Available Physical Science Technologies

IT, Electronics, & Software

MEMS devices have seen broad adoption in the transportation, communication, medical, and consumer product industries. However, the vast majority of MEMS are based on silicon and fabricated using expensive, energy intensive processing with harsh chemicals. Cellulose-based MEMS devices offer an alternative that is not only greener, but also anticipated to be less expensive and to enable new applications.  
Overview | U.S. Patent 9,353,313 | U.S. Patent 9,890,259

The increasing demands for portable power and renewable energy have contributed to the popularity of rechargeable lithium-ion battery technologies. These light, safe and easier to package batteries span several industries, including electric vehicles, medical devices, power tools, portable consumer electronics and energy storage systems. This pair of new algorithms is designed to improve the charging and charge monitoring capabilities of lithium-ion polymer batteries.  
Overview | U.S. Patent 9,197,089

To perform an MRI scan, a patient must be placed inside a radiofrequency coil. Current coils are expensive to manufacture, and also require expensive and time-consuming tuning. This new coil design is expected to be easier to construct and more robust than traditional coils, producing stable broadband radiofrequency waves which enable self-tuning. 
Overview | U.S. Patent 9,952,297

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

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an advanced material typically used in power electronics, including Schottky diodes and metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). SiC MOSFETs have historically been plagued by performance issues, which can be addressed at least in part with further chemical treatments. This invention relates to the use of phosphorus passivation as an improved treatment over current methods, including NO passivation. These patents are available for non-exclusive licensing. 
U.S. Patent 9,117,817 | U.S. Patent 9,362,367

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

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

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

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

 

Materials (including polymers, fibers & sensors)

This sensor is designed for thin reflective films and structures such as mirrors and silicon wafers. While surface slopes can be used to evaluate flatness, curvature components can be used to quantify stresses. This technology is also capable of detecting localized defects. This enables the user to detect otherwise imperceptible flaws. The technology is relatively cost effective and easy to implement and automate. This technology has quality control applications for optical and electronic components. 
Overview | U.S. Patent 9,759,553 | U.S. Patent Application

Phase change materials are materials with high heats of fusion, meaning that they are capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy when they melt or solidify.  These nanoparticle-enhanced phase change materials (NEPCM) show enhanced thermal conductivity and higher heat release rates over standard materials.  This suggests superior performance for thermal management applications, including insulation, energy storage and medical therapies.  A 2007 article on NEPCMs has made ScienceDirect's TOP25 Hottest Articles list and continued to be listed in the third quarter of 2009. 
U.S. Patent 9,027,633 | Press Release on ScienceDirect

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

 

Chemical & Environmental

A common byproduct from the burning of fossil fuels, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are water pollutants listed in EPA’s Priority Pollutant List due to their toxic and carcinogenic properties. Auburn’s novel material can efficiently accumulate PAHs and then degrade them using only UV light. The material retains capacity and activity through multiple cycles, making it suitable for continuous use.  
Overview | U.S. Patent Application

Butanol has multiple industrial uses including as a solvent, an intermediate/feedstock in various industrial processes, and a renewable fuel with advantages over ethanol. Chemical synthesis of butanol, however, can be costly and generates unwanted pollutants. To address this, a Clostridium bacterial strain was strategically engineered to increase butanol production by 100% or more over previous strains. 
Overview

MEMS devices have seen broad adoption in the transportation, communication, medical, and consumer product industries. However, the vast majority of MEMS are based on silicon and fabricated using expensive, energy intensive processing with harsh chemicals. Cellulose-based MEMS devices offer an alternative that is not only greener, but also anticipated to be less expensive and to enable new applications.  
Overview | U.S. Patent 9,353,313 | U.S. Patent 9,890,259

This rechargeable system keeps fabrics, paints and other surfaces of hospitals, clinics, day cares, and homes free of contaminations for an extended period of time. The n-halamine formulations inactivate bacteria and viruses on contact, and can be recharged using diluted household bleach. The treated surfaces also fight the build-up of mold and mildew, reducing problems associated with malodors, stains, and allergies. 
General antimicrobial overview | Overview of latex paint applications | Overview of food safety applications
U.S. Patents: 6,969,769 | 8,496,920 | 8,535,654
8,821,907

Cellulase enzymes are one of the major cost factors in production of cellulosic ethanol. This method converts pulp sludge into a substrate suitable for bioconversion, with research showing treated sludge is equivalent to pure cellulose for the purposes of cellulase production. Thus, this method can be used to convert a current waste stream into a supplemental production unit. 
Overview | U.S. Patent 8.900,457

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

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

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

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

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

 

Classical Engineering (including civil and mechanical)

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

Construction Industry Technologies

Please note that many of these products have potential applications in the "do-it-yourself" market as well as in construction

Read more on Auburn's Studio+Build Program in Engineering News Record

Tape Measure Anchor
Tape Measure Anchor

Holding the end of a tape hook in a specific position can be difficult in many circumstances, particularly for a person working alone. This difficulty often results in increased labor costs and/or decreased measurement accuracy. These devices provide a simple and versatile solution for holding a tape measure hook at the desired location.
Overview | U.S. Patent 8,191,277

Laser Square
Laser Square

The majority of building components are laid out using a series of right angles. Any variation in that angle during measurement can lead to errors that can cause significant problems in the downstream construction process. This "Pinpoint Placement Tool" uses laser guidance to confirm that measurements are being taken precisely at right angles.  A laser plumb serves to further ensure precision of the final mark. 
Overview | U.S. Patent 8,266,807

Portable Sawhorse Workstation
Portable Sawhorse

Traditional sawhorses are only made to last during the construction job for which they are built, and require hours of time to construct on each job site. The QuickHorse portable sawhorse workstation provides an efficient, mobile, and light weight alternative to traditional sawhorses while providing increased convenience and flexibility. This easy to assemble and easy to use invention has potential applications for construction professionals and do-it-your-selfers alike. 
Overview | U.S. Patent 8,757,323