Through Technologies

New Patents

An Enhanced Method of Embedding Thin Film Sensors

A UW-Madison researcher has developed an improved method to embed microsensors into a wide array of metallic and ceramic materials of various dimensions through a unique combination of standard microfabrication and diffusion bonding techniques.

The thin film sensor is produced using photolithography, lift-off etching and other microfabrication techniques. Then the microsensor is positioned between a base part and a cover piece that can be joined together by diffusion bonding. This process takes place in a protective atmosphere or vacuum. The surface of the cover piece is polished before bonding to avoid damaging the thin films and to reduce local pressures during bonding. The bonding surfaces may contain an interlayer to improve bond quality and/or reduce required bonding temperature, particularly when bonding ceramic to ceramic and ceramic to metal.

After bonding, the finished structure acts as a single functional component with the ability for the bonded area to possess a mechanical strength equal or close to the base material. Subsequently, sensors consisting of a stack of thin films are fabricated on the bonded material, layer by layer, in a clean-room environment by standard thin film deposition and patterning techniques. This approach is capable of joining both small and large components composed of similar or dissimilar material combinations of various alloys and ceramics, thus expanding the applications for embedding sensors.
(Sep 8, 2015) P07193US

Precision Densitometer for Radiosensitive Film

UW–Madison researchers have developed a radiosensitive film densitometer that reduces light scattering and heat problems often encountered during scanning.

The device provides ‘point-to-point’ scanning in which the laser source and detector are moved in tandem over the film. The detector measures the light that is transmitted through the film at different locations and provides a signal at each location. A set of density values based on these signals then is output.

The film is supported in a holder only at its edges to remove scattering and interference caused by the glass support bed. Highly repeatable 25 micrometer resolution density measurements may be obtained.
(Sep 8, 2015) P120265US01

New Rheometer and Method for Efficiently Measuring Yield Stress in Biomass

UW–Madison researchers have developed a device and a method for measuring rheological properties of fluid that will effectively determine the yield stress of biomass materials. These measurements do not alter the material sample prior to measurement, allowing for more accurate data results and characterization.

The device comprises a cavity for receiving the fluid, an auger connected with an axial shaft, and a load cell sensor connected to the auger. The sensor measures the force on the auger from the fluid as the auger moves up and down. A linkage interconnected to the sensor translates motion to the auger.
(Aug 25, 2015) P110311US01

Semiconductor Interconnect Design for Small, Inexpensive, Integrated Current Sensing with Improved Reliability

UW–Madison researchers have developed a design for integrated current sensing that is comprised of semiconductor interconnects with a loop configuration, instead of a straight bar, and point magnetic field detectors specially located to detect current flowing in the interconnect from DC to high frequency (MHz). Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) detectors serve as these point-field detectors.
(Aug 25, 2015) P120254US01

New Surface-Modifying Film for BCP Formation

UW–Madison researchers have developed new surface-modifying layers made of crosslinked copolymer film. More specifically, the film is composed of styrene, (meth)acrylate and crosslinkable epoxy group-functionalized monomers.

Various styrene-containing BCPs can be deposited on top of the film and then subjected to conditions that cause them to self-assemble into vertically oriented domains.
(Aug 25, 2015) P130124US01

Nanoparticles That Target Dendritic Cells

UW-Madison researchers have developed a system for delivering vaccines and other biomolecules to dendritic cells. This system includes carbon nanoparticles that are preferentially taken up by dendritic cells, rather than macrophages.

Antigens, dendritic cell-targeting antibodies and dendritic cell-activating substances may be attached to the nanoparticles. The antigens are capable of inducing a specific T-cell response and can be associated with infectious disease or a tumor. When delivered to dendritic cells, these nanoparticles enhance immune response.

Other biomolecules, including targeting compounds, therapeutic agents and detectable labels, can be attached to the nanoparticles as well. Targeting compounds may be attached to enhance the uptake of the nanoparticles by dendritic cells. To treat autoimmune diseases, a cytotoxic agent could be attached to the nanoparticles to selectively target and kill aberrant dendritic cells. Fluorescent or radioactive labels could be added to make it easier to isolate dendritic cells. 
(Aug 18, 2015) P07026US

Methods and Novel Spectophotometer for Achieving Uniform Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene and Nanocellulose

Researchers at UW-Platteville have developed enabling technologies that address the purification and dispersion problems inherent when processing graphene, carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials. A sensitive photon counting static light scattering (SLS) spectrophotometer was built to collect data for calculating various thermodynamic parameters of dilute samples. The data is used to identify the existence of a solvent resonance whose local extreme identifies the intrinsic property of an ideal solvent (for a given solute). The intrinsic property identified by the solvent resonance can be employed to inform a search for a solvent having the best match to this intrinsic property.
(Aug 18, 2015) T08014US

Achieving Precision Laminar Flow for Biological Microfluidics

UW–Madison researchers have developed a microfluidic method and device to provide controlled laminar flow patterning of samples in one or multiple channels with asynchronous pumping.

The network comprises multiple fluid loading ports leading to respective buffering reservoirs. Flow synchronization is achieved by linking the reservoirs to a common pool acting as a capacitor that, when charged by the presence of a sample, triggers flow. In this way fluid can be added asynchronously through any input port without varying the relative flow rates through the network, converging in the cell culture channel where patterning occurs.

Varying the resistances of the separate branches serves to control the ratio by which the shared culture channel is divided into the multiple flows. This design therefore eliminates the need for synchronized pipetting by utilizing passive components for controlled, reproducible laminar patterning.
(Aug 11, 2015) P100313US01

Safer Influenza Vaccine from Replication-Knock Out Virus

UW–Madison researchers have developed methods for generating novel influenza vaccines that can elicit robust immune response without the risk of symptoms or genetic reversion.

The recombinant influenza A virus is made to lack the genetic sequence necessary for replication in normal host cells. Specifically, the coding region of PB2 viral RNA can be deleted, disrupted or replaced with a harmless reporter gene useful for tracing during cell culture preparation. With the mutant gene segment, the virus is ‘biologically contained’—capable of replicating only in specially developed PB2-expressing cells.
(Aug 11, 2015) P110003US02

Patterned Graphene for Field Effect Transistors

UW–Madison researchers have developed a simpler method for making and patterning GNRs using block copolymer etch masks.

In the process, a graphoepitaxy channel is created over a graphene substrate. Nonpreferential layers are first deposited followed by a secondary layer of block copolymer films over the channels. Under suitable conditions, the spatial confinement of the channel causes the block copolymer to align its self-assembled domains into an array of parallel cylinders or perpendicular lamellae. When one of the polymer blocks is etched away, the periodic pattern is transferred to the underlying graphene, producing patterned GNRs.

A field effect transistor can be formed by incorporating electrodes and using the patterned array as a conducting channel region.
(Aug 11, 2015) P110242US01