Sunday, January 02, 2011

Top Ten Nanotechnology Patents of 2010

Here is a list of the U.S. nanotechnology patents issued over the past year that appear to me to be the most valuable or interesting:

#10 - US Patent 7657447 - Nanomaterial insurance (Hartford Fire Insurance Company)

This is one of the few (perhaps only) business method patents specifically directed to nanotechnology.

#9 - US Patent 7662288 - Nanobubble water treatment (Sharp)

As the world population and industrial production continue to increase clean water will become a bigger issue. This patent includes basic claims toward water treatment using nanobubbles.

#8 - US Patent 7799849 - Self-healing nanomaterial (Intel)

This patent includes basic claims to packaging materials with self-repair features provided by encapsulated nanoparticles.

#7 - US Patent 7767184 - Nanocrystalline diamond film (Nanotech LLC)

This patent has early priority (2003) and includes basic claims to high purity nanocrystal diamond films to provide scratch and wear resistant coatings.

#6 - US Patent 7858185 - High purity nanotube fabric (Nantero, Inc.)

This is one several basic patents from Nantero including claims to nanotube fabrics. The specific claims of this patent may be critical to integrating nanotubes with CMOS electronics.

#5 - US Patent 7675766 - Ion conductor mem-resistor (Axon Technologies Corporation)

In 2008 HP published a paper in Nature on a new nanoscale circuit element called a memristor which couples ionic and electronic effects. This patent from Axon Technologies has priority from 2000 and includes some earlier claims to ion conductor switches and memory which appears to be under development by start-ups such as Adesto Technologies and 4DS.

#4 - US Patent 7666708 - Uniform nanowire growth (Harvard)

This is one of the more basic patents from the Lieber Research Group of Harvard having priority going back to 2000 and including claims covering uniform diameter nanowires.

#3 - US Patent 7790285 - Nano-scaled graphene platelets (Nanotek Instruments, Inc.)

This patent from Nanotek Instruments includes basic claims to a new type of carbon nanomaterial with potential to outperform carbon nanotubes in energy storage technologies (e.g. batteries, fuel cells).

#2 - US Patent 7795677 - Nanowire SOI FET (IBM)

This patent from IBM represents one of the more realistic designs for nanowire-based transistors and includes some basic claims to the design.

#1 - US Patent 7683359 - Nanostructured silicon lithium battery  (Nexeon Ltd.)

Nexeon Ltd. has produced a world record capacity rechargeable battery and this is perhaps their most basic patent.