Through Technologies

New Patents

Better Biomass Conversion with Recyclable GVL Solvent

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for producing soluble C6 and C5 carbohydrate oligomers and monomers from biomass. These include glucose, xylose and other sugars.

In the process, lignocellulosic material is reacted with water and gamma-valerolactone (GVL) – an organic solvent derived from biomass. This occurs in the presence of an acid catalyst under moderate temperatures, and results in the conversion of water-insoluble to water-soluble carbohydrates. These desired products are partitioned into an aqueous layer, where they can be recovered, concentrated and purified. The GVL separates into another layer to be recycled.
(Jun 2, 2015) P130123US01

Antimicrobial Polymers

UW-Madison researchers have developed novel amphiphilic compounds that can be used to treat microbial infections in humans and other animals. They combined a synthetic backbone of poly(styrene), poly(acrylate), poly(acrylamide) or poly(C1-C6alkylene glycol) with side-chains that can readily accept a hydrogen atom to become water-soluble. These compounds inhibited the growth of four test microorganisms to the same extent as known antimicrobials.
(May 19, 2015) P03315US

Synstatin “SSTNHER2” Fights Cancer

A UW–Madison researcher has discovered that the HER2/α6β4 assembly is brokered by the syndecan family of matrix receptors. In particular, syndecan-1 (Sdc1) links the two receptors together and helps tumor cells survive.

To obstruct this process, the researcher has created a recombinant peptide that competes with Sdc1 for binding partners. The new peptide mimics Sdc1 but is harmless. It is called SSTNHER2. It can be administered as a drug and combined with cancer patients’ other therapies.
(May 19, 2015) P120259US03

Synstatin “SSTNEGFR” Fights Cancer

A UW–Madison researcher has discovered that the EGFR/α6β4 assembly is mediated by the syndecan family of matrix receptors. Specifically, syndecan-4 (Sdc4) links the two receptors together and helps tumor cells grow and survive.

To obstruct this process, the researcher has created a recombinant peptide that competes with Sdc4 for binding partners. The new peptide is derived from Sdc4 but is harmless. It is called SSTNEGFR. It can be administered as a drug and combined with cancer patients’ other therapies.
(May 19, 2015) P120300US03

Movement Predictor for Real-Time Robotics Control

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a mathematical motion predictor for controlling and designing jointed mechanisms.

The predictor uses a system of differential equations describing the rate of change in each moving joint. These equations are solved by direct substitution of the variables with multiterm power series expressions. A linear relationship between coefficients of the same order can be established to form a system of independent and linearly related equations solvable by standard automatic techniques.
(May 12, 2015) P100351US02

Production of Nanoparticle Reinforced Metal-Matrix Nanocomposites from Master Nanocomposites

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method of producing a metal-matrix nanocomposite using a master material containing a higher percentage of wetted nanoparticles than the molten metal to which the master material is introduced. The master metal-matrix nanocomposite is introduced into a molten metal at a temperature above the melting temperature of the master metal-matrix nanocomposite. The master metal-matrix nanocomposite contains a first matrix metal and selected nanoparticles dispersed in the matrix metal. The first matrix metal may be an alloy containing a primary metal element and a wettability enhancing metal element. A portion of the master metal-matrix nancomposite is introduced by immersion as a solid or semisolid, or by addition as a liquid, and the master material melts into the molten metal. Then, the mixed molten metal solidifies to provide a second metal-matrix nancomposite containing a second matrix metal and at least a portion of the nanoparticles dispersed in the second matrix metal.

The use of a master nanocomposite allows the initial volume of metal processed with the nanoparticles to be reduced to a process in which the nanoparticles are added at their intended final concentration to a melt that will be added into the final nanocomposite. This enables the sale of solid master nanocomposites to foundries where they can be used easily to cast nanocomposites with desired nanoparticle concentrations without specialized training or expertise in nanoparticle handling and processing.
(May 5, 2015) P110276US01

Varied Monodisperse Oil or Liquid Crystal Emulsion Droplets for Improved Nanoviewing, Sensing and Biosensors

UW-Madison researchers have developed a versatile, scalable and highly parallel method of producing monodisperse emulsion droplets in a range of predetermined sizes.  The oil emulsion droplets, in which the oils can be liquid crystal molecules, can be prepared with or without polymeric shells or capsules.

This method is based on templating polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) capsules formed by the layer-by-layer adsorption of polyelectrolytes on sacrificial particles.  A polymeric shell is formed around a sacrificial particle, such as silica.  Then the silica is etched away and the shell is infiltrated with an oil.  The shell then can be removed to reveal monodisperse oil or liquid crystal emulsion droplets of a uniform, predetermined size.  These droplets could be used as biosensors to detect enzymatic activity or target analytes, such as bacteria or viruses, in a sample.
(Apr 21, 2015) P08136US

Improved Heat Transfer Fluid Helps Sun Drive Steam Power Plants

UW-Madison researchers have developed a system and method for transferring heat using a variable composition heat transfer fluid that remains liquid over a wide temperature range, up to 500 ºC or above. Typically, low molecular weight fluids stay fluid at low temperatures but evaporate quickly at high temperatures, while high molecular weight fluids stay liquid at high temperatures but solidify at lower temperatures. This new system and method utilizes a heat exchanging fluid comprised of a mixture of a high boiling point, high molecular weight fluid (H), and a low freezing point, low molecular weight fluid (L).

As the combined fluid mixture heats up during the heat exchange process, L evaporates and the vapor is collected in a tank and condensed back into the liquid phase, leaving the heated fluid comprised mostly of H. As the heated H is cooled after heat exchange, the liquid L is added back into the mixture to prevent H from solidifying as it cools. The high boiling point component of the mixture is useful in increasing the boiling point temperature of the heat transfer fluid and lowering the vapor pressure of the heat transfer fluid at high temperatures. The low freezing point component of the mixture is useful in lowering the freezing point temperature of the heat transfer fluid, ensuring that it does not solidify during the temperature cycle.

The system of the invention includes a vessel for containing the heat transfer fluid, a heat source, an outlet for removing some of L as temperature increases during the cycle and an inlet for re-adding L as temperature decreases during the cycle.
(Apr 21, 2015) P08455US02

Probing Disease Chemistry with Joint Spatial and Spectral Imaging

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for simultaneously generating spectral and spatial images of a subject using an MRI system.

A subject receives a dose of hyperpolarized imaging compound. MR image data is acquired from the subject according to a k-space sampling trajectory that spatially oversamples to encode both spatial and spectral frequency information at the oversampled points. The MR image data then can be reconstructed into the different image types using a model-based reconstruction technique and prior knowledge of the chemical species associated with the compound.
(Apr 14, 2015) P130133US01

Flexible Thin-Film Transistors Are Doped and Strained

UW–Madison researchers have developed doped semiconductor structures that share strain and enable thin, flexible transistors. The trilayer structures are made of single-crystalline semiconductor material like silicon and germanium.

The three-layered structure is grown epitaxially on a substrate and subsequently released. The first layer is selectively doped and comprises the same material and thickness as the third layer. This reduces the compressive or tensile strain typically borne by the middle layer.
(Apr 14, 2015) P130145US01