The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Economical Buffer Layer Boosts Performance of Organic Solar Cells
New compositions of matter have been invented, specifically organic buffer layer materials that can greatly enhance power conversion efficiency (PCE) of organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices and can effectively functionalize metal electrodes. Conventional-architecture OPV devices made using the new buffer layer have average PCEs greater than 8%, with the highest PCE value exceeding 9.5%. This new buffer layer can be used with Ag, Cu, and Au cathodes, opening routes to all-solution-based device fabrication and roll-to-roll processing. In addition, the new buffer layer materials can be applied at a layer thickness of up to 55 nm, avoiding processing challenges that occur with ultrathin buffer layers and enabling a simplified and reproducible process for device fabrication.
Published: 6/11/2021   |   Inventor(s): Todd Emrick, Thomas Russell, Zachariah Page, Yao Liu
Category(s): Physical Science, Material science, Clean Energy, Devices
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: 6/11/2021   |   Inventor(s): Alfred Crosby, Jessica Zimberlin Eastman (pat agent)
Category(s): Biotechnology, Healthcare, Devices & sensors, Devices, Diagnostic technology, Material science
Miniaturized, Cost-Effective Biosensing Devices for Point-of-Care and Therapeutic Screening Applications
This invention provides miniaturized and portable biosensing devices that employ novel spectrally-filtered photodiode pairs and on-chip ratiometric sensing. The biosensing devices allow for rapid, high-precision detection of biomolecules of interest, and can be used for point-of-care and therapeutic screening applications.
Published: 5/7/2021   |   Inventor(s): Guangyu Xu
Category(s): Biotechnology, Devices, Devices & sensors, Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Engineering, Research tools
A Method of Patterning and Stabilizing Structures Derived from Nanoparticle Based Inks
This invention provides a novel method of patterning and stabilizing structures derived from nanoparticle based inks. The method involves the use of a number of strategies to reduce undesirable thermal effects and promote binding of the nanoparticles during the imprinting process.
Published: 8/5/2020   |   Inventor(s): James Watkins, Feyza Dundar, Irene Howell
Category(s): Devices, Material science, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
Polymer-nanoparticle Hybrid Systems for Photovoltaic, Battery and Other Applications
This invention provides polymer-nanoparticle hybrid materials with high structural order for photovoltaic, battery and other applications.
Published: 7/10/2020   |   Inventor(s): James Watkins, Vikram Daga, Ying Lin
Category(s): Nanotechnology, Material science, Physical Science, Devices
Novel and Scalable Methods for the Patterning of Complex Metal Oxide Structures
This invention provides novel and scalable methods for the patterning of complex metal oxide structures for optical and other device applications. The methods involve the use of nanoparticle based inks to achieve the fabrication of material structures with complex geometries, such as high aspect ratio structures and structures having individual components that differ in height, orientation, and/or areal density.
Published: 7/10/2020   |   Inventor(s): James Watkins
Category(s): Devices, Engineering, Material science, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
Nanopatterned Articles Produced Using Reconstructed Block Copolymer Films
Published: 2/26/2019   |   Inventor(s): Thomas Russell, Soojin Park, Jia-Yu Wang, Bokyung Kim
Category(s): Material science, Nanotechnology, Devices, Engineering, Computers
Memristor Random Number Generator
True random number generators (TRNGs) are used in cryptography and cyber security, and are increasingly important in an interconnected world at risk from cyber threats. Hardware random number generators use physical variables, such as thermal noise or the photoelectric effect, as sources of randomness in number generation. However, they suffer from drawbacks such as scalability, circuit complexity, and reliance on post-processing.


Here, Dr. Qiangfei Xia and Dr. Joshua Yang have invented a memristor-based TRNG. It is the first memristor-based TRNG to pass NISTSs 15 randomness tests without the need for post processing. In operation, the device switches to a low resistance state under a voltage pulse after a random delay time, and relaxes back to a high resistance state spontaneously once the electrical bias is removed. These are the sources of randomness for the TRNG. Memristor-based TRNGs offer a compact, fast, and energy-efficient design.

Published: 2/26/2019   |   Inventor(s): Jianhua (joshua) Yang, Qiangfei Xia, Hao Jiang
Category(s): Communications & internet, Computers, Devices, Engineering
Neuromorphic Computing Memristive Device
Resistance switching devices, also known as memristive devices, represent the next generation in computing. With a typical metal/insulator/metal structure, memristors change resistance based on past current flow and retain this new resistance even when 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 great cycling ability. These properties open up next generation computing applications in non-volatile memory, reconfigurable switches, bio-inspired neuromorphic computing, and radiofrequency switches.


Here, Dr. Qiangfei Xia and Dr. Joshua Yang have invented a Ta/HfO2/Pt memristive device that can be used for multilevel memory and for neuromorphic computing. The device exhibits bipolar resistive switching with low programming voltage (~1.5 V), high endurance (100 billion cycles), and long data retention time (37,000 years at 85 C). The device can be programmed to multiple resistance states with long retention time for each individual state. Finally, spike dependent plasticity (STDP) is also demonstrated for this device. The device also has the advantage of being able to be fabricated using traditional CMOS materials and techniques.

Published: 2/26/2019   |   Inventor(s): Qiangfei Xia, Hao Jiang, Jianhua Yang
Category(s): Devices, Electronics
Method, Device and System for Active Cooling of Cold-Spray Nozzles
Cold Spray technology is a deposition process in which metal powder particles are accelerated by injection into a high-velocity stream of gas at temperatures below their melting point through a de Laval nozzle. However, clogging in the inside of the nozzle during the deposition process presents a significant challenge for this technology. This UMass Amherst invention provides a new method, device and system for active cooling of cold spray nozzles that can effectively prevent clogging and increase the operating life of the nozzles.
Published: 8/24/2018   |   Inventor(s): James Watkins, David Schmidt, Jacobo Morere Rodriguez, Victor Champagne
Category(s): Devices, Engineering, Material science
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