Through Technologies

New Patents

Low-Temperature, Corrosion-Resistant Integrated Metal Coatings to Improve Efficiency of Coal Plants

UW-Madison researchers have developed an improved method for the low-temperature synthesis of integrated, corrosion-resistant coatings for metal substrates. The low-temperature process avoids the degradation of substrate mechanical properties that occurs in traditional pack cementation processes. The new method also improves upon previous technologies by widening the scope of its application. For example, synthesis of aluminide coatings on steel alloys via low-temperature pack cementation can enhance oxidation resistance in conditions of extreme temperature and moisture, as in high-temperature operation of steam power generation plants. 

In general, the integrated coating consists of the substrate metal, a diffusion-barrier that hinders diffusion of the coating components into the substrate, a corrosion-resistant layer and an oxidation barrier. Deposition of the integrated structure can be achieved via pack cementation at a temperature lower than 700°C, or by thermal spray, vapor deposition or electrodeposition methods.

The substrate, diffusion layer and corrosion-resistant layer can consist of metals, intermetallic compounds or metalloid alloys, depending on the specific application of the integrated structure. For example, a chromium/molybdenum/steel alloy substrate could be coated with an aluminum/iron/intermetallic diffusion-barrier and an aluminum/iron corrosion-resistant layer for use in coal-fired power plants, in which the integrated coating is in contact with supercritical steam. With these techniques, coal-fired power plants can operate at higher temperatures to exploit supercritical steam properties, improving efficiency and reducing overall emissions.
(Aug 5, 2014) P08213US

Hydrogel Drug Delivery Device as an Alternative to Pressurized Gas or Voltage Transdermal Technology

UW-Madison researchers have developed a drug delivery device that provides a controlled infusion of a drug to an individual.  The device includes a reservoir that holds the drug.  A predetermined stimulus, which may be activated by the individual, causes a hydrogel to exert pressure on the reservoir, dispensing the drug.
(Aug 5, 2014) P09034US

Genes for Xylose Fermentation, Enhanced Biofuel Production in Yeast

UW–Madison researchers have identified 10 genes in yeast that are involved in xylose fermentation. These genes could be used to create an organism that can ferment both xylose and glucose for enhanced biofuel production.
(Aug 5, 2014) P100245US03

Steering and Tuning Lasers Formed by Nanoscale Microtubes

UW–Madison researchers have developed semiconductor microtube lasers that are wavelength-tunable and can be steered when an electromagnetic field is applied.

The microtube is a heterostructure of various group III/V alloys integrated for different purposes. The structuring involves three essential components: a strained layer to make the tube curl, an optically active lattice to emit laser light (interband or intersubband), and a grating structure to provide optical feedback. Thickness of the layers may range from five to 2000 nm.

Unlike existing lasers, the diameter of the microtube can be altered to produce different wavelengths of light. Through piezoelectric coupling or the addition of an insulating layer that leads to a change in lattice spacing, the tube can be made to expand or contract, corresponding to modulated emissions.

Additionally, the microtubes can be anchored in devices with electrodes that cause them to rise and tilt, steering the direction in which their light is given off.
(Jul 29, 2014) P08124US01

Microfluidic Device for Capturing and Analyzing Rare Cells, Including Circulating Tumor Cells

UW-Madison researchers have developed a microfluidic device for concentrating rare cells.  The velocity of flow through the device is manipulated such that particles in suspension, such as cells, are carried to and deposited in a particular location within the device.  The flow in the region where the cells are deposited is slow, so the cells remain in the collection area without any modifications to the surfaces of the device or cells while the fluid that carried them is routed out of the device.  Because particles in suspension enter the collection region but do not leave, many particles may be captured from a relatively dilute suspension.  The cells then can be cultured, stained and imaged for analysis without being removed from the collection area, creating a gentle and efficient way to implement extensive washing and treatment protocols.
(Jul 29, 2014) P100069US01

Cleaving Double-Stranded DNA at User-Chosen Sites

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method of using Ref to cleave double-stranded DNA at any desired target sequence. The researchers determined that Ref is a novel HNH class and RecA-dependent endonuclease. They have shown that Ref, in combination with RecA and a single-stranded DNA targeting oligonucleotide, can specifically cause cleavage of double-stranded DNA at a site complementary to the oligonucleotide.
(Jul 22, 2014) P100286US02

Combined Keyboard and System for Improved Accessibility to Electronics

UW–Madison researchers have developed an extension to the EZ Access set of design guidelines, techniques and hardware components. Compact EZ Access keys and functionality can be incorporated into existing or new public information and transaction machines to provide both standard and special keyboard behaviors needed by people with different disabilities. The system incorporates the EZ UP and DOWN, EZ ACTION, EZ BACK and NEXT and EZ HELP buttons of the original EZ Access system into a typical keyboard to improve accessibility of the system and add convenience to users without disabilities. These buttons enhance the functionality of the original arrow and enter keys of a keyboard to allow easy navigation by page, screen or element, while maintaining typical functionalities such as moving the text cursor and typing carriage returns.
(Jul 15, 2014) P08093US

Bone Tissue Regeneration System That Provides Spatial and Temporal Control Over the Release of Growth Factors

UW–Madison researchers have developed a tissue regeneration system that utilizes porous scaffolds to localize and temporally control the release of multiple growth factors.  In this system, porous beta tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) templates are coated with one or more extracellular matrix layers.  The layers include at least one thin, degradable mineral layer that is similar to bone mineral.  Because the coating process does not require high temperatures or organic solvents, biologically active growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) can be incorporated in the layers. 

To control dissolution order, and ultimately, delivery of the biologically active molecules, multiple distinct layers are deposited on the β-TCP scaffold.  Each layer may contain one or more active biomolecules and is designed to dissolve at a separate rate. As the matrix material gradually breaks down, the growth factors are delivered sequentially.  This provides temporal control of growth factor signaling, thereby directing the activities of associated cells, to enable the growth of new bone tissue.
(Jul 15, 2014) P09200US

Synthesis of Endoperoxide from a Diene and Molecular Oxygen in the Presence of a Photocatalyst

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method of making an endoperoxide by reacting a diene and molecular oxygen in the presence of a metal photocatalyst with an excited state lifetime of at least 100 nanoseconds. In one embodiment, the catalyst is a Ruthenium-based photocatalyst. This method uses visible light and can produce good yields of endoperoxide.
(Jul 15, 2014) P100348US01

Radial 3-D Printer for Improved Prototyping Efficiency

UW–Madison researchers have developed a non-Cartesian mechanism for 3-D printing. The mechanism comprises a tool movement assembly with an arm extending radially from a first axis to a printhead location; an actuator system that independently controls the rotation, translation and revolution according to control signals; and a printhead attached to the arm at the printhead location that receives control signals to direct a printed volume of material toward the printing surface. The 3-D printing mechanism may further include a system for translating conventional CAD files into the coordinate structure of the present invention.
(Jul 15, 2014) P120012US01