New Patents

Devices and Methods for Immobilizing Liquid Crystal Droplets onto a Chemically Functionalized Substrate Surface

UW–Madison researchers have developed devices and methods for immobilizing micrometer-sized liquid domains such as liquid crystal or isotropic oil droplets on a variety of chemically-functionalized surfaces. A multifunctional polymer, which may be a polyamine, is adsorbed at the surface interface of the liquid crystal droplets. Then the droplets are immobilized by covalent bonding, electrostatic interactions or other interactions between the adsorbed polymer and the functionalized substrate surface. The immobilized droplets can be used, for example, in liquid crystal droplet-based sensing devices or devices engineered to possess optical band gaps.
(Jul 26, 2016) P100260US02

Optical System for Correction of Tissue-Induced Aberration

A UW-Madison researcher has developed a new mono-chromatic method of correcting for the optical distortion caused by intervening tissue. Variations in the optical properties of the tissue lead to aberrations in the wavefront of the beam of light from the microscope system. This method is based on a reflective correction of the wavefront error. A computer-generated reflection hologram is projected in real time via a micro-mirror array, which adjusts the phase of the light to produce the exact opposite of the wavefront errors expected from the sample. The two cancel each other out, producing images corrected for aberrations.
(Jul 19, 2016) P07259US

Automated Evaluation of Ultrasonic Elasticity Images

UW-Madison researchers have developed a novel quantitative method for automatically evaluating the quality of images used in ultrasonic elasticity imaging. The method uses an empirical equation to combine different types of image quality measurements into a single quantitative descriptor of overall performance. For an operator manually deforming tissue, it may be used to provide a real-time corrective signal to improve the quality of the data acquired. It may also be used to automatically select images for averaging or animation.
(Jul 12, 2016) P04300US

New Method for Direct Patterning in Block Copolymer Lithography

UW–Madison researchers have designed a polymer brush that may be used in underlying buffer or imaging layers for block copolymer lithography. These low molecular weight block copolymers (brushes) can be anchored to substrate surfaces to provide a non-preferential buffer layer for the assembly of higher molecular weight block copolymer thin films. The higher lithographic sensitivity of the brushes allows for shorter processing time and a reduction in the number of steps involved with the assembly process. It also allows for more predictable control over the contrast in chemical pattern and provides a lower defect density in the assembled BCP.

This discovery combines bottom-up and top-down approaches into a single system involving depositing a block copolymer solution on a patterned buffer or imaging layer on a substrate and then inducing the BCPs to separate into domains. The direct patterning and assembly approach presents notable simplification with regards to BCP processing. 
(Jul 12, 2016) P100296US02

Cost-Effective Isobaric Tandem Mass Tags for High Throughput Quantitative Proteomics and Peptidomics

UW–Madison researchers have designed and synthesized novel N,N-dimethylated amino acid eight- and 16-plex isobaric MS/MS tagging reagents.

The reagents consist of a reporter group and a balancing group that are isotopically coded to provide eight compounds with equal molecular weights. The balancing group is designed to provide eight isotopic combinations. The reagents feature an amine reactive group capable of reacting with the molecule to be tagged. Compared to iTRAQ reagents, the eight-plex dimethyl leucine reagents also give rise to high intensity parent and reporter ions, offering enhanced sensitivity and dynamic range for detection and quantitation of low-abundance analytes.
(Jul 12, 2016) P110257US02

More Flexible Microlens Assembly

UW–Madison researchers have developed an electrowetting liquid lens assembly that can be wrapped onto a curved surface.

The lens is made of two immiscible fluids, such as water and silicone oil, and is contained within a chamber. This chamber sits on a flexible polymer base that takes stress off the lens and allows it to be mounted onto a non-flat surface.

Voltage can be applied to electrodes set within the chamber. This causes the curvature of the water-oil interface to change, thereby adjusting focal length.
(Jul 12, 2016) P120362US01

Composite Images for Clearer Ultrasound

UW–Madison researchers have developed an algorithm that combines ultrasonic data from multiple images into a high-resolution image or video.

To combine images taken at different times, each of the images is first subdivided into corresponding regions. These are separately registered in rotation and translation, and then combined into a high-resolution image. The process is repeated to create video.

The method can be extended to combine images obtained at different frequencies. This takes advantage of the fact that higher frequencies provide sharper detail closer to the ultrasound machine while lower frequencies are better with distance. Accordingly, acoustic distance is considered when weighting frequency data and combining images.
(Jul 12, 2016) P130212US01

Encrypting Intellectual Property Cores

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for encrypting the functional descriptions of IP cores. The encrypted descriptions allow simulation but still obscure the design and operation of the underlying circuit. This provides more flexible testing capabilities while protecting intellectual property.

First, an encryptor receives a description file of the circuit. The encryptor then outputs a description of the underlying IP core in which the nodes or gates of the circuit are replaced with generic placeholder nodes. These placeholders are given encrypted multivalued truth-tables that permit simulation but effectively disguise their function. For example, multiple alias values may hide the logic of the node, or the truth-table may include erroneous entries. The effect is to render the function of the node symbols practically unintelligible.
(Jul 12, 2016) P140095US01

Simultaneous Image Reconstruction and Artifact Reduction

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a system for reconstructing images with different levels of artifacts. In this way, a ‘target image’ with the lowest level of problems will be produced simultaneously with an ‘artifact image’ that depicts primarily artifacts.

The method works by automatically and iteratively producing multiple images from one set of data, with the multiple images corresponding to different data consistency levels.

Once a subject is scanned, an image matrix is initialized having columns that correspond to different images. At least one image then is reconstructed by minimizing a matrix rank. The ranking is constrained according to a consistency condition that promotes the forward projection of each column to be consistent with a different subset of the acquired data.
(Jul 5, 2016) P130064US01

Phosphine Ligands Made Cheaper, Better

UW–Madison researchers have developed methods for synthesizing novel classes of chiral phosphine ligands via enantioselective copper-catalyzed halogenation. The process is rapid and flexible, and also can be used to streamline the preparation of known phosphines.

The researchers previously described their ‘recycling’ method for use with aromatic compounds. Now, they have rendered the process enantioselective using an asymmetric bidentate phosphine ligand to produce scaffolds with high enantiomeric purity.

In essence, the use of the phosphine ligand helps form a chiral center in a complex product that is otherwise costly or impossible to create.
(Jul 5, 2016) P130268US02