Through Technologies

New Patents

High-Symmetry, Bicontinuous Lyotropic Liquid Crystals with Percolating Nanoscale Domains

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new class of anionic Gemini amphiphiles based on aliphatic carboxylic acids that exhibit a strong propensity to form G-phase LLC assemblies in an aqueous solution. Moreover, these G-phases are broadly stable between 25 and 100 degrees Celsius and across a wide range of amphiphile concentrations (up to 20 weight percent).

The LLC-forming material comprises water or another polar solvent and an anionic Gemini (“twin tail”) surfactant containing at least one carboxylate moiety. This scaffold furnishes ready access to useful, high-symmetry Q-phase LLCs having well-defined pore wall functionalities that can be readily tuned by chemical synthesis for specific applications.
(Sep 16, 2014) P120009US01

Blue-Green Phytochrome-Based Fluorophores with Strong Fluorescence

UW–Madison researchers have created unique blue-green fluorophores with increased fluorescence.  These fluorescent molecules were created by targeted mutation of particular amino acid residues in the phytochrome domain from wild type cyanobacteria such as Thermosynechococcus elongatus.  They have several advantages over currently used reporters such as GFP or luciferase, including their thermostability and small size.  Additionally, different fluorophores can be used to “fine tune” the excitation/emission to a particular wavelength to meet the needs of a specific system or experiment.
(Sep 2, 2014) P08462US02

Synthesis of Low-Cost, High-Density DNA Microarrays

UW-Madison researchers have developed a system and method for synthesizing DNA microarrays using a device that includes a reduction optics assembly and a target assembly. These new components incorporate image reduction and precision stage motion into the synthesis process, increasing the density of the DNA chip to 25 times the density of a traditional microarray while maintaining the cost per feature. As a result, the system offers a significant reduction in the cost of DNA microarrays by increasing the amount of information contained within the microarray while keeping the consumables necessary for the process constant when compared to similar technologies.
(Aug 26, 2014) P08067US

Lignin-Metal Complex Formation to Enhance Biofuel Production Processes

UW-Madison researchers have developed a method of cellulose hydrolysis using metal compounds to prevent the non-productive adsorption of enzymes by lignin during biofuel production. Metal compounds such as ferrous, magnesium and calcium compounds are used to form lignin-metal complexes. The formation of the lignin-metal complex prevents adsorption of enzymes by deactivating the non-productive adsorption sites on lignin. As a result, more enzymes are available for efficient cellulose saccharification. The formation of a lignin-metal complex allows a pretreatment step with no high-volume wash involved, reducing the energy and water costs associated with the biofuel production process.
(Aug 26, 2014) P100184US02

Solubilizing and Characterizing Membrane Proteins Using Tandem Facial Amphiphiles

UW–Madison researchers have developed tandem facial amphiphiles (TFAs) that can aid the solubilization, isolation, purification, stabilization, crystallization and structural determination of membrane proteins.

A membrane preparation containing the protein of interest is treated with TFA to achieve protein extraction and solubilization. The TFAs can contain a pair of maltose-functionalized deoxycholate units that are long enough to match the width of a lipid bilayer and form a sheath around the protein’s nonpolar surfaces. The TFAs can stabilize intrinsic membrane proteins in native-like conformations.
(Aug 26, 2014) P110057US02

Hybrid Analog-Digital Transceiver for Enhanced Wireless Communications

UW-Madison researchers have developed a hybrid analog-digital wireless transceiver architecture that improves wireless link capacity while providing gains in power and bandwidth efficiency. The improved transmitter system, known as a continuous aperture phased MIMO (CAP MIMO) system, employs a signal processor, a plurality of feed elements and an aperture. The hybrid architecture provides the lowest complexity analog-digital interface.

The system integrates analog and digital processing rather than employing only digital processing. The signal processor is configured to simultaneously receive digital data streams and transform them into analog signals. A number of the digital data streams are selected for transmission to a single receive antenna based on the transmission environment. The feed elements are configured to receive the analog signals, and in response, to radiate radio waves toward the aperture. The aperture is configured to receive the radiated radio waves and radiate a second plurality of radio waves toward the single receive antenna in response. This allows independent data streams for typically disjointed communication modes. The result is an improved wireless communication system with high power efficiency, high wireless capacity and improved bandwidth efficiency.
(Aug 19, 2014) P110040US01

Thin-Film Semiconductor for Increasing Microprocessor Speeds

UW-Madison researchers have developed a method for fabricating a heterogeneous semiconductor structure that enhances both electron and hole mobility. This method extends a previous patent (see WARF reference number P06047US) to allow the fabrication of mixed-crystal-orientation silicon that incorporates the hole mobility enhancing strained Si(110) with the high electron mobility of Si(001).

During fabrication, a thin, single-crystal silicon membrane with regularly patterned holes is applied on a silicon substrate with a different composition, orientation or strain state. The holes then are filled by growing up the bottom layer. Alternatively, the bottom silicon semiconductor layer is patterned with regularly spaced holes. Then a second single-crystal membrane with a different composition, orientation or strain state is applied as a layer over the first and fills the holes. When the top is smoothed, islands of the second layer remain, surrounded by the first. The difference in crystalline orientation, semiconductor composition and/or degree of strain between the silicon layers results in one type of silicon experiencing enhanced electron mobility while the other experiences enhanced hole mobility.
(Aug 12, 2014) P07485US

Enterotoxin-Deficient Bacillus Strains for Use as Biocontrol Agents

UW–Madison researchers have now created improved mutants of B. thuringiensis for use as bioinsecticides on food crops. In the modified strains, four distinct operons, each comprising three genes that encode unique enterotoxins that have been implicated in food poisoning, have been replaced with copies containing deletions, rendering the enterotoxins non-functional. The quadruple enterotoxin-deficient strains do not produce the enterotoxin products that are associated with human toxicity, yet perform as well as the wild-type B. thuringiensis strain.
(Aug 12, 2014) P08212US02

Wirelessly Tracking Interventional Medical Device with MRI System

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for driving and amplifying MR signals using an imaging coil that is coupled to a medical device and inserted into a subject. The position-tracking coil uses the MR system’s external radiofrequency pulses as a power source.

The coil switches between two duties: receiving and storing energy, and acquiring imaging data. Its signals can be wirelessly transmitted to the external MRI system using an amplifier and booster stages.
(Aug 12, 2014) P120271US01

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