Tuesday, January 31, 2012

US Patent 8106578 - EL lamp including phosphor and dielectric nanoparticles


This patent from Oryon Technologies teaches a new electroluminescent nanomaterial which may be useful to flexible electronic devices. Claim 1 reads:

1. A highly light transmissive EL lamp having a light-emitting layer, where:

the light-emitting layer of the EL lamp comprises a composition of:

phosphor nano-particles;

dielectric nano-particles; and,

a binder.


US Patent 8106383 - Self-aligned graphene transistor


This patent from IBM teaches a way to achieve material processing of both carbon and oxide to achieve self-aligned fabrication of graphene transistors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A graphene field effect transistor comprising:

a gate stack, the gate stack including a seed layer, a gate oxide formed over the seed layer, and a gate metal formed over the gate oxide;

an insulating layer; and

a graphene sheet displaced between the seed layer and the insulating layer, further comprising:

a spacer formed on a top and both sides of the gate stack.


US Patent 8105847 - Nano-sized optical fluorescence label


This patent from Georgia Tech Research Corporation has priority going back to 2003 and includes some basic claims to metal nanoparticle biological tags. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition comprising a water-soluble fluorescent label comprising an encapsulated noble metal nanocluster,

wherein the noble metal nanocluster is about 0.1 nm to 2 nm in diameter without encapsulation, and wherein the fluorescent label exhibits an emission spectrum.


US Patent 8105414 - Lead free solder nanocomposite


For environmental reasons lead is being phased out of solder manufacture and being replaced by tin-based composites which require higher processing temperatures. This patent from Lockheed Martin teaches a metal nanoparticle composite solder allowing for lower processing temperatures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition, comprising:

metal nanoparticles, said metal nanoparticles comprising copper or aluminum nanocores,

wherein about 30-50% of the metal nanoparticles have a diameter of 20 nanometers or less but greater than zero, and the remaining 70-50% of the metal nanoparticles have a diameter greater than 20 nanometers.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

US Patent 8102063 - Pad structure with nanostructured coating film


This patent from Advance Materials Corporation uses nanostructured films to improve the corrosion and scratch resistance of electrical contact pads. Claim 1 reads:

1. A pad structure, comprising:

a copper trace pattern on a substrate;

a nickel layer stacked on the copper trace pattern;

a gold layer stacked on the nickel layer; and

a nano-structured coating film stacked on the gold layer, wherein the nano-structured coating film infiltrates surface grain boundary of the gold layer.


US Patent 8101980 - Embedded gate graphene transistor


This patent from Samsung teaches a simplified method for manufacturing graphene nano-ribbon transistors. Claim 1 reads:

1. A graphene device comprising:

at least one embedded gate on a substrate;

an upper oxide layer on the at least one embedded gate; and

a graphene channel and a plurality of electrodes on the upper oxide layer, the plurality of electrodes including a source electrode and a drain electrode,

wherein the at least one embedded gate does not overlap with the source electrode and the drain electrode.


US Patent 8101474 - Buried-channel graphene field effect device


It has been found that the gate dielectric can deteriorate the channel mobility of graphene transistors. This patent from IBM teaches a way to manufacture a graphene transistor to avoid this problem. Claim 10 reads:

10. A buried channel graphene device comprising:

a substrate;

a layer of graphene on said substrate;

a layer of amorphous silicon on said graphene layer;

a gate dielectric layer on said amorphous silicon layer;

source and drain contact regions in contact with said graphene layers; and

a gate electrode on said gate dielectric layer in between said source and drain contact regions.


US Patent 8101149 - Uh-oh, carbon nanomaterial submarine patent


Companies and patent attorneys involved in carbon nanotechnologies may want to note this patent from Mitsubishi Corporation. The patent priority goes back to 1990 so it is a potential submarine patent. The patent includes some very basic claims to carbon molecular structures that could arguably be applied to carbon nanotubes and other carbon nanostructures. A parent patent (US 7494638) issued back in 2009 but only included claims limited to C60 and C70. The first seven claims of this more recent patent are listed below.

1. Purified cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms.

2. Purified cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms in solid form.

3. Crystalline cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms.

4. A macroscopic amount of purified cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms.

5. A formed or molded product comprising purified C60 and/or C70.

6. A free-flowing particulate comprising cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms in microcrystalline form.

7. A solid comprising a macroscopic amount of cage molecules consisting of carbon atoms in crystalline form.


US Patent 8100314 - CNT solder


Electromigration is the transport of material due to ion drift and can be damaging to solder at high current densities. This patent from Intel teaches using carbon nanotubes to form a solder in which electromigration problems are reduced. Claim 1 reads:

1. A bump comprising:

a solder paste comprising solder powder and a paste ingredient mixed with the solder powder; and

carbon nanotubes (CNTs) dispersed within the solder paste with a pre-defined volume fraction, wherein the pre-defined volume fraction ranges from approximately 30% to 40%, to provide high electrical conductivity;

wherein the solder paste is attached to at least one of a die or a package substrate.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

US Patent 8099035 - CNT heat layer for printer fuser


This patent from Xerox teaches a way to use carbon nanotubes to form a heater layer in a fuser of a printer. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fuser member comprising:

a substrate;

a continuous phase metal heat inductive layer disposed on the substrate, the continuous phase metal heat inductive layer comprising an interpenetrating network of carbon nanotubes dispersed therein; and

an outer layer comprising a fluoropolymer disposed on the heat inductive layer.


US Patent 8097922 - Nanoscale transistor with enhanced carrier mobility


Strain engineering is a technique used in transistor manufacture to increase the carrier mobility and transistor switching speed but can also result in a reduction in thermal conductivity leading to overheating. This patent from the Regents of the University of California teaches an alternative way to increase transistor speed using a high thermal conductivity nanoscale barrier shell. Claim 1 reads:

1. A transistor having high carrier mobility comprising:

a drain structure;

a source structure;

a channel formed of a channel material and extending between the drain structure and the source structure, wherein at least one of a thickness and a diameter of the channel is in an order of a thermal phonon wavelength of the channel material;

a barrier shell formed of a barrier shell material having an acoustic impedance of at least 2 times an acoustic impedance of the channel material that at least substantially surrounds a portion of the channel such that the barrier shell confines acoustic phonons in the channel material of the channel;

a gate structure; and

a gate insulator between a portion of the gate structure and the barrier shell.


US Patent 8097233 - Synthesis of nanoparticles by laser pyrolysis


This patent teaches a laser pyrolysis manufacturing method of nanoparticles which is suggested to provide the advantages of more uniform nanoparticle sizes with a higher hourly yield. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for synthesizing nanoparticles by laser pyrolysis, in which at least one precursor interacts, in the vapor phase, with a laser beam in a pyrolysis reactor to produce nanoparticles, wherein the precursor is:

first in the liquid phase, then, converted to the vapor phase in an evaporator, before injection into the reactor, and

wherein a flow rate of the precursor in the liquid phase is controlled for continuous injection into the reactor,

wherein the precursor in the liquid phase has a flow rate that is substantially continuous and controlled by a mass flow controller.


US Patent 8096263 - Inkjet printing of magnetic nanoparticles


Inkjet printing of nanoparticles has been under development over the past decade to provide inexpensive manufacture of conductive lines in microcircuitry. This patent from Samsung attempts to address the problem of nanoparticle dispersion during inkjet printing using a magnetic field generator. Claim 1 reads:

1. A circuit line forming device, comprising:

an inkjet head to eject a conductive ink onto one side of a substrate, the conductive ink containing nanoparticles comprising a ferromagnetic core and a conductive layer surrounding the ferromagnetic core; and

a magnetic field generator part, positioned on the other side of the substrate in correspondence with the inkjet head, wherein the magnetic field generator part comprises a power source and a coil receiving an electric current from the power source to form a magnetic field and applies a magnetic field on the conductive ink, when the conductive ink is ejected to form circuit lines.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

US Patent 8094247 - Nanowire-based touch screen


Metal and metal oxide nanowires are being developed as a transparent conductive electrode material for flexible displays. This patent from Cambrios Technologies suggests metal nanowires to form the conductive layers in touch panel displays. Claim 4 reads:

4. A multi-layer structure comprising:

a substrate;

a conductive layer formed on the substrate, wherein the conductive layer comprises a first plurality of metallic nanowires, the first plurality of metallic nanowires reaching an electrical percolation level; and

an overcoat formed on the conductive layer, the overcoat incorporating a second plurality of conductive particles, the second plurality of conductive particles being below the electrical percolation level, and wherein the overcoat is surface conductive.


US Patent 8093786 - Branched nanoscale piezoelectric structures


This patent from the Stevens Institute of Technology teaches a method to form piezoelectric nanofibers via electrospinning which may help enable the creation of nanoscale sensors and actuators. Claim 1 reads:

1. An article, comprising a nanoscale piezoelectric structure including a branched structure having a stem with a plurality of branches extending therefrom wherein said stem and at least one of said plurality of branches includes a piezoelectric material.


US Patent 8093669 - Magnetic nanotransistor


This patent from Honda Motor teaches a new type of nanotransistor based on switching the magnetic moment of a particle attached to a carbon nanotube. Claim 1 reads:

1. A magnetic nanotransistor, comprising:

a first magnetizable electrode;

a second magnetizable electrode; and

at least one nanotube arranged between the first magnetizable electrode and the second magnetizable electrode wherein the nanotube has at least one magnetic particle attached thereto and wherein the magnetic moment of the particle is capable of being reversed by application of an external magnetic field.


US Patent 8093144 - Nanoassembly using charge patterns


This patent from MIT has priority going back to 2002 and teaches a type of nanoscale bottom up assembly based on the use of charge patterns to attract molecular structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming a feature, the method comprising:

creating a net charge pattern on a substrate by means of at least one energy beam, the charge pattern having a first type of charge; and

introducing a plurality of at least one of molecular-size scale and nanoscale building blocks to a region proximate the charge pattern, the building blocks having a second type of charge and directly imaging the charge pattern to form the feature, the building blocks being introduced by dusting, such that the building blocks adhere only to the charge pattern.


US Patent 8092904 - Optical article including a SWCNT antistatic layer


Static charges can attract dust and have an adverse effect during the manufacture of optical articles such as the glass used in flat panel displays. This patent from 3M teaches a solution to this problem by using an antistatic layer formed from single walled carbon nanotubes. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optical article comprising:

a first optical layer;

a second optical layer; and

an antistatic layer disposed between the first and second optical layers, the antistatic layer comprising conducting particles having an aspect ratio greater than about 10 and comprising single-walled carbon nanotubes having a length of 100 um or less and a diameter of 2 nm or less, wherein the antistatic layer has an average total thickness of less than about 10 nm and exhibits a surface resistivity of greater than about 1×108 ohms/sq.


US Patent 8092566 - Polymeric nanofiber filtration media


This patent from DuPont teaches an alternative filter media for HVAC air filters based on polymer nanofibers which can improve the filtration efficiency and reduce the chance of health hazard from the more conventional microglass filters. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composite fabric comprising a web of electroblown polymeric nanofibers solvent-bonded to a first support web comprising fibers of larger average diameter than the nanofibers and spun from a material compatible with said nanofibers, in the absence of an adhesive between the webs and wherein the nanofibers are solvent-bonded to the support web by the processing solvent from which the polymeric nanofibers are blown and which is entrained in the nanofiber web.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Top Ten Memresistor Patent Holders

Back in 2010 I published an article in the Nanotechnology Law &Business Journal (link) discussing the business prospects of memristive electronics. I recently updated the data from this article to be current as of Jan 01, 2012 including data sorted by patent issue year, claimed application (memory, logic/computing, or neuromorphics) and claimed material (phase change, solid electrolyte, metal oxide, or molecular/polymer). The updated data is available at this link.

Below is the list of the top 10 patent holding companies along with the primary class of material covered by the patents.

1) Samsung (387 US patents, phase change)
2) Micron (371 US patents, solid electrolyte)
3) Macronix (171 US patents, phase change)
4) Ovonyx (165 US patents, phase change)
5) IBM (126 US patents phase change)
6) HP (108 US patents, molecular)
7) Toshiba (108 US patents, metal oxide)
8) Sharp (107 US patents, metal oxide)
9) Intel (89 US patents, phase change)
10) Qimonda (88 US patents, phase change)

It is notable that the material covered by these patents may not necessarily be the same material that these companies are actually pursuing. For example, Micron seems to be committed to phase change memory rather than the solid electrolyte memory described in the bulk of their patents (link). Also, as I have mentioned in this blog before, HP and Hynix are working on metal oxide ReRAM which HP is claiming as the fabled "missing memristor" of Leon Chua. Most of HP's memory resistor patents focus on using molecular materials for resistance switching and Hynix Semiconductor (#13 on the list) have almost all of their patents (62/71) dedicated to phase change material. Meanwhile, Samsung (e.g. US Patent 7417271) and Sharp (e.g. US Patent 7796416) hold the bulk of the metal oxide patents which HP and Hynix would require to commercialize their "memristor".

It is curious to me that Hynix is working towards manufacturing a form of ReRAM that, if successful, will render most of their phase change memory resistor patents useless. If I were cynical I would almost think that someone at Hynix were working behind the scenes (perhaps with other of the companies heavily invested in phase change memory) to screw over HP in 2013.

A spreadsheet containing the complete patent data is available by sending an E-mail to tinytechip@gmail.com including the subject “memresistor patents”.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

US Patent 8089797 - Nanowire racetrack memory


This patent from Samsung includes a memory technology sounding similar to the racetrack memory invented by IBM using nanowires formed of ferromagnetic material. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory cell comprising:

a memory cell array unit including a plurality of nano wires arranged vertically on a substrate, each of the plurality of nano wires having a plurality of domains for storing information;

a nano wire selection unit formed on the substrate, the nano wire selection unit being configured to select at least one of the plurality of nano wires;

a domain movement control unit formed on the substrate and configured to control a domain movement operation with respect to at least one of the plurality of nano wires; and

a read/write control unit formed on the substrate and configured to control at least one of a read operation and a write operation with respect to at least one of the plurality of nano wires.


US Patent 8089152 - Graded permittivity dielectrics using nanostructures


One of the ways to extend Moore's Law is to find new dielectrics with higher permittivity in place of the silicon dioxide used as the gate insulator of MOSFETs. This patent from Nanosys teaches an interesting technique to engineer dielectric material using nanostructures to provide a graded permittivity. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory gate stack comprising a graded artificial dielectric, comprising:

(a) a dielectric material;

(b) a first region within the dielectric material with a plurality of nanostructures having one or more characteristics embedded therein; and

(c) a second region within the dielectric material with a plurality of nanostructures having one or more characteristics embedded therein;

wherein at least one of the one or more nanostructure characteristics is spatially varied from the first region to the second region, wherein the spatial variance is gradual and consistent from the first region to the second region.


US Patent 8088855 - Powder coating paint including carbon nanocapsules


This patent from Industrial Technology Research Institute includes some broad claims for an electrically conductive powder coating spray including carbon nanocapsules which helps dissipate static electricity. Claim 1 reads:

1. A powder coating paint, comprising:

90 to 99.9 parts by weight of a resin matrix; and

0.1 to 10 parts by weight of a carbon nanocapsule dispersed in the resin matrix, wherein the powder coating paint is in a powder form.


US Patent 8088674 - Horizontal single crystal nanowire growth


Nanowire transistor designs based on vertically grown nanowires have been proposed but are incompatible with common transistor structures in which the channel is parallel to the silicon substrate. This patent teaches one method for growing semiconductor nanowires laterally which may provide better compatibility with conventional transistor manufacture. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of growing a nanowire made from single-crystal semi-conductor material, comprising successively:

providing a substrate with two electrodes made from metallic material on a layer of dielectric material, one of the electrodes comprising a layer of catalyst directly in contact with the layer of dielectric material; and

growing the nanowire made from single-crystal semi-conductor material by means of the catalyst, the nanowire growing in contact with the dielectric material and with a diameter equal to a thickness of the layer of catalyst.

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US Patent 8088643 - Memresistor with nanoparticle assisted filament formation


Since the late 1990's Micron Technology has been experimenting with new types of non-volatile memory based on ionic chalcogenide materials. This latest patent teaches how nanoparticles can be used to assist in filament electroformation of these memories. Claim 1 reads:
1. A method of forming a memory device, comprising:

providing a first electrode;

providing a nanoparticle over said first electrode;

providing a chalcogenide glass over and surrounding the nanoparticle except where the nanoparticle is in contact with said first electrode; and

providing a second electrode over said chalcogenide glass.


US Patent 8088614 - Production and purification of biofuel from plants and microalgae


This patent from Aurora Algae teaches a way to use carbon-based nanomaterials to extract oil from biomaterial. Claim 1 reads:

1. A process for recovering an oil product from an organism, comprising:

(a) obtaining a crude extract from an organismal biomass;

(b) applying said crude extract to a composition comprising a nanomaterial; and

(c) recovering said oil product from said composition comprising the nanomaterial.


US Patent 8088544 - Polyester core-shell nanoparticles


Perhaps the most widely used application of microparticles is in toners for laser printers. This patent from Xerox teaches nanosized toner particles which lowers the temperature necessary to fuse the toner to paper. Claim 1 reads:

1. Core-shell nano-sized particles comprising particles having a core and a shell,

wherein the core of the particles comprises crystalline polyester and the shell of the particles comprises amorphous polyester and is substantially to completely free of crystalline material,

wherein the shell encapsulates the core, and wherein the nano-sized particles have an average particle size of about 1 nm to about 250 nm.


US Patent 8088484 - Metallic nano-chain photodetector


This patent teaches a new type of nanostructured photosensor based on the plasmon resonance absorption effect which provides improved wavelength selectivity. Claim 1 reads:

1. A metallic structure comprising a metallic nano-chain with plasmon resonance absorption,

wherein the metallic nano-chain is formed of a plurality of metallic nanoparticles mutually linked with a plurality of bottlenecks; and

each of the metallic nanoparticles is formed in any one of a circular shape, a triangle shape, and a rhomboid shape.

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US Patent 8088193 - Nanoparticle production via rubbing


This patent from inventor Taofang Zeng teaches an inexpensive chemical method to manufacture nanoparticles using polishing equipment from chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP). Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for making nanoparticles, comprising:

dipping a metal element in a solution that contains metallic ions or ions with a metal, wherein the metal element has a lower electronegativity or redox potential than that of the metal in the ions; and

rubbing the metal element to make nanoparticles.