <100nm resolution by using laser ablation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a nanostructure comprising:

depositing a suspension containing nanoparticles onto a substrate forming thereby a pattern;

ablating said pattern to produce an ablated pattern; and

sintering said ablated pattern to produce said nanostructure.


US Patent 7682750 - CNT/nanoparticle Li ion battery

A variety of approaches have been suggested to use carbon materials as anodes to achieve high efficiency lithium ion batteries. This patent from Hon-Hai Precision teaches a variation using multiwalled carbon nanotubes as the anode and Li based nanoparticles as the cathode. Claim 1 reads:

1. A lithium ion battery comprising:

an anode comprising a conductive substrate and at least one carbon nanotube array formed thereon, the carbon nanotube array comprising a plurality of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, the carbon nanotubes being substantially parallel to each other and substantially perpendicular to the substrate;

a cathode comprising a plurality of lithium-cobalt-nickel oxide nanoparticles;

an electrolyte; and

a membrane separating the anode from the cathode.


US Patent 7682659 - Suspended carbon MEMS

MEMS devices are most often formed with silicon materials but for some applications carbon is more desirable to establish biocompatiblity. This patent from the University of California teaches a method for forming carbon MEMS of different shapes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming suspended carbon structures comprising the steps of

exposing a negative photoresist to UV light;

patterning lines with electron beam lithography to the top surface of the photoresist between UV exposed areas;

pyrolyzing the patterned negative photoresist in a two step pyrolysis process in a first inert gas atmosphere; and

forming carbon posts with carbon structures suspended therebetween.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

US Patent 7682652 - Nanoparticle circuit line formation

Inkjet processes are being examined to develop additive patterning of nanomaterials but can suffer from weak bonding power between the base substrate and the nanomaterials. This patent from Samsung teaches a solution to this problem using an alkali surface treatment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming circuit lines on a substrate comprising the steps of:

(a) selectively applying a surface treatment solution which includes an alkali metal compound on a base film in accordance with circuit patterns by a discharging method;

(b) applying a conductive ink which includes metal nanoparticles in accordance with the surface-treated circuit pattern; and

(c) curing the base film on which the conductive ink is applied under a reduction atmosphere.


US Patent 7682591 - Selective area nanopartcle positioning

This patent from IBM teaches a way to pattern nanoparticles used for the catalytic growth of nanowires or nanotubes. The method is based on deposition into substrate recesses and wiper removal of excess nanoparticles outside of the recesses. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of positioning nanoparticles on a patterned substrate, the method comprising:

providing a patterned substrate with selectively positioned recesses;

applying a solution or suspension of nanoparticles to the patterned substrate to form a wetted substrate;

dragging a wiper member across a surface of the wetted substrate to remove a portion of the applied nanoparticles from the wetted substrate such that a substantial number of the remaining portion of the applied nanoparticles are disposed in the selectively positioned recesses;

heating the wiped substrate with the remaining portion of the applied nanoparticles disposed in the selectively positioned recesses;

wherein the nanoparticles are catalytic sites for the growth of one-dimensional materials.


US Patent 7682590 - CNT dispersed polar organic solvent

This patent includes basic claims to using polyvinylpyrrolidone to establish more effective dispersion of nanotubes in a solvent. Claim 1 reads:

1. A non-aqueous carbon nanotube dispersion liquid consisting of a carbon nanotube, an amide-based polar organic solvent, and a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP).


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

US Patent 7682523 - CNT security ink

This patent from Rice University teaches an anti-counterfeiting ink using carbon nanotubes as a key ingredient. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fluorescent ink, comprising:

a solvent;

a surfactant; and

carbon nanotubes suspended in the solvent;

wherein the carbon nanotubes are dispersed in the solvent;

wherein the carbon nanotubes are fluorescent and have diameters of less than about 3 nm; and

wherein the carbon nanotubes have a visible excitation and an emission following the visible excitation; and

wherein the fluorescent ink is suitable for deposition on a surface.


US Patent 7682265 - Adaptive golf ball using magnetic nanoparticles

This patent teaches an interesting design for a liquid core golf ball offering some advantages when used with a magnetic golf club head or when interacting with the Earth's magnetic field during flight. Claim 1 reads:

1. A golf ball comprising:

an inner core; one or more mantle layers surrounding the inner core; and

an outer cover surrounding the mantle layer(s),

wherein the inner core is further comprised of a permanent magnet immersed in a ferrofluid, and the ferrofluid is further comprised of a colloidal suspension of nanometer-sized, single domain, magnetic particles immersed in a carrier liquid.

US Patent 7681301 - Silicon nanostructure RFID antenna

This patent teaches a laser ablation method to generate microscopic spikes on the surface of bulk silicon used for an RFID antenna. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) antenna as an integral part of an RFID integrated circuit using silicon as antenna material thereby enabling the antenna and an RFID integrated circuit to be manufactured as one piece, said method comprising:

providing commercially produced bulk sheets of silicon wafer base material (silicon wafers);

femtosecond laser ablating, with a sharply focused pulse, the silicon wafers to create three dimensional nano structures out of the silicon base material;

designing an antenna as a complex resonant antenna at a macro level and reducing it, through a process of de-magnification or photographically, to a nano sized image which perfectly replicates design features of a macro level template directional antenna on a master stencil mask and, still further, forming this master stencil mask on the reverse side of silicon wafers treated with femtosecond laser ablation;

manufacturing said femtosecond laser ablated silicon wafers so that they are manufactured into radio frequency identification antennas.

Monday, March 22, 2010

US Patent 7680243 - X-Ray measurement of nanoparticles

This patent from Jordan Valley Semiconductors teaches a new X-ray spectroscopy method for analysing nanostructures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for analyzing a sample, comprising:

directing one or more beams of X-rays from at least one radiation source to impinge on an area of a surface of the sample on which a layer of nano-particles of a selected element has been formed, including a beam that is incident on the surface at a grazing angle;

detecting, using at least one detector, an intensity of X-ray fluorescence emitted from the area in a spectral line that is characteristic of the selected element responsively to the one or more beams;

detecting, using the at least one detector, an angular spectrum of the X-rays that are scattered from the area responsively to the beam that is incident on the surface at the grazing angle; and

characterizing a distribution of the nano-particles on the surface based on the intensity of the X-ray fluorescence and the angular spectrum of the scattered X-rays.


US Patent 7679946 - Mem-resistor arrays with tunnel junctions

Memory resistors are nanoscale resistance switches offering a new form of non-volatile memory. One issue with mem-resistor arrays is leakage current "sneak paths" which reduce the efficiency of operation. This patent from Funai Electric teaches using tunnel junctions to avoid these sneak paths. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory element array comprising

a plurality of memory elements arranged in an array,

wherein the memory elements are switching elements each including a gap of nanometer order in which a switching phenomenon of resistance is caused by applying a predetermined voltage between electrodes, and

the memory element array is provided with tunnel elements respectively connected to the switching elements in series, each of the tunnel elements preventing generation of a sneak path current flowing to another switching element at a time of applying the predetermined voltage.

It is notable that a similar memristor memory array with tunnel junctions was earlier suggested in US Patent 7038935 using a tunnel diode or MIM tunnel junction.


US Patent 7679364 - CNT material for high gain MRI

This patent from Tursiop Technologies teaches a system using the high electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes to enhance the efficiency of magnetic field production in MRIs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A magnetic resonance imaging system having an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio, the system comprising:

a magnet system for providing a static magnetic field; and

at least one RF receiving coil assembly, the RF receiving coil assembly including:

at least one RF receiving coil constructed at least partly from an electrical conducting element consisting essentially of layered carbon nanotube material; and

RF receiving circuitry having a maximized quality factor.


US Patent 7678841 - Fullerene film with increased gas transmission

Meat is usually packaged in a low-oxygen atmosphere to extend shelf-life. However, the low-oxygen atmosphere creates a discoloration of red meat which can be displeasing when on display at supermarkets. Thus it is useful to form the food packaging with sufficient oxygen permeability so that the meat is not discolored when it reaches the supermarket. This patent from Cryovac teaches providing carbon nanomaterials to improve the oxygen transmission in meat packaging. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of increasing the gas transmission rate of a packaging film comprising the steps of:

providing a packaging film comprising at least about 0.001 weight %, based on the weight of the film, of fullerene material selected from one or more of spherical fullerenes, bowl-shaped fullerenes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, carbon nanocones, and carbon nano-onions; and

exposing the packaging film to an amount of radiation energy effective to increase the oxygen transmission rate of the packaging film by at least about 100 cubic centimeters (at standard temperature and pressure) per square meter per day per 1 atmosphere of oxygen pressure differential measured at 0% relative humidity and 23 C.


US Patent 7678707 - Fabrication of CNT diode

This patent is based on U.S. Naval research and teaches using barium fluoride to establish a diode junction between metallic nanotubes and a semiconductor substrate. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of producing a nanoShockley diode, the method comprising:

locally modifying electrical conductive properties of a semiconducting carbon nanotube so the properties are similar to electrical conductive properties of graphite,

wherein the locally modifying electrical conductive properties comprises exposing the carbon nanotube to a vapor from a family II salt.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

US Patent 7678672 - CNT fabricated from crystallography oriented catalyst

Usually the growth of carbon nanotubes from catalyst material results in nanotube arrays which are either disordered or oriented in a vertical direction with respect to a substrate. This patent from Northrop Grumman teaches a method which generates horizontally oriented nanotube arrays by controlling the crystalline orientation of the catalyst. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of synthesizing a carbon nanowire comprising:

forming a crystallographically oriented catalyst layer on at least a portion of a substrate, the crystallographically oriented catalyst layer having an exposed portion adjacent to the substrate; and

forming the carbon nanowire on the substrate in accordance with a growth parameter, wherein the crystallographically oriented catalyst layer has a predetermined crystallographic configuration so as to control the growth parameter associated with the carbon nanowire.


US Patent 7678495 - Graphitic nanostructured battery

In order to increase the efficiency of lithium batteries this patent from Alcatel-Lucent teaches forming graphitic nanoposts as the electrode material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A battery, comprising:

an electrolyte fluid; and

a first electrode formed at least in part from a patterned plurality of nanostructured features on a substrate,

the nanostructured features each including graphitic carbon,

the electrolyte fluid being in contact with a surface formed by the patterned plurality of nanostructured features, and

the electrolyte fluid being disposed between the first electrode and a second electrode;

wherein the patterned plurality of nanostructured features, in addition to forming at least a part of the first electrode, enables controllable penetration of the electrolyte fluid through the surface and into contact with the substrate of the first electrode.


US Patent 7677254 - Cigarettes including iron oxynitride nanoparticles

This patent from Philip Morris teaches iron oxynitride nanoparticles used to reduce carbon monoxide and nitric oxide in cigarette smoke. Claim 1 reads:

1. A component of a smoking article comprising

nitrided transition metal oxide nanoscale particles and/or nitrided transition metal oxide clusters,

wherein the component is selected from the group consisting of tobacco cut filler, cigarette paper and cigarette filter material, and

wherein the nanoscale particles and/or clusters comprise iron oxynitride.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

US Patent 7675766 - Ion conductor mem-resistor

Mem-resistors are nanoscale circuit elements which use ionic transport in thin films to create a resistance switching effect. This patent from Axon Technologies has priority going back to 2000 and includes some basic claims to ion conductor memrstors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microelectronic programmable structure comprising:

a first electrode;

an ion conductor proximate the first electrode; and

a second electrode, wherein the first electrode and the second electrode are formed of a material comprising material selected from the group consisting of metals, metal silicides, and doped polysilicon materials.

It is notable that earlier ion conductor resistance switching structures were disclosed such as US Patent 4839700 which may effect the novelty of the patent claims.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

US Patent 7675163 - Semiconductor housing including CNT cooling

A variety of companies such as Intel (US Patent 7335983) and Hon Hai Precision (US Patent 7303001) have proposed systems using carbon nanotubes to assist in cooling semiconductor packages. This latest variation is from Sun Microsystems and uses a fluid flow to assist thermal transport. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for cooling a semiconductor device, comprising:

a lid encasing the semiconductor device;

a first plurality of carbon nanotubes disposed within the lid; and

a fluid system configured to pass a fluid through the lid.


US Patent 7675071 - Nanorod BJT light emitter

This patent from Samsung teaches an optical switching transistor using nanorods to enhance light emission efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting transistor comprising:

a first conductivity-type collector layer formed on a substrate;

a second conductivity-type base layer formed on the collector layer; and

a first conductivity-type emitter layer formed on the base layer,

wherein at least one of the collector layer, the base layer, and the emitter layer has a nanorod structure with a plurality of nanorods as low-dimensional nanostructure,

wherein the light emitting transistor has a bipolar junction structure, and is amplified or is switched in accordance with a bias direction of each layer.


US Patent 7674628 - Photoacoustic chemical sensor using nanoparticles

Photoacoustic sensing uses an effect in which an infrared laser emitted on a particular material produces sound. This patent from Applied Nanotech teaches using nanoparticles to enhance this effect. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process comprising the steps of:

a) exposing a deleterious chemical species to nanoparticles such that said chemical species adsorbs onto a surface of the nanoparticles as a chemical adsorbate;

b) irradiating the nanoparticles comprising the adsorbed deleterious chemical species;

c) locally detecting the adsorbed chemical species with a photoacoustic means and producing a signal comprising information regarding the presence of such chemical species; and

d) transmitting the signal to a remote location.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

US Patent 7674526 - Fabrication of nanoscale zero-valent metal

This patent teaches a manufacturing method for nanomaterials useful to treat waste water. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process for producing a nanoscale zero-valent metal, said process including

reduction of a metal ion solution with a dithionite compound,

wherein said reduction is carried out under alkaline conditions and under a substantially inert atmosphere.


US Patent 7674447 - CNT-biopolymer electrical connector

This patent is from Fuji Xerox and teaches a new type of bioelectronic interconnect for nanoscale circuitry. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electrical connection structure comprising

plural carbon nanotubes provided as electrodes, and

a biopolymer,

wherein carbon atoms of graphene sheets of the plural carbon nanotubes and the biopolymer are directly fixed with each other at an arbitrary portion of the biopolymer in a stable electrically connected state

wherein the biopolymer is one of DNA and RNA;

the electrodes are in contact with a portion of the biopolymer, and

wherein the electrodes include Na+ ions diffused inside of the carbon nanotubes.


US Patent 7674389 - Low energy e-beam shaping of nanodevice

This patent assigned to the University of California teaches a technique using a focused electron to shape nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes for applications such as atomic force microscopy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of shape modifying a nanodevice, comprising:

a) providing a nanodevice;

b) providing an assist gas;

c) contacting the nanodevice with a low energy focused electron beam in a presence of the assist gas; and

d) applying a force to at least a part of the nanodevice during application of the low-energy focused electron beam, whereby the nanodevice is transformed into a shape-modified nanodevice.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

US Patent 7671612 - Integrated compound nanoprobe card

The electrical testing of semiconductor wafers often involves probe cards which are used to establish an electrical path between a test circuit and the semiconductor. In the past the test pins of the probe cards have been limited to a pitch > 50 microns when using conventional manufacturing techniques. This patent from Industrial Technology Research Institute teaches using arrays of nanotubes or nanorods to increase the resolution of the pins. Claim 1 reads:

1. A probe pin set comprising:

a substrate having a porous surface; and

a plurality of pins arranged in said porous surface of said substrate subject to a predetermined pattern and extended in direction substantially perpendicular to said porous surface of said substrate,

said pins each having a bundle of aligned parallel nanotubes/nanorods and a bonding material bonded to said bundle of aligned parallel nanotubes/nanorods and filled in gaps in said nanotubes/nanorods, wherein said bonding material consists essentially of a metal material.


US Patent 7671398 - Hybrid stacked nanomemory

This patent suggests the integration of molecular memory arrays with more conventional memory cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano device, comprising:

a. a first array of memory elements including ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, DRAM, SRAM, MRAM, FRAM, or SMM;

b. a second array of nano memory elements spin coated and vertically stacked with the first array of memory elements; and

c. a decoder coupled to the first and second arrays to select one of the memory elements.

US Patent 7671306 - Laser ablative synthesis of CNTs

This patent is from Jefferson Science Associates and teaches a method to increase the production volume of carbon nanotubes formed using laser ablation.

1. A method for the production of carbon nanotubes comprising:

ablating a rotating and translating graphite-catalyst target at elevated temperature with a laser beam produced by a free electron laser producing a 700 W beam at a 9 MHz repetition rate with a 0.5 picosecond pulse focused to a 0.15 cm spot yielding an average fluence of 9×10e6 W/cm2 and a peak fluence of 2.2×10e11 W/cm2 in the absence of a vacuum.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

US Patent 7670588 - Hydrogen storage with carbon nanospheres

Fullerene molecules have been suggested for fuel cell hydrogen storage for several years. This patent from Headwaters Technology Innovation teaches a multilayer fullerene structure for improving the amount of hydrogen that can be stored. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for storing hydrogen comprising:

providing a carbon nanomaterial comprising a plurality of multi-walled carbon nanospheres, the carbon nanospheres having an average outer diameter in a range from about 10 nm to about 200 nm, an aspect ratio of less than 3:1, and an irregularly-shaped surface with graphitic defects; and

exposing the plurality of carbon nanospheres to hydrogen under conditions that allow at least 1 wt % hydrogen to absorb to the carbon nanomaterial.


US Patent 7670581 - Manufacture of light emitting nanoparticles

This patent has some early priority going back to 2001 and includes some basic claims to the manufacture of nanoparticles for use in LEDs and electronic displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for making nanoparticles, comprising:

providing an organometallic material selected from the group consisting of silicon, germanium and tin, disposed in a fluidic medium comprising a material selected from the group consisting of alcohols, amines and thiols, and

thermally decomposing the organometallic material to form nanoparticles.

US Patent 7670509 - Silica nanofiber derived from polymer filament

This patent is from Kawamura Institute of Chemical Research and teaches a nanofiber fabrication method which may help improve the speed and yield of production. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composite nanofiber comprising:

at least one kind of metal or metal ions and a polymer including straight chain polyethyleneimine backbones in a silica nanofiber,

wherein a content of the silica is within a range from 30 to 80% by mass, and the nanofiber has a thickness within a range from 15 to 100 nm.


Monday, March 01, 2010

US Patent 7667593 - Nanodetectors for cargo containers

This patent teaches applying nanodetectors to detect and transmit information on any harmful materials found in cargo containers. However, the specification appears very vague as to specific details of the nanodetectors used which may raise 35 USC 112 issues during litigation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A detection strip for an enclosed container, comprising:

many detectors that can be as small as nano detectors, for detecting materials, harmful to human beings, within an enclosed container and transmitting a corresponding resonance frequency.

US Patent 7667570 - Nanostructured combination key-lock

This patent from Lockheed Martin proposes a new type of application for nanostructured materials as a replacement for magnetic strips used in key cards. Claim 1 reads:

1. A lock deactivating or activating mechanism comprising:

a sensor detecting a friction force pattern generated from sliding a first nanopatterned surface comprising a key past a second nanopatterned surface comprising a lock element,

said friction force pattern resulting from changes in distance between said first and second nanopatterned surfaces; and

a controller receiving output from said sensor and comparing same to stored values.


US Patent 7667296 - Semiconductor nanowire capacitor

A variety of approaches have been suggested in the last few years to incorporate nanostructures into capacitive structures to increase energy storage and integration density. This patent from Nanosys has relatively early priority (3/23/2004) and teaches using semiconductor nanowires to form varactor diode capacitor structures for use in tuning oscillators and filters. Claim 1 reads:

1. A capacitor device, comprising:

a substrate;

a semiconductor nanowire, supported by the substrate, wherein the nanowire has a length and a diameter thereby defining a surface;

an insulator formed on at least a portion of the surface;

an outer coaxial conductor formed on a least a portion of the insulator and configured to be in physical contact with a region of the nanowire; and

an electrical contact coupled to the nanowire.