Sunday, February 27, 2011

US Patent 7893513 - Nanostructured optical rectenna

This patent from Rice University teaches a fabrication method for rectennas based on nanostructured elements. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoelectronic device, comprising:

a first nanostructure, comprising:

a nanotube having first and second opposing ends;

a metallic nanoparticle attached to the first end; and

an insulating nanoparticle attached to the second end.


US Patent 7893495 - Zinc oxide nanodisk FET

Zinc oxide has been used as a channel material for thin film transistors but has low electron mobility. This patent teaches fabricating zinc oxide nanodisks which can improve the mobility. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thin film transistor, comprising:

a substrate;

a gate electrode a source electrode and a drain electrode;

a dielectric layer; and

a semiconductor layer;

wherein the semiconductor layer comprises zinc oxide nanodisks oriented with their c-axis perpendicular to the dielectric layer or the substrate; and

wherein the zinc oxide nanodisks have a height of from about 1 nanometer to about 100 nanometers.


US Patent 7893492 - Nanowire mesh FET

MOSFET electronic designs are moving toward multi-gate and surrounding-gate designs to overcome short channel effects of planar transistors. This patent from IBM proposes a nanowire channel surrounding gate design with improved current carrying capability. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor structure comprising:

a plurality of vertically stacked and vertically spaced apart semiconductor nanowires located on a surface of a substrate, each semiconductor nanowire having two end segments in which one of the end segments is connected to a source region and the other end segment is connected to a drain region;

a gate region including a gate dielectric and a gate conductor over at least a portion of the plurality of vertically stacked and vertically spaced apart semiconductor nanowires, wherein each source region and each drain region is self-aligned with the gate region; and

a spacer located between each vertically stacked and vertically spaced apart semiconductor nanowire and between the gate region and the source region and drain region.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

US Patent 7893348 - Vertically oriented Si nanowire array for a solar cell

This patent from GE teaches growing an array of silicon nanowires on a substrate to form a doped layer of a p-i-n photovoltaic cell. Claim 1 reads:

1. A photovoltaic device comprising:

a) a plurality of crystalline Si nanowires grown directly on an electrically conductive substrate and disposed in a substantially vertical orientation on the substrate, the Si nanowires having a doping of a first type;

b) a first conformal Si layer of amorphous intrinsic silicon disposed conformally on the plurality of crystalline Si nanowires, such that the first conformal Si layer effectively absorbs a majority of light impinging on the photovoltaic device;

c) a second conformal amorphous Si layer disposed conformally on the first conformal Si layer, the second conformal amorphous Si layer having a doping of a second type, thereby providing for a charge separating junction;

d) a conductive material layer disposed on the second conformal Si layer; and

e) top and bottom contacts operable for connecting the device to an external circuit,

wherein the bottom contact is in electrical contact with the plurality of nanowires and the top contact is in electrical contact with the second conformal Si layer.


US Patent 7893000 - Boron carbine ceramic with nanofibers

Boron carbide ceramics have high thermal resistance and corrosion resistance but suffer from brittleness. This patent teaches a way to incorporate carbon nanofibers into BC ceramics to remedy this problem. Claim 1 reads:

1. A material comprising a boron carbide ceramic and nearly homogenously dispersed carbon nanofibers throughout the boron carbide ceramic.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

US Patent 7892817 - Magnetic nanoparticle biosensor

This patent from Philips Electronics teaches using the detection of nanoparticle rotational movement to achieve 3D resolution imaging of molecules. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sensor device for distinguishing a specific binding from a less specific binding between at least one polarizable or polarized nanoparticle label and a surface of another entity, the sensor device comprising:

at least one electric or magnetic field generator for applying an electric or a magnetic field to a sample fluid containing polarized or polarizable nanoparticle labels; at least one magnetic sensor element; and

a detector for detecting a parameter related to nanoparticle rotational or motional freedom while the nanoparticle labels are attached to the surface for distinguishing a specific binding from a less specific binding between said nanoparticle labels and the surface of the other entity,

wherein the electric or magnetic field generator generates a rotating magnetic field.


US Patent 7892781 - Metal nanoparticle bioprobe

This latest patent from Nanoprobes Inc. has priority going back to 2001 and includes some basic claims to nanoparticle biomarkers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composite probe, comprising:

at least one directing agent for attaching the composite probe to a target in a test sample;

at least one nanoparticle conjugated to the at least one directing agent, the at least one nanoparticle comprising a plurality of metal atoms; and

an enzyme, chemically linked to the at least one directing agent, for reacting with an enzyme substrate after the composite probe is bound to the target.


US Patent 7892653 - Titanium alloy with carbon nanotubes

This patent teaches a way to increase the strength and corrosion resistance of titanium alloys using carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A titanium alloy composite material comprising carbon nanotubes coated with a layer comprising an unreacted element and a carbide of the element, wherein the coated carbon nanotubes are dispersed in crystal grains of the titanium alloy.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

US Patent 7892638 - Brightness enhancing nanoparticle film

This patent from 3M is related to scratch resistant films used for liquid crystal displays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A brightness enhancing film comprising:

a brightness enhancing polymerized structure having a plurality of surface modified colloidal nanoparticles;

further comprising a base layer optically coupled to the polymerized structure;

wherein the base layer is useful as a polarizing material.


US Patent 7892610 - Applying aligned nanowires with a printhead

This is the latest patent from Nanosys which covers a method of patterning aligned nanowires with a specialized printhead in order to create electronic and photovoltaic devices. Claim 2 reads:

2. A method for transferring nanowires to a destination surface, comprising:

providing at least one nanowire proximate to an electrode pair;

generating an electric field with electrodes of the electrode pair to associate the at least one nanowire with the electrodes;

aligning the electrode pair with a region of the destination surface; and depositing the at least one nanowire from the electrode pair to the region.


US Patent 7892596 - Nanoparticle coating process for fuel cell components

This patent from GM discloses techniques for coating electrolyte polymers and nanoparticles on bipolar plates or membrane electrodes of fuel cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process comprising:

applying an aqueous solution comprising a polyelectrolyte polymer to the fuel cell component so that at least a portion of the polyelectrolyte polymer adheres to at least a portion of the component the polyelectrolyte polymer comprising first functional groups;

submerging a fuel cell component in a bath comprising nanoparticles comprising second functional groups and a liquid phase comprising a nanoparticle dispersion agent;

removing the fuel cell component from the bath so that a coating of nanoparticles adheres to the polyelectrolyte polymer adhered to the fuel cell component and wherein the first functional group and second functional group form an ionic bond;

rinsing the fuel cell component to remove any nanoparticles not sufficiently adhered to the fuel cell component prior to drying the coating; and

drying the coating.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

US Patent 7890357 - Determining nanomaterial related risk

This is another nanotechnology business method patent from Hartford Fire Insurance Company dealing with risk assessment used in underwriting an insurance policy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A system for determining a level of risk posed by a nanomaterial to an entity, the system comprising:

a memory;

a computerized model stored on the memory; and

a processor configured to:

retrieve from memory data related to the nanomaterial, the retrieved data including data representative of the size, shape, stability, and tendency for aggregation of the nanomaterial;

calculate, using the computerized model, an insurance nanomaterial risk score that is indicative of the level of health and environmental risk posed by the nanomaterial to the entity based on the retrieved data, wherein the insurance nanomaterial risk score is calculated based at least in part on a quantitative representation of the health and environmental risks posed by the nanomaterial based on the size, shape, stability, and tendency for aggregation of the nanomaterial indicated by the retrieved data;

evaluate the insurability of the entity responsive at least in part to the calculated insurance nanomaterial risk score; and

output the results of the evaluation process as an insurance evaluation of the entity.


US Patent 7889413 - Field generating nanoparticles doped in light valves

This patent from the U.S. Air Force teaches using nanoparticles to construct a new type of optical switch. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for automatically activating an optical light valve, the method comprising:

providing a photorefractive cell having a birefringent medium which is doped with nanoparticles;

transmitting light through the photorefractive cell to create an electric field in the photorefractive cell such that the alignment state of the birefringent medium and nanoparticles is changed to thereby reduce the intensity of the light being transmitted therethrough,

wherein the intensity of light is reduced by dispersing the light without an external power source.


US Patent 7888857 - LED with nanoparticle layer recesses

This patent from Samsung teaches a way to increase the luminescence efficiency of quantum dot LEDs using a 3D surface topology. Claim 1 reads:

1. A light emitting device comprising

a substrate and a semiconductor nanoparticle layer,

wherein the substrate is provided with a plurality of three-dimensional recesses and semiconductor nanoparticles are arranged on a surface of the plurality of three-dimensional recesses, and

wherein the semiconductor nanoparticle layer comprises a plurality of three-dimensional recesses which correspond to the three-dimensional recesses of the substrate.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

US Patent 7888753 - Nanowire FET sensor

This patent from IBM (priority 7/31/2006) includes some broad claims to nanowire transistors used as molecular detection devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A detection device comprising:

a source;

a drain;

a nanowire comprising a semiconductor material having a first end clamped to the source and a second end clamped to the drain and suspended freely therebetween; and

a gate separated from the nanowire by a distance of up to about ten nanometers.


US Patent 7888169 - Organic transistor formed from nanoparticle ink

This patent is from a company called OrganicID Inc. and teaches a bottom gate organic transistor formed with Ag nanoparticle ink for applications including displays, sensors, and RFID. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of manufacturing an organic transistor, comprising:

providing a substrate;

forming a gate electrode on the substrate;

selectively forming nanoparticle ink on the gate electrode to form posts;

selectively forming a dielectric material on the substrate;

flash annealing the nanoparticle ink with an energy having wavelengths ranging from about 250 nm to about 1100 nm or higher, wherein the flash annealing comprises preventing energy having wavelengths from about 250 nm to about 350 nm from irradiating the nanoparticle ink, and wherein the flash annealing cures the nanoparticle ink and simultaneously forms vias in the dielectric layer above the posts;

forming source/drain electrodes in electrical communication with the posts; and

forming an organic semiconductor layer on the substrate.


US Patent 7887885 - Molecular resist removal with DPN

This patent teaches a variation of Dip Pen Lithography® in which the scanning probe tip removes a portion of molecular resist during coating. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of nano lithography comprising:

providing a substrate;

coating at least a portion of the substrate with a resist;

providing a tip with a drop of patterning compound on the tip;

applying the tip to a portion of the substrate coated with the resist wherein a high normal force is formed between the tip and the substrate by the surface tension of the drop of patterning compound on the tip that forms a thin film of the patterning compound on the substrate in an area proximate the tip; and,

moving the tip to remove resist from the substrate, whereupon the patterning compound attaches to the substrate from which the resist has been removed by the tip to form a pattern of the patterning compound on the substrate.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

US Patent 7887720 - Polymer-nanocrystal composites for optoelectronics

 This patent from the University of Pennsylvania and Louisiana Tech teaches quantum dot photodetectors having an external quantum efficiency greater than 1 for electric fields of about 7×105 V/cm. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of increasing the external quantum efficiency of an optoelectronic device comprising a semiconductor polymer characterized as having a bandgap in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the method comprising:

combining nanocrystals that comprise a Group IV-VI compound with the semiconductor polymer, wherein the nanocrystals have a bandgap in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the weight ratio of semiconductor polymer to nanocrystals is in the range of from more than about 95:5 to about 1000:1.

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US Patent 7886813 - Thermal interface with CNTs and particles

Intel continues to focus their carbon nanotube patents on new type of thermal cooling materials. This latest patent combines carbon nanotubes with metallic particles to create a composite material used to dissipate heat in high performance ICs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thermal conducting material comprising:

a matrix material;

a distribution of separate particles within the matrix material, at least one particle including:

a heat conducting particle; and

a carbon nanotube structure attached at only one end to a surface of the heat conducting particle, and configured to remain attached at the same attachment location on the heat conducting particle during spreading of the thermal conducting material.


US Patent 7886623 - Nanoparticle safety detection

This patent teaches a device used to determine the effects of nanoparticles in the atmosphere on biological organisms which is important for evaluating safety of various nanoparticle applications in industry. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-particle containing apparatus comprising:

a casing having a containing space for accommodating a plurality of nano-particles;

an air extracting device for pumping the nano-particles from the containing space;

a pressure control device for controlling the pressure status of the containing space; and

a measuring instrument for detecting the status of an object affected by the nano-particles after the object is delivered into the containing space.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

US Patent 7884530 - Reversible actuation in arrays of nanostructures

The feet of a gekko have been identified to have nanostructured properties which provide an adhesiveness allowing them to stick to walls. This patent from Alcatel-Lucent teaches a way to fabricate nanostructured films which may provide similar properties. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus, comprising:

a substrate with a surface;

a polymer layer attached to a region of the surface;

a plurality of nanostructures, a first end of each nanostructure being in the polymer layer and a second end of each nanostructure protruding from the polymer layer;

wherein the nanostructures are configured to move in a predetermined direction from a first position to a second position in response to a change in thickness of the polymer layer from a first thickness thereof to a second thickness.


US Patent 7884525 - Nanotube compliant MEMS

Nanoscale mechanical grippers have long been proposed in science fiction as a way to enable the molecular nanotechnology envisioned by Eric Drexler. This patent teaches a way to use nanotubes to construct the compliant portions of such gripping devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nano-scale compliant mechanism comprising:

a grounded component;

a mechanical coupler disposed to move relative to the grounded component; and

a plurality of nanotubes having first and second ends, the first ends of the nanotubes being coupled to the grounded component and the second ends of the nanotubes being coupled to the coupler, the nanotubes being compliant relative to the grounded component and the coupler;

wherein the coupler is disposed for substantially linear motion relative to the grounded component.

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US Patent 7884450 - Superconducting boron nanotube

This patent from Yale University is based on research indicating superconductivity in boron nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A one-dimensional superconducting device comprising a boron nanostructure having a diameter of less than 50 nm and impregnated with an electron donor element, the boron nanostructure having a superconducting transition temperature greater than 36 degrees K, wherein the boron nanostructure comprises a nanotube.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

US Patent 7884446 - Nanospikes

This patent from Harvard teaches a method of laser processing a silicon substrate to create a nanospiked surface. Claim 1 reads:

1. A semiconductor substrate, comprising a surface layer having at least a portion exhibiting an undulating topography characterized by a plurality of submicron-sized features having an average height less than about 1 micrometer and an average width in a range of about 100 nm to about 500 nm.


US Patent 7883995 - Forming stable functionalized nanoparticles

The presence of oxygen can reduce the luminous efficiency of silicon nanocrystals used as quantum dots. This patent discloses a method of forming passivated quantum dots for applications such as optical switching devices, photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes, lasers, and optical frequency doublers, and as biological markers. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming stable functionalized nanoparticles, comprising

a) providing a first material;

b) providing a reactive medium; and

c) reducing, in the reactive medium, the first material to particles having dimensions of no greater than 100 nm in size, the reactive medium functionalizing the particles in the first material as the particles are formed to provide stable functionalized nanoparticles.


US Patent 7883927 - Sorting nanotubes in plasma

This patent from Micron Technology teaches a new method of sorting carbon nanotubes by length to enable integration with semiconductor fabrication. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising:

providing a bundle of nanotubes;

suspending the nanotubes in a plasma to provide plasma-suspended nanotubes; and

sorting the plasma-suspended nanotubes according to size and separating the plasma-suspended nanotubes from remnant material using a motive force.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

US Patent 7880876 - Detection of E. Coli bacterium with nanorod array

This patent from the University of Georgia Research Foundation teaches improving data obtained from SERS by using an array of nanorods. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of detecting at least one bacterium in a sample, comprising:

exposing a substrate having an array of nanorods on the substrate to the sample, wherein a tilt angle (β) between an individual nanorod and the substrate surface is about 0° to about 90°, and wherein the sample includes at least one of a first strain of Escherichia coli and a second strain of Escherichia coli; and

measuring a surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) spectrum, wherein a SERS spectrum of the array of nanorods and the first strain of Escherichia coli is detectably different than a SERS spectrum of the array of nanorods and the second strain of Escherichia coli.


US Patent 7880318 - Passivated nanowire sensor

This patent from HP focuses on improving the stability of nanosensors by using a passivation layer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A sensing system, comprising:

a nanowire;

a passivation layer established on at least a portion of the nanowire;

a barrier layer established on the passivation layer;

a functionalized nanoparticle attached to an end of the nanowire; and

a functionalized coating established on the barrier layer.


US Patent 7880163 - Surrounding gate nanowire JFET

MOSFETs are the most common type of transistor used for digital electronics and include different doping types for the channel and the source/drain regions (n-type vs. p-type). However, when the channel is formed with a nanowire the surface roughness of the nanowire can be detrimental to the mobility of the MOSFET. This patent from IMEC teaches a different type of junction transistor based on a uniformly doped nanowire. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanostructure-insulated junction field effect transistor comprising:

a uniformly doped nanostructure having a length LN and a radius R, wherein the uniformly doped nanostructure has a dopant concentration profile that is uniform along the central symmetry axis and the longitudinal axis;

a gate electrode wrapped at least partially around the uniformly doped nanostructure and having a length LG; and

an insulating layer having a thickness tox wrapped at least partially around the uniformly doped nanostructure and situated in between the uniformly doped nanostructure and the gate electrode,

wherein the insulating layer covers the uniformly doped nanostructure along its longitudinal axis such that the gate electrode makes no direct contact with the uniformly doped nanostructure.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

US Patent 7879819 - Nanoparticle drug delivery for diabetes treatment

GP Medical has built a considerable patent portfolio for methods of using nanoparticles for drug delivery such as US Patent 7879313 which also issued this week. This patent includes more specific claims toward using nanoparticles to deliver anti-diabetic drugs. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of treating diabetes in a subject, comprising

administering bioactive nanoparticles to said subject,

wherein said bioactive nanoparticles consist of a positively charged chitosan, a negatively charged organic compound, and at least one anti-diabetic drug,

wherein a shell portion of said nanoparticles is dominated by said positively charged chitosan, and

wherein a core portion of said nanoparticles is formed by electrostatically complexing the positively charged chitosan and said negatively charged.


US Patent 7879350 - Reducing odor with silica nanoparticles

This patent is from Kimberly-Clark Worldwide and teaches using porous substrates with silica nanoparticles as odor reducing agents for articles such as clothing, diapers and bandages. Claim 1 reads:

1. A substrate for reducing odor, said substrate being porous and comprising a nonwoven, woven, or paper web, said substrate containing colloidal silica nanoparticles configured to adsorb one or more odorous compounds, said silica nanoparticles having an average size of from about 1 to about 50 nanometers and a surface area of from about 50 to about 1000 square meters per gram, wherein the silica nanoparticles are relatively nonporous and thus have a pore volume of less than about 0.4 milliliters per gram.


US Patent 7879309 - Preparation of metal containing fullerenes

This patent from the Japan Science and Technology Agency teaches methods of peeling excess layers of carbon nanotubes to promote higher industrial yield of single walled nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of making a functional nanomaterial utilizing endothermic reactions, comprising

heat-treating a metal containing monolayer nanotube in a gas or liquid containing an endothermic reactant to cut or disintegrate the metal containing monolayer nanotube into metal containing fullerenes, thereby forming a metal containing fullerene.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

US Patent 7879166 - SWCNTs with hydrazoic acid

This patent from the U.S. Naval Research Labs teaches a way to modify single wall carbon nanotubes used in the preparation of explosives in which the nanotubes protect from accidental initiation. Claim 1 reads:

1. An activated single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) having a tubular single wall and a plurality of transition metal azides inside the tubular single wall.


US Patent 7878988 - Measurement of bone healing using nanotubes

This patent teaches using carbon nanotubes as stress/strain sensors to access the healing of bone damage. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of measuring bone healing strength on a bone area being studied, comprising:

a) implanting a bone fixation device constituted at least in part of a material selected from the group consisting of carbon nanotubes and other high aspect ratio materials which alter the conduction of electric current when said bone fixation device is subjected to stress or strain;

b) applying externally a testing cuff requiring no direct electric contacts to said bone fixation device, wherein said testing cuff provides a means to cause an electric current in said bone fixation device, and to measure said electric current;

c) using an analyzer to study changes in said electric current resulting from the effects of stress and strain on the material of the bone fixation device;

d) obtaining a series of test results using predetermined loads on the bone area; and

e) determining bone healing strength.

US Patent 7878203 - Phototherapeutic treatment with nanoparticle composite

Light therapy uses visible and near-infrared light to promote circulation and help replace damaged cells. This patent from MedX Health Corp. teaches a method using nanocrystals incorporated into a structure shaped to wrap around joints (e.g. wrist, elbow, knee) in order to direct light of the proper wavelength to optimize the light therapy. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising:

incorporating into a passive host medium nanoparticles that emit electromagnetic radiation in response to being irradiated by an external excitation source, the host medium being formed of geometrically configurable material thereby to enable the passive host medium to conform generally to the shape of a target region of a subject to be therapeutically treated, the nanoparticles being distributed generally throughout said passive host medium;

bringing said host medium into proximity to said target region with said host medium substantially conforming to the shape of said target;

subjecting the host medium to radiation emitted by the external excitation source to excite the nanoparticles; and

irradiating the target region of said subject with electromagnetic radiation emitted by the distributed nanoparticles generally throughout said passive host medium for an effective period of time,

wherein said nanoparticles emit electromagnetic radiation for therapeutic purposes and at a therapeutically effective level thereby to treat said subject.