Electronics & Sensors
Scientists at NDSU have developed a new device for a scalable, biomanufacturing platform for the production of CAR-modified T-cells while eliminating on-target/off-tumor toxicity and decreasing the current production cost by 500 times (per treatment). The technology relates to a device to produce modified T-cells comprising a first chamber for proliferating a population of T-cells and a second chamber for modifying the T-cells to express a desired T-cell receptor antigen. The modified CAR T-cells can be used to treat cancer.
NDSU researchers have developed a range of Type I, Type II, and acidic photoinitiators, which provide polymerization of polyacrylate with good efficiency at low concentrations. The synthesis of photoinitiators is efficient using routine chemistry, and their structures are easily manipulated to tune for low energy (including visible) light wavelengths. These photoinitiators are each triggered by a very narrow and easily defined wavelength, making timing of polymerization easy to control (and avoiding inadvertent triggering of the reaction). The photoinitiators may be produced from either bio-based or petroleum-based starting materials, including such readily available materials as vanillin.
Only about 10% of post-consumer plastic is recycled in the U.S., leading to waste of plastic and valuable materials embedded in plastic. NDSU researchers have developed a technology to make many plastics photodedgradable, enabling recovery of materials from plastics while broadly enhancing plastics recycling. With respect to recovery of embedded materials, electronic devices and carbon fiber composites being two examples. More than 30% of carbon fiber ends up discarded. Electronics have an even worse recycling story. Almost 90% of electronic waste is disposed without recycling, even though it is a gold mine … one ton of circuit boards contains 40 – 800 times more gold than a ton of ore. There is also a tremendous amount of copper, silver, and palladium that is discarded rather than recovered. The NDSU technology enables recovery of these valuable components, which is accomplished by including built-in photocleavable units into the plastic polymers. The resulting photodegradable polymers can be designed for degradation with specific wavelengths of UV and/or visible light by selecting the appropriate photocleavable unit(s).
Though corrosion is well understood in terms of mechanisms and methods of control, it still accounts for a notable number of failures in pipelines buried or on the ground. This is due to a large number of potential complications such as varying soil properties along the pipeline and over time, local cracks on the soft coating surface, separation of coating from the pipeline surface, and corrosive environments. To address this, Azarmi et al developed smart coatings which can both prevent and monitor corrosion of steel through the use of a hard coating deposited by thermal spraying with embedded Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors.
Tunable band-gap of silicon nano-crystals (Si-NCs) presents applications such as light emitting diodes, broad-band absorber in solar cells and many more. By engineering the size, crystallinity, surface state (functionalized group) the properties of Si-NCs can be designed to offer variety of opto-electronic properties. Syntheses of freestanding Si-NCs adopt either a low-pressure plasma process with mono-silane or cumbersome chemical reduction processes; these have limited throughput and require additional processing to make them stable. Injection of liquid hydrosilane composition and subsequent pyrolysis allows continuous synthesis of few nm to sub-micron sized particles, with the ability to design the morphology (amorphous, intermediate to crystalline) and surface chemistry (passivation). In addition, by sequential injection of the liquid hydrosilane composition synthesis of core-shell nanoparticles of Si is possible. Synthesis of organic-inorganic photoluminescent hybrid nanomaterials with tunable emission is feasible with this technology.
Scientists at NDSU have discovered methods for forming silicon thin films and structures with incorporated metals, non-metals, and combinations thereof. The precursor compositions useful in such methods are generally liquid at ambient temperature and are comprised of liquid silane(s) and metal and/or non-metal source(s). The compositions may be processed by printing, coating, or spraying onto a substrate and subjected to UV, thermal, IR, and/or laser treatment to form silicon films or structures with embedded heteroatom(s). These compositions allow for the control of dopant level prior to film processing allowing for very high doping levels with minimal out-diffusion. The available dopants are not highly toxic (as is the case for phosphine and diborane) and provide a means for film deposition without the use of expensive vacuum chambers.
Silicon thin films are fundamental in solar and microelectronic industries, and are presently obtained using expensive low-pressure plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) using gaseous silanes despite of its low precursor utilization efficiency. Instability and low vapor-pressure of liquid hydrosilanes have limited their use in the semiconductor industries for longtime. Researchers at NDSU have developed a process to synthesis silicon thin films from liquid hydrosilane (Si6H12) at ambient pressure in a roll-to-roll method using atmospheric pressure aerosol assisted chemical vapor deposition (AA-APCVD) that has higher deposition rates compared to the state-of-the-art PECVD. Solubility of solid dopants in the liquid hydrosilane facilitate the deposition of degenerately doped (n & p –type) Si thin films opposed to compressed toxic phosphine and borane gases used in other techniques. Low decomposition temperature (higher activation energy) of cyclohexasilane (Si6H12), a liquid hydrosilane, benefits for a new plasma-free process for the synthesis of silicon nitride films and Si nanowires (with suitable catalyst) at temperatures as low as 350 oC using the AA-APCVD, readily adoptable for large-scale roll-to-roll continuous manufacturing. Liquid hydrosilane compositions consisting of nanomaterials enable hybrid Si films with embedded nanomaterials that have applications in energy harvesting and light emitting devices.
Scientists working at NDSU are developing biodegradable sensors capable of directly monitoring and reporting the soil environment in which they are placed. The sensors are constructed by using NDSU’s patent-pending “direct write” electronic printing techniques to print circuit and antenna patterns directly onto renewable, bio-based materials. The circuit patterns are printed with trace amounts of metallic materials such as aluminum that are safe for the soil when the sensors naturally biodegrade over time.
Scientists working at North Dakota State University (NDSU) have discovered a method for the contactless laser-assisted assembly of discrete components such as ultra-thin, ultra-small semiconductor dies and MEMS components onto rigid and flexible substrates. Laser-direct write techniques are an enabling technology for the ever-decreasing scale of microelectronic devices. Specifically, Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) techniques show promise as a disruptive technology which will enable the placement of components smaller than what conventional pick-and-place techniques are capable of today. NDSU’s Thermo-Mechanical Selective Laser Assisted Die Transfer (tmSLADT) process is an application of the unique blistering behavior of polyimide film when irradiated by low energy focused ultraviolet laser pulses. The tmSLADT process has the potential to take its place as the next generation LIFT technique, with distinct advantages over previously studied ablative and thermal releasing techniques. Experimental results studying transfer precision indicate this non-optimized die transfer process compares with, and may exceed, the placement precision of current assembly techniques.
Scientists working at NDSU have designed a novel cold spray tool and process that is able to direct write metallic lines using metallic powder precursors in small, well defined areas. This can be done at high deposition rates with features as small as 10 microns possible.
North Dakota State University (NDSU) has developed unique synthetic routes to a novel liquid silicon precursor, cyclohexasilane (Si6H12), which is converted to silicon nanowires by electrospinning. Readily purified by distillation, the liquid nature of Si6H12 allows the development of a high-volume electrospinning route for silicon nanowire production. Because the spun wires convert to amorphous silicon at relatively low temperatures, formation of excessive surface oxide and carbide phases can be avoided which would otherwise negatively affect capacity and rate capabilities. The technology can be used in the development of anodes for use in next-generation lithium ion batteries, in which the traditional carbon-based anode is replaced with a silicon-based anode for a dramatic increase in capacity (theoretically over 1100% increase in capacity).
North Dakota State University scientists have created a unique asynchronous cellular automaton which is believed to have several distinct advantages over currently available field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These cellular automata are easily scaled from small circuits to large computing arrays.
NDSU inventors have developed polymer films and additives that can be used in polymer films such as polyol photosensitizers, carrier gas UV laser ablation sensitizers and other additives that can be used in preparation of such carrier films.
These inventions pertain to unsaturated polyester polymer compositions containing monomer molecules that sensitize the resulting polymer coating/film to ablation (i.e., removal of film material) by exposure to laser radiation. This technology is of potential value to parties in the semi-conductor and electronic manufacturing industries.
Fast, reliable, nondestructive means of measuring sugar content of sugar beets during harvest.
This technology involves a process of producing compounds containing a tetra-dedachloro-cyclohexa-silane dianion. They are prepared by contacting trichlorosilane with a reagent composition comprising a tertiary polyamine. The resulting tetradecachlorocyclohexasilane dianion can be chemically reduced to cyclohexasilane, a compound useful in the deposition of amorphous silicon films. One potential application involves use as a feedstock material for semiconductor wafers and photovoltaics.