New Patents

Block Copolymers for Sub-10 Nanometer Lithography

UW–Madison researchers have developed BCPs characterized by high Flory-Huggins interaction parameters (χ). They can self-assemble into domains having very small dimensions, and therefore are extremely useful in lithography.

The new BCPS may be polymerized from PHS monomers or from tert-butyl styrene and 2-vinylpyridine monomers. Overall degree of polymerization (N) can be experimentally controlled so that it’s high enough to form a desired phase (e.g., cylinders, spheres, lamellae, etc.) but low enough to produce very small dimensions.
(Mar 7, 2017) P140025US01

Motor for Electric Vehicles Solves Load/Loss Tradeoff

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new IPM design methodology that offers a solution to conventional performance tradeoffs.

The new design features variable flux linkage characteristics to reduce iron and copper loss under low and high load conditions, respectively. The design does not compromise torque capability and exploits flux leakage already present in every PM machine. In other words, compared to previous IPMs, this technology is able to convert a weakness into an advantage.

More specifically, the rotor geometry is designed such that flux leakage can be shifted to cross the air gap and become desirable flux linkage when stator current is applied. It can be increased or decreased as needed based on load conditions.
(Feb 21, 2017) P120243US01

Understanding and Treating Nervous System Dysfunction Using Modified Fly Models

UW–Madison researchers have developed new methods to study such time-dependent neurological mechanisms and to screen for potentially therapeutic small molecules using extended third instar stage (ETI) Drosophila larvae. These flies have been genetically modified to remain in the larval period for up to 30 days but are otherwise normal. Given the longer time window, these ETI larvae can be utilized to identify agents that stimulate nerve regeneration, confer neuroprotection or prevent synaptic degeneration.

For such studies, the ETI larvae are fed test compounds (e.g., from a chemical library) and the functional consequences of the test agent on processes such as neuronal survival, axonal regrowth, and synaptic maintenance are assessed in appropriate assays.
(Feb 14, 2017) P120334US02

Compact Spectrometer

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a more compact and easily manufactured optical spectrometer. Specifically, the new design includes a filter system that receives and modifies light beams according to frequency. It generates a set of uncorrelated and varying filter spectra over an extremely short optical path. Although the filter spectra are complex and appear largely random, they can be ordered into an absorption spectrum using compressed sensing techniques.
(Feb 14, 2017) P140145US01

Superior Plastic Parts

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method to create foamed, injection-molded plastic blends with significantly increased toughness and ductility compared to conventional foamed parts.

The new process begins with a polymer blend with two properly selected polymer materials, such as polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), or PP and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which exhibit a dispersed secondary phase at sub-microscale in the primary matrix. The polymer blend is heated along with a supercritical fluid in an extruder to produce a melt, which is then extruded into gas-laden pellets. The gas-laden pellets can be fed into the injection barrel of a typical machine, plasticized and then injected into a mold cavity (or cavities) where the final part is made.

The process forms a lightweight component with microscale air cavities. Upon tensile loading, debonding of the secondary phase facilitates the interconnection of microcellular voids to form channels such that the stretched component becomes a bundle of fibrils. Compared to other toughening methods, this method achieves a more significant improvement in ductility and toughness. It also has the benefit of higher production efficiency, better dimensional stability, and greater design freedom thanks to the foamed injection molding process.
(Jan 31, 2017) P140042US01

Sustainable Organic Aerogels for Insulation

UW–Madison researchers have developed hybrid organic aerogels with desirable insulation properties. They are made by combining a water soluble polymer and a carbon nanofiller such as graphene oxide nanosheet with cellulose nanofibrilliated fibers (CNFs) derived from biomass. The organic polymer, such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), is cross-linked to form a gel and water is removed by freeze-drying. The surface of the aerogel can by further modified.
(Jan 24, 2017) P120283US03

Solar Cells Track Sun

UW–Madison researchers have developed a passive solar tracking system utilizing materials that move in response to sunlight.

In the system, a solar cell panel is supported by flexible posts. The posts are made from a composite material, including a liquid crystal elastomer. This material has properties that cause it to contract and tilt when exposed to heat. To further exploit such properties, the material is embedded with carbon nanotubes that act as miniature heat sources, absorbing sunlight and giving off warmth.
(Jan 17, 2017) P120269US01

More Efficient Processing with Self-Invalidating IOMMU Mapping

UW–Madison researchers have developed a more efficient IOMMU. They recognized that the time required to delete a page table entry (PTE) from the page table and send the IOMMU cache deletion signal can be eliminated for most transactions.

This is done by attaching a ‘removal rule’ to the PTE that allows for self-deletion. The removal rule may, for example, delete the PTE after a predetermined number of memory accesses or a specified time. This significantly cuts processor time and resources required for IOMMU transactions. Also, the susceptibility of the computer to I/O device or driver errors is reduced.
(Jan 17, 2017) P140029US01

Voltage Regulator Control for Processors Conserves Energy

A UW–Madison researcher has developed an improved VR system for next-generation hardware providing direct rather than inferred current measurements. In the new system, a controller manages the number of active phases of each VR according to a determined electrical current demand from the processor.

Relying on electrical current demand (rather than P-state) boosts VR efficiency, particularly in situations where low current demand occurs under heavy processor demand because of certain power variations.
(Jan 17, 2017) P140423US01

Ultra-Efficient Continuous Monitoring of Sensors

UW–Madison researchers have developed reconfigurable event-driven hardware that enables low-power continuous monitoring by offloading tasks from the primary processor.

The hardware interfaces with sensors and invokes the processor only when a trigger signature is detected. It can be implemented as a separate integrated chip or as a low-power compute resource within the primary processor.
(Jan 10, 2017) P130049US01