Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comments on several carbon nanotube patents used for energy, communications, antennas and as sensors

TinyTechIP is an interesting blog with a lot of commentary about the patents that have issued over the last several years in the nanotech field.

My carbon nanotube patents are mentioned and discussed briefly, here.  There is a lot more to them as well, including the first nanotube diode, amplifier, mixer, demodulator, and frequency converter.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Carbon Nanotube Amplifier

A while back I invented this carbon nanotube amplifier scheme that I think is quite practical and valuable. The invention allows the fabrication and practical use of linear conductors as antennas with lengths that correspond to light wavelengths and therefore allows the application of radiowave antenna, transmission and radiation practices, including harmonic generation and mixing, detection and frequency multiplication, to the lightwave regime. It uses the nanotube as part of a mixer in which a second signal is provided or injected, and the sum or product of the two mixed signals represent a gain in signal strength. It can be used over a wide bandwidth, from the visible light into the RF regimes.  Armstrong's superheterodyne radio invention from the early part of the 20th Century could never have anticipated this, but it does provide the heterodyne principle, which is a crucial part of virtually all wireless communications, radios, cell phones and many other important electronic and photonic devices.

Here is a link to a patent that covers the carbon nanotube amplifier invention.

Because it is the first of its kind, I was awarded broad claims. Here is one

A method of amplifying a signal with a carbon nanotube device, comprising: applying a first signal to said carbon nanotube device; applying a second signal to said carbon nanotube device; and outputting a sum or product of said first signal and said second signal from said carbon nanotube device.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Press release about my work and patents covering enhanced solar PV with nanotubes from 2006

Abstract:

Nanotube enhanced Solar Energy at top of Massachusetts firm’s investment plan

AMBIT Corporation announces Solar Energy Initiative




Ashland, MA | Posted on April 26, 2006


AMBIT Corporation announced today that it will form a new business group to oversee accelerated investment in its Carbon Nanotube Solar Energy Technology. Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon that can be used as lightwave antennas to boost the performance of silicon solar cells.

AMBIT Corporation, a technology development firm founded by inventors Robert J. Crowley and Donald N. Halgren, has already been awarded three U.S. patents and has additional patents pending for its novel nanotube array technology that can be used for light harvesting, optical detectors, nanotube memory, and other applications. "The climate for investments in advanced solar energy is favorable for further development of AMBIT's patented nanotube-on-silicon technology, which can boost the efficiency of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity" said AMBIT Co-founder Robert J Crowley, who formed AMBIT with Halgren in 1993.



A view of AMBIT Corporation's carbon nanotube array of over a billion carbon nanotubes on a silicon solar cell measuring less than 8mm long. The company claims its invention may boost solar cell efficiencies by up to 18%. The bright colors are caused by the interaction of light with the nanotubes, which act like antennas.

Copyright © AMBIT Corporation

Click on image for larger version.

Crowley, who previously served as director of R&D at Boston Scientific's Imaging and Sensing Lab, where his group developed intravascular ultrasound and optical biopsy platforms for visualizing diseases, says that AMBIT's mission is focused on the nearest commercial applications of carbon-nanotube-on- silicon technology demonstrated at their Massachusetts laboratory. "We are currently observing phenomena that could mean a significant improvement in the ability of solar cells to use the entire solar spectrum. These cells are presently most sensitive to the blue portion of the spectrum, and by adding nanotubes we might also generate more electricity from the red and infrared spectrum" said Crowley, who describes the invention as "commercially important to energy applications involving solar array technology on silicon and also on various substrates, such as sol-gel, and others."

Crowley, along with Halgren and New Business VP Robert Arcangeli, are working to accelerate the investment in this area through private sources and through corporate investments from manufacturers of existing solar cell technology. "We'd like to move the development effort to a major lab" remarked Arcangeli, "where the necessary resources and associated silicon processing technology already exist. Our current laboratory is involved in sensor applications and developing other manufacturable products, such as actuators for switching and memory applications." Despite AMBIT Corporation's modest size, the firm is serious about making and selling what it invents. Remarked Crowley: "We are already manufacturing and selling products that use our proprietary process capabilities, and working with sister company Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc (www.soundwaveresearch.com) to commercialize sensors used in medical ultrasound and music recording. In addition, we have successfully licensed antenna-related technology to other manufacturers and developers such as Natural Nano (www.naturalnano.com) and Nokia, a builder of cellular handsets."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rice researchers confirm operation of nanoantennas and junctions

It is nice when another group confirms your own work even if you are not in the references.  Academics are notoriously blind to patents and many regard patents as unworthy references, but that should not be, since patents are at least as well reviewed as any peer reviewed articles in Science and other journals, and to a stricter standard of novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6030/702.abstract

Discussed in 2011 how nanoantennas inject a charge into a semiconducting junction which makes them very useful as light detectors, and how they can be tuned to specific wavelengths.

Here's my idea on how to accomplish the above, written and published in the 1997-2001 ranges.

Here are the claims that were awarded to me

1. A method of manufacturing a lightwave electromagnetic antenna device comprising the steps of;

providing a substrate material,

depositing a metal oxide region on said substrate material, said metal oxide region having an electrical length shorter than a light wavelength, and,

growing an elongated linear structure having an electrical length corresponding to a light wavelength upon said metal oxide region.

2. The method of manufacturing a lightwave electromagnetic antenna device as recited in claim 1, wherein said elongated linear structure has a first end and a second end, said first end having an attachment point to said metal oxide region, said second end extending into free space.

3. The method of manufacturing a lightwave electromagnetic antenna device as recited in claim 1, wherein said elongated linear structure is a carbon nanotube.

4. The method of manufacturing a lightwave electromagnetic antenna device as recited in claim 1, wherein said metal oxide region is a nanoparticle.

5. The method of manufacturing a lightwave electromagnetic antenna device as recited in claim 3, wherein said nanoparticle is an iron oxide nanoparticle of less than 100 nanometers in diameter.

6. A method of manufacturing a wavelength of selective light responsive array of conductive linear elements comprising the steps of;

providing a substrate material,

depositing a metal oxide region on said substrate material, said metal oxide region having an electrical length shorter than a light wavelength, and,

growing a first group of conductive linear elements having an electrical length corresponding to a first light wavelength,

growing a second group of conductive linear elements having an electrical length corresponding to a second light wavelength.

7. The method of manufacturing a wavelength selective light responsive array of conductive linear elements as recited in claim 6, wherein said substrate material is provided with an electrical terminal.

8. A method of modifying a light wave comprising the steps of;

providing a substrate material,

depositing a metal oxide region on said substrate material, said metal oxide region having an electrical length shorter than a light wave length, and

growing an elongated linear structure having an electrical length corresponding to a light wavelength upon said metal oxide region,

providing an electrical signal to said substrate material, and

collecting, modifying and emitting energy at a light wavelength at said linear structure and said metal oxide region.

9. The method of modifying a light wave as recited in claim 8, wherein application of a current to said substrate material is effective to modulate said light wave.

10. The method of modifying a light wave as recited in claim 8, wherein application of a current to said substrate is effective to switch said light wave.

UBA - the Ultra Black Absorber - the blackest substance known

Invented January 1997 by Robert J Crowley

Copyright 2009: Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc.


The recent work being done today by NASA in ultrablack surfaces sounds like work first done by us in 2000 that has a priority date of January 1997. One of the properties of the carbon nanotube antenna is the ability to absorb RF and lightwave energy over a very wide range of wavelengths, and this produces a very dense black that can be used to make solar thermal absorbers work better, and for optical systems that can't have any internal reflections.

Here is a link to one of several patents in the collection that covers this invention. 

Sample Claim:

1. An electromagnetic energy absorbing structure device comprising: a substrate for supporting an aligned array of electromagnetic energy modifying nanotubes thereon; an array of nanotubes on said substrate arranged for the receipt of electromagnetic energy, wherein the electromagnetic energy received by the nanotubes arranged on the substrate is selected from the group consisting of: electromagnetic energy in the visible range, electromagnetic energy in the ultraviolet range or electromagnetic energy in the infrared range. 

See  CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION in the above patent to view the January 16, 1997 priority date.

UBA tm is a trademark of Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc. Ultra Black Absorbers is a trademark of Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

World's Smallest Radio and More: Carbon nanotube radio, detector, modulator, demodulator, mixer, diode, antenna, amplifier, actuator, resonator, and multiplier invented in 1997

Here are links to my patents from the mid and late 90s when I invented the carbon nanotube antenna array and in doing do discovered that we could make mixers, diodes, amplifiers, resonators, demodulators, modulators, mixers and all kinds of functional components on silicon with nanotubes grown from specific points on the silicon.

Two of these patents were rated in the "Top Ten Nanotech Patents for 2006" by ex patent examiner and publisher Blaise Moutett, and several have been cited by Harvard, MIT, IBM, NEC, Samsung and others who all came later to the nanotube RF and optical device field.  Moutett talks about the importance of the invention here.

Who owns carbon nanotube patents, and which ones are "the good ones"?  I believe this collection, with its clear and original thinking, provides the basis for an important field of use in nanotechnology, namely the arrangement of long thin and small elements near or on semiconducting or other energy absorbing or radiating substrates. That means that super efficient solar thermal systems to warm houses, antennas for light that create seeing surfaces, lenseless cameras, and more could be practical realities, not to mention faster computing, all optical computers, and electronic components with much desired "DC to light" bandwidth.

The earliest one that issued is at the bottom of the column, as the USPTO does things that way and this brings you to the patent office, where a new law "America Invents" has raised the fees individual inventors must pay for patents. As usual, the large corporations benefit from many of these rule changes.

This is the fundamental set of patents with claims that cover many basic and important uses of nanotubes on silicon and on sol-gel, on semiconducting junctions, and for RF and optical operation. No other patents in that field predate the original filings and the work is quite original, useful, practical, and not at all obvious at the time - in fact it was thought to be impossible. But I did not think so, and when I wrote the patents I foresaw a new class of nanoelectronics that is just emerging, more than a dozen years later. I would like to further develop this for photonic and possibly communications applications and welcome any inquiries.




PAT. NO.
Title
1 7,899,301 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
2 7,535,627 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
3 7,486,434 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
4 7,330,299 Full-Text Optical amplifying arrangement using carbon nanotubes
5 7,259,903 Full-Text Optical switching arrangement using carbon nanotubes
6 7,205,021 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
7 7,132,994 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
8 7,099,071 Full-Text Method of moving a carbon nanotube
9 6,700,550 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
10 6,258,401 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification
11 6,038,060 Full-Text Optical antenna array for harmonic generation, mixing and signal amplification 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DSPdoctor is the place for gear and more

Where can you go for 24 hour on call supply of expertise and the finest selected recording gear, software and systems, staffed by persons known-to-me as having years, maybe decades, of steering customers to the good stuff?  Call DSP Doctor, the only doctor I know who still wears steampunk goggles to hide his eyes, with his bemusing hairstyle and enigmatic smile, telling, but never letting on just how clever he really is.

"Pro Gear and Advice for the Modern Recording Studio" he says, and rightly so, because signal processing is everything, or at least some of it, anyway it's important! Wait, what am I saying??  Analog backlash notwithstanding, we have to be smart about combining the likes of say, a Bock Microphone, an NPNG preamp, and all that digital horsepower under the hood of a Macbook and make it all work to crank out some real music (while avoiding Indie Dirge, the Thomas Kinkade effect on sound, but rockin, and kickass).  Anyway go here. Buy something and then relax because you got the right thing on the way, not some unknown whatever.

Shakuhachi: The Japanese End-Blown Flute is both simple and complex

 It's just a couple of pieces of bamboo with some holes, but the Japanese end-blown flute, or shakuhachi (means "foot" in Japanese) is an incredibly complex and versatile instrument, capable of over four octaves and hundreds of "microtones" which consist of pitch and timbre variations.

The one shown here was made in Japan by shakuhachi guru Tom Deaver. Tom died last year and left behind hundreds of fine instruments used throughout the world.


There is a lot to the blowing end. The sharp edge, or "utaguchi" is designed so that the airflow from the player's lips creates a vortex, and sets up conditions for resonance. Because there is no fipple, like the blowing end of a recorder, the shape and angle of embrochure affects the sound very much.  A relatively soft even airflow produces the rich, harmonic filled fundamental note, and a faster, more concentrated airflow tends to reduce the fundamental and favor one or more harmonics.

The airflow gets the energy going, and the fingering controls the length of the resonant column, while the angle of the shakuhachi to the face plays an important role in producing sharps and flats, or more.

All the explanations of how it works do not describe how it sounds, or why the shakuhachi has such a natural sound, even earning the term "the sound of nature".  Our ears, tuned to hear complex things, interpret the wind and the trees together, and apparently recognize this instrument as an organic part of that scene.

I play the shakuhachi, not very well, but when I am by myself I play brilliantly enough. I  found that looking out over a vista or some distant field makes it much easier, but I don't know why, exactly.