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Graphene-Based Microfluidic Devices
This invention is the first example where large-area graphene has been harnessed as an architectural material in microfluidic devices. Incorporation of single-layer graphene enables a drastic reduction in device thickness. The resulting ultra-thin architecture facilitates on chip X-ray diffraction analysis. Graphene layers serve as a diffusion barrier to protect sample against evaporative losses and from external contaminants, e.g. such as oxygen for anaerobic work.

 

These devices have tremendous utility for applications in X-ray science, such as X-ray diffraction for structural biology and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as well as other lab- on- a- chip applications. 

 

Published: 9/13/2019   |   Inventor(s): Sarah Perry, Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Shuo Sui, Yuxi (nancy) Wang
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Research tools, Devices
Economical Surface Treatment for Harvesting Epithelial Cells from Biological Fluids
This invention provides economical, bio-interactive surfaces and surface treatment methods for selective capture of targeted epithelial cells or other cell types from cell mixtures or complex biological fluids. Preparation or fabrication of the engineered surfaces provided by this technology does not require the use of expensive and unstable biomolecular materials, and the resulting surfaces can distinguish different cell types or cells that express different levels of the same surface adhesion marker. Such engineered surfaces can be used as economical tools for assessment of cancer risk, cancer diagnosis, and tracking of the effectiveness of cancer treatments, among other potential applications.
Published: 9/13/2019   |   Inventor(s): Maria Santore, Kathleen Arcaro, Surachate Kalasin
Category(s): Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Diagnostic technology, Devices & sensors, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Research tools
RENEWABLE SURFACES FOR CAPTURE, KILLING AND RELEASE OF BACTERIA
This invention provides economical, renewable surfaces and related methods for selective capture of bacteria in a fluid medium and for killing and/or release of the captured bacteria. The fabrication of these surfaces or surface-treated substrate materials does not require the use of expensive biomolecules and toxic chemicals. The surfaces capture and kill bacteria on contact without leaching any toxic antimicrobial agents. The surfaces can rapidly release captured or killed bacteria via mechanical means, and thus are easily renewable for subsequent round of bacterial capture, killing and release, which makes them ideal for use in on-line bacterial sensor systems. In addition, the surfaces can be engineered to selectively capture bacteria from complex fluid media or selectively capture one bacterial strain over another.
Published: 9/13/2019   |   Inventor(s): Maria Santore, Bing Fang
Category(s): Material science, Biotechnology, Devices & sensors
Cavitation Rheology for Measuring Local Mechanical Properties in Biologically Relevant Soft Materials
Measuring the mechanical properties of a complex biological tissue is crucial to developing knowledge about its physiology. Determining these physical properties in vivo is essential to innovation in tissue engineering, as well as to investigating the effects of aging and disease. Due to the heterogeneous structure of complex tissues, localized testing is necessary since probing surface properties only provides an incomplete picture of a tissue’s mechanical properties. Cavitation Rheology Technique (CRT), a novel methodology that originated in Dr. Alfred J. Crosby’s lab, succeeds where traditional techniques fall short. CRT involves measuring the pressure to induce cavitation at the tip of a needle within a soft material. This pressure is quantitatively related to the local modulus of the material. This allows for localized testing of non-transparent materials and tissues. Furthermore, CRT adopts a simple device and system design and requires only minimal amounts of sample material and testing time. This technique has been successfully demonstrated in a broad range of synthetic hydrogels and natural tissues, and can be applied in vivo.
Published: 9/13/2019   |   Inventor(s): Alfred Crosby, Jessica Zimberlin Eastman (pat agent)
Category(s): Biotechnology, Healthcare, Devices & sensors, Devices, Diagnostic technology, Material science
High-Yield High-Quality Graphene by exfoliation of graphite
Graphene sheets are prized for their unusual but exciting properties, including extremely high mechanical strength and ability to efficiently conduct heat and electricity. These properties open up a myriad of applications in medicine, electronics, energy, and sensors. However, the production of graphene, which is derived from the exfoliation of graphite, is currently challenged by low efficiency and long exfoliation times.

This invention uniquely combines two techniques, flow and sonication, to overcome these challenges. A graphite suspension is first subjected to a flow process, where it is mixed with zirconium oxide pebbles. Collisions between the graphite and the pebbles modify the graphite’s surface, making it easier for the solvent molecules to “wedge” in between layers during subsequent sonication, significantly increasing graphene exfoliation time-efficiency.

Published: 9/12/2019   |   Inventor(s): H. Winter, Christos Dimitrakopoulos
Category(s): Engineering, Electronics, Devices & sensors, Clean Energy
Hierarchically Ordered Nanoscale Electric Field Concentrators for Embedded Thin Film Devices
Resistance switching devices, also known as memristive devices, represent the next generation in computing. With a typical metal-oxide-metal structure, memristors change resistance under different external biases and retain this new resistance even when power is turned off. This allows memristors to store data without needing constant power like in traditional computer memory. Memristors have other desirable properties such as low power consumption, fast switching speed, and multistate logic potential. These properties open up next generation computing applications in non-volatile memory, reconfigurable switches, bio-inspired neuromorphic computing, and radiofrequency switches. However, before these applications are enabled, significant technical challenges in memristors must be overcome. These include cycle-to-cycle instabilities in operating voltage and resistance states, which cause memory retention and device endurance issues.

 

Professor Stephen Nonnenmann and his laboratory address these instability issues by embedding highly ordered metal nanoislands in the memristor’s oxide switching layer. Through a unique template-directed nanoisland embedding procedure, the nanoisland diameter, spacing, and area density can be precisely controlled. The Nonnenmann lab found that through precise control of these variables, the growth of conductive filaments formed through the memristor’s oxide layer, which enable its unique properties, can be more precisely controlled, leading to a nearly 100% improvement in uniformity performance in one device case.

Published: 5/20/2019   |   Inventor(s): Stephen Nonnenmann, Jiaying Wang
Category(s): Computers, Electronics, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Material science, Devices & sensors
Biosensors with a Direct Electrical Output
Current microbial fuel cell technology for estimating rates of microbial metabolism involve expensive and sophisticated analytical techniques which require samples to be incubated thus dramatically changing the rate of microbial activity. Previously, Dr. Lovley’s lab group developed a novel microbial activity sensor functions in situ for monitoring microbial activity in real time of anaerobic soils, sediments, and groundwater by demonstrating a direct correlation between current levels and rates of microbial activity of acetate consumption. Here, Dr. Lovley’s group improves upon the invention by broadening the chemicals that can be sensed through genetic engineering of the microbes. By substituting the native citrase synthase gene in Geobacter sulfurreducens for other genes, sensors customer designed to sense specific chemicals were created.

 

This novel invention can be applied to estimate rates in a wide range of soils and sediments as well as heterogeneities in microbial activity both horizontally and vertically. The monitoring system consists of a non-poised graphite anode that is embedded in the anaerobic environment connected to an inexpensive resistor that leads to a conductive cathode. The cathode is situated on the surface of the environment and is comprised of electrically conductive material. The anode is colonized by indigenous microorganisms capable of oxidizing organic compounds and hydrogen with electron transfer to the anode. The current between the anode and the cathode is then recorded with a commonplace device that measures electric current.

Published: 2/25/2019   |   Inventor(s): Derek Lovley, Toshiyuki Ueki, Kelly Nevin Lovley
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Environmental
Simple and Rapid Optical Detection of Bacteria Using a Mobile Device
This invention provides cost-effective substrates and a rapid method for detection of bacteria in food, water or other materials, or on material surfaces using a mobile device, such as a smartphone attached to an inexpensive smartphone microscope.
Published: 5/17/2018   |   Inventor(s): Lili He, Brooke Pearson
Category(s): Food technology & plant science, Nanotechnology, Research tools, Devices & sensors
WearID: RFID Wristband Reader
Advances in RFID technology are opening up a myriad of commercial applications related to identifying and interacting with objects, from home automation and health and wellness to augmented reality and tele-rehabilitation. Passive UHF RFID readers are a particularly attractive option due to their low cost and no maintenance; however, their limited range necessitates the use of many readers to cover a single large room, an expensive and labor-intensive process.

This invention, known as WearID, overcomes the traditional limitations of UHF RFID readers through end-to-end design innovation, optimizing the wearable reader for low power, form-factor, and performance. WearID is able to detect grasping, releasing, touching, and passing near tagged objects.

Published: 5/2/2018   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Pan Hu, Jeremy Gummeson, Ali Kiaghadi
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Communications & internet, Electronics, Engineering, Software & information technology, Healthcare
Novel Systems for Improved Backscatter Tag Communications
A new fully asymmetric backscatter communication, which allows for battery-less sensors and readers, protocol where nodes blindly transmit data as and when they sense. This model enables fully flexible node designs, from extraordinarily power efficient backscatter radios that consume barely a few micro-watts to high-throughput radios that can stream at hundreds of Kbps while consuming a paltry tens of micro-watts.

Published: 8/11/2017   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Pan Hu, Pengyu Zhang
Category(s): Communications & internet, Devices & sensors, Electronics, Engineering, Software & information technology
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