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Available Physical Science Technologies

IT, Electronics, & Software

Time-to-digital converters (TDC) convert sporadic signal pulses into a digital measure of time. High resolution TDCs have a variety of applications in measurements and instrumentation. However, current TDCs are limited in resolution, size, range and/or power requirements. This novel approach enables a higher level of precision, resolution and time ranges, while maintaining a small chip area and low power requirements.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 8,138,958

Impurity doping is used to control the electrical properties of semiconductors used in semiconductor junctions such as diodes and transistors. However, the high temperatures typically needed in these techniques can also cause surface decomposition which can have a negative impact on device performance.  This low temperature process prevents such defects from forming during the doping process.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,999,268

Components, such as microprocessors, generate heat which needs to be removed to keep the device operational. Current methods use flowing air or liquid, with liquid typically performing better. However, today’s electronic devices have ever increasing power density requirements, and associated increased heat generation challenges. Two phase heat transfer, wherein liquids are turned to vapor in the course of removing heat, demonstrate better thermal performance but introduce new challenges. Overview | U.S. Patent Application

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an advanced material typically used in power electronics, including Schottky diodes and metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). SiC MOSFETs have historically been plagued by performance issues, which can be addressed at least in part with further chemical treatments. This invention relates to the use of phosphorus passivation as an improved treatment over current methods, including NO passivation. This patent application is available for non-exclusive licensing. U.S. Patent Application

A semiconductor die is attached to a packaging substrate by a patterned layer of conductive metal that includes voids. The voids provide a space into which the metal may expand when heated in order to avoid placing mechanical stress on the bonds caused by high temperatures. This technology has applications for electronics to be used in extreme environments.  These patents are co-owned by Auburn University and the Boeing Company. 
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,786,602 | U.S. Patent 7,939,376

Cell towers and other large antennas are expensive infrastructure that remain highly vulnerable to vandalism, terrorism and natural disasters. This invention embodies antennas consisting of nonwoven textiles with embedded metallic or other wave carrying fibers. These textiles would serve the needed purpose of the textile, such as geotextiles for road bed protection, while adding the functionality of electronic transmission. This could also be applied to other exterior building surfaces such as roofs and bridges. For road applications, geotextile antennas would be considerably less vulnerable to damage and likely much less expensive than the current infrastructure. Transmission through asphalt has been demonstrated at the prototype level. Overview | U.S. Patent 8,009,120

This invention filters mechanical vibrations in MEMS devices.  Based on comb drive actuators, it provides multi-dimensional vibration isolation and tunable dampening of vibrations at less cost and/or with better performance than current alternatives.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,355,318

This invention embodies a novel direct digital synthesis (DDS) architecture using high-order ΔΣ interpolators to remove quantization error. The presented DDS can achieve very low phase noise with small size and fine resolution, and thus provide a low cost and high performance means of frequency synthesis.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,577,695

The current manual analog testing process for high-speed RFICs is time consuming and costly, rising to as much as 50 percent of the manufacturing cost. As a result, only a small sample of RF circuitry is currently tested. This invention could, for the first time, make complete testing of RFIC chips economically feasible.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,428,683

This invention provides a cost effective way to identify latent defects in integrated circuits. The methodology is founded on the fact that manufacturing defects tend to cluster in scattered regions of the wafer, and on the related proven assumption that the probability of defects in a die correlates with the defect rate in neighboring dies. Overview | U.S. Patent 7,194,366 | U.S. Patent 7,409,306

The use of Web-based educational products utilizing third-party servers to store student information is growing at a rapid rate in American colleges and universities. Federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations, however, prohibit the storage of students' academic and personal information on third-party-servers. Smart Alias® software offers a simple solution to this problem by assigning each student an alias for use on the server, which is then converted back to the student's actual information. Overview

Ready-To-Sign Program

Click here for a listing of all Electronics patents available for immediate licensing under Auburn's Ready-To-Sign program.

 

Materials (including polymers, fibers & sensors)

These novel particulate biosensors are capable of wireless, continuous, and highly sensitive detection of multiple target pathogens in a variety of environments. Rapid detection of less than 50 bacteria per mL has been demonstrated for five major food pathogens. Detection has also been shown in a variety of media, including water, food effluent, milk and on surfaces of produce. Primary applications are in food safety, water quality, homeland security and point-of-care medical diagnostics. Overview | U.S. Patent 7,759,134 | U.S. Patent Application #1 | U.S. Patent Application #2

This sensor is designed for thin reflective films and structures such as mirrors and silicon wafers. While surface slopes can be used to evaluate flatness, curvature components can be used to quantify stresses. This technology is also capable of detecting localized defects. This enables the user to detect otherwise imperceptible flaws. The technology is relatively cost effective and easy to implement and automate. This technology has quality control applications for optical and electronic components. Overview

This technology combines carbon nanotubes and biomolecules to produce robust films with biological activity. Such films exhibit strong mechanical properties to stand up to long-term use and wear, while retaining the incorporated biological activity such as antimicrobial properties or enzymatic activity. This technology has potential applications in consumer products, medical equipment, and the defense industry. Overview | U.S. Patent Application

These self-plasticizing copolymers allow for the assessment of a wide variety of ions without experiencing the negative effects of leaching, typically caused from using plasticizers. The key application for these sensors are for the detection of low levels of ions in bodily fluids for medical testing and research.
Up to seven U.S. patents related to ion sensing are available for immediate non-exclusive licensing through Auburn's Ready-to-Sign program

Materials for Improved Thermal Energy Storage

Phase change materials are materials with high heats of fusion, meaning that they are capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy when they melt or solidify.  These nanoparticle-enhanced phase change materials (NEPCM) show enhanced thermal conductivity and higher heat release rates over standard materials.  This suggests superior performance for thermal management applications, including insulation, energy storage and medical therapies.  A 2007 article on NEPCMs has made ScienceDirect's TOP25 Hottest Articles list and continued to be listed in the third quarter of 2009. U.S. Patent Application | Press Release on ScienceDirect

This work is the first demonstration of the use of landscape phage as recognition elements for biosensors. As superior substitutes for antibodies, phage exhibit many features such as high affinity, field stability, and low cost that show utility in a variety of real-time applications.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,267,993 | U.S. Patent 7,670,765 | Related U.S. Patent: 7,138,238

This piezoelectric sensor allows for the detection of ligand-peptide interactions directly in tissue samples. Numerous sensing applications exist with this technology, including identification and detection of ligands specific to various organs, tissues, and cell types.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent No. 7,138,238

This novel technique allows for controlled deposition of particles, resulting in more consistent nanoparticle thin films with fewer defects than films made using standard solvent evaporation techniques. This technology has applications in optical devices, sensors, catalysis and semiconductors.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,384,879

This high-performance, low cost electroactive co-polymer (EAP) can achieve a higher electrostrictive strain than similar EAPs, and has a wide range of potential applications, including actuators, transducers, artificial organs, and artificial muscles. Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent No. 7,608,976

A composite is described having a 3D distribution of carbon nanotubes. The critical aspect of such composites is a nonwoven network of randomly oriented metallic fibers connected at their junctions to afford macropores in the spaces between the fibers. The composite has quite desirable properties for cold field electron emission and other electrode applications. This technology is available for license in certain fields of use.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing for certain fields of use available through Auburn's Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent No. 6,495,258

 

Chemical & Environmental

This rechargeable system keeps fabrics, paints and other surfaces of hospitals, clinics, day cares, and homes free of contaminations for an extended period of time. The n-halamine formulations inactivate bacteria and viruses on contact, and can be recharged using diluted household bleach. The treated surfaces also fight the build-up of mold and mildew, reducing problems associated with malodors, stains, and allergies. General antimicrobial overview | Overview of latex paint applications
U.S. Patents: 6,969,769 | 7,335,373 | 8,496,920 | 8,535,654

There is a continuing need for more rapid and increasingly sensitive tools to detect and quantify the presence of dangerous pathogens. Further, with the advent of nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are becoming more prevalent in the environment, which raises potential health concerns. This novel method provides both improved gene detection and an enabling detection of CNTs in water. Overview | U.S. Patent Application

Novel Compound with Uses as Catalyst and for Extraction/Recovery of Copper

Despite often being superior to other methods, copper catalysts typically are not used industrially for organic synthesis due to residual copper interfering with subsequent reaction steps and/or the negative impact of any downstream residual metal.  This solid-phase extraction technology enables the use of these catalysts for such applications, allowing for a sustainable and more efficient synthesis approach. Overview (Catalysis) | Overview (Recovery) | U.S. Patent 8,445,678

This ligand system preferentially binds uranium, demonstrating a measurable color shift upon such binding. This would allow for the visual detection of uranium in a sample or in the environment. A variety of formulations, such as solutions or sprays, could be developed for different applications. The strong binding to uranium enables functionality as a remediation or long-term storage solution. Overview | U.S. Patent 8,445,678

This method for improved size fractionation of nanoparticles relies on the use of a gaseous antisolvent. Multiple monodisperse particle populations can be rapidly fractionated by adjusting only the gas pressure and the liquid location on a surface, thereby eliminating the difficulties associated with other methods that are time and solvent intensive, expensive and/or have limited throughput.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 8,215,489 | U.S. Patent 8,377,831

This invention provides a significantly improved method for the production of nano and microparticles with a narrow size distribution. The processes of the invention utilize the properties of supercritical fluids and also the principles of vibrational atomization to provide an efficient technique for the effective nanonization or micronization of particles.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 6,620,351

A di-Ruthenium substituted polyoxometallate can be used as a catalyst for the efficient electrochemical generation of oxygen. Advantages include chemical stability (even under strong oxidizing conditions), the ability to substitute different transition metals into the active site, the simplicity of preparation, and the ability to apply the catalyst to surfaces in a straightforward fashion.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent No. 7,208,244

Ion-exchange technology often produces large volumes of spent brine containing high concentrations of contaminant, which can be difficult or cost prohibitive to process. A new class of zero-valent iron nanoparticles stabilized with starch or cellulose can degrade perchlorate or nitrate in spent ion exchange brine in an environmentally safe manner, something not possible by current techniques.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,635,236

Iron nanoparticles of varying compositions are prepared by adding a very low-cost stabilizer to prevent agglomeration, thereby maintaining their high surface area and reactivity. These stabilized nanoparticles demonstrate much higher reactivity, allowing for quicker and more complete remediation. This may improve and possibly enable remediation of such inorganic contaminants as arsenate, nitrate, chromate and perchlorate and such heavy metals as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,581,902 (Heavy Metals) | U.S. Patent 7,635,236 (Inorganics)

Bimetallic nanoparticles are prepared by adding a very low-cost stabilizer to prevent agglomeration, thereby maintaining their high surface area and reactivity. These stabilized nanoparticles demonstrate much higher reactivity, allowing for quicker and more complete remediation. Additionally, this may enable remediation of some compounds currently considered untreatable, including PCB and TCE.
Immediate non-exclusive licensing available through our Ready-to-Sign program Overview | U.S. Patent 7,887,880

Biomass to Biochar Conversion in Subcritical Water

Under subcritical water conditions, biomass readily converts into biochar, biocrude, and some gases. In this invention, yield of biochar is significantly improved by recycling of biocrude. The process can produce higher yields of biochar with a heating value comparable to good quality coals. More than 90% of the biomass energy is retained in the biochar. U.S. Patent No. 8,637,718

 

Classical Engineering (including civil and mechanical)

Continuing efforts in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction have consistently produced at least 2-3 viable product concepts per year related to the construction and do-it-yourself markets. These concepts have addressed known problems of potential customers, have been at least initially vetted by industry feedback, and are typically taken to the functional prototype stage. A list of these inventions, as well as a proposed business plan based on them, is available through the link below. View list of technologies related to the construction industry

The purpose of the Drumbar Belt is to alleviate the discomfort stemming from fatigue and stress in the shoulders and back. Further, it aids to bring the drum closer to the drummer's body, creating more of a unit-like connection that increases maneuverability and thus performance. This device is already in use by local high schools, and has potential applications in every collegiate or high school level marching drumline around the country. Overview

Fuel cells are highly reliable alternate energy sources that can be used in mobile or remote locations such as automobiles, ships and farms, as well as for on-grid applications. This highly sensitive control system has the potential to improve the overall efficiency of fuel cells, provide safer and more reliable operations, and reduce the size of the cell. Overview | U.S. Patent 8,691,456

Plasma blasting is known to have several advantages over conventional blasting but has previously been too expensive. By redesigning the blasting probe and with the introduction of a specialized blasting fluid, the costs of plasma blasting can be significantly reduced. This method has the potential to improve blasting in mining, construction, space or other applications necessary for rock removal or demolition. Overview | U.S. Patent 8,628,146 | Video Demonstration

With the addition of a thin internal baffle, fluid dynamics in a storage vessel can be significantly modified. For example, it is estimated that such baffles can reduce heat absorption by as much as 37% in liquid natural gas transport systems. Further, it has been shown that they can reduced natural gas consumption by 5% in standard water heaters. This technology significantly lowers the energy needed to maintain a desired temperature, and in some applications can reduce the loss of product. General Overview | Water Heater Applications | U.S. Patent Application

Boundary Layer Reattachment Using Piezoelectric Synthetic Jet Actuators

Piezoelectric synthetic jet actuators takes in fluid along the surface of an aerodynamic object and then discharge it tangentially to reduce drag and delay stall. Delaying stall allows an airplane to fly more slowly at a given angle of attack or to fly at a higher angle of attack for a given speed. A lower stall speed also increases safety and shortens takeoffs and landings. U.S. Patent No. 6,796,533