Nanobiomimetic Electrolyte-free and Air-independent Energy storage and Harvesting
MemCap® is an innovative nano-biomimetic memcapacitor systems provide flexible high energy and power density for energy storage and stable longer discharge based on memristor/memcapacitor and meminductor engineering design and nanobiomimetic membrane with more than 30% reduction of power consuming compared with conventional fuel cell and supercapacitor for daily operation plus 100-times lighter weight and 100-fold smaller size. It is reversible and low frequency to high frequency switchable without noise. After Raytheon’s 3 years mentorship, ABS developed many dozens prototype devices demonstrated scalability in multiple module assembling. Because the device is memcapacitor and mem-inductor in nature, it is great be used in power grid switch stations without produce heat and without lose energy. Several demos were shown to visitors.
Nanobiomimetic Reagent-free sensing and energy storage
MemCap® is an innovative nano-biomimetic memcapacitor systems provide flexible high energy and power density for energy storage and stable longer discharge based on memristor/memcapacitor and meminductor engineering design and nanobiomimetic membrane with more than 30% reduction of power consuming compared with conventional fuel cell and supercapacitor for daily operation plus 100-times lighter weight and 100-fold smaller size. It is reversible and low frequency to high frequency switchable without noise. After Raytheon’s 3 years mentorship, ABS developed many dozens prototype devices demonstrated scalability in multiple module assembling. Because the device is memcapacitor and mem-inductor in nature, it is great be used in power grid switch stations without produce heat and without lose energy. Several demos were shown to visitors.
Surface-Tethered Antimicrobial Peptides
The AMProtection patent-pending coating is comprised of the covalent attachment of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) Chrysophsin-1 onto a surface using a linker molecule. These AMPs utilize unique mechanisms against bacteria, making them broadly antimicrobial with a low likelihood of resistance. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) cause 12-25% morbidity in patients and start at $1,000 per case; thus, the best course is to prevent their occurrence. Preventative competing methods include catheters dip-coated with silver, traditional antibiotics or chemical antiseptics. However, several recent studies had called the effectiveness of silver into question, whereas desorption of antibiotic- and antiseptic-coatings causes a higher chance of antibiotic resistance and toxic side effects. The AMProtection innovation is differentiated because it is broad-spectrum, surface-tethered (therefore will not release from the surface), biocompatible, and does not promote resistance. The potential impact on the urinary catheter market, which is $1 billion in the U.S., half of which are antimicrobial coated catheters, depends on the licensee (for example, BARD owns 85% of the market share). However, we expect that per 10,000 coated catheters sold, we reduce 80% of CAUTIs, 200 patient hospital days, and tens of millions of dollars in unreimbursed never event expenses.
Portable Ultrananocrystalline Diamond based Field Emission Electron Sources for Linear Accelerators
Current electron sources used for the accelerators are either based on photoemission or thermionic emission technology, which suffers from various limitations such as high cost, scalability, low output emission current, and robustness. Field emission cathode technology eliminates most of these limitations but never have been implemented for use in accelerators since these FECs have to be fabricated in atomically sharp tip configuration involving several microfabrication steps, compromising scaled-up fabrication and fabrication for complex form factors, plus often times they degrade prematurely due to high electric field and thermal load on atomically sharp tips. Nitrogen incorporated ultrananocrystalline diamond developed at Argonne national laboratory, has unique nanostructure that provides excellent field emission properties in planar configuration eliminating issues related to microfabrication as well as long term current stability. The (N)UNCD FECs developed by Argonne-Euclid TechLabs have demonstrated their feasibility for normal conducting radio frequency based linacs. At gradients 45–65 MV/m, peak currents of 1–80 mA (current densities 0.3–25 mA/cm2) were demonstrated. This brings a paradigm shift in developing new generation of electron source based on (N) UNCD for linear accelerators. The same technology could be used for accelerators for rare isotope production vital for medical diagnostic, and semiconductor industry (lithography).
Quartz Microelectromechanical Systems (Q-MEMS) Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO)
HRL Laboratories and Bliley Technologies are jointly developing a new Ultra-Low Power (ULP) Quartz Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)-based quartz Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO). The Q-MEMS OCXO will provide 50x improvement in Size, 16x improvement in Weight, 13x improvement in Power, and 10x improvement in g-sensitivity when compared to legacy OCXOs. The Q-MEMS OCXO technology is currently at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3. A three-phase development approach over 42 months is required to advance the Q-MEMS OCXO technology from a TRL 3 to TRL 6. Detailed White Paper available with restrictions: Data that shall not be disclosed outside the Government and shall not be duplicated, used or disclosed―in whole or in part―for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal. If, however, a contract is awarded to this offeror as a result of or in connection with the submission of these data, the Government shall have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resulting contract. This restriction does not limit the Government’s right to use information contained in these data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained in all sheets
A wearable IoT multi-sensors bio-processor platform based on a novel electrode and predictive data management systems
We developed a wearable IoT multi-sensors bio-processor platform based on a novel electrode and their predictive data management systems. Principal investigator (PI) and academic partner Dr. Labelle of Arizona State University developed a variant of mesoporous carbon-based dendrimers that allow insitu casting of electrode leads and adhesive layers directly onto a substrate. This results in the adhesive itself retaining conductive properties. This body contoured electroactive polymer electrode (BPE) can be used as a replacement or an adhesive in combination of standard Ag/AgCl electrode. Additionally, we will enable the device to be water-proof with combination of a latex-free waterproof silicone overcoat (i.e. electrode leads). Finally, we will develop predictive algorithms and data management system. This innovative system will be on a scalable, incremental, and parallelizable platform to identify robust multi-variate temporal event signatures that can be used for detecting and/or predicting health stress. The proposed algorithms will integrate body sensor streams and leverage patterns and anomalies discovered to (1) reduce false alarms and false dismissals, and (2) detect newly emerging failure patterns on-the-fly.
Intelligent Wearable Sensing Technology for Next-Generation Multi-Sports Training
We have developed an IoT (Internet of Things) framework for next-generation sports training. To validate its performance, a wireless wearable sensing device (WSD) based on MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) motion sensors was used to recognize different badminton strokes and volleyball spikes and classify skill levels from different players of these respective sports. The system includes a customized sensor node for data collection, a mobile app and a cloud-based data processing unit. The WSD developed is low-cost, easy-to-use and computationally efficient compared to video-based methods for analyzing different arm motions. It offers the advantage of dynamic monitoring of multiple players in any environment. As an example of application, experimental results show our system is capable of recognizing three different badminton actions, i.e., smashes, clears and drops, with an accuracy rate of 97%. in addition, the skill assessment function can differentiate between professional, sub-elite, and amateur players from their stroke performance. Our work aims to change the way of sports training from experience-driven to data-driven, and which can be easily extended to analyze the motions and skill levels of players in other sports (e.g., soccer, basketball, tennis, table tennis, squash, etc.) for training and/or practice.
Hong Kong, Kowloong
3D morphing for underwater mobility
This technique is based on multistable shells which are developed by nanotechnology, surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT). The shape transitions of the bistable or multistable shells in the structure brings volume change to adjust buoyant force in the water and enables the submerging and surfacing without weight change of the structure. Functional device can be attached to the submerging and surfacing system to achieve specific functions, such as underwater environment profile monitoring, hydro location, etc. This technique is originally designed for water environment monitoring applied in inshore coastal waters, especially for carols. In contrast to conventional approaches, such as using cable wired devices, autonomous underwater vehicles, divers, etc., this wireless system is cheap and simple, which can achieve submerging and surfacing movements automatically. The operative parameters can be setup on water surface remotely or nearby. Data collected underwater can be transited when the device is on water surface.
Personal and Home Care Patent Analysis using Computational Chemistry
The technology is an extension of our general purpose computational chemistry platform CULGI, that we developed over the past 15 years. CULGI software has been used in more than 100 industrial research projects. The focus has been on soft materials (Personal and Home Care applications, agro-formulations, composite materials, and so forth). The technology is: (1) The generation of a worldwide chemical formulation index (CULGI WCFI), by identification of all ingredients in all worldwide patents generated in the past twenty years by machine learning and human analysis. (2) Using WCFI, the creation of an enhanced version WCFI-E, that includes not only the ingredients but also a molecular representation. (3) Using WCF-E the cross-correlation of claims with chemistry by physics-based or machine learning modeling. Neither WCFI(-E), nor the connection with modeling exists to date. The number of Personal and Home Care patents is already overwhelmingly large (fifty thousand in 2017), and increasing by invasion from Asia.The information load is simply too extensive for any human team to handle. The technology to introduce science into patent analysis will lead to a situation where patents are generated and analyzed without human intervention.
Increased Capacity Retention of Silicon Anodes for Lithium Batteries
There is a race to add silicon to Li-ion negative electrodes due to the tenfold improvement in theoretical capacity over the industry standard of graphite. Technology startups are pushing majority silicon active materials, yet none have made a significant impact. While all offer >3x capacity of graphite, material manufacturing cost is high due to complicated, multi-step synthesis procedures. This also means scaling to support tonne-level production required for Li-ion battery supply is painfully slow and capital intensive. Ecellix delivers a majority silicon active material without these production challenges. While maintaining the >3x capacity, Instead of individual silicon synthesis and carbon coating steps, Ecellix combines everything into a simple one step process. This reduces the manufacturing costs by 50% vs. other silicon startups and has the advantage of being highly scalable, bringing kg to tonne level production to market rapidly, at up to a 75% reduction in production time. Ecellix retains the promises of high performing silicon Li-ion electrodes without the typical manufacturing complexity and price.
Ecovia™ Biopolymers for Personal Care Products & Formulations
Ecovia Renewables has developed an efficient and highly advantaged bioprocess for producing high performing, cost competitive biopolymer materials for cosmetics and personal care applications. Key innovations and competitive advantages include 1) a patent-pending mixed culture fermentation process enabling the use of inexpensive feedstocks, and 2) improved downstream processing technologies that enable low-cost purification and derivatization to produce finished products. Our Ecovia™ Biopolymer platform can produce a range of different biodegradable and eco-friendly materials customized for different applications. Ecovia's bioprocess has the potential to reduce overall production costs by an order of magnitude or more compared to conventional routes for our biopolymer products, enabling new applications and markets for our material that were not previously addressable. Ecovia's biopolymer materials closely mimic the performance profiles of synthetic polyacrylate, polyacrylamide, and co-polymer materials used in personal care products, and exceed the benchmarks for current biobased materials, which are mainly based on polysaccharide chemistries.
Laser Zigzag Interaction Cavity
The technology consists of a set of highly reflective parallel mirrors in a vacuum vessel installed in an H- ion beam vacuum system. The laser pulse is injected into the cavity transversely at the upstream end at a precise angle and travels in the direction of the ions intersecting the ion bunch many times as the ions travel down the axis of the cavity. The cavity geometry is designed such that the path of the laser light injected into the cavity matches the ion velocity traveling down the axis of the cavity. With the correct timing the laser will interact with the ion bunch some number of times depending on the length of the cavity. This effectively reduces the required laser power for photo-neutralizing entire H- ion bunches. This technique makes possible new accelerator applications of lasers.
Scalable, Low-Cost Electrospinning of Metal and Ceramic Nanofibers
A compact nanofiber production unit with capability to produce a variety of ceramic nanofibers using very low power output, low voltage DC input, inexpensive DC-DC voltage converter with dual polarity high voltage DC supply. The device is much smaller lighter weight and simpler than conventional electrospinning units. The device is much safer to use as it limits the output power to only few watts and can be operated on a 9V battery as well as 12V DC adapter. System is a versatile unit employing syringe needled spinneret for prototype nanofiber and needleless helical spinneret for mass production. It also produces thicker nanofiber mat using specially designed corona ionizer.
Longitudinally Joined Cavity
Radio-frequency cavity resonators are commonly made from electrically conductive material and consist of a chamber or series of chambers interconnected by openings, with chamber size typically ranging from 1 centimeter to 1 meter and chamber shape depending on desired resonance conditions when excited by 0.1 to 10 GHz electromagnetic waves. When the openings are aligned, the resonator can be used to accelerate charged particles along the alignment axis to very high energy, for production of x-rays, irradiation or bombardment, food sanitization, catalysis of chemical reactions, polymer cross-linking, medical treatments, and other uses. Importantly, oscillating electrical currents, which are excited by the accelerating waves, tend to run along the interior walls of the resonator in the longitudinal direction defined by the axis of acceleration. Closing half-cavity pieces with a longitudinal seam, or closing several such part-cavity pieces with multiple longitudinal seams, avoids interfaces that obstruct oscillating currents, which improves the efficiency of operation. A vacuum seal may be produced by welding, brazing, soldering, or other bonding techniques, as appropriate for the choice of electrically conductive material.
Free Piston Linear Motor Compressor (Linear Compressor)
The Free Piston Linear Motor Compressor’s advantage over traditional reciprocating compressors is its streamlined, fully integrated design made possible by the use of a linear motor. The compressor is driven directly by the linear motor, thus removing the need for a complex crankshaft to convert the motor’s rotary motion into linear piston motion for the compressor. Eliminating the crankshaft assembly reduces the total and wearing parts count, improves end-to-end efficiency, enables starting under full load, improved safety with a <1 stroke stop time, and independent piston control. These attributes contribute to a competitive compressor design for applications requiring high purity, compact footprint, low noise, and high-turndown. The simple design of the linear compressor enables flexibility across a range of applications, with the same drive being suitable for air, natural gas, or hydrogen compression. This flexibility enables the development of standardized drive systems that can be rapidly adapted to meet the demands of a number of industries without sacrificing the efficiency or performance. This improves the time to market and significantly reduces the risk for existing compressor manufacturers that can simply purchase a linear drive and attach their own compressor heads for their specific application.
Thermo Electric Interconnects
Technology: Georgia Tech inventors have developed a new method for connecting thermoelectric legs to a thermoelectric device. This method focuses on the positioning of thermoelectric legs on a TE device and the length of the legs. Using printing techniques, the leg length is optimized to obtain maximum power output. Additionally these printing techniques are used to control the geometry and positioning of the legs. This has resulted in a more closed packed, less free space, TE device with increased power density and performance.
Stiffness Trimming of High Q MEMS Resonators
Technology: Georgia Tech inventors have developed a new method to permanently trim the resonance frequency of a low-loss micromechanical silicon (Si) resonator by exposing isolated thin-film dots upon the resonator to the radiation of a focused ultra-violet laser beam. The thin-film is deposited through a shadow mask on the surface of the resonator prior packaging (see Figure 1). Executed at wafer level and with resonators encapsulated in vacuum, this approach enables to trim upward or downward the frequency of packaged resonators in a single shot without introducing additional energy dissipation that would lower the quality factor (Q) of the resonator. Both 2D flat and 3D curved resonators can be trimmed with this approach (see Figure 2). Furthermore, this localized trimming approach supports mode shaping. For example, the frequency separation between Coriolis-coupled modes can be cancelled while both modes are further aligned to reduce quadrature signals. Upon exposure to a laser beam which passed through a transparent capping layer, the thin-film dots heat up, diffuse in Si, and reach the eutectic composition (see Table 1 for a list of materials that form a binary eutectic with Si).
Cable-Driven Four-Bar Link Leg Mechanism
Four-bar leg mechanisms utilize a four-bar system to create a mechanism with one independent movement to control the entire system. These mechanisms are desirable for high force applications because the force can be distributed across the four different components but it only needs one actuator, the component responsible for controlling movement in the system. Current systems require an actuator for each four-bar leg, which can add significant weight to a system, and are typically placed outside of the four-bar leg mechanism, adding bulk. This four-bar leg mechanism uses a cable system to control the movement of the leg, which works in conjunction with a spring mechanism to allow to movements in opposite directions. Two four-bar leg mechanisms are linked together through a single cable whose movement or change in length can be used to actuate each leg independently or in conjunction. Actuators are confined within the system and allow for both symmetrical and asymmetrical movement of the legs in unison. Linking the two leg mechanisms also reduces the loads experienced by each component of the mechanism by distributing contact forces across the entire mechanism.
Assistive Stairs Utilizing Energy- Recycling Technology
Technology: These novel assistive stairs are an inexpensive, effective option for stair use by applying the principle of energy recycling. The objective with this technology was to design energy recycling assistive stairs (ERAS) that store energy during stair descent and return it to assist the user during stair ascent. Each ERAS is a single stair step designed to be placed on an existing step, with each module equipped with its own latch, sensor, and set of springs. When the tread is fully lowered, it contacts an electromagnetic latch at the bottom and pressure sensors detect foot placement during both ascent and descent. Energy stored in the springs are released back to the user as they ascend the steps. With stair descent being just as energy-demanding and challenging for older adults with a large risk for falls, ERAS’s are able to assist with the descent process as well. When the springs are removed or their motion is locked, ERAS modules do not recycle energy and are therefore equivalent to a normal set of stairs.
Ears in the Sky- Airborne Acoustic Testbed
:David Alvord and Alessio Medda from GTRI at Georgia Tech have developed an airborne acoustic testbed that consists of a self-contained acoustic sensing payload installed on an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). The acoustic payload can be integrated with any type of UAV and used with additional data streams such as EO/IR or telemetry data. Using the developed signal processing suite, noise sources including self-generated UAV noise, wind, or environmental noise can be removed from the acquired acoustic signal of interest. Future capabilities of the AATB will include live voice acquisition, source localization, or acoustic fingerprinting. The algorithm suite includes digital signal processing algorithms and post-processing functionality to filter the signal, account for flight operations, and process data from distributed microphones (both onboard as an acoustic phased array or across multiple UAVs). Future capabilities that can be developed using distributed acoustic phased arrays across multiple UAVs include speech detection, phased-array beamforming for complex ground source localization, synthetic apertures f
Hydrogels to Treat Bone Fracture and Orthopedic Device Infections
Background: Orthopedic hardware infections are a significant clinical problem with artificial joint replacement surgeries. The most common bacterial infections are caused by Staphylococcal aureus (S. aureus) and current treatments are limited to surgical debridement and systemic antibiotic regimens. Infections almost always lead to implant removal. Lysostaphin enzymes have been shown to have high anti-Staphylococcal activity and thus their use to reduce infection of biomaterials associated with orthopedic implants could have significant health benefits. Technology: Inventors at Georgia Tech engineered a lysostaphin-delivering injectable hydrogel to treat S. aureus infections in bone fractures and orthopedic device implantations. The injectable hydrogel conforms and adheres to the fracture and surrounding tissue, ensuring efficient, local delivery of lysostaphin. This injectable hydrogel formulation enhances lysostaphin stability and provides improved efficacy against bacteria growing in biofilms compared to soluble enzymes alone. Lysostaphin-delivering hydrogels effectively eliminate orthopedic S. aureus infections while simultaneously supporting fracture repair.
Electronic Sensor for Multiplexed Detection of Particles on Microfluidic Chips
Technology: Inventors at Georgia Tech have developed a novel system of parallel detection in multiple microfluidic channels which relies on code division multiple access (CDMA), a spread spectrum telecommunication technique. In CDMA, users’ signals are transmitted at the same time and within the same frequency band, while multiplexing is achieved by modulating the information in each channel with a unique digital spreading code. The set of CDMA digital spreading codes are designed to be orthogonal to minimize the cross-correlation while maximizing the auto-correlation. The technology has been demonstrated on four microfluidic channels encoded by 7-bit long Gold sequences. The chip has only three electrodes: a positive and a negative electrodes on the opposite sides of each microfluidic channel (ordered to follow their unique digital spreading code) and a reference electrode placed in between the coding fingers, used to generate a bipolar signal. The system successfully detected the presence of multiple ovarian cancer cells in the channels and could even resolve their timing.
Synthetic Hydrogel for Human Organoid Generation
Background: In vitro generation of human intestinal organoids (HIOs) from pluripotent stem cells is a powerful technique capable of producing tissue analogous to human tissue for basic studies, drug screening, and regenerative medicine. Current methods for generating HIOs rely on growth in Matrigel, a murine tumor-derived extracellular matrix (ECM). Due to the composition and variability of Matrigel and its tumor-derived nature, this method severely limits the use of organoid technologies for regenerative and translational medicine. There is a need for an alternative method of producing HIOs for use in human therapeutic applications. Technology: Inventors at Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan have engineered a fully synthetic and chemically defined hydrogel that supports in vitro generation of human organoids. The hydrogel supports robust and highly reproducible in vitro growth and expansion of HIOs. Additionally, this synthetic hydrogel serves as an injectable vehicle to deliver HIOs to intestinal wounds via colonoscope resulting in organoid survival, engraftment, and wound repair.
Two-stage delivery and release drug delivery system
Background: Current drug delivery methods employ small therapeutics, which do not exhibit prolonged systemic circulation or efficiently accumulate in target tissues. In order to surpass these barriers, researchers must improve conjugation efficiency and understand the rate of different therapeutics, as well as take into consideration assessments of toxicity and immuno-genicity. Technology: This technology combines the advantage of nano-particle drug delivery for improving targeting performance with time-based release of cargo in order to achieve targeted therapeutics delivery. Whereas previous technology failed to surpass barriers of conjugation and timing, this system can deliver a variety of particles systemically or to deep tissues such as tumors or lymph nodes, through the utilization of nano-particles and an oxanorbornadiene linkage chemistry that degrades at programmable half-lives.
Sutures with Porous Sheaths for Drug Delivery
Technology: Georgia Tech inventors have developed a simple and versatile method for creating highly porous sutures which aim to accelerate the healing process of an injury site. These sutures are modified to contain an interconnected network of pores, serving to increase the volume of drug loading and allowing for the sustained release of the drug into the affected area. Compared to unmodified suture implants, the porous sutures have the same mechanical properties, but with enhanced drug loading capacity and a sustained release profile of the loaded drug. The modification process of the sutures is simple and conducted in liquid phase at room temperature with low-cost reagents, allowing for easy scale-up in commercial production. The porous sutures not only release drugs for anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pain management purposes, but other bio-factors, such as growth factors, adhesives, extracellular matrix components, and cytokines, can be released to facilitate efficient tissue restoration and would healing. This novel invention also has great potential for the repair of load-bearing connective tissues, such as tendons, and can be readily extended to other applications for wound closure and long-term pain relief post-surgery.
Degradable Microparticles for Protein and Small Molecule Delivery
Background: Loading small molecules and proteins for injection happens on a minute scale and is essential for progress in many medicinal fields. However, the science thus far has been restricted by the size and charge of the molecules, as well as maintaining their activity on the carrier. In addition, many systems require complex and/or expensive injection tools, and the timed release of the medicine throughout the body is difficult to control. Technology: Georgia Tech inventors from the Department of Biomedical Engineering have developed a microparticle delivery system formed via water and oil emulsion and free radical polymerization. The cross-linking of functionalized heparin within the micro-particle allows for the loading and release of positively-charged proteins, as well as variety of small molecules. The polymers utilized also allow for the degradation time course of the particle to be finely tuned.
3D Printed Meta-material Tissue-Mimicking Phantoms
Patient-specific tissue-mimicking phantoms have a wide range of biomedical applications including validation of computational models and imaging techniques, medical device testing, surgery planning, medical education, doctor-patient interaction, etc. Although 3D printing technologies have demonstrated great potential in fabricating patient-specific phantoms, current 3D printed phantoms are usually only geometrically accurate. Mechanical properties of soft tissues can merely be mimicked at small strain situations, such as ultrasonic induced vibration. Under large deformation, however, the soft tissues and the 3D printed phantoms behave differently. The essential barrier is the inherent difference in the stress-strain curves of soft tissues and 3D printable polymers. Georgia Tech inventors have developed technology that demonstrates the feasibility of mimicking the mechanical strain stiffening behavior of soft tissues using dual-material 3D printed metamaterials with micro-structured reinforcement embedded in soft polymeric matrix. Although the two base materials are strain-softening polymers, both finite element analysis and uniaxial tension tests indicate that two of those dual-material designs are able to exhibit strain-stiffening effects as a metamaterial. Additionally, the design parameters have an effect on the mechanical behavior of the metamaterials. this system can fabricate patient specific tiss. ue-mimicking phantoms with both geometrical and mechanical accuracies with dual-material 3D printed metamaterials.
Stretchable Electronic Materials and Devices
Background: Stretchable microelectronics has garnered significant attention from research and industry due to its essential role in large-area, wearable, epidermal and biomedical electronics. However, this technology and its manufacturing processes have been severely constrained by their complexity and lack of scalability. mobility via a simple and robust, fully solution-processed methodology. Georgia Tech inventors present a new, versatile approach consisting of directly integrating stretchable components for a large-area transistor array through solution processing and a final single, mechanical peel-off step. As a result, the team has successfully fabricated semiconducting films with significantly improved mechanical elasticity and optical transparency, without affecting the film’s electronic conductivity, even under 100% strain (see figure below). The semiconducting films are prepared by blending only a small amount (below 1 wt %) of either p-type or n-type commercial semiconductor polymers. The product is a self-organized versatile conjugated polymer film displaying an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) formed in the semiconducting films, which is crucial for the observed enhancement of elasticity, optical transparency and charge-carrier mobility. In fact, the developed robust transistor arrays exhibit charge carrier mobilities above 1.0 cm2/V∙s with excellent durability, even under 100% strain.
Substrate-free graphene platelets directly from natural gas
H Quest Vanguard, Inc. is developing continuous conversion processes that apply microwave energy to rapidly pyrolyze low-cost hydrocarbons (natural gas and coal) to produce higher-value products: liquid fuels, chemicals, hydrogen, and advanced materials in modular, energy-efficient reactors that lend to small-scale distributed deployment. H Quest’s proprietary microwave plasma reactor operating at atmospheric pressure does not employ dielectric heating. Instead, microwave energy is coupled into process gas via collisions of the gas molecules with free and liberated electrons, which are accelerated by the rapidly changing electromagnetic field. The reactor can be deployed at small scale (processing 6 mcf/hour or less), is energy efficient, and does not generate CO2. It can generate highly heterogeneous plasmas, with hot and relatively cold gas regions within the same chamber, rate-controlled decomposition by quenching reactions within the reactor. Conventional processes have uncontrollable carbon production and tend to produce undifferentiated, low-value carbon soot. In contrast, H Quest’s system produces highly ordered carbon materials: graphene, graphitic ribbons, multilayer shells, rosette structures, and ordered carbon blacks. Rate of carbon co-production with higher hydrocarbons and/or hydrogen can be varied between 0 and 80%. Unoptimized reactor requires only 22 kWh to convert 1 kg of methane.
Advanced anode for rechargeable batteries
Currently, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), are the most reliable energy storage devices, and the development of a high capacity LiB anode material would have a profound and direct impact on current commercial and emerging markets, such as portable electronics, electric vehicles, electric grid storage and Internet of Things (IoT). Graphite-based LiBs, which exhibit high energy and power density and high current efficiency, are commonly used in many applications, although their capacity is low (372 mAh/g). Our technology offers a new class of high capacity graphitic material for use as an anode in LiBs. The proposed anode material is a newly-discovered thin graphene porous networks, consisting of incommensurately-stacked multilayer graphene (IMLG) layers assembled in three-dimensional (3D) form. Our recent achievements have demonstrated the feasibility of preparing this IMLG 3D graphene structures using commercially available catalyst powders of nickel, copper or their alloys and methane gas as a carbon source. Catalyst-free pure graphene exhibits an extremely high reversible capacity up to 1600 mAh/g when used as an anode material in LIBs cells. The prototype battery devices demonstrate good cycling stability, reproducibility, and no lithium plating which offers to develop high energy density, ultralight, and safety batteries.
Ultra-high Performance Thermal Interface Materials for Electronic Cooling
Overheating is one of the biggest problems of electronic devices that causes loss of performance and reduces the lifetime. Introduction of smaller and more powerful electronic devices have made the electronic industry seek better thermal management strategies. The dissipation of heat during the operation is often facilitated by thermal interface materials (TIMs), which are placed between devices to heat sinks. Currently used TIMs include thermal greases, polymer-composites and solders. Limitations of these TIMs - such as low thermal conductivity in thermal greases and polymer composites, and thermally-induced stress failures due to high thermal expansion in solder TIMs – have led to failures in electronics. We are dedicated to developing novel TIMs to overcome these limitations For this purpose, we aim to develop and fabricate metal nanocomposite TIMs, involving integration of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNS), soft organic linkers, and copper matrix. The developed hybrid nanocomposites demonstrate an exceptional combination of thermal and mechanical properties (elastic modulus); over 210 W/(m K) and 20 GPa, respectively. The developed TIMs show a compatible thermal expansion, forming a mediation zone with low thermally-induced axial stress on the mating surfaces. Exceptional properties of the developed TIMs will enable enhanced efficiency in electronics cooling.
Nano-engineered silica: A non-halogenated flame retardant additive
INFINGENT is one of the world's leading manufacturers of silica-based nanoparticles and nanocomposites for fire resistant applications. Headquartered at Medeon Science Park, Sweden, we are pioneers in the use of nanotechnology to create unique, innovative and cost-effective products.The flame-retardant nanoparticles of Infingent Silica have been developed using state-of-the-art proprietary technologies, to hinder (or even fully prevent) combustion no matter which portion of the fire cycle it is in - be it heating, ignition, spread or decomposition. Our nanostructured silica is a non-halogenated product, which is highly effective because of the natural self-insulating properties of amorphous silica - properties which it retains even in its nano-sized form. Unlike current halogenated flame-retardants, Infingent silica offers no toxic by-products and extremely stable under extreme conditions. The flame-retardant effect of Infingent Silica is active at below 5wt%, ensures high compatibility and less processing issues. INFINGENT silica being the first commercial flame-retardant chemical of its type has a great potential for a majority of flame retardant markets but primary supplying to wires and cables industry.
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) consists of a fiber-reinforced epoxy resin substrate covered by copper patterns as connections and electronic components. Once an electronic device is obsolete, the PCB becomes e-waste. Given the nature of epoxy resin, that is a thermoset, it does not degrade or decompose easily, making recovery of the copper and electronic components very challenging. Grinding and acid corroding are common methods used to decompose e-waste and recover the valuables yet the methods involve harsh chemicals and are not cost effective due to low yields. Other approach, not allowed in developed countries, is to burn the e-waste to decompose epoxy resin and obtain valuables. The method is a disaster for the environment and people due to polluting effects on water, soil, and air. we have developed a unique PCB that, once obsolete, can be resolved in hot water in approximately four hours yielding high-purity metals and electronic components for easy recovery. The cost is considerably lower than any other recycling method, and precious materials can be recovered and reused at much lower cost that mining ore.
A Wearable Microwave Meta-Skin with Tunable Frequency Selective and Cloaking Effects
See listed publications: From Flexible and Stretchable Meta-Atom to Metamaterial: A Wearable Microwave Meta-Skin with Tunable Frequency Selective and Cloaking Effects. Siming Yang, Peng Liu, Mingda Yang, Qiugu Wang, Jiming Song & Liang Dong. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21921 (2016) Tunable meta-atom using liquid metal embedded in stretchable polymer. Peng Liu, Siming Yang, Aditya Jain, Qiugu Wang, Huawei Jiang, Jiming Song, Thomas Koschny, Costas M. Soukoulis and Liang Dong. J. Appl. Phys. 118, 014504 (2015)
Autonomously self-healing and self-strengthening polymer-metal composites
Self-healing materials are "smart" materials that can repair damage incurred throughout the materials lifetime. Despite self-healing materials being available since 2001, there are limited commercial examples of the technology. Iowa State University researchers have demonstrated the the application of undercooled particles in producing mechanically responsive and reconfigurable composites. The composite exploits the metastable nature of the particles, whereby the undercooled liquid metal trapped within the particles undergoes solidification when the oxide shell is broken or significantly deformed. Thus, the composite is capable of self-healing due to passivization of cracks by the metastable liquid and simultaneously self-strengthening, since the solidified metal will typically be stronger than its matrix.
Rapid enrichment of Viable Bacteria Using Magnetic Ionic Liquids for PCR Amplification and Culture-Based Diagnostics
The detection of viable bacteria in food, environmental, or clinical samples is limited by time-consuming enrichment procedures (e.g., overnight cultures) that are often mandatory for the analysis of extremely small quantities of microorganisms. Iowa State University researchers have developed new molecules to act as magnetic ionic liquids (MILs) and an method of use thereof to isolate, extract, and concentrate bacteria in an efficient manner for rapid testing purposes. These tunable MILs present unique physiochemical properties, resulting in materials that are responsive to external magnetic fields. Using this magnetism allows for easy separation of the MILs and extracted material from non-magnetic media. ISU inventors have demonstrated the ability of their specially designed MILs to be able to extract bacteria with high specificity. After a simple separation and culturing in broth, quantifiable colonization of recovered bacteria begins within two hours. This enrichment approach can be coupled with PCR amplification to further increase sample throughput. Regardless of downstream detection methods, MIL-based preconcentration of bacteria constitutes an enrichment strategy that allows for significantly faster detection of relevant bacteria for the food safety testing industry.
Local Market Sensor Based System and App for Tax Collection
According to research by MSU’s Global Center for Food systems Innovation, market fee that is manually collected in sub-Saharan Africa’s local markets is mostly abused by tax collectors who use it for personal reasons. Thus, collected market fees are not used for an intended purpose of renovating markets like installing electricity and water pipes. MarPall is a mobile phone system that allow sellers in sub-Saharan Africa’s market-places to pay their market fee electronically with the aim of ending corrupt practices by tax collectors. Sellers will choose to pay market fee either through a mobile application that can be accessed on any phone or a sensor-based system that is installed in market places. The mobile application which will be integrated with mobile banking can be used by permanent market sellers who have permanent point of sales. The sensor-based system is to be used by temporally sellers who do not have permanent point of sales in the markets and it will be accepting cash.
Thermal Energy Storage System
Our novel Phase Change Material (PCM) have promising heat storage properties ( ∆Hf (J/g) >100 ) and target temperatures ideal for renewable energy storage (150 -200°C).This temperature range has been recognised as critical for storage of solar thermal energy, and waste or low grade heat from industry. The stored energy can be used to power a standalone Organic Rankine Engine to generate electricity on demand, or linked to other commercial modules for hot water heating and space heating or cooling. Our combined system using novel PCM offers a cheaper, more reliable alternative to current options: Lowering of CO2 emissions and maximised green energy Reduction in peak load demand Improvement in the overall efficiency of the energy system by balancing the fluctuating demand for energy Minimised usage of expensive ‘peak high cost’ energy Provide back-up power to the system The global thermal energy storage market has been valued at over US$0.6 bn and is expected to reach US$1.8 bn by 2020. The major focus for the industry has been higher temperatures for heat storage or ambient temperature for building materials.
Smart surface coatings material and process
The Monash research team has developed ultrathin multifunctional films comprised of multiple layers of tungsten oxide nanosheets that exhibit a large number of unique and desirable properties. To produce these smart film coatings, tungstate oxide (a typical semiconductor) is exfoliated into atomically-thin 2D nanosheets. The nanosheets are applied to a surface in a controlled process whereby the thickness of the film and its final properties are determined precisely by the number of applied layers. These films are able to block both IR and UV light, whilst being almost completely transparent to the visible spectrum.
As the first and only known material capable of achieving the theoretical upper bound for isotropic elasticity, the Isomax™ material geometry can revolutionize the design of lightweight high performance engineered systems. Isomax™ is composed of two unique subgeometries that are individually maximally stiff but highly anisotropic. Their combination can achieve isotropy but also can be optimized for local density, stiffness, strength, and anisotropy--facilitating functionally graded and highly optimized designs, with unrivaled performance. The relatively simple geometry, composed of sheets of material, is amenable to manufacturing by sheet folding, allowing access to a wide range of constituent materials. Using available engineering materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced composites, titanium and aluminum alloys, Isomax™ can achieve moduli exceeding an order of magnitude above existing high performance material systems at the same density. When utilized as an internal geometry for 3D printed parts, designs with minimal mass, materials, and build time are achievable, reducing costs, energy usage, and the amount of raw materials used.
A 3D printed, weight bearing implant for cartilage restoration in the knee
The implantable medical device being commercialized by Nanochon is intended to treat cartilage damage in the knee for young and active patients. Specifically, injuries sustained by adults under 55 to the articulate surface of the knee do not heal. In patients older than 55 cartilage damage and loss is treated with a total joint replacement. However, these have a limited lifespan (15 years average) and are more difficult to replace as their success relies on having a substantial amount of healthy bone tog raft the implant into. Thus, younger patients must undergo procedures to try to salvage remaining tissue in the joint, mitigate degenerative damage and give the patient extended activity. As described, young and active patients are treated with a series of surgical procedures, implants based on processed cadaver tissue, living tissue transplants and complex devices incorporating biologics and live cells. Among all of these treatments, there is none which has a high early success rate, good long term outcomes and is cost-effective. The Nanochon device, using innovative nanomaterial and 3D printed designs, would provide a more successful, longer lasting and affordable solution.
Black Ghost is a ceramic turboshaft gas engine for unmanned aerial vehicles that has increased fuel consumption and uses new ceramic materials and designs to lower the weight, enable superior heat transfer capabilities, and to support mechanical strength. Fuel consumption is reduced by increasing the turbine inlet temperature by using a heat exchanger to recycle waste heat from the exhaust. Small turbines already operate at the temperature limit of metals so NRL is using a new ceramic composite that is less dense than metals, retains creep resistance at higher temperatures, resists crack growth, and has low thermal expansion to reduce thermal stress. Ceramic injection molding (CIM) is being used to manufacture complex parts at low cost and high yield rates. The engine with a ceramic turbine rotor and stator can operate at 1225 degrees C, about 300 degrees C hotter than typical uncooled metal turbines. The new gas engine design reduces operating and maintenance costs. It provides more onboard electric power for small long-endurance UAVs, which improves payload and mission capabilities
Ultrahigh safety battery separator
Using inorganic nanowires, our battery separator can shutdown at low temperature and is stable to more than 600 degree Celsius, providing extremely high safety for lithium ion battery no other battery separator can offer. This is an revolutionary separator technology.
Urea Electrolysis as a Medical Devices Platform
In clinical diagnostics, monitoring urea in blood provides information on kidney’s disease with the normal range of urea level in serum ranges from 1.7mM to 8.3mM. However, under pathological conditions, urea levels in blood can reach up to 100 mM. Currently most urea sensors utilize immobilized urease to catalyze urea decomposition into ammonia, hydroxide, and bicarbonate ions. On the other hand, a universal urea sensor that can operate with different interchangeable working and reference electrodes in a variety of conditions would be useful as it provides stability and flexibility. Furthermore, the technology that this device is based on could serve as a foundation for portable dialysis machines. This is because the technology is based on urea electrolysis - conversion of urea into benign molecules - and is the basis for both detection and conversion of the urea molecule. The use of this technology would deliver a smaller footprint, decrease in water consumption, reduction in cost and improvement and extension of patient life.
Advanced Electrolytes for Thermal Batteries
Thermal batteries are used for many military applications, primarily as power sources for guided missiles (Tow, Patriot, Sidewinder, Cruise, etc.) and proximity fuzzes in ordinance Devices. The thermal batteries use a solid electrolyte that is inactive at ambient temperature and can be stored with little to no power loss for long periods (>25 years). However, the battery could be activated instantly (<1s) to produce enormous power output ranging from watts to kilowatts. The battery activation is achieved by drastically raising the temperature using a carefully designed pyrotechnic heat source which melts the solid electrolyte and facilitates ion conduction and the eventual activation of the battery. The electrolyte properties such as melting point and ionic conductivity are crucial for the energy density and operational lifetime of the battery. Several eutectic electrolyte mixtures such as LiBr-RbBr/CsBr and LiBr-CsBr/LiBr-KBR-CsBr have been successfully demonstrated to reduce the melting point by changing alloying element and/or additives. However, improved novel electrolytes based on HF and KF can be used to lower the melting point (i.e. improved operating conditions) as well as increase ionic conductivity. This would lead to higher energy and power densities and cheaper pyrotechnic sources.
TUSK Advanced Tracheal Intubation Stylets
Management of the airway is the first critical step in lifesaving. Seconds matter when it comes to getting oxygen to the heart and brain. Operator difficulty inserting breathing tubes (AKA: endotracheal tubes or ETT’s) translates directly to patient complications. 1st pass success is essential. Operators insert ETT's using a device that exposes the vocal cords (a laryngoscope) and a removable stiffening stylet that’s inserted into the ETT. Increasingly, video-assisted laryngoscopes are being utilized, resulting enhanced exposure of the vocal cords. However, despite better views of the cords, video laryngoscopy often makes the process of inserting of the ETT into the trachea (cannulation) more challenging. As a result, enhanced vocal cord views for operators have not resulted in an incremental improvement in airway management success. Our iterative design process, fueled by user feedback, has resulted in a novel stylet technology with a unique, ergonomic and ETT insertion mechanism resulting easier and faster tracheal intubation that is more conducive to single-operator use. The device lowers the expertise threshold, resulting in safer care in all environments. Our technology can be used with video or traditional laryngoscopy, and can be utilized in adult, child, and veterinary applications.
Direction-Sensitive Radiation Detection System for Unmanned Vehicles
Finding and identifying radiation sources or illicit special nuclear materials (SNM) are vital to such efforts as emergency response and border security. It requires a radiation detection system capable of locating any radioisotopes present in the surrounding area in a very short-time operation. Current hand-held detectors do not have a directional capability and the source must be found by carrying the detector over the suspect area a number of times and observing changes in count rate. This is a radiation detection technology for unmanned vehicles to locate and identify radiation sources. In an autonomous searching system, directional information collected from the detection system is used by the motion or flight control unit to guide the vehicle toward the radiation source autonomously. The direction-sensitive radiation detection system (DSRD) indicates the direction of the source of the radiation. Once near the source, an energy-sensitive radiation detector generates an energy histogram, identifies characteristic spectral features, and ultimately identifies the radioisotopes present at its location. This information is wirelessly transmitted to human observers.
Ultra-Sensitive Lab-on-Chip Sensor
There is an increasing demand for accurate and rapid on-site detection and identification of a variety of chemical and biological targets in many applications. For example, ultra-sensitive detection of toxins and contaminants is important for health care, food safety, and security. Although techniques like high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry are accurate and reliable, they are also expensive, time consuming, require skilled personnel, and are typically performed on a laboratory bench. Coupled with a separation technique, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has gained considerable interest as a highly sensitive detection method, able to offer detection and identification comparable to or superior to alternative techniques, at a lower cost. On this sensor chip, a diatomite biosilica material functions as both the stationary phase for thin layer chromatography (TLC) and also provides Raman enhancement. Formed into discrete microchannels, this sensor can separate compounds in a mixed sample and achieve detection sensitivity on the order of 1 part per billion (ppb).
An Integrated WiFi and Free-space Optic Communication System (WiFIFO)
Typical WIFI networks can theoretically operate at a rate of 54 Mbps, but realistically their speed is only a fraction of that number, usually somewhere between 5 and 15 Mbps. Slower WiFi often comes down to one problem: overload. Limited wireless capacities cannot provide adequate bandwith for many scenarios, particularly when there are multiple users. Researchers at Oregon State University have designed a way to enhance wireless capacity using complementary FSO technology which does not interfere with the WiFi transmission bands. This combination solution is called WiFiFO. When combined with the existing high-speed Ethernet infrastructure, current FSO technology combined with WiFi could provide a typical bandwidth of 50 Mbps per user via local transmissions. In addition to normal WiFi transmission, a network of FSO transmitters can be placed appropriately indoors to provide local high-rate FSO transmissions. The system monitors and manages the connections based on the FSO and WiFi channel conditions. The movement patterns and locations of a user, relative to the transmitters, determine the amount of additional FSO bandwidth for the user. This alleviates the stress of how much bandwidth is going over the WiFi transmission, leading to faster WiFi speeds for all users.
Genetic incorporation of tetrazine amino acids and use in bioorthogonal ligations
Ideal bioorthogonal reactions containing high reaction rates, high selectivity and high stability would allow for stoichiometric labeling of biomolecules in minutes and eliminate the need to washout excess labeling reagent. Currently no general method exists for controlled stoichiometric or sub-stoichiometric labeling of proteins in live cells. To overcome this limitation we have developed a faster more stable tetrazine-containing amino acid (Tet-2.0) and have genetically encoded this amino acid in response to an amber codon. We have demonstrated that in vivo reactions between protein containing Tet-2.0 and sTCO react with a biomolecular rate constant of 87,000±1440 M-1s-1. This bioorthogonal reaction is fast enough in cells containing Tet-v2.0-protein with sub-stoichiometric amounts of sTCO-label to remove the labeling reagent from media in minutes thereby eliminating the need to washout label. This ideal bioorthogonal reaction will enable the monitoring a larger window of cellular processes in real time.
Suspended Undersea Raw Fiber (SURF)
The Suspended Undersea Raw Fiber (SURF) technology allows for the deployment and suspension of raw fiber at a desired depth in the ocean water column. Suspended fiber utilizes the water as a protective sheath, avoiding breakage threats near the surface and near the bottom of the ocean, dispensing extremely low cost raw fiber directly into ocean without modifying or handling fiber/spools. The SURF fiber can be payed-out at underway speeds without link failure with a highly reliable, unpowered, non-mechanical dispenser (minimal cost & SWaP). Costs are negligible to install (carry-on); integrate (plug & play Gig-E and/or WiFi); operate (passive unmonitored/unmanned payout); and logistically update. SURF deploys to/from any platform/craft/vehicle/sensor (surface, air, or submerged).
PxTx has developed an innovative disease modifying therapeutic technology to treat osteoarthritis (OA). Extracellular Matrix Protection Factor (ECPF-1) is a novel, safe and effective intra-articular injection that reduces the pain and damage caused by OA. Intra-articular injections of ECPF-1 (PEXAGEN) in a rat model of OA demonstrated no cellular toxicity, normal serum chemistry, diminished tissue destruction and increased animal mobility. Currently, there are only a small number of potential disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) in clinical trials. ECPF-1's demonstrated efficacy is novel because development of DMOADs with limited off target effects is challenging due to the complexity of the articular joint. Our first commercialization target is the companion animal market, because OA statistics in the canine population mimic that of the human population. In 2016, the global market for animal health amounted to some 30 billion U.S. dollars. Ten years earlier, the market stood at only 16 billion U.S. dollars. The global animal health/veterinary medicine market includes both animals used for food production, and companion animals or pets.
Ladera Ranch, CA
Production of Radioactive Ingredients For Medical Applications
The availability of reactor produced radioisotopes in the U.S. relies on aging foreign resources, leading to an uncertainty in the future supply of these lifesaving radioactive ingredients. To address this, development of a technology that can be implemented in existing nuclear reactor infrastructure nationwide for local isotope production is being proposed. A challenge with traditional radioisotope production is, in most cases the target isotope and the produced radioisotope are both from the same element. Conventional separation techniques aren't effective for separating isotopes of the same element, therefore at the end of irradiation, the final product has limited purity. Furthermore, small-scale research nuclear reactors operate at lower capacities compared to commercial production facilities, therefore obtaining the required radioisotope purity is usually impossible. Purist has developed a patent pending plug and play technology for radioisotope production and separation, that can be easily adopted by nuclear reactors of any size for medical radioisotope production. This technology results in separation of the radioisotope from the inactive target upon production, followed by immediate collection of the product. The collected radioisotope can be harvested during this process and transported to a local radiopharmacy with little time delay, providing on-demand healthcare.
Beyond Silicon Panels: Reducing the Cost of PV Generation at Utility Scale
The unique technology being developed and commercialized by REhnu for utility scale solar generation exploits the super-efficient multijunction PV cells developed for spacecraft. Sunlight is focused by a dish mirror and relayed at high concentration onto an array of very small cells, which convert solar radiation into electricity with twice the efficiency of silicon panels. The price for silicon panels and plants has dropped sharply, but is now approaching the limit set by material costs. A conventional 100 MW plant with single-axis trackers uses around 200 tons of ultrapure silicon, costing around $30 million, and around 10,000 tons of steel, glass and aluminum costing an additional $30 million. By contrast, a 100 MW REhnu plant will use only 25 kg of gallium-arsenide-based PV cells, projected to cost around $3 million when made in volume, and significantly less glass, steel and aluminum. Summing the materials costs, we find totals of $45 million for a conventional silicon module plant and $20 million for a REhnu plant. For plants manufactured at the same high production volume and realizing the same economies of scale, we can expect the REhnu plant to halve the combined cost of manufacture and installation.
Memristor - Resistive RAM
RMIT have developed a memory device comprised of an amorphous strontium titanate (SrTiO3) layer stacked between thin film metal electrodes. The oxide layer can be doped to enable energy efficiency and achieve different forms of electronic switching. The most recent work shows the ability to use these cells to mimic brain/neuron function. The accuracy of this biomimicry is exceptional, being within 10% of biological measurements from the human hippocampus. Key advantages of the memristor technology include: CMOS compatible synthesis and fabrication process at room temperature. This results in a cost effective process that is compatible with all major industrial electronic materials processes; The forming-free low energy operation and consistent operation of the devices makes them one of the few examples of high performance metal-oxide memristors; Multiple information states can be stored in a single cell, which is not possible with other RAM technologies; Desired performance of the memristor can be attained through tuning of the oxide and cell structure.
Populations continue to increase in areas that have high levels of seismic activity. By 2030, approximately 60 percent of the global population (approximately 5 billion people) are expected to live in such urban areas. Building construction and the propensity for buildings to collapse significantly contribute to mortality during earthquakes. Due to the significant risk of mortality and morbidity caused by structural collapse or blunt force trauma from falling objects, there is a market need for inexpensive and portable solutions to protect individuals that live in earthquake-prone areas. Rowan University is developing a seismic hazard and kinetic energy risk reduction system, the Shaker Shield. The Shaker Shield is a portable system designed to protect people from being crushed or badly injured by structural failure due to seismic events. It is comprised of thermal-bonded 1,100 decitex, triple layered, polyurethane. The Shaker Shield uses compressed nitrogen to rapidly inflate the puncture-resistant canopy that can stay inflated indefinitely; and is augmented underneath by the mattress on the bed thereby distributing impact forces over a wide area. The Shaker Shield combined with the mattress could potentially protect in situations involving a building collapse. It also floats and protects from flying debris
Smart Mobile Data Collection
The StreetSense system is the next generation location specific mobile transportation data collection system. The system is affordable & portable and it can be mounted to existing vehicle. The system includes set of sensor modules connected with each other to collect transportation system and infrastructure data at any location while the vehicle is moving and/or stationary. At present most of the transportation data collection is done by sensors fixed at certain location. Our system has a potential to convert existing vehicle into mobile data collection unit. This unique characteristic can enable any departments of transportation (DOTs), county and/or local municipalities to collect high resolution location specific data for various current and future transportation system applications. This system can become the backbone for current and future transportation system management and operations (TSM&O) centers. The TSM&O center is and will be essential component for any smart city.
We are developing a clinic-ready user-friendly software for radiologists and radiation therapists to view 3-dimensional segmentation of MRI brain tumor. The software is semi-automated, a desired feature in the clinic. The user interacts with an intuitive interface to check the labelling and modify it quickly, if needed. The quantitative measures are readily computed once the physician approves the final results. Our tool is multi-modal as it uses T1, T1 with contrast, FLAIR, and T2 MRI images. Clinical studies conducted on 11 patients over a period of 10 years show that our software is able to detect early recurrence of the brain tumors 3 years earlier than the practicing clinician. Our core algorithm won the runner-up Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine in 2015 and was also a winner of the 2016 Multimodal Brain Tumor Image Segmentation challenge. The global MRI systems market is projected to reach $7.19 Billion by 2021 from $5.61 Billion in 2016, at a compound annual growth rate of 5.1%. In 2016, North America accounted for the largest share of the MRI systems market. A rising geriatric population is driving the demand for MRI systems, including software applications.
3D Printing Embedded Nanofibers with an Automated On-the-fly Manual Pull Post-drawing System
With the addition of an automated on-the-fly manual pull post-drawing system to a 3D printing machine, nanofibers are stretched and aligned immediately encapsulating within the printed layer. The continuous automated manual pull post-drawing system is inexpensive with a straightforward interchangeable track for different types of polymers. The track can be disposable or lined as a single-use device for bioengineering labs and health care providers. Using this system, the automated spinning track system can produced nanofiber from a wide variety of polymers (ex. PAN, PCL, PEO, PEDOT:PSS, PVAc, PVDF, nylon, para-aramid, telfon nanofibers, etc...), biopolymers (ex. Silk fibroin, collagen, zein, soy, peanut, etc...), DNA, and polymeric carbohydrates (alginate, cellulose, lignin, etc...). The spinning device could enable us to create a wound dressing out of biocompatible materials seed and grow stem cells on scaffolding for tissue engineering. Other examples include biosensors, lightweight composites, filtration technologies, fibrous smart textiles, and battery (fuel cell) technologies. Unlike electrospinning nanofibers (the device uses a mechanical stretching force is used instead of electrical power, making high electrical voltage unnecessary, avoiding high cost, and excessive energy usage during production.
The ability to engineer strong nanofiber materials is of great interest in numerous fields including aerospace, automotive, biomedical and construction. Electrospinning is a simple method capable of producing polymer nanofibers. It is observed in conventionally manufactured and electrospun fibers that mechanical strength increases when diameter is reduced. However, electrospun nanofibers are weaker than conventionally manufactured fibers, despite greatly reduced diameters. This lack of mechanical strength in electrospun fibers is attributed to the absence of post-processing stages, such as drawing and tensioning, which are commonly used in fiber production to increase strength by 5-15x. The Automated-Track design is able to overcome the limitations of electrospinning by implementing a processing stage capable of simultaneous collection and drawing fibers. This design is able to draw individual fibers immediately as they are collected, tightly control processing parameters, and process thousands of nanofibers at once. This approach successfully combines electrospinning and a critical post-processing stage and has shown to increase the ultimate tensile strength of polycaprolactone fibers by 7.4x and polyacrylonitrile fibers by 4.5x. The method is compatible with most polymers which can be collected across parallel plates and is anticipated to be compatible with high-throughput methods for scalability.
Room Temperature Laser Magnetometer
This novel laser magnetometer could outperform existing technologies at room temperature operation. The technology involves pumping a laser at its threshold and combining this with a radio-frequency (RF) drive, which addresses a magnetic resonance in the laser medium and suppresses lasing. A magnetic field to be measured then shifts the resonance and the laser threshold allowing the laser to turn on with a particular laser strength which allows the magnetic field to be determined with high precision and high contrast. Results to date show the feasibility of using this laser threshold magnetometer (LTM) to achieve outstanding sensitivity for static as well as oscillating magnetic fields up to frequencies of about 1 MHz. A key feature and advantage is that the device can be operated at room temperature. This is a significant technological advantage over standard SQUID sensors, which need to be operated at cryogenic temperatures (below 10K). Operating at room temperature is particularly important in medical applications such magnetoencephalography (MEG) because it improves safety and ease of operating procedures. This technology is cost-effective, highly portable and more sensitive than existing technologies with its primary advantage being that it can be used at room temperature.
Silicon photonics - High-performance resonator
This technology is the first and, to date, the only high-performance optical filter (resonator) that can be mass-manufactured at low cost, using silicon photonics (SiPh) technology. The RMIT resonator is based on a new effect, discovered at RMIT is fundamentally unlike any other known optical filter. The resonator is a true “platform technology” with a wide range of applications, including in optical fibre communications, the core of the internet; biosensors for human disease diagnosis; quantum computing and other “quantum machines;” optical sensors for smart buildings, infrastructure and factories, and for climate, atmospheric and pollution monitoring; aerospace and defence; and in displays and computing for consumer electronics. Laboratory prototypes have been tested confirming the validity of the technology and designs have been developed compatible with foundry fabrication. Industry standard design frameworks predict that our designs will meet customer requirements in terms of performance within manufacture and environmental tolerance. To establish beyond doubt that our resonator based design meets customers’ requirements, we are in the process of realising and testing prototypes of our CWDM demux using a high-volume foundry fabrication service.
Microfluidic Enhancement of Chemiluminescent Detection
This technology is a low cost, portable microfluidic platform for enhanced chemiluminescence and fluorescence detection of analytes such as drugs, pesticides and other chemicals, biological molecules or pathogens. Surface acoustic waves are employed to drive microcentifugation in a microlitre sample chamber to either enhance reagent mixing, sample preconcentration or particle concentration. The device paves the way for an attractive opportunity of a completely miniaturised platform for portable field-use microanalytical systems. Furthermore, the system can facilitate high throughput operation through ‘scale out’, via the adoption of a large number of devices in parallel. A significant advantage of such scaling out is the ease in replacing a single device in the event of a fault or when maintenance is required without necessitating complete shutdown of an entire operation. Besides enhancing performance of instrumentation across various industries, the miniaturised design and ultra high detection limits of the invention enables remote detection and analysis as well as continuous in-line industrial monitoring at quantified detection limits comparable to liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry GC-MS.
Bleaching-assisted Multichannel Microscopy (BAMM)
Existing imaging technologies use the colour (spectral signature) of florescent dyes to discriminate between the dyes in an image. When more than 4 dyes are used at once, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between the dyes based on their colour as they begin to overlap in their emission spectrum. This technology is a novel method called bleaching-assisted multichannel microscopy (BAMM), whereby instead of using spectral signatures of fluorescent species (ie. colours) to distinguish them in a sample/image, their photobleaching or photoswitching behaviour is used instead as the identifying property in fluorescence-multiplexed cellular imaging applications. This method can be applied either by itself or in conjunction with spectral filters and is even capable of discriminating between fluorophores with identical emission spectra. When implemented, this technology has the potential to significantly enhance the multiplexing capability of existing confocal and widefield microscopes by allowing a 2-3 times increase in the number of florescence species that can be distinguished from one another in a single image without the need for additional hardware such lasers and filters.
Nebulisation Platform Technology
The technology is a low cost, portable, nebulisation platform that can efficiently deliver next-generation drugs such as proteins, peptides and DNA to the lung, either to vaccinate against or to treat pulmonary diseases. Key features of the technology include (1) a novel chip and fluid reservoir interface that simultaneously uses both faces of the piezoelectric chip as well as use of a unique surface acoustic wave configuration (surface reflected bulk waves – SRBWs) providing both effective and efficient fluid pumping from the reservoir and nebulization - 1-2 mL/min even for fluids with high viscosity (>25cP) such as many protein/antibody drugs (2) mesh-free operation reduces fluid wastage and device blockage, (3) use of high frequency and low power ensures sample integrity is maintained and molecules of larger sizes (ie. DNA, peptides, proteins etc) are not damaged in the nebulisation process – this is particularly important when exploring application of the technology to biologics delivery. This technology has demonstrated the possibility of delivering DNA vaccines to mice, rats and sheep wherein the inhaled DNA vaccine was shown to elicit a whole body immune response against influenza that is comparable to that when delivered through injections.
A transparent, stretchable, wearable sensor
The transparent stretchable electronic devices perform accurately and repeatedly. One of the significant challenges for conformal wearable sensors and other devices worn on the body is the constant stretching and straining that they would experience as someone goes about their daily life. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is used as a substrate, which is stretchable, transparent and non-toxic. PDMS is biocompatible, and has been used in contact lenses, skin and hair products. A thin film of a metal oxide, either indium tin oxide (ITO) or zinc oxide (ZnO) or titanium dioxide (TiO2), is used as the functional part of the device. The required oxide layer is deposited on a thin layer of platinum on a silicon wafer, and then heated to required temperature to render the material function. After this heating process, the oxide is coated with PDMS. The platinum layer does not adhere well to the silicon wafer base, which means the PDMS and metal oxide layer, together with the platinum, can be easily peeled off the base. The platinum layer is removed by placing the device in chamber of gas where ions actively remove the platinum, leaving only the stretchable electronic device.
Aero-MINE (Motionless INtegrated Extraction) of Distributed Wind Energy
Aero-MINE (Motionless INtegrated Extraction) patent-protected wind energy harvesters offer safe, distributed electricity generation with no external moving parts. Aero-MINEs easily integrate onto existing buildings and have large swept-areas, making them transformative in effectiveness, safety and reliability. In comparison, micro-wind turbines have small swept-areas yielding small energy production, require large stand-off distances for safety, and are susceptible to vibrational failures. Large, utility-scale turbines require costly installation and maintenance at significant height. Unlike solar, Aero-MINEs operate day and night and use inexpensive materials and simple manufacturing. Aero-MINEs have a much larger swept-area compared to micro-wind turbines, resulting in proportional increases in energy extraction. They can be installed stand-alone or complementary to distributed solar photovoltaics (PV). They are much less costly to manufacture than solar PV, produce day and night, and are economically superior at average annual wind speeds across much of the U.S. The initial commercialization markets include data centers (Google, Amazon, Facebook) and box stores (Target, Walmart, Costco). These companies have goals of between 30 and 100 percent renewable operating power. Generating a conservative 50 kW per building on one-third of this market, Aero-MINEs could produce 4e11 kWh/yr, offsetting 0.3 GTon of greenhouse gases each year.
Transforming metallic wastes into high-value micro- and nano-materials
Currently, extracting or recovering metals from wastes involves either a smelting or chemical leaching step followed by solvent extraction and/or reduction. Smelting is a thermal, energy-intensive and not environmentally benign process (typically produces sulfur dioxide fumes). Chemical leaching also requires the use of toxic chemicals (strong acids/caustic solutions). Since these processes target a specific element, they have limited versatility. We developed a process that accounts for the mechano-chemical properties of metallic alloys or multi-materials to separate and recover each element individually. Our process significantly lowers energy consumption during the separation process as well as decr ease the toxicity of the recycling processes. We termed our solution SCRAPS for Shear and Chemical Reactivity Assisted Process for Separation. Using SCRAPS, Sep-All currently provides high purity copper compounds powders and catalysts in the form of micro- and nano-particles (MNP) recovered from brass, copper and bronze wastes. Sep-All is also dedicated to provide a novel supply stream of critical materials by recovering them from electronic wastes. Critical materials have i) high supply risks (production from mining operations in monopolistic countries), ii) unique properties or low interchangeability. We currently manufacture indium (critical material) compounds powders and catalysts in the form of MNP.
Palo Alto, CA
Bioprinting of Hybrid Tissue Engineering Constructs
Stanford researchers have developed a 3D printing technology (“Hybprinter”) that can be used to form hybrid multi-material constructs incorporating a wide spectrum of materials (rigid and soft) and bioagents (such as cells and growth factors) with controlled spatial distribution across the hybrid structure. Due to its layer-by-layer manufacturing nature, Hybprinter enables the combination of cell-laden soft and hard biomaterials with a controlled spatial distribution for regenerative medicine applications. For instance, Hybprinter can be used to form connectable vascularized bone scaffolds composed of rigid, porous, osteoconductive load-bearing scaffolds and soft hydrogel vascular conduits (or channels containing soft hydrogel) with a high diffusion rate, thus eliminating the issues normally associated with surgical anastomosis of vascular grafts. The Hybprinting process also ensures high cell viability across the fabricated tissue engineering constructs.
Palo Alto, CA
Ultrathin, stackable, low power non-volatile memory for 3D integration
Engineers in Prof. H.-S. Philip Wong’s laboratory have developed a lower power, three-dimensional resistive random access memory (RRAM) device using an atomically thin graphene edge electrode. RRAM is an emerging non-volatile memory technology with better endurance, retention and speed combined with lower programming voltages and higher device density than Flash memory. This invention improves the performance of RRAM by employing ultrathin graphene instead of traditional metal electrodes to assemble a stacked three-dimensional structure. The resulting memory provides extremely high storage potential in a small volume with low current, low power and low energy consumption. This bit-cost-effective 3D architecture could be a significant step towards a highly efficient, next generation computing system, particularly for mobile applications which require long battery life.
Palo Alto, CA
Scalable Process for High Performance Polymer Transparent Conductors
Researchers in Prof. Zhenan Bao’s laboratory have developed a scalable solution shearing process for fabricating low cost, high performance, flexible polymer film for transparent conductors (TCs) in optoelectronic devices. The film formed from highly conductive poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) that is fabricated with specific control over deposition conditions. This enables tunable phase separation and preferential PEDOT backbone alignment resulting in record-high electrical conductivities with high optical transparency. This film offers a low cost, mechanically robust alternative to traditional TC materials for applications such as displays, touch screens, solar cells and flexible electronics.
Palo Alto, CA
3D Printed Optics with Nanometer Scale Surface Roughness
Stanford researchers have developed a method to fabricate high quality optical components using commercially available 3D printing materials, first by printing the intended optical device (mirrors, lens molds), and then coating with a gel. After curing, the optically smooth surface can be coated or used directly as a mold. The method can be used to print mirrors, solar concentrators, lenses and optical elements of microscopes at low cost. This gel smoothing technique can be used with commercial 3D printers (resolution of tens of microns), yielding finished surfaces with an rms (root mean square) surface roughness of around 2 nm. The entire process is very fast, making it possible to go from a conceptual design to a working, high optical quality prototype reflector or mold in less than a day.
Mobile drone robot for solar panel surface cleaning and cell defect inspection
Most of the conventional cleaning systems for photovoltaic panels are fixed to an array of photovoltaic panels which reduces economic efficiency in terms of facility costs and maintenance. Some developed and utilized facilities are middle and large cleaning systems which are difficult to apply to environment with high density or high level of height. Comparing to conventional technology, firstly, the present mobile drone robot system is innovated product that are consist of components with running, cleaning, and steering functions in an integrated mechanism part. Secondly, it is possible to stably autonomously clean the solar panels of various inclined planes (0 ° to 65 °), and this system includes a drone that can move over between the array of solar panels. Also this cleaning dorne is able to takeoff vertically and landing on the slanted panel surface as well. Third, in order to adapt to the various sizes of the photovoltaic power stations, the robot and running cleaning flight were constructed as modules. Fourthly, it has the function of simultaneously inspecting the surface defect of the solar panel and the defect of the inner cell.
Energy harvesting Triboelectric power generator
Recently, as technology that generates friction between materials using external mechanical energy and that artificially generates frictional electricity, thereby producing high-power energy, has been researched, a triboelectric power generator attracts attention as a highly efficient, low-cost next-generation power generator because the triboelectric power generator achieve considerably high efficiency and has a much simple structure than a conventional power generator using mechanical energy. The triboelectric power generator is based on the principle in which, when friction occurs between two materials, the materials are either negatively or positively charged depending upon a characteristic of material. Such triboelectric generator has an advantage in which temporal and spatial limitations are small in that the triboelectric generator can be applied in various forms and can generate energy in any place in which mechanical energy is present. Furthermore, output power can be improved through combination with another material into a composite material, material control such as surface treatment, a structural change. Furthermore, applications to various fields can be implemented using such clean energy. The present technology includes optimal materials, structure to imporve output power and effficiency and to be applied to various products(textile, mobile phone..).
Wearable IoT device that can be used to predict 3-axis of ground reaction force using insole type sensor which can be replace a high cost of 3-axis force plate measurement system
We made a wearable insole type device which can be place on the shoes to measuring foot pressure of real-time in our daily life. Then we restored pressure distribution using interpolation to the foot pressure that obtained from the insole sensor and developed algorithm which can predict central of pressure of 3-axis ground reaction forces. Pressure distribution, 3-axis ground reaction force, and central of pressure are the information that can be obtained from the foot motions and related to the human motion, balance, and fatigability. Such kinematic information provides more than 20% of accuracy for the improved activity tracking compared to other companies and it also make possible for the monitoring of the real-time in balance monitoring. Such kinematic information has been used to the studies of checking individual physical status, disorders, rehabilitation level, and it can apply to the medical research fields of U-Health and U-Medical in the future.
Targeted Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy in the Skin (TASIS™)
The technology is a novel microneedle platform consisting of a targeted allergen-specific immunotherapy within the top layers of the skin (TASIS). By coating the needles on the microneedle patch in a specific way with various antigens and then applying the microneedles in a specific way, we have discovered a way to apply an immunotherapy to a historically untreatable allergy.
Algorithms for Rapid, On-Site Characterization of Soil Chemical and Physical Properties
Portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry is a proximal sensing technique whereby low-power X-rays are used to make elemental determinations in soils. The technique is rapid, portable, and provides multi-elemental analysis with results generally comparable to traditional laboratory-based techniques. Elemental data from PXRF can then be either used directly for soil parameter assessment (e.g., total Ca, total Fe) or as a proxy for predicting other soil parameters of interest (e.g., soil cation-exchange capacity [CEC], soil reaction, soil salinity) via simple or multiple linear regression. Importantly, PXRF does have some limitations that must be considered in the context of soil analysis, but are addressed and solved by the disclosed technology.
Microdevice for Cell Separation Based on Activation Phenotype
A microfluidic affinity separation device was developed for the detection of sepsis in critical care patients. An affinity capture method was developed to capture cells based on changes in CD64 expression in a single, simple microfluidic chip for sepsis detection. Both sepsis patient samples and a laboratory CD64+ expression model were used to validate the microfluidic assay. Flow cytometry analysis showed that the chip cell capture had a linear relationship with CD64 expression in laboratory models. The Sepsis Chip as 10% of total cells spiked into commercially available aseptic blood samples. In a proof of concept study, blood samples obtained from sepsis patients within 24 hours of diagnosis were tested on the chip to further validate its performance. On-chip CD64+ cell capture from 10 patient samples (619 ± 340 cells per chip) was significantly different from control samples (32 ± 11 cells per chip) and healthy volunteer samples (228 ± 95 cells per chip). In addition, the on-chip cell capture has a linear relationship with CD64 expression indicating our approach can be used to measure CD64 expression based on total cell capture on Sepsis Chip.
Broad Spectrum Vaccine against Influenza and Anthrax
Here, a vaccine is described which stimulates a broadly neutralizing anti-influenza response alongside an anti-anthrax response. Mice immunized with a recombinant vaccine containing multiple influenza virus antigens and attenuated edema factor (EF) from Bacillus anthracis showed enhanced cross-reactive antibody responses to influenza antigens. Additionally, mice immunized with the recombinant vaccine plus protective antigen (PA) from Bacillus anthracis showed enhanced survival to challenge with influenza virus compared to other vaccine formulations. This vaccine offers a quick and easy method of providing broad-spectrum protection against influenza and anthrax in a single formulation.
A Multipurpose Microfluidic Device for Recording Lifespan and Conducting Aging Investigations in Nematodes
Nematodes, especially C. elegans, have proven to be an effective model organism to investigate aging biology, neurodegenerative disorders, and age-related diseases. However, manual analysis of experiments related to the health and lifespan of nematodes can be highly labor-intensive, limiting experimental throughput. This new microfluidic device offers a method to remove progeny while efficiently retaining the adult worms in the device. The multi-purpose device can be used to measure lifespan curves, record health span measures, conduct drug and RNAi assays, and quantify muscle strength as a function of age. The device also provides the ability to add or remove reagents at any point, enabling novel cross-sectional and longitudinal aging experiments.
A highly efficient, titanium dioxide based, visible light photocatalyst
Photocatalysts are materials that harvest energy directly from light to promote chemical reactions. To date, the majority of photocatalytic products have been based on pure titanium dioxide (TiO2), which can only be activated by UV light thus limiting their applications to exterior use or with a UV light source. We have developed a method to extend the absorption of TiO2 into the visible range, without compromising solar energy conversion efficiency, by cooperatively introducing cations (Niobium) and anions (Nitrogen) into TiO2. Unlike other methods of co-doping, our process allows the dopants to be introduced in balanced ratios as a ‘defect pair’ resulting in a synergistic and cooperative interaction thus avoiding the usual drawbacks of doping. Our method uses cheap and readily available raw materials and standard reaction conditions that are comparable to those currently used by industry for the synthesis of TiO2. Our photocatalyst has been tested in the photo-degradation of three different model pollutants (methyl orange, rhodamine B and methylene blue) and shows superior performance over the current industry standard photocatalyst, P25-TiO2. The optical absorption is from λ=200 to 800 nm and the average particle size is <10 nm.
Low-Cost, Contactless and Accurate 3D Fingerprint Identification System
Automated personal identification using biometrics characteristics is commonly used for civilian and law-enforcement applications around the world. Contact-based acquisition of biometrics scans by rolling or pressing of palms or fingers against the hard surface (glass, silicon, polymers) often results in partial or degraded images due to skin deformation, slippages, smearing, or due to sensor noise. As a result full potential from contact based imaging is not realized. Therefore, contactless 3D biometrics systems have emerged to provide ideal solutions to above intrinsic problems. Such 3D approaches can also provide more accurate personal identification as rich information is available from 3D biometrics images. The main obstacles for emerging 3D biometrics technologies are: (a) their complexity, bulk and high cost, which mainly results from the usage of multiple cameras or structured lighting system; and (b) lack of effective 2D contactless imaging models to represent and recover 3D minutiae features. Dr. Ajay Kumar and his team members who have been working to address these challenges have now developed a low-cost, and more accurate contactless 3D fingerprint identification system.
Magnetic negative stiffness damper
Magnetic negative stiffness damper (MNSD), as a passive device, can achieve a vibration suppression performance comparable to that of active control. Moreover, its passive operation mode does not require any power supply, sensing or feedback controllers. Compared with existing passive negative stiffness device, MNSD adopts a completely different magnetism principle. A passive MNSD can provide symmetrical negative stiffness integrated with damping in a compact and simple configuration. Its mechanical properties can be easily designed by adjusting magnet properties and arrangement. The passive operation mode of MNSD, together with its compact size and simple design, makes MNSD a promising vibration suppression technique with high performance, cost-effectiveness, reliability and practicability. It has a great potential to replace conventional active or semi-active vibration suppression/isolation systems for various civil, mechanical, and aerospace structures.
Develop a low cost wrinkle resistant treatment for cotton with co-catalyst system
One of the main drawbacks of cotton is wrinkling after washing which is now overcoming by wrinkle resistant finish. N-methylol reagents such as dimethyloldihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU) have long been used in the textile industry as a effective crosslinking agents to produce wrinkle resistant cotton fabrics because of the relatively low cost and superior results. However, DMDHEU produces free formaldehyde when it is used in this process. In this invention, we investigated the use of co-catalyst together with conventional wrinkle resistant (DMDHEU) recipe in order to improve the wrinkle resistant property with benefit of minimizing the side effects such as fabric strength loss, reduce in whiteness as well as free formaldehyde release. The technical advantages of this technology include: • Reduce the curing temperature and time used for wrinkle resistant treatment • Retain good wrinkle resistant property of cotton fabric even at a lower curing temperature and shorter curing time. • Minimizing the reduction in tearing strength and whiteness of cotton fabric after wrinkle resistant treatment. • Lower free formaldehyde content in fabric after wrinkle resistant treatment.
A Functional Textile-based Thermal-stimuli Drug Delivery Apparel System
This research focuses on how “second-skin” apparel and skin interact with each other to serve therapy functions. The relation between the thermo-stimulated drug-delivery system and the textile will be studied for the development of healthcare apparel for patients whose disease are typically realized by applying ointment or dressing to the skin.Based on previous work done by PI team, a functional textile-based thermal-stimuli drug delivery apparel system is conducted that involves an architecture of chitosan/hollow fibres/conductive fibres (materials, structure and layering system). It could be achieved using two approaches: a) modification of the proposed fiber-based drug carrier or b) architecture of a fiber-based drug textile and wearable thermal textile system. Thus, the research plan and methodology are divided into three milestones: 1) optimize the newly developed fiber-based drug carrier in terms of the preparation process, pattern structures of the hollow fiber, skin-fiber transdermal interactions, and evaluation; 2) design and produce the proposed textile-based thermo-stimulated drug-delivery apparel; and 3) evaluate the medical performance subjectively and objectively. Tests and evaluations will be performed to validate each stage. The results show the significant advantages if compare to traditional methods.
Printable and High Performance MnO2 Based Rechargeable Sodium Batteries
Inkjet-printed MnO2 electrode can serve as cathode material for high performance rechargeable sodium batteries.As-assembled full-cell could reach maximum energy and power densities of 147Wh·kg-1total and 4.6kW·kg-1total with average working voltage(2.3V) and ca.100% capacity retention after 100 cycles,which could be anticipated for practical energy applications.
East Meets West in Fighting Against Alzheimer’s Disease with Novel Dimers
Alzheimer’s disease (AD),a progressive brain disorder that severely destroys memory, has emerged as the third leading cause of death among the elderly worldwide. Although exact cause of AD remains elusive,accumulating lines of evidence have highlighted that multiple factors might contribute to progress of AD pathogenesis. Currently approved anti-AD drugs offer only limited and transient effects,but are unable to effectively slowdown or halt the disease progression. Over the past decade, with the support of grants from China and Hong Kong and collaborations with Profs. Karl Tsim, Paul Carlier,and Joel Sussman,we have developed three series of Chinese medicine-derived novel anti-AD homo- and hetero-dimers including particularly those derived from huperzine A, a unique anti-Alzheimer’s drug originally discovered from TCM. These dimers have been demonstrated to provide superior acetylcholinesterase inhibition, uncompetitive moderate N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonism, neural differentiation and remarkable neuroprotections against various neurotoxins in various in vitro and in vivo models associated with AD. Our novel dimers possess remarkable neuroprotective activities via multiple targets. More importantly,the synergism between these targets might serve as one of the most effective therapeutic strategies to modify pathological process of AD in addition to improving the cognitive functions for AD.
Develop a low cost flame retardant treatment for cotton with co-catalyst system
Generally speaking, fabrics made from cellulosic fibres, such as cotton and linen will burn easily with a high flame velocity. Many flame retardant (FR) agents and methods of application have been developed in attempts to produce FR textile materials. However, the FR agents are not efficiently fixed to the cotton fibres unless they are used in combination with a resin and catalyst. In this invention, co-catalyst will be used which can effectively enhance the flame retardant treatment and minimise the side effects of flame retardant treatment. The finishing formulation (recipe) proposed in this invention was applied to cotton fabric by conventional pad–dry–cure finishing techniques. The technical advantages of this technology include: • Reduce the curing temperature and time used for flame retardant treatment. • Retain good flame retardant property of cotton fabric even at a lower curing temperature and shorter curing time. • Minimizing the reduction in tearing strength and whiteness of cotton fabric after flame retardant treatment.
Composite multilayers capacitors with colossal permittivity for electronics and energy storage applications
Materials with colossal permittivity (CP) have shown great technological potential for advanced microelectronics and high-energy-density storage applications. Several types of CP materials have been studied. Still, it is challengeable to maximize their performance as they show drawbacks in two aspects: temperature/frequency dependent properties and high dielectric loss. In our work, original CP ceramic capacitors exhibited high-performance dielectric behaviors, including temperature and frequency stable CP value (10,000–100,000) and sufficiently low dielectric loss (0.03). These results indicate a high reliability of the capacitors. In addition, technology on ceramics were extended to multi-layer-structured ceramic/polymer composite films. Surface hydroxylated ceramic fillers, embedded in copolymer matrix achieved high dielectric constant up to 300 and exceptional low dielectric loss down to 0.04 over a broad frequency range, as well as a high energy density of 8.9 J/cm3 at breakdown field of 82 MV/m. Therefore, this composite film capacitors have great technological potential for many applications. In microelectronic systems, thin-film dielectric with high capacitance due to its minimal thickness and being located close to the microprocessor can reduce inductance. Thin-film capacitors can increase the capacitive density and drastically reduce the capacitor area, offering performance, volume, and cost advantages over discrete ceramic capacitors.
Methods and products for reducing adhesions post surgery
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have identified a novel method to treat surgical adhesions, through the use of an iron chelation and/or antioxidant agent, in both in vitro and in vivo models. In vivo studies using a sheep laminectomy model show that the antioxidant iron chelator, Deferiprone, delivered by surgical hydrogel inhibits proliferation and migration of fibroblasts. The treatment appears to reduce all key characteristics of adhesions, including the strength, thickness, extent, severity and/or vascularisation. In addition, the chosen surgical hydrogel delivery system, provided maximum release of the agent to the surgical site within 48 hours. This is consistent with the critical period for blocking adhesion formation.
It is challenging to make and design sophisticated nanorobots with advanced functions. One difficulty in nanorobot design is to make these nanostructures sense and respond to the environment. Given each nanorobot is only a few micrometer in size which is ~50 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, it is impossible to squeeze normal electronic sensors and circuits into them with reasonable price. Currently, the only method to remotely control nanorobots is to incorporate ferromagnetic materials inside their bodies and guide their motion via external magnetic field. The Nanorobot developed by Dr Tang’s team use light as the propelling force, and is the first research team globally to explore light-guided nanorobot and demonstrate its feasibility and effectiveness. The research team demonstrated the ability of these light-controlled Nanorobots as they are “dancing” or even spell a word under light control. Dr Tang described the motions as if “they can “see” the light and drive itself towards it”. With size comparable to a red blood cell, these tiny Nanorobots have the potential to be injected into patients’ bodies, helping surgeons to remove tumors as well as enabling more precise engineering of targeted medications.
Omniphobic porous membrane and methods for preparing the same
This innovation is about a method for preparing porous membranes possessing omniphobic property. The porous membranes can repel a wide range of liquids including both water and oils, which as defined to be omniphobic (both hydrophobic and oleophobic). Such membrane contains uniform micro-pores packed densely in hexagonal arrays. The fabrication of a PVA porous membrane consists of 3 major steps: 1. Emulsion deposition 2. Solvent evaporation 3. Template removal
OPTIClear - a tissue clearing agent
OPTIClear is developed based on the novel concept of using three key components: (1) A lipid-soluble, membrane refractive index (RI) adjusting agent: selectively adjusts the RI of the lipid-rich compartments of the tissue (2) A water-soluble, cytoplasmic refractive index adjusting agent: selectively adjusts the RI of the aqueous compartments of the tissue (3) A physical homogenizing agent: facilitate true homogenization of the above two agents and the tissue components to achieve better optical homogeneity. Light is bent as it passes through the boundary of different transparent media due to their differences in RI, leading to a perceived boundary. Therefore, one should adjust the RI of each medium to a defined value such that they are equal to each other to minimize the bending of light paths, hence no perceived boundary can be seen and the tissue would become transparent.
Super Steel - A method for the fabrication of a super-strong and ductile multi-phase steel
This innovation is the 3rd generation of the advanced high strength steels (AHSS) which has already been used in the automotive industry. The fabrication process is simple and low-cost with just 4-step : warm rolling, annealing, cold rolling and tempering, this simple process is highly suitable for the broad industrial production. This innovation provides super-strong, lightweight and high ductile multi-phase steel with a super-high yield strength and good ductility that comprises 8-12 wt.% Mn, 0.3-0.6 wt.% C, 1-4 wt.% Al, 0.4-1 wt.% V, and a balance of Fe.
Quantum probe for hyperpolarising MRI contrast agents
The quantum hyperpolarisation system relies on a controlled quantum probe to hyperpolarise external molecular nuclear spins. The magnetic spin induced in the quantum probe using a controlled laser is transferred to the external molecule through a cross-relaxation process. From a deep understanding of the timing of the cross-relaxation process, the spin of the quantum probe is maintained at the desired state to ensure continuous transfer of the spin state to the external molecule. Exposure of MRI contrast agents, such as carbon-13, to the quantum hyperpolarisation system tuned to the specific nuclei results in highly polarised contrast agents with relatively short preparation time. Once hyperpolarised, the contrast agent can be introduced into the patient to improve MRI contrasts and further enables metabolic imaging. Due to the short lifetime of such contrast agents in maintaining their hyperpolarised state, hyperpolarisation needs to be performed onsite. The technology would simplify the requirements to enable effective hyperpolarisation and would significantly impact the MRI market, valued at US$5.6b in 2016, as it would improve existing MRI capabilities by a few orders of magnitude. Easier access to improved MRI capabilities would significantly improve medical care and diagnosis, particularly for emerging economies reliant on older MRI machines.
Transparent Colourless Luminescent Solar Concentrators
A new class of organic compounds have been developed which will allow any surface (opaque or transparent) to convert ambient light into electricity. The ability to passively capture electricity from the sun can drastically reduce our carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, and decrease operating and maintenance costs, without hindering the aesthetics and functionality of those surfaces. The new organic compounds can be doped into a poly(methylmethacrylate) matrix, and the resultant luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) displays ideal absorption and emission profiles with negligible band overlap, high photo-luminescent quantum yield (PQLY) values, large Stokes shifts and thermal stabilities greater than 310 ºC. Monte-Carlo ray tracing simulations have also been performed using proof-of-concept devices. This revealed comparable, if not superior, performance when compared to state-of-the-art transparent LSC devices.
Multispectral plasmonic pixel
The technology is an imaging pixel comprised of plasmonic nanoantenna structures, which act as filters that can be tuned specifically to certain polarisation sensitivities. Incorporating the filters into a single pixel enables the intensity of light across multiple wavelengths to be captured. Existing pixels, particularly pixels used in consumer digital cameras, rely on pixels that only detects the intensity of light. Color information is derived from the use of a mosaic color filter (such as the Bayer filter) that sits above the pixel array in order that the intensity of specific wavelengths can be accurately captured. The multispectral plasmonic pixel design is fully CMOS compatible and would remove the need for a color filter. This would reduce the thickness of pixel designs and would particularly impact on smartphone designs, as the camera sensing unit is currently the limiting factor of a smartphone’s thickness. The multispectral plasmonic pixel can be tailored for applications that rely on multispectral imaging. This includes point of care devices for diagnosis and monitoring (such as optical coherence tomography), biometric recognition systems, autonomous vehicles, and drone imaging scans for detection and identification.
Extruded electrode array
The technology describes an extrusion process for fabricating an array of high-density flexible electrodes for active biomedical implants that communicate with the nervous system. Devices such as cochlear implants, retinal prostheses, deep brain stimulators, and brain-machine interfaces are examples of such devices. The method enables the manufacture of an array of high-density flexible electrodes using materials based on nanocarbon and conductive polymer composites that have been shown to be more successful in integrating with (neural) tissue. The technology is transformational in the higher density of the electrode array that has flexible and ultra-thin electrodes. The multielectrode array consists of 1000, 7 μm diameter flexible carbon fibre electrodes, each capable of communicating with individual neurons Currently, there are no commercially available products for a high-density array of soft, flexible electrodes. Blackrock Systems, manufacturer of the UTAH electrode array, is currently researching and developing methods for manufacturing such electrode arrays. This technology has the potential to greatly impact the neuroprosthesis market ($18B by 2028) and neural interface market by providing high resolution access to processes in the cortex and other brain structures. A fully implantable system capable of single neuron recordings over a long period promises to yield significant health improvements.
Antimicrobial Agents for Combating Multiple Drug Resistant Bacteria
Infections caused by multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria have been named as one of the most urgent health threats due to the lack of effective and biocompatible drugs. Despite the fact that many bacteria have acquired antibiotic resistance, the pipeline for the development of new antimicrobials remains empty. This is attributed to the mode of action of conventional antibiotics; which act on specific intracellular targets. In light of this pressing issue, a new class of star-shaped peptide particles, termed ‘structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers' (SNAPPs), have recently been developed and shown to possess high efficacy towards Gram-negative, Gram-positive and MDR bacteria (i.e., ESKAPE and colistin-resistant). Even after 600 generations of growth in the presence of SNAPPs, no resistance acquisition by MDR A.baumannii to SNAPPs was observed. The high efficacy of SNAPPs towards MDR A.baumannii infections has also been shown in-vivo, and after post treatment, all in-vivo models survived, with no signs of animal distress. Recently, SNAPPs have also shown to be useful as adjuvants with conventional on the market drugs, allowing these conventional drugs to gain new efficacy against Gram negative bacteria and MDR pathogens.
A method to Initiate Radical Polymerisations Without Exogenous Initiators
Polymers produced by radical polymerisations make up 40-45% of all industrial polymers. A new method to generate radicals without the use of exogenous initiators has been developed. This eliminates the need to store and regularly monitor highly flammable and/or toxic initiators commonly used in industry. Further, in this new method no further purification is required to remove residual initiator from the final product. In this approach, ultra-sonication is simply used to generate radicals from the solvent itself, which can in-turn initiate radical polymerization. In showing proof of concept, ultrasonically derived initiators could be used to initiate controlled polymerizations. A range of industrially relevant polymers could successfully be fabricated. The resultant polymers observed high end fidelity, low dispersity and could be produced at high conversions within 1 hour. In showing versatility, the new method can also be used for free radical polymerizations-a very common method for the industrial synthesis of polymers.
Meshless Clog-Free Battery-Run Pocket-Size Ultrasonic Nebulizer
Drugs designed to treat lung diseases require optimal droplet (aerosol) size (2-6µm) for efficient delivery. Current commercial nebulizers utilize piezoelectric disk with a mesh (array of micron-size holes) to produce aerosols of uncontrolled broad size distributions, resulting in inefficient use of expensive drugs. They often clog due to the mesh and overheat due to high drive power. The innovation and potential applications of the mesh-less delivery device reported here were highlighted in the prestigious TECHNOLOGY, 2, 75, 2014 . The key element of this new nebulizer, the patented centimeter-size nozzle, consists of drive and resonator sections batch-fabricated in a silicon wafer using MEMS technology (Fig.2B of ). (See working principle in Value Proposition.) For the drive frequency of 1-3 MHz, the droplet sizes measured 2.5-6.0µm in agreement with the theoretical predictions. Proto-type pocket-size nebulizers (see video link) have been constructed to deliver antidotes for detoxification of massive cyanide poisoning (sponsors NIH/Army) and common pulmonary drugs. These proto-type units have produced droplets of optimal size at typical throughput of 0.5 mL/min and very low drive power (0.3 Watt). The new nebulizer has imminent potential to fulfill current unmet needs.
Bulk Metallic Glass from Amorphous Powder
Metallic glasses (amorphous metals) have an advantage over the crystalline form in that they have high hardness and high elastic energy. However, the need to reduce crystallization speed has constrained both the material choices and the application space. TXL Group is producing bulk metallic glass by beginning with an amorphous metal powder and then densifying the powder using an explosive shockwave to create rods and tubes. The very brief, very high, axisymmetric pressure pulse serves to bond powders into fully dense bulk material without an attendant grain growth. Significantly, the approach allows the use of powder milling as a means for amorphous metal powder production without the status quo constraint of having to choose material sets that will crystallize slowly upon cooling. This opens the door to new material sets that have not previously been implemented as a bulk metallic glass.
Visitube: Video-Guided Chest Tube Insertion System
Dr. Robert Cameron has designed a novel trocar system that supports visual monitoring of chest tube placement. Chest tubes are placed into the pleural space of patients who have an excess of air and/or fluid that is collapsing a lung. Traditional chest tube placement through an incision often causes excessive pain and may result in poor tube position as well as organ damage, as there is no method to assess its location. The new device, capitalizing on existing medical video technology, contains a video source that would provide real-time information on the anatomical position of the trocar and allow steerable placement of the chest tube. Once inserted, an expandable balloon increases the size of the trochar portion of the device, thereby accommodating many chest tube sizes. The precise placement would require only a localized injection of anesthesia.
Non-Oxidative Glycolysis for Production of Acetyl-CoA-Derived Compounds
As the demand for fossil fuels exceeds the earth’s natural supply, the production of synthetic fuels from biomass feedstock presents an attractive alternative to lessen dependence on petroleum-based fuels as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative fuels such as bioethanol are produced by fermentation, the conversion of precursors such as simple sugars to alcohol through glycolysis. A typical glycolysis pathway involves the breakdown of glucose to pyruvate, followed by decarboxylation to acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA), and further processing into various downstream products including ethanol. The decarboxylation step is a major source of carbon loss and greatly impacts the overall atom economy and efficiency of these types of biorefinery processes. Dr. James Liao and his team have designed a cyclic non-oxidative glycolysis (NOG) pathway based on a series of enzyme-mediated carbon rearrangements, which occur via acetyl-CoA intermediates. This novel pathway converts one molecule of glucose into three molecules of acetate, a precursor of other bioalcohols, achieving 100% carbon conversion with no loss of CO2. This has been demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo using genetically engineered E. coli bacteria.
Novel Polymers for Polymer Solar Cells, Transistors, and Sensors
Prof. Yang Yang and researchers have developed a novel class of conjugated polymers with low bandgaps (1.4 eV-1.5 eV) for polymer-based energy generation materials. The optical, electrochemical, and electronic properties of the material are readily tuned by the chemical structure.
PolyProtek: Platform for Delivering and Stabilizing Therapeutic Biologics, Vaccines, and Industrial Enzymes
A UCLA team has developed a family of polymers that effectively stabilize industrial enzymes, therapeutic biologics, and vaccines against thermal and mechanical stress while improving their in vivo pharmacokinetic properties. The technology is based on a novel series of polymers that incorporate trehalose as a side chain. Trehalose is a disaccharide that is widely used by a variety of organisms to stabilize against environmental stressors such as a high temperatures, or dessication. Trehalose monomers have been used previously in formulations but are not optimal. The PolyProtek polymers are degradable, allowing safe and effective clearance in vivo. One major application is in drug delivery of therapeutic proteins and vaccines. PolyProtek provides significant advantages over the standard polyethylene glycol (PEG) in degradability and lack of immunogenicity, while still maintaining activity. Use of this polymer also eliminates the need for cold-storage supply chains for biologics and vaccines. The polymers have been validated in vivo, and initial PK and toxicology studies have been completed. Additionally, PolyProtek has significant value in the stabilization of enzymes against thermal and mechanical stress for industrial processes. Degradable polymers avoid unwanted environmental buildup while still enabling high stabilization of enzymes against thermal and mechanical stress.
Improvement of the yield and selectivity of catalytic reactions using microwaves
We offer an inclusive method that successfully optimises gas –solid catalytic reactions using microwave heating methods. We managed to improve the yield and selectivity of the desired product by promoting the catalytic reaction between the gas and the solid instead of a parasitic gas reaction. Indeed, we managed to perform the coating of usual bed particles with dielectric materials using a fluidized-bed chemical vapor deposition process. The new bed particle produced, is thus able to act as a receptor that directly interacts with the magnetic microwaves. In addition, this versatile material can also directly be used as a catalyst itself or be coated with a catalyst depending on the desired reaction. For instance, in order to produce syngas using microwaves, receptor sand particles coated with a uniform carbon layer were proven an efficient catalyst as well as an effective bed material. Indeed, the process allows a better distribution of the temperature in the reactor because the heat source (the dielectric particles interacting with the magnetic waves) is located directly inside it. There is also an improvement in selectivity and efficiency because the microwaves do not interact with the desired gas produced which limits the undesirable reactions.
Vital signs detection while in motion using doppler radar
This invention presents a Doppler radar system for vital signs detection from a mobile radar platform. Thanks to the innovative architecture of the receiver, the system is capable of extracting human vital signs in the presence of large radar platform motion. The proposed radar system works in see-through-wall vital signs detection applications from a mobile platform without using any additional sensors.
Innovative metallic catalyst deposition method
We offer an innovated method that manages to deposit active catalyst over low or non-porous supports such as silica and carbon coated particles. The process uses ultrasonic waves through a liquid media in order to both enhance the porosity of the support and to distribute the active metal towards the surface of the support. The technology includes an ultrasonic reactor, a support (such as silica) that can be of various shapes and sizes, and a liquid solvent where the metal is dissolved. The typical deposition time ranges from one hour to a day but is usually close to three hours which is significantly faster than most traditional deposition techniques. Eventually it allows for a good catalyst impregnation as well as a significant increase of the surface area of the support. The method does not require mechanical stirring or external heating which translates into substantial energy savings. In addition the process allows the combination of an efficient metal catalyst with an inexpensive support hence triggering important materials cost reductions.
Optical filter anti-counterfeiting security devices
We have put together a complete portfolio of security devices using optical filters made of thin layers, similar to those already present on our banknotes, but with more advanced functionalities. A first device takes advantage of the effect of metamerism: using interference effects we can produce different colors that appear identical under one angle and different under another. This allows creating images that can only be viewed when the product is tilted in some way and that are otherwise invisible. Another design adds an extra level of complexity by adding an electrochromic layer that changes color under the application of an electric current that can be supplied to the device by an integrated solar cell. Beyond this, it is also possible to increase the level of complexity by multiplying the colors (we have demonstrated a tricolor device) or by creating devices behaving differently depending on whether they are observed in reflection or transmission (on a transparent substrate). Our devices are particularly interesting because they cannot be reproduced by printing (the main method used by counterfeiters) since they require specialized vacuum deposition equipment. Moreover, the devices are easy to use for the consumer who can confirm authenticity at a glance.
Nature inspired image processing software
Our technology is based on the innovative analogy that pixels in an image can be seen as an electric charge producing an electromagnetic potential and interacting electrically with the surrounding “charged” pixels. In electromagnetic theory, the behavior of electric fields along boundaries has been a well-known phenomenon for more than a century. The technology leverages this knowledge to infer different segmentation criteria used to recognized features (concavities, convexities, corners…) in the image and draw contours. An interesting point is that since electromagnetic laws can be transposed in any number of dimensions, the technology is compatible with 2D images, 3D depth maps and 3D point clouds. The capabilities of our technology extend beyond segmentation. Indeed, the electromagnetic analogy can also be used to identify, once an object is segmented, the most stable grasping points (including handles) if the object needs to be handled by a robot, an added advantage to penetrate the robotics market.
Green chemicals derived from sugars for the production of bioplastics
We propose a catalytic conversion process for the production of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) from low-cost abundant sugars (glucose or fructose). FDCA is used as a precursor for PEF (polyethylene furanoate), a 100% bio-sourced plastic that could potentially replace PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in a near future. Our process is based on heterogeneous catalysis in gas phase. A liquid solution containing carbohydrates (glucose or fructose) is fed through a nozzle that forms a spray directly inside a fluidized bed of catalyst particles. When heated, the small droplets vaporize rapidly and then react with the solid catalyst to produce FDCA. The process has been optimized such that vaporization and reaction rates are superior to the sugar thermal decomposition rate in order to avoid caramelization problems. This approach favours high yields by taking advantage of the high reaction kinetics associated with a thermochemical approach without some of its undermining characteristics because the reactions are performed at a lower temperature. By reacting in gas phase rather than liquid phase, we expect reaction rates about 50 times faster. This also allows using smaller reactor volumes for a given production level, thus significantly lowering capital requirements.
Natural based coating for food packaging
We offer a discontinuous chitosan based film coating that provides naturally antibacterial proprieties to food packaging and increase the shelf life of food up to one week. Chitosan is a non-toxic polysaccharide from marine origin that has great potential to be used as antibacterial biomaterial given its bioactivity. Chitosan is considered as a “Generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) food additive by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wherewith can be considered as candidate for food related applications. Nevertheless, the main drawback of chitosan is its poor processability. We have overcome this issue, by preparing chitosan film through the solution casting/solvent evaporation approach. This method requires dissolving chitosan solutions in aqueous acidic solutions (based on acids such as acetic, lactic, citric, etc.), pouring of the solution in a very thin layer followed by solvent evaporation. Chitosan film are then deposited on top of a previously surface treated conventional packaging. This process allows the chitosan coating to be directly integrated to a multi-layer packaging fabrication process without undergoing heavy manufacturing modifications. Indeed, the process is designed to be performed discontinuously to target an optimum sealing of the activated packaging films.
Room temperature 3D printing metallic material
Our method enables the fabrication of dense metallic structures, such as fully-filled, porous, interlocked and overhung structures. The technology presented here is based on a specific technique called solvent-cast 3D printing where the ink is a polymer or a polymer-based composite dissolved in a solvent that later evaporates during the printing process. We have developed a process based on composite mixing of nanoparticles in a host polymer suitable for 3D printing. Thus, we are able to produce various types of inks suitable for 3D printing and with excellent mechanical properties. Here, a mixture of polylactic acid (PLA) and metal powders (steel, steel / copper, titanium etc.) dissolved in dichloromethane is placed in a ball mill in order to reduce the particle size and increase the viscosity. The mixture is then printed at room temperature in the desired form. The parts undergo additional treatments in order to strengthen its mechanical properties. This process allows a highly concentrated metallic material while requiring simple and accessible equipment.
Graphene assisted modification of porous materials for enhanced acoustic absorption
The technology is based on a discovery that specifically composed interconnected laminar graphene structures inside large pores of foam to provide significant acoustic absorption especially at lower frequencies. This invention describes the fabrication process of a new graphene assisted structure with superior mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.
Real time cancer cell detector for clean margins in primary breast cancer surgery
The technology quantifies the microenvironment pH with an optical fibre sensor. Acidic pH has been established to be mechanistically linked with the persistence and growth of all cancer types. The sensor utilises a fluorophore doped polymer coating, deposited on the tip of a 200 μm diameter optical fibre, with the pH measured by simply placing the tip of the probe in contact with the tissue surface for only a few seconds. We have already secured clinical trial data which demonstrates that the sensor is capable of differentiating between cancerous and normal tissues with a resolution of 5-10 cells, equivalent to classical diagnostic pathology, reducing the need for repeat surgery.
Solar Bubble Receiver
Our patent pending solar receiver/reactor with heat transfer/reaction medium employs a bubble column reaction medium together with a cavity solar receiver. Concentrated solar radiation is first absorbed on the inner side of the cavity. The absorbed heat is then transferred to the heat transfer fluid bath. The system can be applied in a beam up configuration or other orientations and configurations. Secondary concentrators can be employed at the aperture to increase the concentration ratio of the inlet solar radiation heat flux using parabolic or other profiles. The cavity receiver and bubble column are integrated within the insulated pressure vessel and different metal/metal oxides. Reactant and non-reactant gases and configurations for the solar receiver can be employed.
Hybrid Solar Receiver Combustor
The system integrates a tubular solar receiver and a combustor into a single device used to harness energy from both solar and combustion sources with design considerations for process heat applications and electricity generation. It is designed to operate in three modes: solar-only, combustion-only and mixed-mode. It can be mounted on a solar power tower system or on the ground surrounded by a heliostat field with a beam-down configuration. Key features: • Cavity operable as a combustion zone (employing fuel as source), with an aperture to admit concentrated solar radiation; • One or multiple burners directly associated (fluid communication) with the cavity to direct a flame into the device. • An aperture cover to seal the combustor in absence of solar radiation or during periods of low insolation; • Heat recovery system from hot combustion products, whereby heat is circulated back into the system; • Heat-transfer fluid or a working fluid heat exchanger within the cavity that receives heat energy from both energy sources. • For electrical power, the working fluid can be heated directly or indirectly. In the case of direct heating, the fuel used to collect heat also drives a turbine.
Portable Hardware Energy Optimisation (PHEO)
Software that collect energy use statistics for third party applications. PHEO then uses these statistics to drive its online optimisation process to produce code variants that both pass acceptance tests and use less energy. These variants are then presented to the developers for validation and release. Existing solutions imposed by operating systems are not able to improve the efficiency of apps, but just exert course-grained control, such as rationing of functionality. App developers are not skilled in energy-aware coding and typically do not have test platforms at their disposal. We aim to optimise energy consumption of third-party apps on smartphones. Our framework will identify issues and suggest fixes that reduce energy consumption in apps without affecting their functional requirements. Our framework will continually operate over app source code, tracking current performance on a range of phone hardware, system software, user configurations and use patterns.
Photo-Catalytic Conversion of CO2 to Hydrocarbon
We use novel catalysts (sub-nanometer metals) to react carbon dioxide with water to produce methane and other hydrocarbons. This photocatalytic process is a type of "artificial photosynthesis" that directly generates hydrocarbons. A chemical approach of this nature has many advantages such as vastly reduced material/space; simple to scale; and can be constructed anywhere with a solar source, all leading to significant advantages over other solar conversion methods. In the first step, water undergoes photocatalytic conversion into hydrogen and water (water splitting) using a titanium dioxide semi-conductor material irradiated with light. The process incorporates a co-catalyst to attract electrons to the material surface necessary for the reaction. Typically, expensive platinum nanoparticles are used as co-catalyst. Our co-catalyst are made up of sub-nanometre sized gold clusters that are embedded into photo-active TiO2, that perform up to 60 times more efficiently than platinum. The second step uses chemical transformation reactions combining carbon dioxide with hydrogen to make methane (the Sabatier reaction). This well-known reaction can be coupled with the water-splitting reaction. When combined, the system only requires carbon dioxide, water and light as inputs and produces methane. Our approach is to optimize operating conditions and improve catalytic efficiencies.
Novel formulation for treatment of bacterial biofilms
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a novel combination product, targeting the bacterial iron metabolism, to slow the growth, survival and pathogenesis of bacterial infection, in particular targeting Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Staphylococcus Aureus (S. Aureus). The product is a combination of 2 molecules: Deferiprone – an iron chelator which takes up the bacteria’s natural food source, causing starvation; and Gallium-Protoporphyrin – a haem analogue, which works to inhibit the bacteria’s essential cellular pathways in combination, these two molecules (collectively “Def-GaPP”) have strong synergistic antimicrobial properties to kill multidrug resistant bacteria, making them an ideal pair for improved wound healing. We have compelling in vitro and in vivo data (large animal model) demonstrating safety and efficacy of this combination product. We are now moving to Phase 1 human clinical trials.
Autonomous Vehicle Navigation with Signals of Opportunity
UCR researchers have developed a highly reliable and accurate navigation system that exploits existing environmental signals such as cellular and Wi-Fi, rather than the Global Positioning System (GPS). The technology can be used as a standalone alternative to GPS, or complement current GPS-based systems to enable highly reliable, consistent, and tamper-proof navigation. The technology could be used to develop navigation systems that meet the stringent requirements of fully autonomous vehicles, such as driverless cars and unmanned drones.qGPS signals alone are extremely weak and unusable in certain environments like deep canyons; second, GPS signals are susceptible to intentional and unintentional jamming and interference; and third, civilian GPS signals are unencrypted, unauthenticated, and specified in publicly available documents, making them spoofable (i.e., hackable). Current trends in autonomous vehicle navigation systems therefore rely not only on GPS/INS, but a suite of other sensor-based technologies such as cameras, lasers, and sonar. The unique approach taken by UCR researchers is to exploit signals that are already out there in the environment.
Hybrid Molecule-Nanocrystal Photon Upconversion
UCR researchers have developed a hybrid composite material – combining inorganic semiconductor nanoparticles with organic compounds. Organic compounds cannot absorb in the infrared but are good at combining two lower energy photons to a higher energy photon. By using a hybrid material, the inorganic component absorbs two photons and passes their energy on to the organic component for combination. The organic compounds then produce one high-energy photon. Put simply, the inorganics in the composite material take light in; the organics get light out. Besides the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of solar energy, the ability to upconvert two low energy photons into one high energy photon has potential applications in biological imaging, data storage and organic light-emitting diodes. The ability to move light energy from one wavelength to another, more useful region, for example, from red to blue, can impact any technology that involves photons as inputs or outputs.
Color Changing Materials with Tunable Photonic Crystals
UCR researchers discovered when chemically manufactured at nanoscale, iron oxide (rust) takes on extraordinary properties, including a brilliant palette of magnetically and physically tunable colors that can be used for a wide variety of interesting applications including color printing, making electronic displays, paints and cosmetics.Existing methods of synthesizing magnetite nanocrystals suffer from drawbacks such as low magnetization per particle. Larger crystals can be made with increased magnetization, but these are not dispersible in solution because they become ferromagnetic and lose their superparamagnetic properties. UCR Researchers have developed methods for the creation of nanocrystals that are superparamagnetic at room temperature. The size of the nanocrystals is controllable for a wide range and increasing the size of the particles does not result in the loss of paramagnetic properties. Thus, particles of varying magnetization can be readily and controllably synthesized. The nanocrystals are highly dispersible in water and can be made using simple and inexpensive synthetic methods.The potential impact of this technology would as a breakthrough platform for coloring changing consumer products, display, security documents, cosmetics, and biomedical devices.
Biofuel Production with Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation
UCR researcher have developed a new pretreatment process that can dramatically reduce enzyme loadings and costs, thereby improving the competitiveness for biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels. Using existing dilute acid method, the sugar yield was only about 70 percent of the maximum possible after 14 days when two milligrams of enzymes were used. That percentage increased to about 85 percent in 14 days when 15 milligrams of enzymes were added. By contrast, the pretreatment increased sugar yields to about 95 percent of the maximum possible regardless of whether two milligrams, five milligrams, or 15 milligrams of enzymes were added. Furthermore, the time required to reach these high yields dropped to five days when five milligrams of enzyme were used and two days when 15 milligrams of enzyme were used. In addition to such drastic cutting of the amount and cost of enzymes needed to realize nearly theoretical sugar yields, the pretreatment is capable of dissolving and extracting up to 90 percent of the lignin in corn stover and woody biomass.
Fuel Sensor for Smart Combustion of Natural Gas-Powered Devices
UCR researchers have developed a simple, online method for analyzing Wobbe number continuously that can accurately identify the Wobbe number by measuring thermal conductivity and pressure of the gas with the help of signal interpretation algorithms. The higher the energy content level (also known as the BTU level or Wobbe Index), the better the natural gas, but depending on the source, energy content levels can vary by more than 10 percent. This ruggedized, cost-effective technology can be incorporated into gas-powered devices including boilers, engines, and turbines and allow the devices to compensate for the varying fuel properties. The potential impact of this fuel sensor is that it can significantly increase the efficiency and usability of natural gas-powered devices, thereby significantly reducing the cost of using renewable nature gas as well as reducing emissions.
Silicon-based Nanocomposites as Anode Materials for Lithium-Ion Batteries
UCR researchers have synthesized nanocomposites of silicon and tin as well as silicon and carbon as anode materials for Li-ion batteries that have demonstrated excellent cycling stability and rate performance with tripling the charge capacity of graphite. Anodes based on the structure of the synthesized nanocomposites have a capacity that is significantly higher than that of either the silicon-only or tin-only anodes. The nanocomposites also overcomes the limitation of silicon due to physical volume expansion and contraction during charging-recharging that damages the electrode and electric contact. Achieving such a significant increase in energy capacity could means electric vehicles that have significantly more range, mobile devices that could last significantly more hours before needing to recharge, and drastic reduction in the overall costs per watt for batteries, thereby increasing wider adoption of electric vehicles and reduce emissions.
Electronic Nose: Nano Gas Sensor Array with functionalized carbon nanotubes
UCR researchers have developed nano gas sensors that are small (mm), low power (mA), sensitive (parts-per-billion), responsive (seconds), and have a wide range of applications including in agriculture (detecting pesticide levels), industrial sites (detecting gas leaks, combustion emissions), security (bio-terrorism warning), military (detecting chemical agents), as well as consumer (air conditioning and purifier appliances and detectors), biomedical (smell and taste disorders: anosmia and dysgeusia), etc. By assembling functionalized carbon nanotubes on microelectrodes by MEMS-based microfabrication techniques such as electrochemical deposition, the morphology, size, and density of nanoparticles are tuned to optimize sensing performance by controlling electrodeposition potential and time. Chemical sensing instruments have traditionally been large, heavy, bulky, expensive, and generally been impractical to be ubiquitously integrated with different products under different environments for different applications. The nano gas sensors developed by UCR researchers have the potential to become ubiqitous for enabling airborne chemical detection capabilites.
Steam Hydrogasification Reaction for Renewable Natural Gas Production
UCR researchers have developed a steam hydrogasification system that uses high pressure and heat to break down carbonanceous materials such as biomass waste into renewable natural gas, which can be then be converted into liquid fuel or electricty. The process differs from traditional dry gasification in that it allows wet materials to be processed without a drying step. Analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy has shown that the process is 12 percent more efficient and can process materials 10 times faster than conventional dry gasification systems. The potential impact is the more efficient, cost-effective production of renewable natural gas converted from waste that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Colorimetric Sensing of Amines using Furfural-derived Molecules
An affordable and easily synthesized indicator that can be applied to monitor reaction progress in a system using only one inexpensive and non-toxic reagent. This adaptable colorimetric indicator provides easy access to highly sensitive and selective detection of amines for a wide range of applications including detection of amines that are volatilized through the degradation of meat and seafood to determine if the food is safe to consume. For the purposes of assessing the freshness of food proteins such as meat or seafood, the indicator can be a test strip or label that is placed near or on the protein, or integrated into the packaging of the protein, with elements on the label that change color as amines are produced by bacterial activity. Other applications include being used to detect amines that are present in explosives and their associated residues, are present in water contaminated by pharmaceutical byproducts, or that are volatilized as a result of biological activity or signaling such as a wound becoming infected.
Highly Stretchable & Flexible Electronic Sensors
Typical electronics do not stretch but these do and they maintain their signal integrity when stretched. The device can be used as a stretchable electronic interconnect or as a sensor. The device is formed from thin, twisted conductive tubules that are filled with a liquid metal alloy conductor. The liquid metal alloy is non-toxic making it safe for wearable applications. The tubules can be fabricated using a simple roller coating process but this process can be scaled using standard tubing manufacturing processes. The mechanical performance and electronic sensitivity of these devices is tuned by varying the number of twists in the tubules and the pre-tensioning. They can be used to sensors strain, contact force, rotation, and tactile sensing even while being stretched (>600% strain. The sensors are also highly flexible, durable, and reliable (over 5,000 cycles). These features allow them to conform curved or variable surfaces, including the human body and collect reliable measurements during movements. This information can be used to measure and record complex human actions for analysis or to remotely control robots. This will lead to new applications in areas including wearable computing, healthcare, surgical robotics, field robotics, manufacturing, entertainment, and rehabilitation.
Hybrid Supercapacitor and Battery System
Supercapacitors and batteries are the two leading forms of electrochemical energy storage. Both have unique advantages and are employed depending on the application. Supercapacitors (electric double-layer capacitors) have high power densities and long cycle lifetimes, but, because of their low-to-moderate energy densities, their charge does not last as long so they are not used as stand-alone energy sources. On the other hand, batteries can maintain a longer charge but have a lower power output. This technology is a hybrid device that combines the advantages of batteries and supercapacitors. This device has a battery-level energy density with capacitor-level durability and power density. It is non-flammable, low-cost, and has a constant power output, putting it ahead of the competitors of the past. Halogens (I– and Br–) are promising aqueous redox-active species as they are inexpensive, electrochemically reversible redox couples with high solubility. Initially the corrosive and volatile nature of bromine generated at the positive electrode limited the utility of this system. This technology uses viologen, tetraalkylammonium, and/or zinc in electrolytes overcomes the limitations of a typical halogen aqueous redox system. This technology has the potential to benefit a variety of industries: consumer electronics, industrial automation, power & energy, medicine, and transportation.
Hybrid Integrated Optical Amplifier
Rare-earth optical amplifiers have a number of desirable features including low noise and the ability to amplify high peak power signals. In the past, the inability to integrate a rare-earth amplifier with an optical pump on-chip limited applications. This new technology for a hybrid integrated optical amplifier allows for on-chip integration of a rare-earth optical amplifier and optical pump resulting in a smaller and lighter form factor and easier packaging. This hybrid integrated optical amplifier is created by bonding a group III-V semiconductor pump laser and a rare-earth-doped waveguide amplifier and the bonded structure provides an integrated optical pump for the rare-earth-doped amplifier, eliminating the need for an external pump. This hybrid optical amplifier allows for efficient combination with additional active components such as lasers, modulators, and photodetectors as well as passive components such as splitters, couplers, multiplexers, demultiplexers, polarization control elements, and spot-size converters. The pump laser structure can be modified to produce distributed feedback lasers, distributed Bragg reflector lasers, and super structure grating distributed Bragg reflector lasers. This hybrid integrated optical amplifier enables the smaller, lighter components necessary for space science and exploration. This hybrid integrated optical amplifier also supports the efficient use of telecommunication bandwidth.
Reconfigurable Physically Unclonable Function (PUF) Based Security
The demand for localized hardware security is continuously growing due to the rapid expansion of online distribution of interconnected networks and devices carrying critical/sensitive and personal information on shared networks. This technology is also the best known approach to prevent offline attacks of critical data, such as keys or complete memories. It uses a feature of crossbar architecture with integrated resistive random access memory (ReRAM or memristors) as a Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) and improves upon it using analogue tuning of the memristors’ conductances to maximize the PUF’s functional performance. The memristor based PUFs have a simple and relatively low-cost fabrication process, small footprint and compatible with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. The instance reconfigurability make this technology superior to other PUF hardware and highly suitable for security applications. These hardware solutions have wide-ranging applications including securing payments, protecting highly sensitive data, for anti-counterfeiting and anti-cloning, to prevent identity theft, to prevent the piracy of media content and software apps and preventing software reverse engineering.
Accurate & Enhanced 3D Imaging Through Walls Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Typically, imaging uses light waves which do not pass through opaque structures. Instead of light waves, this technology uses radio-frequency (e.g. Bluetooth, wifi) signals to generate 3D images. As radio-frequency signals pass through walls, images can be generated to describe the interior and exterior of structures. The use of radio-frequency imaging combined with an algorithm to optimally sample space using unmanned vehicles or drones enables 3D imaging of hidden spaces. The 3D images generated provide robots with important tools for navigation. This approach to remote imaging allows for health assessment of infrastructure, such as bridges, by providing a see-through assessment with safe radio-frequency signals. This technology has numerous applications including improving disaster management, refining search and rescue efforts, tracking building occupancy, and gesture recognition and surveillance.
(SMaLL): A Process for Rapid, Continuous 3D Printing and Long-Range Selective Curing
Continuous 3-dimentional (3D) printing of multiple components simultaneously and selectively has not previously been possible. The Solution Mask Liquid Lithography (SMaLL) is an approach using readily available dyes to print components differing in chemical and mechanical properties simultaneously. Layer-by-layer 3D printing results in parts with anisotropic properties (e.g. mechanical properties that differ by orientation to the print). Continuous 3D printing overcomes this limitation and prints materials that have uniform mechanical properties. The only available form of continuous 3D printing currently is Continuous Liquid Interface Printing (CLIP). The CLIP process operates by balancing oxygen diffusion, photoabsorption, irradiation intensity, resin viscosity, and stage translation with an ultraviolet (UV) curing process to provide feature resolution and fast build-times of monolithic parts. The SMaLL is a newer approach that adds the ability to program multiple chemical compositions and mechanical properties (e.g., hard and soft) in a single part. Additionally, this technique provides rapid build rates, mild build conditions, as well as excellent resolution that outperforms state-of-the-art techniques. This technique allows for the rapid printing of multi-materials such as joints, truss structures, and soft exteriors covering hard interiors. These parts can easily be incorporated into products like shoe soles or be standalone devices.
Magnesium-Based Metal Composite
This technology is a novel process for producing magnesium matrix nanocomposites reinforced with high-volume fraction nano-scaled ceramic particles and a unique bi-model structure. Additionally, the process can be utilized for other combinations of metals and ceramic materials. Synthesis of this material is performed using the following steps. First, the appropriately selected micrometer-sized flake metal powders for the metal alloy matrix are chosen, along with the nanometer sized ceramic powders, which act as the reinforcements. The powdered mixtures are then milled for a controlled period of time to embed the ceramic nanoparticles into the flake metal powders, with added surfactants. This creates the unique bi-model structured nanoparticles, comprised of a metal core and ceramic-reinforced metal shell. Finally, the powdered material is sintered into a bulk form, which can be formed into the end product or machined into specific shapes. The nanocomposite exhibits higher stiffness and yield strength with retained ductility. The yield strength of Mg-5vol.%SiC nanocomposite approaches 290 MPa, and is twice as strong as pure Mg as well as having 3.5 times the yield strength of pure Mg. As the volume fraction of ceramic nanoparticles increases, the ductility of the nanocomposite is retained without further sacrifice.
Ferroelectric / Piezoelectric Polymers from Modified PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride)
The ferroelectric β-phase of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has only been obtained through the use of a post-fabrication drawing process (typically 300-400% elongation) and thus only thin films can be effectively produced, which limits applications for the material and restricts the design of the transducer. Dr. Sodano's lab has developed a pretreatment process that preferentially induces crystallization in the β-phase without the need for drawing. Furthermore, the value of the d33 is higher than any value reported in the literature for a piezoelectric polymer film and the G coefficient is the highest of any material ever reported. The production of as-cast PVDF films with high β-phase and piezoelectric coupling has not been demonstrated before and opens up numerous applications and transducer designs that have not been previously possible. The production process can be combined with 3D printing, making this new technology a great candidate to combine with printed electronics in applications that require a piezoelectric sensor or ferroelectric memory switches. In addition, the PVDF polymer is non-toxic and can be used as a sensor, actuator, or energy harvester for devices - potentially including implantable devices.
Ann Arbor, MI
Hedgehog Particles for Catalysis
Hedgehog particles (HPs) are made of zinc oxide (ZnO) needles, a highly active material that can be used to speed up (catalyze) reactions and adsorb admixtures. The needles are grown around a spherical core permitting the formation of suspensions in both water and oil. The particles morphologically resemble “hedgehogs” and feature heavily corrugated nanoscale inorganic surface topography. The main advantage of particles with a surface of nano-spikes is their ability to disperse and conduct reactions in nonpolar (water-hating) solvents such as oil while retaining their water-loving surface states. In most cases, nanoscale (photo) catalysts improve efficiency and selectivity, reduce energy costs and simplify manufacturing operations for many important industrial processes. However many nanoscale photo-catalysts work only in water and other polar solvents while important starting materials and reaction products are only compatible with nonpolar solvents. The ability of HPs to perform catalysis and other chemical functions in hydrocarbons may improve the efficiency of plastics manufacturing and open up new reaction pathways that improve chemical and pharmaceutical production. The practicality of omni-dispersible HPs was demonstrated by 80-100% oxidative desulfurization of thiophene from liquid hydrocarbons, a major contaminant of fuels which carries a large environmental impact.
Portable instant test kit for detection of lead paint
Lead, a widely used heavy metal in paints, plumbing, fuel and several other applications was discontinued due to the dangers of lead poisoning in the late 1970s. Several detection methods and do-it-yourself test kits have been developed to test for the presence of lead in households and limit exposure to lead, but none currently meet both of EPAs criteria regarding positive and negative response. Portable Field Sensor for Lead Paint based on Gelation Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a novel and portable sensor to detect lead in paint samples. The detection kit incorporates a special ligand that selectively binds to lead and causes gelation of the sample, which is easily observed solely by visual inspection. The kit thus enables the unambiguous detection of lead by naked eye with no training or additional instrumentation. The kit has the ability to detect very low concentrations of lead with few false positives or false negatives. Applications: Do-it-yourself lead test kit for detection of lead or lead compounds in: Lead paint during renovation of older houses or buildings Children’s toys and play area Potential application in detection of lead in: Drinking water Pipes, solders and plumbing Cosmetics
Graphene-based Formaldehyde Sensor
PDDA and Formaldehyde dehydrogenase are functionalized on the surface of graphene through layer by layer method. The structure of immobilized enzyme with polyelectrolyte (PDDA) used as linker molecules on graphene surface is capable of initiating enzymatic reaction. Also, it allows hydrogen ions, which are produced by the specific enzymatic reaction, to reach the graphene surface so that graphene can sense the ions. Graphene’s larger surface area and high electrical mobility makes its ideal material for sensors with high sensitivity and quick electrical response The sensor of approximately 10 mm by 13 mm was formed on a single SiO2 wafer. the response time is under 60 seconds. The detection limit is as low as 5.9 bbp. The detection limit is comparable to that of the current optical method but it is much more compact, which makes it ideal to be integrated into a portable device.
Bio-based Isoprene from Two Step Conversion of Citric Acid
The overall transformation from citric acid to isoprene can be performed in two steps. Citric acid is first dehydrated to form aconitic acid, which will readily decarboxylate to form itaconic acid. Itaconic acid is then subsequently hydrogenated to form 3-methyl tetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF), which can then be taken to the vapor phase to undergo a dehydra-decyclization which yields isoprene.
Particulate Absorbent Used to Lower Energy and Capital Requirements in Ammonia Production
This technology utilizes cheap and readily available salts such as magnesium chloride (MgCl2) and particulate supports to absorb ammonia selectively as the ammonia is formed. Key Features and Benefits of this technology when compared to conventional Haber Bosch processes are: • Lower operating pressures • Lower operating costs • Lower capital costs • Small scale ammonia production Other key features and benefits of this technology include: • Ammonia is a more efficient storage medium than hydrogen • Cost effective storage medium for electrical energy Once absorbed, ammonia is rapidly released from the salt by simply lowering the pressure. Traditional ammonia synthesis catalysts and absorbents can be combined into a single absorbent bed system. It is possible to achieve greater than 85% conversion to ammonia in a single operation—much greater than the typical ~15% conversion currently achieved. Significantly lower reaction pressures are expected. Such high conversions and lower reaction pressures eliminate the necessity for costly recycle streams and high-pressure reaction vessels, leading to lower energy requirements, and reduced capital costs. In addition, where excess electrical energy is available, this technology could be used to store energy as ammonia.
Versatile Biocatalyst Technology for Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Food Ingredient Synthesis
Multi-enzyme biocatalytic cascades represent an attractive and powerful approach to synthesis of valuable chemicals, pharmaceuticals or food ingredients. Optimal reaction cascade efficiency requires spatial organization of the enzymes. This technology is an easy-to-adapt, genetically-encoded, and programmable self-assembling protein scaffolding system designed and built to be a platform for the spatial colocalization of biocatalytic cascades. The developed platform exploits the self-assembling properties of the bacterial microcompartment shell protein EutM as scaffold building blocks, which was found to form robust, self-assembling protein arrays under a range of conditions suitable for biocatalysis. Further, N- terminal or C-terminal modifications of the EutM scaffold building block facilitate purification, facilitate cargo enzyme loading, and did not impede self-assembly. Different types of cargo proteins were successfully co-localized onto protein scaffolds in vitro (with isolated scaffold building blocks and cargo protein) and in vivo (by co-expression of scaffold building block and cargo protein in recombinant E. coli). Moreover, an industrially-relevant enzyme system for chiral amine synthesis was co-localized onto the protein scaffolds and shown to significantly improve the reaction efficiency by up to 300X over a soluble dual-enzyme cascade
IOT enabled imagery system for crop management
This technology has been harnessed for real-time monitoring and management of crops. The technology will aid growers mainly in site-specific crop water and (fruit) loss management. Specifically, this system allows growers to develop fully automatic crop monitoring and data acquisition system for moving irrigation systems based on their specific needs. The technology is able to successfully extract canopy/fruit surface temperature and coverage from a wide range of images captured during the crop growing season. This futuristic system will help growers to remotely monitor fruit surface characteristic (e.g. wetness, temperature, cuticle stress) and can be used to actuate preventative control measures that will avoid losses. It also allows for remote, indirect monitoring of crop water stress which can be used by farmers for irrigation scheduling of their crops. This technology separates itself from the rest by providing better accuracy via the thermal modules and the geo-referencing system, which shows an accuracy of ±2.4 ˚C on average over a range of 0 to 50 ˚C, and ±2.4 m in positioning, and ±1.6 m in altitude measurements.
An innovative 3D tissue matrix scaffold system for tumor modeling
The mammalian extracellular matrix (ECM) is comprised of a labyrinth of interconnected architecture that provides mechanical support and optimal tissue microenvironment for cell survival, growth, signal transduction and interactions. The currently available scaffold and planar tissue culture models using synthetic polymers or a single component of ECM do not resemble this native living microenvironment. Therapeutic studies and preclinical applications based on these methods have failed to provide consistent data and acceptable efficacies. In addition, post-degradation toxicity caused by the polymeric scaffolds disrupts cell-to-cell signaling, leading to defects in secretion of biomolecules/enzymes, rejection of scaffold graft, cell death and severe side effects. These factors necessitate a “next-generation” of scaffold system that resembles native ECM for reliable scientific research, drug testing and tissue regeneration studies.In order to address the above problems, WSU has developed Tissue Matrix Scaffold (TMS), a versatile 3D matrix, which is an intermediate platform between 2D culture models and more complex and expensive in vivo models. The decellularized TMS retains the structural and compositional nature of ECM, making it well suited for both scientific research and clinical applications.