Through Technologies

New Patents

Photovoltaic Capacitor for Direct Solar Energy Conversion and Storage

UW–Madison researchers have developed a two-electrode bio-inspired photovoltaic capacitor that can directly convert and store solar energy in a single structure. The device includes a transparent electrode and a second electrode disposed opposite from the transparent electrode. The structure features an electrolyte slurry containing semiconducting particles along with particles of low ionic diffusivity. This medium exhibits a combination of photovoltaic and ferroelectric properties. The slurry is sandwiched between the transparent electrode and a membrane of low ionic diffusivity adjacent to the negative electrode.

To harvest energy, incident photons excite the electrons within the semiconducting layer and holes in the electrode to generate electron-hole pairs via the photovoltaic effect of solar energy being absorbed. The electrons attract ions to the cathode electrode, creating a concentration gradient across the device. The device is charged using this process until a saturated electric potential difference is reached. The diffusion force of the ions and electric field are counter-balanced and maintain a stable electrical double layer across the two electrodes.
(Jun 23, 2015) P100342US01

Electrodes with Low-Cost Replaceable Tips

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new electrode design incorporating disposable tips. The tips can have a snapping mechanism or embedded magnet that attaches to the main shaft of the electrode. An insulating material seals the connection against any liquid. The tips may be modified with other entities such as nanoparticles, enzymes and antibodies.
(Jun 23, 2015) P120016US02

Reusable Virtual Substrates for Growing Semiconductor Devices

UW–Madison researchers have developed improved virtual substrates using hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE). HVPE is a well-known technique that enables thick layers of semiconductor to be grown in short periods of time.

The virtual substrates comprise several layers. The underlying GaAs substrate has a certain lattice constant. Over this, an MBL is grown via the HVPE process. The MBL is sufficiently thick to avoid warping. It is compositionally graded so that its lattice constant matches the underlying substrate, but transitions to a different lattice constant at its surface where the semiconductor device will be grown.

The MBL surface can be polished and reused to grow multiple semiconductor devices.
(Jun 23, 2015) P130206US01

Simplified Anisotropic Graphene Conductor Emits Terahertz Radiation

UW–Madison researchers have designed an electromagnetic radiation device that can generate THz frequencies using an electrically conducting thin film.

The film is made of graphene layered over a substrate patterned into stripes of two alternating materials, such as germanium and silicon dioxide. This causes the charge carrier mobility across the plane of the thin film to vary periodically. When voltage is applied to the film, electrons flow through, changing velocities and giving rise to a spatially varying electric field. This produces electromagnetic radiation from the exposed surface of the film as the electrons pass through.

The graphene layer can be grown or deposited directly on the patterned substrate using known nanomembrane or thin-sheet transfer techniques.
(Jun 16, 2015) P130002US01

Robust and Improved Surfaces for Biological Microarrays That Reduce Nonspecific Binding

A UW-Madison researcher has developed a robust coating for use in microarrays. This reactive polymer coating has a high mechanical stability, binding-site density and signal-to-noise ratio. It can be formed readily on many substrates and may also be patterned to control the localization and density of the target molecules.

The coating consists of a cross-linked epoxy-functional copolymer film. The copolymers incorporate at least two sets of polymerized monomers. The first set, which contains epoxide groups, reacts with the target molecules to immobilize them on the film. The second set contains photo-cross-linkable groups, which are used to cross-link the copolymers into a stable film. Using different monomers to provide the cross-linking and target binding functions allows each function to be controlled and optimized independently.
(Jun 9, 2015) P07188US

Multidimensional Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer for Cost-Effective Laser Systems

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a simplified and robust multidimensional spectrometer that encodes frequency information into laser pulses traveling along two optical paths. This allows a multidimensional spectrograph to be generated.
(Jun 9, 2015) P100283US01

Improved Self-Loading Microfluidic Device for Determining Effective Antibiotic Dose and Other Chemical and Biological Assays

UW–Madison researchers have developed a portable, self-loading microfluidic device and method for determining therapeutically effective amounts of agents, MICs and toxicity levels. It can be used to identify bacterial strains and for performing chemical and biological assays. The device comprises a porous organic polymer, a reaction well, an inlet port, a vacuum well, a main channel and a side channel. 
(Jun 9, 2015) P110347US01

Treating Heart Failure by Inhibiting Myosin Interaction with a Regulatory Myosin Binding Protein

A UW–Madison researcher in collaboration with others has developed peptides for treating and slowing the progression of heart failure. The peptides are designed to disrupt a key interaction involving myosin and Myosin Binding Protein C (MyBP-C).

In healthy hearts, myosin is responsible for generating the force that drives normal cardiac function. It works by continually binding and releasing a protein called actin, in a process that powers heart muscle contractions. In healthy hearts, the process is slowed when myosin is also bound to a regulatory protein, MyBP-C. In compromised hearts, the result of this interaction is to further slow and weaken muscle contractions.

The new peptides target a specific binding site of MyBP-C, thereby blocking attachment to myosin. The peptides could be administered as small-molecule pharmaceuticals in conjunction with other therapies like beta blockers and diuretics.
(Jun 9, 2015) P120252US02

Treating Pulmonary Disorders with Artificial Lung Surfactant

UW–Madison researchers and others have developed new artificial lung surfactants that mimic the SP-B protein. The materials are based on sequence-random copolymers that contain cationic and lipophilic subunits and are members of the nylon-3 family. They are prepared by ring-opening polymerization of beta-lactams. Also, N-terminal units can be attached to the copolymers to mimic surface tension properties exhibited by the SP-C protein.
(Jun 2, 2015) P100038US02

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