Thursday, October 28, 2010

US Patent 7821079 - Inkjet printing and patterning of nanotube transistors

Over the past two decades Rice University has been central in the development of techniques to fabricate single walled carbon nanotubes. This latest patent from Rice teaches an inkjet printing process of nanotubes including patterning of semiconducting and conducting regions. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process for making thin film (TF) electronic devices comprising the steps of:

using an ink jet printer mechanism to print electronic device patterns on a substrate as a composite ink mixture of metallic carbon nanotubes (m-NTs) and semiconductor carbon nanotubes (s-NTs), wherein the m-NTs are active and dominate the characteristics of the composite ink mixture in any of the electronic device patterns designated as a conductor patterns;

de-activating a portion of the m-NTs in any of the electronic device patterns designated as resistive device patterns; and

de-activating substantially all of the m-NTs in any of the electronic patterns designated as semiconducting device patterns.


US Patent 7821061 - Ge/SiGe multigate nanowire transistor

In the early days of transistors germanium was considered as a leading semiconductor material since it has a superior high electron mobility which allows for fast switching. Silicon eventually became dominant due to better thermal stability and the ease of oxide growth on Si surfaces but as device miniaturization continues the relative benefits of Ge are being reconsidered. This patent from Intel proposes a transistor design based on both Si and Ge materials forming a nanowire channel. Claim 1 reads:  

1. A microelectronic structure comprising:

a substrate including a lower Si substrate and an insulating layer on the substrate;

a projection on the substrate projecting above the insulating layer and including a center region comprising a floating nanowire channel comprising Ge/Si1-yGey and a covering region enclosing the center region, wherein the covering region comprises an insulation covering surrounding the nanowire channel and electrically insulating the nanowire channel and

wherein both the center region and an interface between the center region and the covering region has substantially no dislocation defects.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

US Patent 7820982 - 3D TEM using nanoparticles

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) provides the capability of studying biomaterials with resolutions measured in angstroms and this patent from Korea Basic Science Institute teaches a way to use nanoparticles as markers to extend TEM to three dimensional analysis. Claim 1 reads:

1. A grid for transmission electron microscopy tomography, comprising:

a mesh sheet for protecting an upper objects; and

a support film formed on the mesh sheet and having nanoparticles dispersed throughout,

wherein the nanoparticles are used as reference points in reconstruction of two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional image.


US Patent 7820291 - Core-shell metal-metal oxide nanoparticles

Metal oxide shells have been known to be grown on metal nanoparticles as a passivation layer but these metal oxide shells usually have an amorphous structure having inferior mechanical and chemical characteristics relative to crystalline oxides. This patent from LG Chem teaches an epitaxially grown metal oxide shell on a metal nanoparticle to improve surface properties. Claim 1 reads:   

1. Core-shell type nanoparticles comprising:

a) nanoparticle cores made of a material selected from the group consisting of Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, and alloys of two or more of said metals; and

b) shells made of crystalline metal oxide or metalloid oxide formed by an epitaxial crystal growth at a temperature of 5-40° C. on the surfaces of the nanoparticle cores.


US Patent 7820130 - Functionalized nanodiamond powder

In terms of nanotechnology research William Marsh Rice University is probably most well known for developments relating to fullerene and carbon nanotubes but this patent from Rice instead deals with nanoparticulate diamonds and proposes a functionalized solution to provide uniform distribution of the diamond nanopowder. Claim 1 reads:

1. A functionalized nanodiamond powder,

wherein the surface of the functionalized nanodiamond powder is derivatized with fluorine;

wherein the functionalized nanodiamond powder comprises at least 5 atomic percent fluorine; and

wherein the functionalized diamond powder exhibits greater than 10-fold reduced particle agglomeration relative to pristine nanodiamond.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

US Patent 7819910 - Nanostructured uv source for tanning booth

This patent from LEDeep LLC is concerned with the problem of overexposure tanning which can result in skin damage when using florescent light and instead teaches using nanostructured UV light sources. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for at least one of skin tanning and phototherapy, comprising:

a chamber adapted for at least one of skin tanning and phototherapy; and

a nanostructure UV light emitting device;

wherein: a UV excitation source is positioned to provide a UV excitation radiation of a first peak wavelength onto the nanostructure UV light emitting device to cause the nanostructure UV light emitting device to emit UVA light having a second UVA peak wavelength longer than the first peak wavelength, wherein the nanostructure UV light emitting device comprises at least one of a nanoparticle or a nanowire device for emitting only UVA light.


US Patent 7819795 - Nanoparticle hearing aid

This patent from NanoBioMagnetics(R) teaches using ferromagnetic nanoparticles in a device for improving hearing. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for affecting a function of a mammal, the system comprising:

a single-domain nanoparticle, the nanoparticle being constructed to affix in a mammal ear, the ear comprising a cell, wherein the nanoparticle comprises a biocompatible covering having a binding moiety of a cell adhesion molecule adapted to bind the nanoparticle to the cell; and

a transmitter assembly adapted to be supported on the mammal, wherein the transmitter assembly transmits a magnetic field that causes a movement of the nanoparticle;

wherein the movement of the nanoparticle affects the function of the mammal.


US Patent 7819005 - Resonant nanotube device

This patent from Micron Technology exploits the property of carbon nanotubes that mechanical deformation alters resistivity thus allowing for the creation of new nanotube sensors and transducers. Claim 1 reads: 

1. A sensor/transducer device, comprising:

at least one nanotube having a first end structurally and electrically coupled to a first electrode and a second end structurally and electrically coupled to a second electrode; and

at least one element configured to selectively adjust a resonant frequency of the at least one nanotube;

wherein the at least one element comprises at least one piezoelectric element.


Monday, October 25, 2010

US Patent 7818065 - Conducting polymer nanowire brain-machine interface

Over the last several years there have been a variety of implementations of brain-computer interfaces. One problem with such devices is that most electrode materials are not biocompatible and over time the detectable signal strength weakens. This patent is based on a collaboration between New York University and M.I.T. and teaches a way to use polymer nanowires to achieve a more biocompatible solution. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for transmitting electrical signals to a biological target using vascular-based probes, said system comprising:

a plurality of conducting polymer nanowires, each nanowire having a distal end and a proximal end, and an associated probe portion located at the distal end of each nanowire;

the plurality of conducting polymer nanowires being introduced directly into a vascular territory to which signals are transmitted;

wherein the distal end of at least one of the plurality of conducting polymer nanowires is selectively deflectable, thereby allowing at least one of controlled directing of electrical current to a particular area for stimulation and controlled guiding of the polymer nanowires introduced directly into and within the vascular area; and

an electronic interface circuit in electrical communication with the plurality of conducting polymer nanowires, said electronic interface circuit comprising an interface module for interfacing the conducting polymer nanowires with a microwire located in the vicinity of the proximal ends of the conducting polymer nanowires.

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US Patent 7817458 - Nanotube memory cell

This latest patent from Nantero has priority going back to 2001 and includes some basic claims to memory cells formed from nanotube fabric. Claim 17 reads:

17. A hybrid memory system comprising:

a substrate;

patterned regions of nanotube fabric;

electrical contacts in electrical communication with the patterned regions of nanotube fabric, the electrical contacts and the pattered regions of nanotube fabric forming multiple nanotube memory cells capable of storing different memory states; and

semiconductor elements disposed over the nanotube memory cells.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

US Patent 7816709 - Single walled CNT-ceramic composites

This patent out of the University of Oklahoma is based on the finding that using a ceramic (e.g. silica) support can increase the quality of single walled carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanotube-polymer composite comprising:

a polymer; and

a carbon nanotube-ceramic composite, including:

a metallic catalytic particle, having:

at least Co, Mo, and a support material, combined to have a particulate form; and a carbon product deposited on the metallic catalytic particle, at least 80% of the carbon product comprising single-walled carbon nanotubes.


US Patent 7816701 - Qdot LED

This patent from LG Innotek teaches using semiconductor quantum dots to improve the surface roughness and light emitting efficiency of III-Nitride LEDs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor light emitting device comprising:

a first conductive semiconductor layer;

an active layer on the first conductive semiconductor layer;

a first quantum dot layer on the active layer; and

a second conductive semiconductor layer on the first quantum dot layer.


US Patent 7816700 - Nanorod array LED

There have been a variety of proposals for using semiconductor nanowire arrays to improve the efficiency of LEDs. In some of these proposals the nanowires are embedded in a polymer matrix which acts to absorb light and reduce the emission efficiency. This patent from Seoul Opto Device Co. instead teaches forming the nanowire array with empty gaps between the nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting diode, comprising:

an array of semiconductor nanorods positioned on a substrate; and

an upper electrode layer deposited on the array such that an empty space remains between adjacent ones of the nanorods,

wherein the upper electrode layer is continuously positioned on the array of semiconductor nanorods and the empty space, and

wherein the upper electrode layer comprises a transparent electrode material.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

US Patent 7816669 - Electroluminescent material with controlled nanocrystal distribution

Hybrid light emitting systems have been proposed combining both semiconductor nanocrystals and organic polymers. One problem with such systems is uneven distribution of the nanocrystals which lead to diminishing or inconsistent efficiency over time. This patent from HP teaches polymer mixtures which can help avoid this problem. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting system, comprising:

a polymer mixture including at least two partially miscible or non-miscible different polymers that segregate, the polymer mixture having a thickness ranging from about 10 nm to about 1000 nm; and

a controlled distribution of a plurality of nanocrystals occupying predefined, discrete positions of the polymer mixture, the controlled distribution being achieved due to properties of the at least two partially miscible or non-miscible different polymers selected for the polymer mixture and properties of the plurality of nanocrystals selected for the polymer mixture.


US Patent 7816151 - Nanoporous membrane for enhanced reaction kinetics

The identification of new medicine often requires carrying out numerous chemical reactions which can be time consuming. In order to reduce reaction times this patent from Syngenta Participations AG teaches using a polymer treated nanoporous membrane to speed up such reactions. Claim 1 reads: 

1. A method comprising:

contacting a first component and a second component and a nanoporous structure comprising pores distinct from the first and second components, wherein the first and second components are contacted within the pores;

producing a product from a reaction of the first component with the second component; and

measuring a kinetic characteristic of the reaction.


US Patent 7816149 - Quantum dot cell therapy

Several human diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntingtons, Lou Gehrig's, Jakob-Kreutzfeld and Mad Cow disease are associated with protein misfolding. This patent from Applied Photonics Worldwide teaches using quantum dot nanocrystals to correct misfolded protein structures via localized heating. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanobioprocessor for protein and cell therapy comprising:

a quantum dot having selected band gap energies, wherein the quantum dot is coupled or adjacent to at least one protein, cell or tissue; and

an electromagnetic radiation source and detector configured to remotely heat or selectively excite the quantum dot to transfer radiation to the at least one coupled or adjacent protein cell or tissue;

wherein the quantum dot is composed with a core of nanocrystals sensitive in the NIR region.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

US Patent 7816031 - Si nanowire battery

This patent from Stanford University teaches growing silicon nanowires in a lithium ion battery to increase the energy capacity per weight to over 2000 mAh/g. Claim 1 reads:

1. A battery, comprising:

an ion transporter to transport ions;

a first current collector on one side of the ion transporter; and

a second current collector, located on another side of the ion transporter, including a substrate and a plurality of solid nanowires including silicon or a silicon alloy that are growth-rooted from the substrate and that interact with the ions,

wherein the growth-rooted solid nanowires have a stable energy capacity greater than about 2000 mAh/g.


US Patent 7816010 - Black matrix for color filter including CNTs

This patent from Samsung teaches using a carbon nanotube film as an ink-phobic layer used in the formation of a color filter for flat panel displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A black matrix of a color filter, the black matrix comprising:

a light shade layer of an ink-philic black material arranged on a substrate of the color filter; and

a carbon nanotube layer arranged on an upper surface of the light shade layer.


US Patent 7815973 - Condensed phase conversion and growth of nanorods

This patent from UT-Battelle has priority going back to 1999 and includes some basic claims to condensed phase conversion used to fabricate nanotubes or nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising:

depositing a condensed phase matrix material comprising a plurality of particles;

activating said condensed phase matrix material after the depositing, the condensed phase matrix material not being vaporized during the activating thereof; and

forming a plurality of nanorods by condensed phase conversion and growth from the condensed phase matrix material instead of from vapor.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

US Patent 7815855 - Test element with nanofibers

Diagnostic test strips are typically formed from fabrics which retain large volumes of fluid in the interstitial spaces of the fibers. This can be problematic when only small sample volumes are desired. This patent from Roche Diagnostics Operations teaches a polymeric nanofiber test element more compatible with small fluid volumes. Claim 1 reads:  

1. A test element for detecting an analyte in a liquid sample, comprising a detection reagent for detecting an analyte, the detection reagent and nanofibers applied to a porous or non-porous support material, at least some of the nanofibers containing more than one polymer bead thereon and having a length of at least 2 mm.


US Patent 7815806 - Purification of fluids with CNTs

This patent teaches methods of fabrication filtration media based on carbon nanotubes useful for water sterilization or desalination. Claim 1 reads:

1. An article for reducing or removing at least one contaminant from a fluid, said article comprising:

(a) a filtration media comprising: carbon nanotubes having at least one functional group attached thereto, and a support medium for said carbon nanotubes, wherein a plurality of said carbon nanotubes are fused or bonded to said support medium, to another carbon nanotube, or to a combination thereof, and

(b) an assembly containing said filtration media.

US Patent 7814776 - CNT-Quartz resonator

This patent teaches a way to measure mass with a resolution of femtograms (1 femtogram = 1 millionth of a nanogram) using a nanotube coated micromachined quartz crystal. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for increasing the quality factor of at least one sensor comprising:

adding a layer of nanotubes to the at least one sensor to thereby increase the quality factor of the at least one sensor and form a nanotube-coated device;

placing the nanotube-coated device in a vacuum chamber for a period of time sufficient to further increase the quality factor of the at least one sensor.


Monday, October 18, 2010

US Patent 7814565 - Nanostructure on a probe tip

The use of carbon nanotube tips in atomic force microscopes has been shown to increase the resolution and inspection capability of high aspect ratio structures. This patent discloses a manufacturing technique which may improve the adhesion strength of nanotube tips on AFMs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a nanostructure on a probe tip, comprising:

providing a substrate on which a plurality of nanostructures are formed;

contacting a probe tip with at least one of the nanostructures, the probe tip having a surface layer, wherein the probe is metal;

melting at least a portion of the surface layer to attach the at least one nanostructure to the probe tip; and

releasing the at least one nanostructure from the substrate.


US Patent 7812450 - Electrode with coated nanostructures

It is useful to increase the surface areas of electrodes used in batteries and capacitors in order to enhance the energy storage density. There have been a variety of patents discussing the use of nanostructures to achieve such enhanced surface area and this latest patent from Hon Hai Precision uses nanoimprinting to form nanostructured surfaces which are further coated with nanomaterials. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electrode comprising:

a conducting substrate integratedly formed with a plurality of nano-sized structures on a major surface thereof; and

a coating directly formed on both the nano-sized structures and portions of the major surface between the nano-sized structures, the coating being comprised of carbon nanotubes and nano-sized particles;

wherein the nano-sized structures are configured for increasing specific surface area of the electrode.


US Patent 7812342 - Thin film transistor having nano semiconductor sheet

This patent from Samsung teaches a new type of thin film transistor based on aligned semiconductor nanowire having application in the development of flexible electronic displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. An electronic device comprising:

a substrate; and

a thin film transistor formed over the substrate, the thin film transistor comprising:

an active layer including a channel region, a source region and a drain region, wherein the channel region comprises a plurality of microfibers extending generally in a direction, the microfibers comprising nanoparticles and a polymer, and the source and drain regions comprise a plurality of microfibers extending generally in a direction, the microfibers containing nanoparticles therein;

a gate electrode;

an insulating layer interposed between at least the channel region and the gate electrode;

a source electrode in contact with the nanoparticles of the source region; and

a drain electrode in contact with the nanoparticles of the drain region.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

US Patent 7811883 - Fabrication of nanocrystal floating gate memory using nanowires

Over the past several years nanocrystals have been found to improve the operation of floating gate memory transistors since (1) They are less susceptible to defects in the program oxide since the charge is stored on isolated nanocrystal sites, (2) They can store two bits per cell by reversing the role of the source and drain since the charge is localized at the injection point, and (3) They have potentially lower voltage operation and higher retention. This patent from IBM teaches a manufacturing method n which the size and spacing of the nanocrystals may be more easily controlled by using nanowire growth. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a semiconductor structure comprising:

epitaxially growing a crystalline program oxide over a surface of a semiconductor substrate;

placing a plurality of catalyst particles over said program oxide;

growing nanowires perpendicular to the substrate surface from said catalyst particles;

forming a control oxide over said nanowires and said program oxide;

forming a gate conductor over said control oxide; and patterning said gate conductor.


US Patent 7811830 - Coated nanoparticle photosensitizer

This patent from New Mexico Technical Research Foundation teaches forming a nanoparticle photosensitizer surface modified with an antibody to make the photosensitizer specific to the biological target that is to be treated. Claim 1 reads:

1. A photosensitizer that is excitable via infrared radiation, comprising:

a core nanoparticle that is capable of converting infrared radiation into a visible light emission; and

a coating disposed about said core nanoparticle, wherein said coating contains a light excitable agent that is capable of being excited by the visible light emission from said core nanoparticle.


US Patent 7811667 - CNT transparent electrode with optimized conductivity and permeability

Carbon nanotubes have been proposed by a variety of different groups as future transparent electrodes for flat panel and flexible displays. This patent from Samsung teaches a configuration to optimize both the electrical conductivity and the transparency to CNT electrode films. Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon nanotube film comprising:

a transparent substrate;

three-dimensional structures disposed apart from each other on the transparent substrate; and

carbon nanotubes disposed on the transparent substrate where the three-dimensional structures are not disposed, wherein carbon nanotubes are not disposed on the surface of the three-dimensional structures.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

US Patent 7811641 - Forming microdefects for CNT growth

This patent teaches a way to improve control of the density of carbon nanotube arrays used in forming field emission flat panel displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming carbon nanotubes, the method comprising:

forming a catalytic metal layer on a substrate;

forming an insulation layer on the catalytic metal layer; and

forming carbon nanotubes on the insulation layer by forming micro defects in the insulation layer by annealing.


US Patent 7811635 - Nanoink with inorganic precursor

This latest patent from the founders of NanoInk (priority 2001) broadly covers the deposition of reactive sol-gel "inks" used in their Dip Pen Nanolithography(R) process. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of fabricating inorganic/organic nanostructures comprising depositing an ink on a substrate by direct write nanolithography with a tip to form a deposit, wherein the ink comprises an inorganic precursor and at least one organic polymer.

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US Patent 7811632 - Molecular jet growth of CNTs

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods are currently seen to be the only practical way to mass produce large arrays of carbon nanotubes. However, CVD produces undesirable byproducts affecting the purity and quality of the nanotube arrays. This patent from UT-Battelle teaches an alternative approach using molecular beams which could result in practical mass production with improved purity. Claim 1 reads:   

1. A method of growing an array of essentially vertically aligned carbon nanotubes comprising the step of

impinging a beam of acetylene molecules on to a substrate to effect an acetylene incidence rate ranging from about 1.5×1018 molecules/cm2 per second to about 5.3×1018 molecules/cm2 per second to grow a continuous array of essentially vertically aligned carbon nanotubes on an entire deposition surface of the substrate at a growth temperature ranging from about 540° C. to about 740° C.,

wherein the acetylene incidence rate provides a crowding effect between adjacent carbon nanotubes during growth that results in vertical orientation of the array of essentially vertically aligned carbon nanotubes.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

US Patent 7811542 - Multiwall carbon nanotube rope

This latest patent from Unidym includes some basic claims to using aggregates of multiwall carbon nanotubes to form high strength, electrically conductive "ropes". Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon nanotube rope comprising a carbon nanotube with at least three walls, wherein the rope has a cross-sectional dimension of less than about 10 nm.


US Patent 7811479 - Polymer nanocrystal quantum dot composites

Typically the quantum efficiency of photodiodes and solar cells is less than 1 using conventional semiconductor materials. This patent from the University of Pennsylvania teaches a nanocrystal composite capable of producing a quantum efficiency>1 by introducing a gain through carrier multiplication. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition, comprising:

a semiconducting polymer characterized as having a bandgap in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and

a plurality of spherical nanocrystals characterized as having a bandgap in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum,

wherein the weight ratio of semiconducting polymer to nanocrystals is in the range of from more than about 95:5 to about 1000:1.


US Patent 7810314 - Vehicle emission control with carbon nanosensor

Soot sensors are include in automotive emission control systems to determine the regeneration of filters. Aluminum oxide ceramics have commonly been employed as the material for these sensors but this patent from Ford Global teaches that carbon nanomaterials can provide improved sensitivity and response time. Claim 1 reads:  

1. In a vehicle comprising a diesel engine and an emissions control system comprising a diesel particulate filter, a method for operating the diesel engine and emission control system, the method comprising:

correlating a measured property associated with a carbon nanostructure layer to an amount of particulate matter from an exhaust stream of the engine, wherein the carbon nanostructure includes a plurality of carbon nanostructures; and

adjusting engine operation based on the amount of particulate matter.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

US Patent 7808156 - Ultrasonic matching layer with nanoparticles

This patent from VisualSonics Inc. teaches how nanoparticles can be used to reduce signal attenuation in ultrasonic imaging equipment. Claim 1 reads:

1. A matching layer capable of use in a high frequency ultrasonic transducer stack having a plurality of layers, the matching layer comprising

a cured matrix material loaded with a plurality of micron-sized and nano-sized particles,

wherein the nano-sized particles prevent settling of the micron-sized particles in the matrix prior to curing, and

the micron-sized and nano-sized particles contribute significantly to the acoustic impedance of the matching layer.


US Patent 7807265 - Partially passivated qdots

Passivation of quantum dot nanocrystals via a core/shell structure provides an increase in the qdot visible brightness. However, complete passivation can reduce the optical sensitivity of quantum dots to analytes. This patent from the University of Central Florida Research Foundation teaches a partial passivation quantum dot structure optimizing the brightness and the sensitivity for qdot biosensors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A core shell particle, comprising:

a luminescent nanocrystal core, and

a partially passivating semiconducting shell on a surface said nanocrystal, and

an analyte selective shell covalently attached to said semiconductor shell.


US Patent 7807127 - Nitrogen-based functionalization of CNTs

This patent is based on research supported by the U.S. Navy and includes claims to nitrogen functional groups of carbon nanotubes having application to energy storage and high strength materials. Claim 1 reads:

1. A carbon nanotube, comprising

a structure of CNT-Zn, wherein said CNT is directly attached to said Z via a covalent bond;

said n is from 1 to 1,000;

said CNT is a carbon nanotube with at least two ends and at least one side wall; and

said Z is a nitrogen based functional group, and wherein an amount of acidic sites on said CNT is in a range of approximately 9.6-11%.