Monday, April 30, 2012

US Patent 8164089 - Organic thin film transistor including graphene

This patent from Xerox teaches a variation of organic thin film transistors using graphene to increase the carrier mobility and improve switching speeds. Claim 1 reads:

1. A thin-film transistor comprising

a semiconducting layer, the semiconducting layer comprising an organic semiconductor and graphene;

wherein the graphene concentration in the semiconducting layer is lower than the critical concentration for a percolation network.


US Patent 8164083 - Shell-less quantum dot layer

Organic capping layers are commonly used in quantum dots to enhance the dispersability of the QD composition in various solvents and act as a stabilizing agent. However, the capping layer can reduce the optical conversion efficiency of quantum dort LEDs. This patent from Brother International Corporation teaches removing the capping layer and includes some broad claims to a cap-less quantum dot layer for LEDs. Claim 1 reads:

1. An optoelectronic device comprising:

a plurality of quantum dots, each of which has a core but does not have a shell or an organic capping layer;

wherein the plurality of quantum dots are arranged to form a quantum dot layer, such that surfaces of some of the cores of the quantum dots directly contact surfaces of others of the cores of the quantum dots.


US Patent 8164000 - Flexible PCB including CNT heat sink

This patent from Zhen Ding Technology Co., Ltd. deals with the problem of thermal dissipation in multilayer flexible PCBs by using carbon nanotube arrays. Claim 1 reads:

1. A flexible printed circuit board, comprising:

a flexible printed circuit board base film comprising:

 a sheet of flexible polymer matrix comprising a first surface and an opposite second surface, and a carbon nanotube array comprising a plurality of carbon nanotube bundles embedded in the sheet of flexible polymer matrix,

wherein a distribution density of the carbon nanotubes bundles gradually decreases in a given direction perpendicular to a thickness direction of the sheet of the flexible polymer matrix, and electrically conductive traces formed on the flexible printed circuit board base film.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Adesto Technologies - a memresistor startup

Adesto Technologies was one of the companies mentioned in EETimes "Silicon 60" list of notable emerging startups in semiconductor technology. The company was founded in 2006 and is based on a form of memory resistor technology called CBRAM which is typically formed from an ion conducting chalcogenide glass. The company appears to be focusing on CBRAM as a replacement or supplement for DRAM and flash memory.


1) The management team has decades of semiconductor industry experience and the company has strong VC backing.


1)  The core technology is based on patents non-exclusively licensed from Axon Technology and acquired from Qimonda. There are very few home grown patents from Adestos (currently 7 US issued) and these patents do not appear broad enough to enable an effective IP licensing model for revenue. In comparison Micron Technology, which has also licensed the basic patents of Axon Technology, currently has 371 patent in the area of memory resistance technology with 124 patents focusing on forms of CBRAM.

2)  If Adesto attempts to produce CBRAM products on their own they will likely have to take several licenses from other companies holding CBRAM patents (Micron, Infineon) as well as other companies holding broad patents in memory resistance (Samsung, Macronix, Toshiba, Sharp, HP, Unity Semiconductor, etc.) This may severely limit return on investment and a high probability of infringement lawsuits exist given the large diversity of patent holders.

3)  Chalcogenide materials are more difficult to integrate into semiconductor fabs than metal oxides ReRAM developed by other companies (i.e. Samsung, Sharp, Unity Semiconductor) or amorphous silicon ReRAM independently developed by Infineon and Crossbar, Inc.

4) 3D stacking solutions are being developed for DRAM which means that Adesto will have to not only compete with other ReRAM companies but compete with other companies producing 3D DRAM.

A more complete breakdown of the business landscape of memory resistor electronics is available on my wordpress account (link).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

US Patent 8163831 - Thermosets containing CNTs by extrusion

This patent from Hyperion Catalysis includes some basic claims for the dispersion of carbon nanotubes into thermoplastics via extrusion. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of preparing a thermoset precursor comprising:

providing a thermoset precursor having a viscosity greater than 15 poise; and

extruding carbon nanotubes with said thermoset precursor.                             


US Patent 8163634 - Devices with graphene layers

This patent from Alcatel-Lucent teaches techniques to grow a graphene layer on a boron-nitride substrate to enable graphene transistor design. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method, comprising:

providing a crystalline cubic boron-nitride substrate with a diamond-type lattice and an exposed substantially (111)-surface; and

growing a graphene-like layer on the exposed substantially (111)-surface.


US Patent 8163589 - Active layer of solar cell formed using nanospheres

This patent from Autotek Corporation teaches using silicon oxide nanospheres as sacrificial material to create microcavities in the active layer of solar cells and thus increase solar conversion efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for forming an active layer having plural micro cavities, comprising following steps:

A. providing a substrate having multiple layers of nanospheres, wherein the multiple layers are formed by aggregated nanospheres;

B. forming at least one silicon active layer to fill inter-gaps between the aggregated nanospheres and part of the surface of the substrate; and

C. removing the nanospheres to form the active layer having plural micro cavities on the surface of the substrate.                             


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

US Patent 8163345 - Multi-coating DPN®

This patent has priority going back to 1999 and includes some basic claims to processes of Dip Pen Nanolithography® pioneered by the company NanoInk. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of nanolithography comprising:

providing a substrate;

providing a scanning probe microscope tip;

coating the tip with a patterning compound; and

contacting the coated tip with the substrate so that the compound is applied to the substrate so as to produce a desired pattern,

wherein a second compound is applied to the pattern.


US Patent 8163044 - Nanoparticle fuel additive

This patent teaches how a mixture of metal oxide nanoparticles can be used to improve the efficiency of automobile fuel. Claim 1 reads:

1. A fuel additive consisting of a combination of zinc oxide nanoparticles in an amount of 70 to 80% by weight, magnesium oxide nanoparticles in an amount of 10 to 23% by weight, cerium oxide nanoparticles in an amount of 1 to 5% by weight, copper oxide nanoparticles in an amount of 1 to 5% by weight and ferric oxide nanoparticles in an amount of 1 to 5% by weight.

US Patent 8162643 - Nanotube film splicer

Nanotube films have been proposed as a material for hydrogen storage useful to fuel cells. This patent teaches an apparatus to interconnect nanotubes to maximize the surface-to-volume and the strength of the films. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus for producing a continuous nanotube film from a first nanotube forest on a first substrate and from a second nanotubes forest on a second substrate;

a puller mechanism configured to attach to nanotubes in the first nanotube forest on the first substrate and to pull a first length of nanotube film from the first nanotube forest on the first substrate; and

a splicer mechanism, wherein the apparatus pulls the first length of nanotube film from the first nanotube forest on the first substrate, the splicer mechanism splices the first length of nanotube film to nanotubes of the second substrate, and continues to pull the nanotube film such that, spliced to and continuous with the first length of nanotube film, a film of nanotubes is pulled from the second nanotube forest on the second substrate.                             

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

US Patent 8160197 - Nuclear power plant with nanoparticle coolant

This patent from Areva NP teaches a way that nanoparticle-based coolants can be used to increase the heat transfer from a nuclear reactor and evacuate heat under accident conditions. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nuclear power plant comprising:

a reactor;

a reactor coolant system circulating fluid to cool the reactor, the reactor coolant system including a hot leg upstream of the reactor and a cold leg downstream of the reactor;

a closed cooling circuit including a coolant including nanoparticles, the closed cooling circuit cooling at least one of the hot leg and the cold leg of the reactor coolant system via a heat exchanger in such a manner that the nanoparticles of the closed cooling circuit do not enter the fluid circulated in the reactor coolant system and the closed cooling circuit cools the reactor coolant system at least one of before the fluid enters the reactor or after the fluid exits the reactor.


US Patent 8159157 - Nano-gun

The claims from this patent from Raytheon appear to be reciting the world's smallest gun using a nanotube to eject atomic bullets so as to generate particle beams. Claim 1 reads:

1. A linear accelerator comprising:

a substrate comprising a plurality of nanotubes and one or more other constituent materials, the plurality of nanotubes comprising 1 to 5 percent of the substrate;

a particle disposed within a nanotube of the plurality of nanotubes, the nanotube having a cylindrical shape; and

an energy source configured to apply energy to the nanotube to cause the particle to accelerate.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

US Patent 8158254 - 2D conductive silicide nanostructures

This patent based on research from Boston College teaches the fabrication of a two dimensional mesh structure formed from interconnected silicide nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A conductive silicide comprising

a plurality of connected and spaced-apart nanobeams linked together at an about 90-degree angle,

the plurality of nanobeams forming a two-dimensional nanostructure having a mesh-like appearance.


US Patent 8158217 - CNT-infused fiber

Thin patent from Applied Nanostructured Solutions LLC teaches a way to directly grow carbon nanotubes on different types of fiber (e.g. graphitic, metallic, ceramic, glass). Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of infusing carbon nanotubes on a parent fiber, the method comprising:

spreading said parent fiber before disposing a carbon nanotube-forming catalyst on a surface of said parent fiber, thereby forming a catalyst-laden fiber;

actively heating said catalyst-laden fiber to a nanotube-synthesis temperature;

transporting said catalyst-laden fiber through a carbon plasma at atmospheric pressure, thereby synthesizing carbon nanotubes directly on said catalyst-laden fiber while being transported; and

re-bundling the spread parent fiber after synthesizing carbon nanotubes thereon.


US Patent 8158193 - Highly luminescent color-selective nanocrystals

This patent from M.I.T. has priority going back to 1997 and includes some basic claims for nanocrystal core-shell quantum dots. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition comprising a population of nanocrystals,

wherein each nanocrystal of the population comprises a core including a first semiconductor material and an overcoating including a second semiconductor material deposited on the core,

wherein the population exhibits photoluminescence having a quantum yield of at least 30% and emit light in a spectral range of about 37 nm or less full width at half max (FWHM) when irradiated.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

US Patent 8156057 - Adaptive neural network utilizing nanoconnections

This patent is the latest in a series of continuations from KnowmTech LLC and discloses ways in which nanoparticles can be used to create physical neural networks. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for strengthening nanoconnections of a electromechanical neural network, said method comprising:

providing an electromechanical neural network comprising a plurality of neurons formed from a plurality of nanoconnections disposed within a dielectric solution in association with at least one pre-synaptic electrode and at least one post-synaptic electrode;

activating said subsequent neuron in response to firing an initial neuron of said plurality of neurons, thereby increasing a voltage of a pre-synaptic electrode of said neuron, which causes a refractory pulse thereof to decrease a voltage of a post-synaptic electrode associated with said neuron and thus provides an increased voltage between said pre-synaptic electrode of said preceding neurons and said post-synaptic electrode of said neuron.


US Patent 8154028 - Infrared detector with nanoparticle Schottky barriers

This patent from Howard University teaches a way to use nanoparticles to form infrared detectors for detecting radiation in the 1-20 micron range. Claim 1 reads:

1. An infrared external photoemissive detector, comprising:

an n-p heterojunction comprising an n-type semiconductor layer and a p-layer;

the n-layer semiconductor comprising doped silicon embedded with nanoparticles forming Schottky barriers; and

the p-layer is a p-type diamond film.


US Patent 8154011+8154012 - CNT thin film transistors

These two patents come from Foxconn and include some broad claims for high mobility thin film transistors formed using aligned carbon nanotube films as a semiconductor layer. Claim 1 of the '012 patent reads: 

1. A thin film transistor comprising:

a source electrode;

a drain electrode spaced from the source electrode;

a semiconducting layer connected to the source electrode and the drain electrode;

an insulating layer; and

a gate electrode insulated from the source electrode, the drain electrode, and the semiconducting layer by the insulating layer;

wherein the semiconducting layer comprises a carbon nanotube film, and the carbon nanotube film comprises a plurality of carbon nanotubes primarily oriented along a same direction and joined end to end by van der Waals attractive force, and the plurality of carbon nanotubes are oriented along a direction from the source electrode to the drain electrode.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

US Patent 8154010 - PN nanotube network crossbar memory

This patent from Hynix Semiconductor teaches how to form a memory array using p-doped and n-doped nanotube networks as a future replacement for DRAM. Claim 1 reads:

1. A memory device having a crossbar structure, the memory device comprising:

a plurality of first electrodes arranged in parallel and extending in a first direction;

a plurality of second electrodes arranged in parallel, spaced apart from the first electrodes, and extending in a second direction intersecting the first direction; and

a first nanotube or nanowire network disposed at each intersection of the first electrodes and the second electrodes, including a stacked structure of a P-type network and an N-type network, and having a diode characteristic, the stacked structure comprising an upper portion, a lower portion, and a heterojunction defined between the upper portion and the lower portion, one of the upper or lower portions being the P-type network, and the other one of the upper or the lower portions being the N-type network, wherein each of the first electrodes is connected to one of the P-type network and the N-type network and each of the second electrodes is connected to the other of the P-type network and the N-type network.


US Patent 8153240 - Carbon nanosheets on a substrate

This patent from the College of William and Mary teaches a way to fabricate oriented carbon nanoflakes on a substrate without the contamination present when using intercalation techniques. Claim 1 reads:

1. A plurality of carbon nanosheets on a substrate, each of the plurality of carbon nanosheets having a thickness of one nanometer or less, wherein the plurality of carbon nanosheets are aligned and stand on their edges roughly vertically to the substrate.


US Patent 8153156 - Hydrogel nanocomposites

This patent proposes a nanocomposite material having the capability to mimic the natural lens of the eye and thus eliminate the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery. Claim 1 reads:

1. A hydrogel nanocomposite comprising a reversible hydrogel having nanoparticles dispersed therein, wherein said nanoparticles have particle sizes less than about 150 nm.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

US Patent 8149170 - CNT variable frequency patch antenna

This patent is based on research conducted in the University of California system and teaches how carbon nanotubes can be used to construct a variable frequency steerable patch antenna. Claim 1 reads:

1. A variable frequency patch antenna comprising

a patch formed from a dense network of semiconducting carbon nanotubes on a first layer; and

a partitioned backgate positioned below the first layer.


US Patent 8148800 - Semiconductor nanowire with removal of residual carriers

A switching speed of semiconductor nanowire-based devices may be limited by the presence of residual carriers that remain in or near the semiconductor junction when the device is turned off. This patent from HP teaches providing a carrier sink to improve the speed of switching for optical detectors or modulators based on semiconductor nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanowire-based-device comprising:

a semiconductor nanowire having a semiconductor junction; and

a residual carrier sink, the residual carrier sink being adjacent to a surface of the nanowire proximal to the semiconductor junction,

wherein the residual carrier sink facilitates removal of residual carriers from the semiconductor junction using one or both enhanced recombination and direct extraction of residual carriers,

the nanowire-based device being one of an optical detector and an optical modulator.


US Patent 8148708 - Memresistor with CNT selection diode

In ReRAM devices the problem of current sneak paths limits the size of memory cell arrays. There have been suggestions of using metal oxide materials to improve non-linearity and avoid sneak paths but these materials reduce current density. This patent from Hynix Semiconductor teaches using carbon nanotubes as an alternative to produce rectifying characteristics without reducing current density. Claim 1 reads:

1. A resistive memory cell, comprising:

a first conductive line on a substrate;

a selection diode comprising a vertical nanotube and being arranged over the first conductive line;

a resistive element including a resistive layer arranged over the selection diode; and

a second conductive line arranged over the resistive element;

wherein the vertical nanotube includes a carbon nanotube.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

US Patent 8148001 - Energy storage using nanotube molecules

The deformation of elastic springs is one of the oldest forms of energy storage but suffers from a low energy storage density. This patent based on research conducted at M.I.T. teaches a way to use carbon nanotube material for elastic spring energy storage which may improve energy storage density. Claim 1 reads:

1. An energy storage device comprising;

at least one nanotube structure having one nanotube, a multi-molecular assembly of interacting nanotubes, an array of non-interacting nanotubes, or non-interacting assemblies of interacting nanotubes, said at least one nanotube structure being independent of electric charge or current; and

an energy storage, maintenance, and recovery mechanism for converting energy that is external to said energy storage device into potential energy by applying strain on said at least one nanotube structure, maintaining said potential energy of strain for an arbitrary period of time, with no losses due to friction, by fixating said at least one nanotube structure in a non-moving state, and converting said potential energy of strain back into external energy by relaxing said strain on said at least one nanotube structure.


US Patent 8147791 - Reduction of graphene oxide to graphene

This patent from Northrop Grumman Corp. teaches a new way to manufacture graphene material based on the oxidation of graphite followed by a reduction process. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of creating graphene consisting of the steps of:

dispersing graphene oxide into water to form a dispersion;

adding a solvent to the dispersion to form a solution; and

controlling a temperature of the solution to form graphene.


US Patent 8146861 - Lightning protection for aircraft using CNT material

This patent from Airbus Deutschland GmbH teaches a carbon nanotube based alternative to aluminum or copper-mesh skins for aircraft to protect from lightning strikes. Claim 1 reads:

1. Aircraft or spacecraft, comprising

a component having a resin matrix in which carbon nanotubes are embedded for providing a high conductivity of the component,

wherein a current source is provided, the current source being adapted to produce an electric current in the component for heating-up the same in order to defrost the component or an area adjacent to the component.