All Available Technologies

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Improved Strapped Calix[4]pyrroles as Selective Extractants for Lithium Chloride

    The present invention comprises an approach to separating lithium chloride directly from mixtures that are rich in often-competitive sodium salts and potassium chloride anion salts. Due to the nature of the ion pair receptors of this invention, it is possible to capture both the chloride anion and the lithium cation concurrently. The synthetic calix[n]pyrrole-based ion pair receptors of this invention have proved effective and efficient and have allowed the selective removal of lithium salts from complex mixtures of salts. This is expected to provide economically and technologically viable alternatives to more conventional methods, which typically involve long and tedious purification processes.

  • Temperature Regulating Bimetallic Valves for Plate Reactors

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have used bimetallic strips that change shape in response to temperature, to act as valves that sense a temperature change and deflect to either increase or restrict the flow of gas in the microchannels to regulate temperature change. This design offers improved control of reactor temperatures, limits hotspot formation, and provides an inherent safety net, as no external controls are required to adjust the flowrate in the channels.

  • Novel Amine Blends that Optimize CO2 Capture from Coal-Fired Power Plants

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a carbon dioxide scrubbing system involving specific amine blends. The motivation behind this research is to develop improvements from the current MEA approach to amine absorption/stripping. The invention will limit the use of more expensive amines that are known to be highly CO reactive, thus reducing the cost of implementing the approach. Amine blends are formulated based on properties such as carbon dioxide desorption temperature, carbon dioxide loading capacity, thermal degradation, and oxidative degradation.

  • Carbon Dioxide Capture by Aqueous Piperazine

    A new solvent composition has been identified for piperazine to capture CO from coal-fired flue gas, hydrogen, or natural gas. When combined with advanced stripper configurations, this solvent produces a large capacity for CO absorption with very fast rates of absorption at a high heat of absorption. The energy requirement should be reduced by 10 to 30 percent from conventional 30% MEA solvents. The reactive amine will be three to ten times more expensive than MEA; but, unlike MEA, it will not degrade thermally, nor does it react quickly with oxygen in the presence of dissolved iron.

  • Efficient Production of Renewable Chemicals through Rewiring Transporter Protein Sugar Preferences in Yeast

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method to rewire sugar transporter properties and kinetics for improved and exclusive xylose uptake. This work advances biofuels and biochemicals production from lignocellulosic material.

  • Novel Method Enabling Micro-Sized Temperature Control

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, concentrating on autothermal microchannel reactors producing syngas via methane-steam reforming, have introduced a novel temperature-control strategy based on the use of a layer of phase-change material (PCM) confined between the reactor plates.The PCM layer mitigates temperature excursions through melting-solidification occurring due to fluctuations in hydrogen production rate, acting as the distributed tier of a hierarchical control structure. The supervisory layer consists of a model-based feed-forward controller.

  • Cyclic Peroxide Oxidation of Aromatic Compounds

    The inventors have developed a novel and cost-effective method for the oxidation of aromatic compounds to the corresponding phenols. The reagent for the chemical transformation is readily prepared from commodity chemicals and can be recovered and recycled from the reaction.Although the reaction proceeds through a radical mechanism, aromatic C-H bonds are selectively oxidized in preference to activated Csp3-H bonds. Importantly, a wide array of functional groups are compatible with this reaction.

  • Multifeed Flash Stripper

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin provided a novel multifeed flash stripper process and configuration for regenerating amine solvent for CO2 capture from combustion gases.It uses a single-stage flash at the bottom of a stripping section. One or more bypasses of warm or hot rich solvent are fed to appropriate point in the packed or trays in the stripping section to use the vapor form the flash for additional stripping and recover waste stripping steam heat more reversibly.

  • Detection of Single Nanoparticle Collisions by Electrocatalytic Amplification and its Analytical Applications in Nanotechnology and Biotechnology

    This technology provides for a sensor which can detect trace elements in solution at very low concentrations. The technology can be tailored to detect many substances, including but not limited to viruses, bacteria, and carcinogens.

  • Regeneration of an Aqueous Solution from an Acid Gas Absorption Process by Matrix Stripping

    A unique flow configuration has been developed for regeneration of aqueous amine solvent used to remove and concentrate CO2 from combustion gases or other gases. This matrix stripper reduces the heat and compression duty required to generate pressurized CO2 from a conventional acid gas treating process that uses absorption/stripping with an aqueous solvent.

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Micro-Selective Laser Sintering System

    A novel approach has been developed to produce 3D structures with micron-sized features (can be scaled down to sub-micron features) with metals. The selective laser sintering system primarily consists of: (a) a nanosecond laser used to sinter the metal nano-particles and minimize the heat affected zone (b) a DLP chipset in conjunction with a focusing objective lens to focus the laser down to a micron spot size and illuminate a maximum of as many spots as there are mirrors on the DLP (786432 with CEL5500), (c) a build stage on a one degree-of-freedom nano-positioning system which can be moved with a resolution of 40nm, (d) a two-stage powder spreading system used to produce an even layer of powder for each build step, (e) a vacuum chamber used to control the build atmosphere, and (f) several in-situ metrology systems used to characterize the build process including a high-speed IR thermal camera and near-field scanning optical microscope.

  • Heterogeneous Integration of Monolayer Graphene and Semiconductor Device

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have worked on the integration of monolayer graphene and semiconductor for the first time. The prototype integrates graphene with a CMOS circuit, which consists of a 5-stage CMOS ring oscillator with top surface graphene interconnects bridging inverter stages by way of metal contacts to passivation layer vias.

  • Noise and Spur Reduction Technique in Fractional-N PLL

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a simple, effective, and mostly digital technique to reduce the Delta Sigma quantization noise of phase-locked loop (PLL) at all frequencies. The proposed technique achieves a significant improvement in performance over the conventional technique as well as the FIR filtering technique while incurring only a small increase in hardware complexity.

  • Variable gain amplifier utilizing positive feedback and time-domain calibration

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a technology which uses a combination of integration and positive feedback regeneration in order to achieve high-speed amplification. Noise and linearity can be traded off for increased speed by adjusting the lengths of the integration and amplification phases. Additionally, the invention overcomes the issues of process sensitivity and inaccurate gain by implementing a time-domain-based calibration technique. The total amplification time can be tuned in the background to provide a precise gain across PVT variations.

  • Membraneless Seawater Desalination with a Bipolar Electrode

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel, membraneless desalination process utilizing microfluidics to channel high salinity water to a microelectrode positioned at the intersection of the inlet channel and two outlet channels. Under an applied voltage, and in the presence of a flow of saltwater, the microelectrode generates an electric field gradient, which preferentially directs ions in the saltwater into one channel, while the desalted water flows to the other. The concept, called electrochemically mediated desalination (EMD), can be scaled and made massively parallel through standard integrated-circuit manufacturing techniques to generate large, stackable arrays that would be able to generate meaningful volumes of fresh water from high-salinity feed, using relatively low amounts of electrical energy.In the publications linked below, the researchers have presented data from single cells operating under one set of conditions: 25% salt rejection, 50% recovery, 40 nL/min per cell, and 0.025 kWh/m3. It will be necessary provide parallel arrays of many small cells in order to build devices that can generate useful amounts of water. What is particularly promising is the low energy requirement of this new approach, and the absence of a membrane.

  • Apparatus and Method for Optical Proximity Correction under Process Variations

    This invention discloses a new method and apparatus to perform process variation-aware optical proximity correction (PV-OPC). The PV-OPC herein is enabled by variational lithography modeling and calibration which can explicitly and efficiently consider process variations (such as focus and dosage) during the evaluation of silicon images. This invention can be used for Mask Data Preparation (MDP), or mask synthesis, to get a higher yield for IC manufacturing.

  • Statistical estimation based noise reduction technique for low power SAR ADC design

    The technique of the invention presents a power-efficient SNR enhancement technique for SAR ADCs. By accurately estimating the conversion residue, it can suppress both comparator noise and quantization error. Thus, it allows the use of a noisy low-power comparator and a relatively low-resolution DAC to achieve high resolution.

  • Eliminating Reciprocity in Radiating and Scattering Systems

    A team of researchers at UT Austin has proposed a space-time modulation scheme in order to violate reciprocity in radiation and scattering scenarios. The team has shown theoretically and experimentally that by applying this scheme, reciprocity can be violated with a linear system that is made of readily available, simple, compact, and unexpansive electronic components compared to the bulky duplexers and non-reciprocal magnet-based phase shifters that are being used today. As such, this invention provides a remarkably simple and cost-effective way to overcome the stringent limitations of radiating systems and opens up new possibilities in a variety of industries. 

  • AlInAsSb Staircase Avalanche Photodiode

    A group led by Prof. Seth Banks at The University of Texas at Austin and Prof. Joe Campbell at the University of Virginia explored a staircase APD with a staircase multiplication region composed of a graded AlInAsSb alloy, lattice matched (or psuedomorphically strained) to either InAs or GaSb. The group has discovered that this alloy is a particularly good fit for this purpose, as it exhibits:- a direct bandgap over a wide range of compositions- large conduction band offsets much larger than the smallest achievable bandgap- small valance band offsetsThis is the first staircase alloy to exhibit all three of these critically important characteristics. 

  • Cap Layer for Extrusion Reduction in Through Silicon Vias for 3D Integrated Circuits

    A method and material developed by Prof. Paul Ho of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin uses a cap layer on the TSV to reduce the Cu extrusion for yield and reliability improvement. This material and method can be readily implemented in the fabrication process of 3D interconnects. The cap layer constitutes a thin metallic layer which can react with the Cu TSV underneath to form an alloying layer at the interface or partly dissolve into the Cu grain boundaries. This will reduce the interfacial and grain boundary mass transport and thus decrease the amount of TSV extrusion. Metals have to be chosen not only to fulfill this requirement but also have to be compatible with the Cu TSV fabrication process. The group has discovered a number of metals to be particularly effective with an average reduction of more than 50%. This reduction can significantly improve the yield and reliability of 3D integrated circuits.

  • Highly Secure Silicon Physical Unclonable Function

    The resulting invention is a highly unpredictable, strongly non-linear silicon PUF that shows excellent security properties which are superior to those of currently available PUF technologies in terms of secrecy and the number of unique secrets that it can generate.

  • Ultrathin, Flexible Mantle Cloak for Camouflaging and Total Scattering Suppression

    The invention is a technique for patterning an ultrathin surface of less than 0.2mm with metal such that the specific forms, amplitudes, phase and shapes of the induced currents can strongly suppress microwave scattering from an arbitrary object, in all directions and for all forms of excitation, making it essentially undetectable. The inclusion of active circuitry in the metasurface allows large bandwidths of operation, broader than any of the currently available techniques based on passive metamaterials. Though the invention has been tested mostly at microwave frequencies to date, its design properties are considered to be favorable across other frequencies as well, THz being an example. The inventors have multiple prototypes to demonstrate this concept.

  • High-Fidelity Mechanically Coupled Differential Microphone

    A new microphone is described that is readily fabricated with silicon micro-machining techniques. The structure uses an innovative design to respond directionally to sound, potentially with very high fidelity and high signal-to-noise ratio.

  • Power Efficient Switched-Capacitor Circuit Techniques

    The proposed amplifier in this technology consumes less power, takes smaller silicon area, and has lower input referred noise compared to conventional telescopic and folded-cascode amplifiers. The proposed circuits and principles can be applied to other switched-capacitor circuits, such as switched-capacitor amplifiers, filters, and A/D and D/A converters. To prove the concept of the proposed techniques, a fifth-order single-loop single-bit sigma-delta modulator using CMOS technology was created. The experimental results proved the effectiveness of the proposed techniques for ADCs.

  • Method and Apparatus for Global Routing of an Integrated Circuit

    This invention discloses a novel method and apparatus to perform global routing for lCs. This invention has several key features for better global routing; namely, PreRouting, BoxRouting, and PostRouting. The PreRouting step routes simple and unambiguous nets first, and also obtains rough congestion estimations. The BoxRouting step is performed in an incremental and progressive manner. BoxRouting starts from the most congested regions and places that portion in a routing box. The box is then gradually expanded until the entire chip is covered. This is accomplished by a progressive integer linear programming (ILP) formulation. The BoxRouting results are further improved through a PostRouting step, which smoothly trades off wire length and congestion.

  • Multiple Via Structures for Reliability Improvement of Copper Damascene Interconnects

    This invention proposes a method to use multiple via structures to improve copper interconnect reliability. Recent electromigration experiments performed at the Laboratory for Interconnect and Packaging at The University of Texas at Austin showed that the proposed method is very effective in reducing early failures and improving electromigration reliability of the copper damascene interconnects. The method is expected to be effective for improving stress voiding reliability.

  • RICE: Rapid Interconnect Circuit Evaluator

    RICE is a software tool that allows a verv rapid characterization of RLC interconnect circuit models for the primary purpose of timinq analysis in digital VLSI circuits, multichip modules, and related timinq analysis problems. RICE is a collection of efficiently implemented specialized algorithms that allow very efficient, yet very accurate,analysis of RLC circuit models.

Physical Sciences :
Materials and Compounds

Skip to next category
  • Long-life, high-energy-density acidic Zn-air batteries

    Inventors at UT Austin have developed acidic Zn-air batteries with decoupled air electrodes, which are promising to eliminate the problems of conventional ZABs. The ZAB prototype is composed of Zn metal anode, an alkaline anode electrolyte disposed adjacent the Zn metal anode, a decoupled air cathode including an oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) component and an oxygen evolution reaction (OER) component, wherein the ORR component and OER component are physically separate, an acidic catholyte disposed adjacent the decoupled air cathode, and a solid electrolyte disposed between the alkaline anode electrolyte and the acidic catholyte. The theoretical cell voltage is 2.5, which is 0.85 V higher than the conventional alkaline ZAB. In addition, the cell can be cycled for hundreds of hours without significant degradation.

  • A Method for Rapid Specimen-Setup in Wafer Inspection Systems

    The invention consists of a positioning stage for an atomic force microscope (AFM) on a chip. The device sits on top of a sample stage via a highly repeatable coupling mechanism. Actuators are used to move the AFM chip to a position of interest on the sample. Flexural bearings couple the actuators to the stage containing the AFM chip. The device allows for translation on the order of millimeters with repeatability on the order of micrometers. An auto-approach algorithm has been developed to allow the stage to rapidly approach the sample without sensors other than the AFM. The system allows for rapid and precise AFM setup and scanning and supports true in-line wafer-scale metrology. Due to its simplicity it can be easily integrated into existing manufacturing processes.

  • Compatible Electrolytes for High-energy, High-power Lithium-ion Batteries

    In order to address the main scientific issues facing the lithium ion technology and realizing the practical deployment of next-generation high-energy-density nickel-rich layer oxide cathodes, a Prof. Manthiram-led team has developed the design of a new nonaqueous electrolyte system for improved electrode-electrolyte interface capabilities, chemical and electrochemical stability at high voltage, and excellent kinetic properties. Pouch-type lithium-ion cells are based on a high-capacity nickel-rich layered oxide cathode and a commercial graphite anode. These cells are impregnated with a new electrolyte solution consisting of lithium salts and a sole bulk solvent. The cell show improved capacity and voltage retention during cycling, remarkable high-rate performance and superior resistance to anode lithium plating (especially at low temperatures), and drastically reduced irreversible capacity loss during initial charge-discharge cycles involving the formation of electrode passivating films.

  • Thermal Storage Phase Change Material Composites

    UT Austin researchers have made major discoveries in materials science and in system integrations of a thermal battery system, including:1. Novel Phase-Change-Materials (PCMs) with high latent heat of fusion/melting2. Novel hybrid material to be filled with PCM to form a high thermal conductivity composite for the heat reservoir3. 3-D printed graphite structures that can be used to form the PCM composites or as heat exchanger 4. A thermal storage unit consisting of a shell and tube heat exchanger with the inclusion of PCM-foam composites

  • A novel class of interpenetrating hydrogel materials for all-weather-condition water harvesting

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a novel class of Interpenetrating hydro-gel materials, with example as hybrid interpenetrating gel for all-weather-condition water harvesting. In this unique design, the micro-gel could efficiently absorb moisture from air and condense the vapor water under varying relative humidity, thus achieving water collection from air for different weather conditions. Meanwhile, the gel could store water molecules and release pure water when heated by solar radiation, achieving a radiation responsive behavior for water release. Thus, the interpenetrating hydro-gel could serve as a self-powered pure water generator.

  • Hierarchically nanostructured hybrid hydrogel for highly efficient solar steam generation

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a novel interpenetrating structured hydrogel for water purification under one sun. In this unique design, the micro-gel which has broadband and efficient absorption under the sunlight can convert absorbed solar energy to thermal energy to achieve water purification steam generation. Meanwhile, the water delivery is controlled by the swelling of hydrogel, which can be tuned to make the rate of water supply close to that of steam generation, contributing to the heat localization to achieve high-efficient steam generation. Thus, the interpenetrating hydrogel could serve as a solar steam generation device with high efficiency.

  • New materials for optically rewriteable photonic components and chips

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented new material to enable rewritable integrated photonics. In their demonstrations, we exploit the integration of photochromic molecules into a hybrid structure consisted of a plamsonic nanoparticle arrays and a polymer waveguides to achieve the strong exciton-HPWM coupling with a giant Rabi splitting of 572 meV. By harnessing the photoswitchable Rabi splitting, we develop the light modulators and waveguides by alternative illumination of our devices with ultraviolet light and green laser. With its low fabrication cost, high production efficiency, simple optical setup and rewriteable capability, this techniques will provide a new optical platform to fabricate diverse optical components for the application of optical interconnect circuit.

  • Colloidal Lego for versatile construction of colloidal matter and designer materials

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have exploited the integration of the light-controlled temperature field on a photothermal-responsive substrate and an ionic surfactant to develop a colloidal Lego technique for construction of colloidal matter. With advantages such as applicability to diverse colloidal sizes (from sub-wavelength scale to micron scale) and materials (polymeric, dielectric and metallic colloids), tunable bonding strength and length, versatile colloidal configurations from one-dimensional (1D) to three-dimensional (3D), and low-power operation (100 to 1000 times lower than optical tweezers), the colloidal Lego technique will release the rigorous design rules required in the existing techniques and enrich the structural complexity in colloidal matter, which will open a new window of opportunities for colloidal matter in applications of optical devices, photovoltaics and biosensors.

  • Enhancing sensitivity of graphene gas sensors using molecular doping

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated that the sensitivity of a graphene sensor to a gas molecule can be significantly enhanced using molecular doping, which was found to be as effective as substitutional doping and more effective than electric-field doping. The room temperature sensitivity of NO2-doped graphene to NH3 was measured to be comparable to sensitivity of graphene doped with substitutional boron atoms and superior to that of as-fabricated graphene by an order of magnitude. The detection limit for doped graphene sensors was estimated to be ~200 ppb, which can potentially be improved with extended exposure to NO2, compared to ~1.4 ppm before doping. While the stability analysis of NO2-doped graphene sensors indicates that this doping method is not completely stable, this study nevertheless presents molecular doping as a candidate technique for sensitivity improvement by enhancing the initial carrier concentration. Such high levels of doping cannot be readily obtained via the electric field effect in real applications due to restrictions on power consumption and maximum supply voltage, especially for the case of CMOS-compatible integrated sensors. Electrical characterization and Raman spectroscopy results proved that the observed sensitivity enhancement was due to localized hole doping of graphene via adsorption of NO2 molecules. 

  • CMC Bio Cellulose Composite Gel Grown Under Agitated Conditions for Use in Cosmetics and Fillers

    The invention is a Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) gel for use in cosmetic including, but not limited to: serums, foundation primers, lip treatments over night masks, and post-cosmetic procedure care. The chemical backbone of cellulose interacts with the extracellular matrix of human skin and works to heal and repair. The CMC cellulose gel will be used in cosmetics as an overnight gel mask and day serum to help repair damaged skin, as well as to protect the skin throughout the day.

  • Low-Cost and Facile Approach for Manufacturing 3-D Porous Nickel Foams and Thin-Graphite with Ultrahigh Surface Area and Multilevel Dendritic Porosity

    In this invention, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin report an original facile and low-cost approach for the synthesis of three-dimensional (3-D) nickel foams with hierarchical dendritic porosity that offer much higher surface areas compared to commercially available Ni foams. By using the 3-D nickel foams with hierarchical dendritic porosity as catalysts, the researchers have also successfully synthesized 3-D multiple porous thin-graphite with replicated morphology. Both of these materials offer much enhanced surface areas, compared to commercially available entities, which have demonstrated essential applications, such as electrode supports, in batteries and supercapacitors. 

  • Flexible photovoltaics on baterial cellulose

    The invention is a photovoltaic device that is fabricated on bacterial cellulose using printable inks composed of semiconductor nanocrystals used for other photovoltaic applications.  

  • Process-based Method of Detection of Deep Gas Invading the Near-Surface (Groundwater and Vadose Zone)

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed and demonstrated a method for single-shot analysis of CO2 concentration in soil that pinpoints the source of carbon and does not require multiple years of baseline data to determine changes over time. Relationships among major fixed gases are used to instantaneously identify processes that create and alter vadose zone CO2 concentrations. The capability for real-time continuous soil gas data collection has the potential to enhance monitoring efficiency, reliability, and defensibility to ensure the CCS project is performing as designed.Researchers also developed instrumentation for measuring nitrogen concentrations in soil gas. The produced nitrogen measurements achieve the accuracy needed for CCS and/or shale gas leak determination on a useful timescale. The proposed invention is a replacement for GC measurements of nitrogen and can also be used simultaneously to measure oxygen concentrations. This expresses a lower cost of operation for the gas analyzers and makes implementation of leakage detection more accurate and cost-effective. The technology also facilitates real-time continuous automated site monitoring, with the potential for data telemetry which will aid in upscaling the technology to industrial scales.

  • Novel Material for Safe and Efficient Storage of Gases

    The effectiveness of porous carbons as gas sorbers has been associated in the past with their specific surface areas and pore sizes. However, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have tailored a carbon surface such that it sorbs gases via interaction with polar nitrogen-containing functional groups on its surface.

  • Silicon Quantum Dot Optical Probes

    Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have developed a way to increase the light absorption of the quantum dots, while retaining the unique light-emitting properties of the quantum dots leading to a significantly brighter material.

  • Non-Contact Method for Creating Micro-scale Topographical Patterns in Polymers

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel method of patterning the surface of polymeric films using light without the need for a photomask. This non-contact method enables rapid development of patterned structures at a micro or macro scale for ultimate functionality. This is the first instance of use of a UV light source to transfer a pattern from a photomask as a surface energy gradient into a polymer film, and then use of this pattern to develop three-dimensional topographic features by simple thermal annealing. The invention is superior to electrohydrodynamic patterning and conventional photolithography in that various steps for traditional pattern development are eliminated to improve patterning speed.

  • Surface Deposition of Small Molecules to Increase Water Purification Membrane Fouling Resistance

    Increasing surface hydrophilicity of reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration membranes reduces membrane fouling, which results in higher water flux across the membrane. This invention is a novel surface treatment method which improves on other modifications because of its ease of application to virtually any membrane support. The surface treatment molecules adhere non-specifically to surfaces they contact. Additionally, they reduce the risk of delamination because of bonding interactions with the membrane support.

  • Cord-Yarn-Structured Supercapacitor

    Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a method to produce a super-capacitor with a cord-yarn structure. This technology includes the use of activated carbon fiber (ACF) and carbon fiber (CF) for ply yarn formation, electrolyte gel preparation, and super-capacitor assembly.

  • All-Fabric Supercapacitor

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed method to produce a supercapacitor with all-fabric materials. The technology includes use of activated carbon fiber (ACF) fabric, carbon fiber (CF) fabric, and mesh fabric to form a multilayer composite structure, electrolyte gel preparation, and supercapacitor assembly.

  • Highly noise-absorbent and odor-adsorbent seat and floor cover fabric systems for aircraft cabin interiors

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method to produce transportation interior fabrics utilizing ACF that provide multifunctions of noise absorption, odor absorption, flame resistance, and electrical conductivity. The combination of these functions makes the developed fabric materials competitive in the applications for interiors of next-generation aircraft, vehicles, and trains.

  • Light-Directed Reversible Assembly of General Plasmonic Nanoparticles Using Plasmon-Enhanced Thermophoresis

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have exploited the integration of plasmon-enhanced thermophoretic effect on the quasi-continuous gold nano-island substrates and holographic optical system to form and manipulate assemblies of general plasmonic nanoparticles in a low-power, rapid, parallel and dynamic fashion. For its non-invasive and reversible nature, the method is applied for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to analyze molecules in their native liquid environments. Low-power and parallel operation, reversible nanoparticle assembly, and applicability to general nanoparticles allow this technique to open up a new window of opportunities for trapping, manipulating, patterning, and sensing of nanoparticles for bio-sensing and biochemistry studies.

  • A class of self-healing supramolecular gels and their hybrids with conductive polymer gels for energy and electronic applications

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a hybrid gel material synthesized by introducing self-assembled supramolecular gel into conductive polymer gel template. The supramolecular gel consists of organic ligands and metal ions while conductive polymer gels are nanostructured conductive polymers. This hybrid gel shows features of high conductivity, appealing mechanical and electrical self-healing property without any external stimuli and enhanced mechanical strength and flexibility. The "host-guest" synthetic method could be applied for other multi-functional polymeric hybrid materials. Self-healing devices, flexible and printable electronics, artificial skins, durable medical devices, and energy devices could be developed based on this hybrid gel system.To demonstrate its potential for practical applications, thin films of the hybrid gel were fabricated on flexible substrates to test their self-healing electrical properties. It was shown that the conductivity of the hybrid gel developed is among the highest values of conductive gels, and most importantly, the conductivity can be maintained after extensive bending and stretching tests due to their good self-healing property. Lastly, electrical self-healing properties were demonstrated with a simple electrical circuit made of the hybrid gel; after being cut, it only takes about a minute for the circuit to self-heal and recover its original conductivity.

  • Facile Fabrication of Ultrasensitive and Durable Thin-Film Graphite-Polymer Strain Sensor for Fine Motion Detection in Human Health, Musical Instrument Learning, and Sport Training

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a low-cost and facile method for the synthesis of conductive interconnected thin-graphite networks. These are then embedded in elastomeric polymers for flexible, ultra-sensitive, and durable strain sensors. These high-performance strain sensors have been applied in human vital sign monitoring, such as respiratory rate, phonation, and pulse rate, which show much more detailed signal features with high signal-to-noise ratios compared to previous work. They also can detect position which can be used in posture correction for a variety of applications such as proper musical instrument positioning and posture adjustments for sports applications including golf and running.

  • Tailoring atomic layer deposition growth across features using self-assembled monolayers

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a novel method to tailor the sites for growth on surfaces with curvature when using atomic layer deposition. The results of this process can be seen in the cross-sectional TEM-EDS (transmission electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) image below. The brighter red regions in the Ti elemental scan indicate areas of higher concentration.

  • High-capacity Lithium/Dissolved Polysulfide Cells

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a lithium-dissolved polysulfide battery utilizing polysulfide-containing catholyte and a binder-free, free-standing carbon electrode. Such a battery offers a capacity which is more than double that of conventional sulfur cathodes, high cyclability, and high efficiency (>95%). The preparation method is also low-cost, easily scalable, low-energy consumption, and environmentally benign.

  • A Reduced Graphene Oxide Polymer Blended Aerogel as a Substrate for Battery Electrodes and Methods of Making and Use Thereof

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are exploring the use of a conductive and flexible aerogel as a 3D substrate for battery electrodes. The substrate is easily made from graphite and poly (acrylic acid) and has been shown to enable stable cycling of graphite electrodes with 7.5 mAh/cm2 capacity and LiFePO4 cathodes with 5.0 mAh/cm2 capacity.

  • New Method of Converting Bagasse and Other Lignocellulose Residues into Functional Regenerated Cellulose Fiber

    This invention is about a new method to make regenerated pure cellulose fiber and nanoparticle-modified cellulose fibers using wood, bagasse, and other renewable celluloses. The technology includes a use of a special solvent for the formation of cellulose solution and a continuous cellulose fiber spinning line under an ambient room condition. The technology also covers the fabrication of bagasse pulp and biopolymer composites from the raw cellulose and different nanoparticles.

  • A Core-shell Electrode Configuration for Lithium-Sulfur Battery and Methods of Making the Same

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have presented the design of a core-shell cathode with a pure sulfur core shielded within a conductive shell-shaped electrode. The new electrode configuration allows Li-S cells to load with a high amount of sulfur (sulfur loadings of up to 30 mg cm2 and sulfur content approaching 70 wt%). The core-shell cathodes demonstrate a superior dynamic and static electrochemical stability in Li-S cells. The high-loading cathodes exhibit a high sulfur utilization of up to 97% at C/20 ? C/2 rates and exhibit low self-discharge during long-term cell storage for a three-month rest period. Finally, a polysulfide-trap cell configuration is designed to evidence the eliminations of polysulfide diffusion.

  • Low-Cost, Aqueous Batteries with a Mediator-ion Solid Electrolyte

    A new type of aqueous zinc-bromine (Zn-Br2) battery is demonstrated with alkali-metal-ion solid-electrolyte separators in which the alkali-metal ion serves as an ionic mediator. Separation of the Zn anode and the liquid Br2 cathode with the solid electrolyte completely circumvents the Zn-dendrite issue and the crossover of the liquid reactants. The uniqueness of this "mediator-ion" approach is that the redox reactions at the Zn anode and Br2 cathode are sustained by a shuttling of the mediator alkali-metal ion between the anolyte and catholyte through the solid electrolyte.

  • Combined Electrodialysis and Pressure Membrane Processes for Removal of Natural Organic Matter in Drinking Water Sources

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel system designed to effectively treat waste water that is high in natural organic matter.  The invention is a unique combination of existing water treatment technologies and is designed to remove NOM from water sources, primarily surface water sources, of drinking water. The process is to be used prior to chlorination. It makes use of the principles of membrane processes (e.g., electrodialysis, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration) and an understanding of water chemistry to isolate NOM from water while maintaining an ion content appropriate for drinking water.

  • Conversion of recycled cotton into high performance barrier film

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found an approach for converting recycled cotton fiber into nanofiber film with high performance of oxygen and moisture barriers. Recycled cotton fabrics like blue jeans or bath towels are raw materials. Specific nanoparticles are used to achieve moisture barrier performance.

  • Novel Material for Natural Gas Purification

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method to tailor a carbon surface such that it chemisorbs (reactively absorbs) nitrogen. This reactive sorption provides the highest-ever nitrogen sorption capacity, even at elevated temperatures, where little nitrogen is sorbed on most carbons and where sorption/desorption rates can be rapid, providing high throughput. They reversibly sorb at 40°C and at 1 bar nitrogen pressure 1.1 mmol/g nitrogen (3.2 weight %), five times more than the best nitrogen sorbing molecular sieve carbon. Desorption of the nitrogen is complete at only 160°C.

  • Novel Transparent Conductive Films

    The hybrid films demonstrate synergy between the three different nanostructures used to yield better TCF performance. In particular, the hybrid film has better adhesion to the substrate compared to only Ag NW film due to the graphene-based materials on top of the NWs. Additionally, the RG-O film might act as a protective layer for the metal NWs underneath. This is particularly important because metal NWs are usually more reactive than RG-O and may be easily damaged by oxidation or corrosion under ambient conditions. It is expected that such hybrid TCFs might improve the performance of existing and emerging devices.

  • Synthesis and Characterization of Small Nanographenes and Graphene Nanoribbons

    Researchers at UT Austin have described new synthetic methods to obtain new small nanographenes and long graphene nanoribbons (GNRs). These methods have the notable advantage of explicit control over the width and terminal-edge structures of the GNRs. This bottom-up approach is modular by design, uses polymer precursors that can be efficiently synthesized from commercially available small molecules, and holds potential for rapid access to other GNRs. In brief, the features of this new synthetic approach allow step- and cost-savings in the production of GNRs. 

  • Visual Color-Changing Sensor for Detection of Multiple Solvents

    A research team at UT Austin has designed and synthesized an entirely new lanthanide (Ln) based, porous, crystalline material that allows the visual detection of particular solvents and solvent impurities in real-time in a nondestructive manner. This is possible due to the ability of the material to emit visible light of discrete colors based on the type of solvent and the amount of impurity present. This allows the immediate detection of the presence of particular organic and inorganic solvents without the need for chemical analysis. 

  • Cathode additives for a sodium rechargeable battery

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have proposed a new cathode material to compensate the irreversible capacity loss at the anode side. Once it is blended with cathode materials (e.g., sodium transition metal oxides, Prussian blue), it can introduce additional charging capacity depending on the blending ratio that can compensate for the irreversible capacity loss of the anode. During following discharge reaction, the cathode material can utilize its full capacity.

  • Ultimate Transfer Method to Enable Use of Silicene

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a process that employees encapsulation, top and bottom layers, to protect air-sensitive 2D materials for transfer, handling, and device fabrication. It preserves the pristine material properties and simplifies the device fabrication process, thereby enabling the realization of working electronics. 

  • Novel Composite Anode Materials for Sodium Ion Batteries

    Research done at The University of Texas at Austin could overcome the aforementioned difficulties. This novel technology provides a series of nano-composite alloy anodes in which an electrochemically active metal or alloy is dispersed in a ceramic matrix, which buffers the large volume changes occurring during cycling. The nano-composite anodes exhibit high capacity with good cyclability and rate capability.

  • Transgenic Cyanobacteria: A Novel Direct Secretion of Glucose for Energy Harvesting

    A research group at The University of Texas at Austin, led by Prof. R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., has engineered a cyanobacterial strain that can secrete more than 100 times the glucose that wild-type strains can under the same growth conditions. Additionally, glucose is liberated without pre-treatment or apparent harm to the cells. After incubation in acidic buffer, cells can be returned to growth medium and subsequently recycled for continued glucose harvest. This strain can be cultivated on non-arable land and grown in salt water, conserving valuable croplands and freshwater resources for food production, and fixating a significant amount of CO2 into photosynthetic metabolic products, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

  • One-step Electrochemical Deposition of a Dense, Photoresponsive Silicon Film on Graphite

    In this invention, a low-cost carbon substrate--e.g., graphite--was employed to deposit photoresponsive Si, with porosity more comparable to that of commercial Si wafer. The use of graphite substrate reduces process cost and produces a very dense Si film. Additionally, graphite substrate allows a wider potential and/or current density tunable range in the electrochemical deposition process, so the morphology of the Si deposit can be better engineered. Si deposits of different morphologies such as Si nanowires, nanoparticles and dense films can also be prepared on a graphite substrate. Besides graphite, other carbonaceous materials, such as active carbon, carbon fiber, carbon nanotubes, can be used as substrate or template for producing photoresponsive Si.

  • Material for the Liquid-Phase Separation of Isomers of Industrial Importance

    A research team in the Chemistry Department at The University of Texas at Austin, led by Prof. Simon Humphrey, has discovered an inexpensive and robust aqueous process utilizing a uniquely designed PCP for the separation of such isomers. A new Mg(II)-based version of the porous coordination polymer with 1-D pore structure was prepared by a continuous-flow microwave synthesis process at benign conditions. This Mg-PCP is moisture-stable and thermally stable up to 500°C and shows unusual reversible soft-crystal behaviour: dehydrated single crystals of the material selectively adsorb a range of organic molecules, which crystallize inside the pores at ambient temperature and pressure. p-DVB or PX is almost exclusively adsorbed and crystallized from a mixture of isomers and other reaction byproducts.

  • Highly Sensitive Metamaterials for Molecular Chirality Sensing

    A group in the Electrical and Computing Engineering Department at UT Austin, led by Dr. Andrea Alu, has invented a method to detect the chirality of molecules with unprecedented sensitivity, ultra-fast processing time, and absolute detection of molecular chirality. The new proposed method involves a pair of plasmonic twisted metamaterials with complementary chiral properties, which allow proper tuning of the local optical response of the metamaterials to enhance the electromagnetic chirality leading to enhanced sensitivity to molecular chirality. By adsorbing a monolayer of chiral molecules on the surface of the metamaterial with opposite twist angles, and combining the total measured circular dichroism from the pair, significantly enhanced circular dichroism can be achieved, with a sign unequivocally indicating the chirality of the molecule. Experiments show that the chirality of as few as only 5 molecules per unit cell can be accurately and absolutely sensed. This method can also be extended to sense the concentration of a particular chiral molecule in an achiral mixture.

  • Parity-Time Symmetric Metamaterial and Metasurface for Broadband Invisible Cloaks and Other Devices

    A UT Austin research group led by Prof. Andrea Alu in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has invented a method to induce metamaterial effects, including invisibility cloaks, planar lenses, negative refraction, and ideal invisible sensors. This innovative idea makes use of time and space symmetry to relax the bandwidth and power loss constraints typically associated with metamaterials, allowing for broadband characteristics and total resilience to losses, and opening new ways for a variety of metamaterial applications useful in military, telecommunications, analytic sensing and biomedical fields.

  • Design of an Interface with a Built-in Figure of Merit for Transporting Air-Sensitive Material

    UT Austin researchers have designed an interface, equipped with a load lock, differentially pumped chambers, and an airtight transfer capsule, which is able to minimize oxidation and contamination of materials. During sample transfer from a glove box to a surface analysis UHV chamber, exposure to trace levels of oxygen and water depend on the purity of argon (or nitrogen) in the glove box, not on the design of the interface. The interface also contains a built-in figure of merit (FOM) as a semi-quantitative method to monitor the transfer reliability as well to evaluate levels of gaseous contaminants (e.g., hydrocarbons).

  • Green building blocks: high-level itaconic acid production by engineered fungi

    Researchers at UT Austin have utilized the metabolic and genetic engineering of the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica for high-level production of itaconic acid through a fermentation-based process.

  • Large High-Quality Single-Crystal Graphene

    Researchers at UT Austin have designed method which would allow for the production of graphene on a large scale. The invention uses a two-step synthesis technique to create millimeter-size single-crystal graphene. This is much larger than results currently obtained which create graphene crystals ranging from only ten to a hundred microns in diameter. This single crystal of graphene of such caliber is currently one of the largest crystals created.

  • New Compound for Electrodes of a Secondary Lithium-ion Battery

    Researchers at UT Austin have created a new compound for electrodes of a lithium-ion battery that provides better and safer performance than alternative anode materials. The invention proposes that compounds with the structure of the oxide TiNb2O7, including those structures having ionic displacements within the framework, can be used as more effective electrodes of a secondary lithium-ion battery.

  • 3D freestanding highly porous thin-graphite with hierarchical porosity for supercapacitor and Li battery

    A group in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin, led by Prof. Emma Fan, has reported an innovative approach for the synthesis of such superstructures from engineered catalysts and their applications in electrochemical supercapacitors. The 3D thin-graphite nanostructures with controlled porosity are highly porous, free-standing, and flexible. The manufacturing method is efficient, controllable, and cost-efficient, and can be readily adopted for manufacturing 3D porous graphene/graphite materials suitable for an array of energy storage and conversion devices. The group applied the as-grown graphite as electrode support for nickel hydroxide [Ni(OH)2] supercapacitors, achieving an unprecedented specific capacitance of ∼3962 F/g and 1149 F/g at a current density of 1.5 A/g, based on the actual weight of Ni(OH)2 and total weight of the electrode, respectively. Compared to known technologies, such values are a few times higher. The supercapacitors also exhibit excellent durability with 97.5% capacitance retention after 4000 cycles.

  • Metamaterial Window Glass for Improved Energy Efficiency

    Metamaterial (MTM) glass uses carefully designed nanopatterned layers on glass to selectively access near-infrared energy, generating a plasmonic coupling effect which leads to absorption of energy that can reduce the heating load of structures in cold climates.

  • Storage of Electrical Energy by a Redox Flow Battery Based on Cobalt and Iron Complexes with Amino-Alcohol Ligands in Strongly Alkaline Electrolyte

    UT Austin researchers have come up with a completely original idea of making an alkaline RFB, instead of the conventional acidic design. This alkaline system boasts better electrolyte stability and shelf life, less corrosion to cell components, and a simpler manufacturing process, while maintaining conductivity and voltage output comparable to commercially available acidic systems. 

  • Novel New Method to Enable Spin-based Electronics

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a fabrication method and a structure of a magnetic film on silicon. Room-temperature ferromagnetism is stabilized in a doped oxide film, either in direct contact with the semiconductor or separated by a thin amorphous silicon dioxide layer.

  • Modification of Electronic Properties of Graphene-Based Materials for Improved Interfacial Capacitance for Electrical Energy Storage Applications

    This invention involves the modification of the electronic structure of graphene and activated graphenes by a dopant and the resulting enhancement of dual-layer capacitance. The inventors found that the area-normalized capacitance of activated graphene and lightly N-doped activated graphene with similar porous structure increased from 6 µF/cm2 to 22 µF/cm2 for 0 at% and 2.3 at% N-doping, respectively. The increase in bulk capacitance with increasing N concentration and an increase in magnitude of quantum capacitance in N-doped monolayer graphene versus pristine monolayer graphene suggests that the increase in the electrochemical double-layer type of capacitance of many, if not all, N-doped carbon electrodes studied to date is primarily due to the modification of the electronic structure of the graphene by the N dopant.

  • Extraordinary Ultracapacitor Performance with a Novel Carbon

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel version of graphene through proprietary manufacturing techniques and chemical activation. The new material, a-MEGO, demonstrates outstanding performance characteristics for electrical conductivity and energy density when compared with existing graphene-based ultracapacitors. Energy densities on the order of 4X and power densities on the order of 10X compared with known products have been measured.

  • Novel Materials for Lithium Ion Battery Anodes

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are exploring the use of silicon and germanium as the anode material for Li-ion batteries. The specific materials developed for this purpose are unique in their form as a nanoscale wire mesh that is synthesized in a slurry process easily scalable to commercial production at low cost. Furthermore, the research team has developed proprietary formulations that have enabled stable silicon anode cycle capacity of more than 2,000 mAh/g with long-term stability.

  • Method and Apparatus for Controlled Core-Shell Electrospun PVDF-TrFE Fibers

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have presented a fiber in fiber structure and designed a microfabricate and piezoelectric-based pressure sensor which can be later integrated with catheter for intravascular measurements.The invention is a core-shell fiber structure with the shell materials being made from PVDF-TrFE, a piezoelectric polymer, and the core material being made from a conductive pure or composite polymer. The piezoelectric shell generates charge under stress, tension, or flexion conditions. The charge is tapped by the electrode surrounding the polymer shell. This signal is then transmitted to downstream signal processing devices, which are capable of quantifying the charge generated and relaying back the amount of stress or deformation experienced by the fibers.

  • Novel/Alloy Intermetallic Composite Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries

    Dr. Manthiram and his team have developed a novel nano-composite material that we believe can replace carbon anodes for certain applications in lithium-ion batteries. This technology offers much higher gravimetric capacities than carbon anodes, as well as much higher volumetric capacities. The high gravimetric and volumetric energy densities are appealing for portable and transportation applications, allowing end users to employ smaller form factors. These new nanocomposites are also expected to provide improved safety over competitive carbon anodes due to: - a higher operating voltage versus metallic lithium and the consequent suppression of lithium plating - a suppression of the formation of undesired solid-electrolyte interfacial (SEI) layers They may also offer higher tolerance to manganese poisoning when combined with a lithium manganese oxide spinel cathode, which is one of the leading high power cathodes for transportation applications.

  • Improved Process for Synthesis and Deposition of Chalcogenide Glass Thin Films

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method for synthesizing and depositing thin films of GeSx and other chalcogenide glasses via chemical and electrochemical means. The process takes advantage of room-temperature ionic liquid reactants and electrochemical deposition to form thin films of GeSx with a high level of precision and control.

  • Novel Membranes for Ethanol Dehydration

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an ethanol dehydration membrane that is made from thermally rearranged polymers. Membrane approaches have lower cost and lower energy requirements than distillation/molecular sieve approaches. Current membranes for ethanol dehydration have issues such as plasticization and degradation due to high process temperature and pressure, but the materials described here are able to perform well in harsh temperature, pressure, and chemical conditions. It is also more durable, which means it would be replaced less frequently than current membrane materials.

  • Semiconductor Barriers and Process to Improve Quantum Efficiency of Light Emitting Devices

    This invention involves the use of various semiconductor barriers for the confinement of excess carriers to quantum wells composed of alloys of GaAsSb and related materials. The barriers are chosen to make the band offsets appropriate for carrier confinement. The band alignments of Type I materials are preferred for light emission over Type II. Thus, the material developed in this invention is a significant improvement over other semiconductor materials designed for confinement of charge carriers. We have developed materials for the Type 1 alignment and with appropriate lattice parameters for strain balancing of the quantum wells.

  • Lower Cost Fuel Cells

    This technology describes an inexpensive, metallic nonplatinum-based fuel cell electrocatalyst. This solution offers not only reduced cost of the fuel cell catalyst but also improved performance.

  • Additive technology to eliminate bio-fouling in membranes; e.g., desalinization

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel deposition technique to coat polydopamine, a highly hydrophilic polymer, onto the surface of commercial reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration membranes. The investigators have shown that polydopamine increases the surface hydrophilicity of the membranes, which leads to a reduction in fouling. This fouling reduction results in higher membrane fluxes when filtering oil-water emulsions.

  • Chlorine-Resistant Reverse-Osmosis Membrane

    This invention satisfies the need for a chlorine-tolerant reverse osmosis membrane that can control membrane biofouling and eliminate the dechlorination steps involved at desalination plants. A chlorine-tolerant reverse osmosis membrane allows for higher feed pressure (i.e., higher flux) without biofouling, as the flux no longer has to be restricted to low feed pressure to prevent flux from being greater than a critical value beyond which biofouling occurs. The existing commercial thin-film composite membranes have high water flux and salt rejection, but lack chemical stability to oxidants (e.g., chlorine), have a high fouling rate due to surface roughness, and undergo biofouling due to a strong bacteria affinity. The current invention is a polymeric membrane that can withstand the addition of chlorine into water purification systems such as reverse osmosis (desalination) and nano-filtration. This new membrane can accommodate chlorine, while having minimal effect on membrane flux and salt rejection rates. It is effective in filtering oily waters and water containing components such as algae, organic contaminants, and harmful trace metals like arsenic.

  • High-Performance Fuel Cell Membrane Materials

    This invention is a new class of polymer blend membrane materials based on N-heterocycle pendant groups that offers significant improvements over the Nafion membrane. First, when used in hydrogen fuel cells, it can be used as a high-temperature membrane that can be operated in excess of 100 degrees Celsius and at a low relative humidity. Thus, the fuel cell humidification system can be eliminated or drastically simplified. Furthermore, higher temperatures reduces the poisoning of the platinum catalyst by carbon monoxide impurity, thereby reducing fuel overloading and cleanup, and offering significant cost reduction. This membrane also makes drastic improvements in DMFCs by reducing the permeability to methanol. With less methanol crossover, there is reduced poisoning of the platinum catalyst, resulting in significantly better performance and lower cost.

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Heavy Oil Recovery Using a Closed Loop Wellbore Heating System

    The proposed heavy oil recovery method utilizes a very hot fluid flowing through a closed, U-shaped wellbore to heat the reservoir fluids. The resulting effect is lowered reservoir fluid viscosity and improved flow from the reservoir to a producing well. The invented closed-loop heating design, arrangement of wells, and application to heavy oil reservoirs are unique from previous heavy oil extraction methods. This method applies greatly to steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) reservoirs, in which steam loss adds to operating expenses. In contrast, implementation of this method eliminates steam loss to the reservoir formation.

  • Method for Prevention of Shale Fracture Hydration During Well Stimulation by Hydraulic Fracturing

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a method to protect the water-sensitive clay fabric and maximize back-production of water during hydraulic fracturing of hydrocarbon-bearing shales. The invention exploits the reverse solubility characteristics of cloud-point glycols (CPGs), which become insoluble and form a separate non-polar phase when temperature is increased. CPG polymers are mixed with fracturing water, remaining in solution until the fluids invade deeper into shale pores. When exposed to higher in-situ temperatures, the CPG polymers separate from the solution to form an emulsion block in the shale pores which inhibits hydration of the clay fabric. Clay swelling and proppant embedding are prevented, which in turn improves hydrocarbon production rates and ultimate hydrocarbon recovery.Because the shale is protected, more water will be recovered upon flowing back the well, which will minimize water-locking of small fractures and open up the fracture networks for production. The higher water recovery will aid in the re-use of water for subsequent fracturing jobs.The CPG emulsion blocks are oleophilic, allowing the polymers to rapidly mix with and dissolve in hydrocarbons. When the well is brought on production, the flow of hydrocarbons from the clay fabric to the fracture clears the CPG emulsion blocks and allows production to carry on in an unrestricted manner.

  • Gemini Surfactant Structures for Enhanced Oil Recovery

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel crafted class of Gemini anionic surfactants for use in chemical EOR applications that can be applied at concentrations an order of magnitude lower than conventional sulfonate surfactants, cutting down the cost of the surfactant. This new composition can be used for recovery of a large range of crude oil compositions from even the most challenging reservoirs. These surfactants yield ultra-low interfacial tension at high salinity and/or high hardness ion concentrations. The surfactants have been shown to perform well at salinities up to 250,000 ppm and hardness ion concentrations up to 20,000 ppm. Another potential advantage of these surfactants is their ability to viscosify the aqueous phase under certain conditions of temperature and salinity.

  • SMOOTH-DRILL: Elimination of Stick-Slip to Optimize Well Drilling Economics

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a novel solution to the problem of stick-slip by enabling the drill bit to be actively controlled by the top drive system. With this control, the drill bit will rotate smoothly, eliminating the sticking, the resulting over-torque of the drill string, and the subsequent release and waste of energy, and thereby saving time and money. The control system allows for the top drive to stabilize the system, respects practical bounds on control torque magnitude, is robust, and does not require a human in the loop to modify gains. It can be implemented in real-time with guaranteed convergence whenever a model update is required.

  • Novel Design for Recovering Hydrocarbons for Deviated and Horizontal Wells

    Researchers at the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have created a simple yet functional design that connects a downhole electrical submersible pump (ESP), located at the toe of the wellbore, with a beam pump or progressive cavity pump (PCP) working from the surface. The use of two pumps reduces the wear on a single pump, eliminating adverse effects that would require additional maintenance and costs. The design not only connects one pump to another, but also allows for the more efficient separation of gas and liquid fluids than current methods.

  • Coinjection of dimethyl ether and steam for bitumen and heavy-oil recovery

    This invention is concerned with dimethyl ether (DME) as a novel additive to steam for bitumen and heavy-oil recovery. DME is coinjected with steam into a viscous-oil reservoir in a similar way to steam-assisted gravity drainage and cyclic steam stimulation. DME and steam propagate in the reservoir in the form of vapor. They condense near thermal fronts, at which oil viscosity is reduced by the latent heat released and by the dilution of oil by the condensed DME.Coinjection of a solvent with steam significantly reduces the amount of steam required for gravity drainage in comparison to traditional steam-assisted drainage. The reduced amount of steam does not hinder the rate of oil production. Improved efficiency of oil recovery by coinjection is significant to new oil fields in which conventional steam-only injection is ineffective for drainage.

  • Beam-Steerable Mechanical Sensing of In-Situ Rock Properties using Controlled Drilling Vibrations

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have proposed an invention that utilizes a controlled input signal, an axial or torsional source in the drillstring that is either at the surface or near the bit, to excite a broad range of mechanical harmonics of the drilling system. A method is then proposed to segment the recorded mechanical harmonics into those of the drillstring structure itself and those of the bit-rock interaction. The former can be estimated and are a function of the geometry of the drilling system, while the latter ones may then be used to estimate the mechanical properties of rocks penetrated by the drill bit.  

  • An Electromagnetic Pig for Oil and Gas Pipelines

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a new type of pipeline pigging tool. The invented design utilizes the unique property of heat generated via magnetic field flux to essentially provide a heated pig that needs no external power supply. The heated pig not only scrapes but also simultaneously melts the paraffin with which it comes into contact as it flows through the pipeline. The result is efficient and effective paraffin removal with no non-dissolved wax solids remaining. 

  • Methodology to Increase Gravity Drainage Rate in Oil-Wet/Mixed-Wet Fractured Reservoirs

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a method to increase the oil drainage rate during gravity drainage in these oil wet/mixed wet reservoirs. In a gravity-drainage process, a small amount of chemical (called a rate enhancer) will be injected into the fractures as an aqueous solution or foam before or during gas or steam injection from the top (or water/surfactant-water injection from the bottom). The treatment can be repeated periodically if the effect of the chemical degrades over the long drainage time. This novel method, while increasing the rate of drainage, also prevents the re-imbibition of oil onto lower layers in fractured reservoirs.

  • Software for Wellbore Stability

    This software program provides guidelines for controlling wellbore failure through the adjustment of drilling fluid density, salinity, azimuth, and well declination. DRILLER includes additional input data such as thermal and chemical affects, thereby achieving greater results.

  • A Method for Automated Surface Measurement of Drilling Fluid Rheological Properties

    The proposed invention is a pipe rheometer that measures drilling fluid rheological parameters in real time at the rig site. Although the concept of a pipe rheometer is not new, this method has never been applied on the rig site for real-time monitoring of drilling fluid properties. All recent attempts toward drilling fluid automation focused on the modification of existing rotational rheometers for automated rheology measurements rather than introducing a new approach. Current advances in technology, such as the invention of accurate flow meters and pressure transducers, enable the usage of a portion of pipe at the surface of a well for automated rheology measurements. Installation of rotational rheometers is costly and ineffective with significant technical drawbacks. The proposed pipe rheometer has simple implementation on the rig site, in which installation of accurate pressure transducers on an existing flowline allows for easy setup. This invention is a major step towards achieving an effective fully-automated mud measurement and monitoring system that removes the need for direct human interaction.

  • Advanced Fluid Tracers to Evaluate Rock Formations

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have proposed a novel method for the assessment of properties of porous and permeable rocks, including hydraulic connectivity and dispersivity. The proposed technology involves a new type of tracer with substantial precision which can be used with existing borehole measurement techniques. The use of nanoparticles as fluid tracers enhances specific contrast properties, thereby significantly improving the detection of flow properties in fluid conduits as well as in porous media.

  • Reservoir Pressure Prediction

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed the UTCENTROID program which can be used to simulate the pore pressure within petroleum reservoirs based on an understanding of the pressures present in the bounding mudstones. This program overcomes the challenge of determining reservoir pressure for a complex pressure field surrounded by mudstone. The model uses single-phase flow to describe the flow into and out of the petroleum reservoir. The program incorporates a variety of models to describe the permeability of the bounding mudstone. Additionally, the program's simulation includes the geometry of the reservoir body.

  • Fracture Diagnostics using Electromagnetic Methods

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed an invention that uses conductive proppants to establish communication between a hydraulic fracture and antennas placed in, above, or immediately outside the wellbore. The injection of a highly conductive proppant into a hydraulic fracture transforms it into a highly conductive sheet within a low-conducting rock medium. Utilizing principles of antenna design and novel use of electromagnetism, this invention can analyze the communication patterns between the fracture and the antennae in order to determine the length, height, and orientation of the hydraulic fracture. 

  • Use of Nanoparticles for Reducing the Permeability of Fine-Grained Rocks Such as Shales

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel solution for reducing the permeability of shale formations using specific nanoparticles in the drilling fluids. By identifying the pore throat radii of shale samples, the investigators were able to select fine particles that would fit into the pore throats during the drilling process and create a non-permeable shale surface. Tests have shown reduction of 80% to 95% in permeability of the shale, which results in drastic reduction of absorbed water and potential for collapse.

  • Thermal Fluid for Prevention of Fluid Losses in Oil and Gas Well Construction ("Texas Heat Wave")

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a controlled release system of thermally active substances for thermal conductivity and expansion of near-wellbore rock formations. The utilized exothermic reaction is capable of generating heat in the wellbore about two to five hours post-injection. The fracture gradient of a well is sensitive to the temperature of the well fluid. Lower fluid temperatures decrease the formation temperature, allowing for easier fracturing of the wellbore and larger mud losses. In contrast, fluid temperatures that are higher than the formation temperature increase the thermal component of the rock stresses and the value of the fracture gradient. The result is increased difficulty in fracturing the wellbore and prevention of mud losses. There are currently no technologies that actively exploit the generation of heat for fluid loss prevention purposes. The use of an exothermic reaction to heat the wellbore fluid and nearby rock formations in conjunction with a delayed release mechanism allows for maximum impact of the heating process to the rock formation. Both aspects of the proposed heating method are entirely novel and can potentially reduce mud losses by significant amounts.

  • Look-Up-Table Based Drilling Automation System

    The Look-Up-Table Based Drilling Automation System is a methodology based on lookup tables and allows data from multiple sources (operators, service providers, drilling contractors, rig owners, etc.) to be combined in an efficient manner. This system allows for rapid development, deployment, and adaptation of automation and control algorithms. It also eliminates the need to solve differential equations, and thus makes it possible for someone with vocational training to be a monitor of automated drilling operation. The visual aspect of the methodology makes it very user-friendly, gives the driller a better understanding of how the computers control the rig, and ultimately streamlines real-time troubleshooting.

  • Novel Design for Enhancing Oil Well Pump Performance through Elimination of Paraffin Buildup

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin developed a prototype that generates heat at a localized spot in the production tubing string. No external power supply is required, as the heat is generated from magnetically induced currents. The level of heat can also be controlled to keep the oil temperature from dropping below the critical temperature of paraffin formation, guaranteeing the prevention of wax buildup and restricted flow. The infrastructure of the proposed heating system is simple and does not interfere with existing pump equipment at the surface of the well, as opposed to current methods that require extensive modification of pump equipment. The energy input to the unit can be provided by a sucker-rod pump, downhole motor, or any other energy source. However, the use of power provided by the well's sucker rod for pumping oil eliminates the need for any other power source for the heating system.

  • Transporting Heavy Oils at Low Temperature

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a formulation based on proprietary surfactants that enables even the most viscous crude oils (bitumen) to form a flowable emulsion. Experiments indicate the emulsion retains a low enough viscosity even under low ambient temperature conditions that it can easily be pumped using the standard field equipment.

  • A Novel Method for Characterizing Sub-Surface Formations of Oil and Gas Deposits

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method of using paramagnetic nanoparticles to image oil distribution. The invention encompasses three aspects that have not been achieved by existing methods:- Enhanced imaging by injecting paramagnetic nanoparticles- Nanoparticle coating such that they preferentially collect at the oil/water interface, without adsorbing onto rock pore walls- Introduction of a magnetic field so that the nanoparticles cause the oil/water interface to oscillate, thus allowing only those areas to be imaged.

  • Method for Automated, Real-Time Drilling Fluid Rheological Parameter Determination Using Downhole Sensor Data

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel method to determine important mud rheological parameters using data obtained from downhole drillstring sensors (pressure and temperature). In this method the well itself is used as the equivalent of a pipe viscometer, with pressure measurements conducted along its length using sensors placed at strategic positions in the drill string. The rheology determination is performed at actual downhole pressure and temperature in real time.

  • Novel Method and Design for Optimal Production of Fluids from a Single Horizontal or Deviated Wellbore

    Researchers in the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a unique optimization technique that could dramatically increase recoveries in unconventional reservoirs. The researchers envision a method and a down-hole tool configuration that enables the simultaneous injection of fluids and production of hydrocarbons in existing wellbores to allow for significantly higher hydrocarbon recoveries at minimal cost.

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Sub-5nm Multi-field Overlay in Jet and Flash Imprint Lithography

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, who invented J-FIL technology, have recently developed the process of dual field and quad field overlay that produces line widths of 5nm repeatably and reproducibly with no distortion and no interference with previously patterned fields.

  • Multiple Materials Systems For Selective Beam Sintering

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have proposed a powder material approach by which structural parts may be fabricated through a particular method of selective beam sintering. Powder of one material is coated with a lower melting/dissociation temperature material. The powder mass is then processed using selective beam sintering. This step is analogous to liquid-phase sintering, in which the low-temperature phase(s) melt first and infiltrate the powder mass locally. Capillarity effects control beam interaction volume, while epitaxial growth of the coating material is limited by the low temperature phase(s). During secondary processing of the material, the low-temperature phase(s) can be diffused into high-temperature phase(s) or vaporized to produce a structure of high-temperature material. Improved control of molten zones and epitaxial growth allows for the fabrication of metal and ceramic parts, as well as the application of other physical properties, such as electrical insulation. Overall, the proposed method for selective beam sintering allows for a greater range of possible products, which can vary by material or porous structure.Another approach to improving the strength of sintered products is the use of an electrostatic field across a dielectric powder. The result is the application of external pressure that does not interfere with the laser radiation, but successfully levels the powder layers for enhanced sintering.

  • Electrical Method to Eliminate Hydrocarbon Fouling and Reduce Pumping Power for Pipeline Oil Transport

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel electrical method that can eliminate/reduce hydrocarbon fouling and reduce oil pumping costs more effectively than existing technologies. The method exploits the electrical properties of water and hydrocarbons to induce a water buffer layer at the pipeline interior surface. The presence of this water layer eliminates hydrocarbon-to-surface contact and the resulting fouling. The electrically-induced water layer also protects the surface from water-based corrosion and prevents current leakages.

  • Electrical Pumping-Based Active Heat Pipes

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a heat pipe concept which replaces the traditional heat pipe wick with active electrical pumping. This low-power electrical pumping scheme can reliably transport liquid condensate over long distances, and offers possibilities to overcome other wick-related performance limitations in present-day heat pipes. The unique evaporator section of heat pipe increases evaporation surface area, thereby increasing evaporation and heating rates. The liquid flow from the condenser back to the evaporator is also enhanced by the use of oil-infused textured surfaces for additional lubrication of the fluid. Overall, the invented heat pipe design has the potential to significantly increase the evaporation-condensation cycle speed for greater efficiency.

  • Negative Stiffness Honeycomb Material

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed negative stiffness honeycomb structures that consist of periodically repeating cell structures that embed curved beams. These curved beams act as snap-through elements that snap from one bi-stable shape to another under applied mechanical loading. This novel design allows for a full compression of the material with the ability to regain the exact structure as before and perform again and again.

  • Bringing Micro- and Nano-scale Technologies to the Masses

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed many Massive Open Online Course offerings which have become very popular and provided opportunities for students around the world to access high-level instruction on challenging technical material. To address the lack of access to hands-on experimentation, typically provided as part of the on-campus curriculum, the researchers have developed hand-held, individualized kits that are designed to enable practical application of the scientific aspects of micro and nanotechnologies, such as wafer processing, integrated circuit manufacturing, and solar cell fabrication.

  • Constant Force Suspension

    The invention is a method and an apparatus for creating Constant Force and Near Constant Force suspension systems (CFS and NCFS) which allow for simplified control strategies for these systems. The invention involves control of the vehicle body such that the vehicle body does not vertically move and remains unaffected by the wheel´s motion. Additionally, the system may be supplemented by mechanical passive springs to reduce energy consumption. When supplemental mechanical springs are used, a variable vertical force is applied to the vehicle body; this invention includes the concept of varying actuator force output to cancel the spring force fluctuations, in order to maintain a constant vertical force on the vehicle body.

  • Direct Selective Laser Sintering of Metals

    Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed improvements to the selective laser sintering process for materials which lie in a certain range of surface tension, melt viscosity, and which have inclination to form skin layers which inhibit wetting, such as oxides. Specifically, this technology is a method of fabricating a fully dense, three-dimensional object by direct laser sintering. In a chamber with a partial pressure atmosphere, a beam of directed energy melts metallic powder in order to form a solid layer cross section. Another layer of powder is deposited and melted, along with a portion of the previous layer. The energy beam typically is in the form of a laser, scanning along a path resembling a parametric curve or some other, arbitrary piecewise parametric curve. In another embodiment, the previous layer is not remelted, thus creating an oxide film that acts as a clean stop to prevent unwanted downward growth.

  • Real-Time Laser Control for Powder Bed Fusion

    Researchers at The University of Texas developed a closed loop control method that allows for high-precision temperature control of a target medium for powder bed fusion in real time. The closed loop scheme is based on a feed-forward method in which sensor data provides known conditions of a medium before laser arrival at that area. Analysis of individual area conditions of a medium allows for derivation of the appropriate power needed to convert the temperature of the designated area to the desired temperature. This method allows for control over constant or spatially varying temperature in the resulting build, ultimately leading to greater consistency and higher quality produced parts.

  • Flash Sintered Additive Manufacturing

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an approach to additive manufacturing through flash sintering tests on alumina, one of the most commercially-relevant ceramic materials with applications in additive manufacturing. They demonstrated that with the proper temperature and electric field, the temperature and time required to sinter various ceramic materials is significantly lowered. For example, a ceramic product can be flash sintered to 60% density within seconds, a dramatic improvement to the traditional process requiring several hours, that is strong enough to be handled and easily brought to near theoretical density in a furnace. Tests showed that this two-step process allows the ceramics to retain fine features as well. Flash sintering can be combined with selective laser sintering to increase sintering speed, improve the handling of small ceramic products, and diversify the variety of materials that can be effectively manufactured. The combination of flash sintering and selective laser sintering can potentially allow for binder-free additive manufacturing of ceramics, lowering resource costs and eliminating the time-consuming removal process of organic binders from the ceramic. Flash sintering can potentially improve the production speed and handling of any material at the microscopic level, in which the electric field acts as a thermal process that controls the mechanical properties of the material. When applied at the systematic level, flash sintering can greatly ease the fabrication of small ceramic parts and increase the use of additive manufacturing for ceramics.

  • Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing Guided by OCT

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a non-invasive method for visualizing the entire 3D part within the powder matrix of the SLS system in real-time during the manufacturing process. The OCT process enables not only a view of the visible surface of a build, but also a penetrating 3D view through the build's layers for the evaluation of layer-to-layer bonding. The method entails the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a process widely used in the medical field to produce 3D images from within optical scattering media, such as biological tissues. In addition to SLS, the proposed OCT system can be applied to any form of additive or subtractive manufacturing. The real-time aspect of the OCT method allows for monitoring of a build during any stage of additive printing, such as observation of the thickness of each layer before the fusing process and evaluating the dimensions of the surface. OCT allows for the detection of voids or other defects in the part as each layer is added and fused, which can potentially be remediated in-situ by adjusting process parameters.

  • Simultaneous and Separate Driving of Multiple AFM Tips

    This invention allows for independent actuation of multiple AFM tips relative to a sample. Each AFM tip can be positions in the X and Y directions to be above a desired feature and can be actuated in the Z direction to be at the optimal height for surface measurement. The invention allows for simultaneous measurements over a specimen with an irregular or curved surface. The device is simple and compact, making it easy to integrate into existing manufacturing lines. The position of each of the probes can be optimized such that the location of each probe corresponds with an area of interest over a relatively large sample, which may aid in determining the overall quality of samples such as silicon wafers.

  • Precision inkjetting through optimal control

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method for precision inkjet printing that includes determining an actuation parameter associated with a pressure waveform. Based on the pressure waveform, the method also includes actuating a print head to eject a droplet from a nozzle and acquiring an image of the droplet. The method further includes processing the acquired image to estimate a volume and a velocity of the droplet and based on the estimated volume and velocity of the droplet and a target volume and velocity, adjusting the acquisition parameter.

  • Holographic plasmon-enhanced thermophoretic tweezers for low-power versatile manipulations of biological cells and nanoparticles

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin exploit the integration of plasmon-enhanced optothermal effect on the quasi-continuous gold nano-island substrates, thermophoretic trapping, and optical imaging system to trap and manipulate polymer particles, live cells, and biomolecules in arbitrary behavior. Through direct optical imaging control, versatile manipulation functions like parallel trapping, inter-particle interactions, and particle rotations are enabled on the plasmonic landscapes, which are excited by the holographically reconstructed light patterns on the substrate. With the low-power operation, arbitrary manipulation, and applicability to various types of biological cells and molecules, HPTTs will find a wide range of applications in nanomedcine, diagnostics, and pharmaceutics.

  • Thermal storage system using hexagonal-packed, tube-encapsulated PCM and a method for specifying encapsulation tube parameters

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin presented an optimal design of an encapsulated PCM-based latent thermal energy storage system. It identifies the thermal and physical parameters of the encapsulation and packing system for any given heat transfer fluid and phase change material such that the highest density and recovery rates are possible. Such a system provides 3 to 7 times the thermal storage density of conventional chilled water thermal storage systems, particularly when flow rates are high and return temperatures low (as in high-demand periods).

  • Bubble-Pen Lithography for Versatile and Low-power Optical Manipulation and Patterning of Colloidal Particles

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin exploit the plasmon-enhanced photothermal effects on the quasi-continuous gold nano-island substrates to create microbubbles using simple optical setup and low-power laser (640 μw/μm2) to capture and immobilize colloidal particles on the substrates. Through directing the laser beam to move the microbubble, we create arbitrary single-particle patterns and particle assemblies with different resolutions and architectures. Furthermore, we have applied BPL to pattern CdSe/ZnS quantum dots on plasmonic substrates and polystyrene (PS) microparticles on two-dimensional (2D) atomic-layer materials. With the low-power operation, arbitrary patterning and applicability to general colloidal particles, BPL will find a wide range of applications in microelectronics, nanophotonics, and nanomedicine.

  • Enhanced Detection of Nuclear Materials

    Researchers at UT Austin and Pacific Northwest National Labs have developed a method for using spectrally sensitive detectors to discriminate nuclear materials from multiple layers of other materials using single or multi-view radio-graphs. The accompanying algorithm is adaptive to find an optimal solution without active user input. This technology could dramatically increase international security and aid in the defense against nuclear trafficking.

  • Programmable deposition of nanoscale films

    Researchers at UT Austin have designed an invention that presents a versatile inkjet-based process for programmable deposition of thin films with nanometer-scale accuracy. This method is hereby referred to as Programmable Inkjetting of Thin-films, or PAINT. PAINT offers unique and enabling properties due to its ability to obtain programmable film thickness profiles, and it can perform at high process speeds and with near-zero material wastage. This combination of enabling performance and low cost has the potential for significant advantages over typical film deposition methods.

  • Robotic Hand Exoskeleton

    Researchers at UT Austin have developed a robotic hand exoskeleton that provides assistance and resistance to stroke patients during rehabilitation therapy sessions. The robot will provide programmable support for hand movement, giving the patient the freedom to move without any effort or resistance to motion. The robotic hand exoskeleton contains the most joint actuators of any current technology and provides a full range of hand motions to the patient. This allows therapists to apply precise movement and forces to the subject.  The kinematics and actuation of the robot design ensure safe, comfortable and natural interaction with the user. These comfortable and safe interactions could lead to the possibility of prolonged, multi-faceted therapy, and even other commercial uses to restore hand function.

  • A Novel Method for Continuous Production of Dry Water

    Researchers at UT Austin have designed a new method of producing silica-encapsulated water with the same quality as that of the batch process dry water. The invention utilizes a single air stream, silica, and a cyclone separator in a way that will enable the high-capacity production of this high-demand product. This process will allow for the demands of the market to be met by use of a continuous production of encapsulated droplets.

  • The Ultimate Directional MEMS Microphone

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a design that employs innovative mechanical properties plus low power piezoelectric readout to realize a pressure gradient sensor. It is possible to combine several gradient sensors on a single chip to sense gradients in all three axes. 

  • Novel Rainwater Storage System Designed to Reduce Electricity Demand

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed designs for a system that integrates thermal storage and water storage into a traditional direct-expansion air conditioning system to reduce peak electrical demand, while also reducing the consumption of treated municipal water for non-potable purposes. Computer modeling shows the system design saves consumers money for water and electricity, while improving reliability for water and electric utilities.The system uses the thermal mass of a large volume of water by pre-cooling the water in the early morning hours, then using the cool water as a lower-temperature (more efficient) heat sink for the air conditioner condenser during the hottest peak hours of the day. The water used for the thermal mass is provided by rainwater capture and supplemented by air-conditioner condensate and grey water. The combined thermal/water storage system reduces peak electrical demand for air conditioning systems and reduces consumption of costly, energy-intensive treated water.

  • Wireless Inspection System for Rebar Corrosion

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a low-cost, battery-free, passive wireless sensor for monitoring the corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete. The sensor is embedded in concrete and is interrogated using a magnetically coupled reader. The sensor has a resonator capable of wire-free interaction with a fully exposed sacrificial transducer which is in contact with the concrete environment that it is monitoring. A diffusion layer is included, which mitigates the effect of localized corrosion. This is a key innovation which ensures that the sensor will switch states predictably. Critically, this design is less susceptible to false positives, thus improving reliability.

  • A New Structural Family for Superior Oxide Ion Conductors

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed new structural families for superior oxide ion conductors which shows promise when used as the electrolyte in a fuel cell or a regenerative or reverse fuel cell, as an oxygen sensor, or as an oxygen separation membrane. The material can be in the form of a single-phase polycrystalline solid having a monoclinic crystal structure. The material may have an oxide-ion conductivity (σo) greater than or equal to 0.01 S/cm at a temperature of at least 500°C. This material may be formed into a planar or tubular membrane, such as a tube that separates the fuel flow from the oxygen flow in a fuel cell.

Physical Sciences :
Civil Engineering

Skip to next category
  • Damage Detection of Railway Tracks based on Vibration Measurements by Moving Laser Sensors

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a method and system that consists of one or multiple non-contact laser Doppler vibrometers in order to measure the dynamic vibrations of railway tracks. Laboratory tests demonstrated that a crack causes changes in dynamic response parameters of tracks. By observing these changes, the location of damage is detected.

  • Truck-mounted pavement deflection monitoring system using high precision laser scanners and inertial sensors

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a system that consists of a sensing system mounted on a truck that scans pavement as the truck drives along. It uses data from multiple laser scanning sensors, in conjunction with high-precision accelerometers and gyrometers, to accurately measure the degree of pavement deflection in an area of the road. This data generates a very accurate positioning (in space) of all the sensors, enabling the deflection measurement to be carried out with high precision on a moving platform at moderate velocity.

  • HPG Pulsed Welding Generator Subsystems

    Researchers at The University of Texas Center for Electromechanics and their business partner Koo and Associates, Inc. were awarded a Phase II SBIR grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to further the development of a full-scale HPG pulse power welding system for the production of high-performance bridge steel. Although HPG technology has been applied to the production of railroad rails and assorted metallurgy samples, this development is the first application of HPG to bridge girders.The inventors improved upon the efficiency issues in both the HPG technology itself as well as current methods for bridge girder welding, verifying HPG technology as the most profitable welding method to date. Improvements included addressing magnetic field leakage problems and removing the need for high-power and high-pressure hydraulic auxiliary systems previously needed to operate the bearings in pulse welders. The Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) method requires hundreds of brushes, pneumatic cylinders to actuate each brush, and cumbersome tubing schemes to route pressurized gas to the cylinders in the generator. The inventors have made improvements to the sliding electric contact design to eliminate the need for these excessive parts, effectively simplifying the design, lowering costs, and increasing production speed.

  • Flying Wing Anchor

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a Flying Wing Anchor which is based on two innovations:- For installation, the anchor is dropped from above the seafloor so that it embeds into the sea floor under its own weight like a knife-shaped torpedo. This innovation of gravity penetration is achieved with a geometry that has the center of gravity located below the center of lift, keeping the anchor vertical during free fall and penetration.- When it is loaded in service, the anchor pitches, dives deeper, and ultimately provides the maximum possible holding capacity with the line pulling normal to the plane of the anchor. This innovation is achieved with a triggered hinge that holds the shank parallel to the fluke until the angle between the line and the fluke exceeds a threshold.

  • Prestressed Masonry Wall Assembly

    The invention is a single face shell masonry wall unit for assembly using groutless post-tensioned vertical reinforcement.

  • A Novel Design Component Enabling Rapid, Accurate, Non-Destructive Testing of Concrete Roadways and Structures

    Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a unique device, an acoustic source, that enables rapid non-contact scanning of bridge and roadway infrastructure through established stress-wave NDT methods. The device, when used with existing stress-wave NDT testing equipment, enables much faster data generation and a higher scanning rate at a significant cost reduction when compared to conventional or non-contact ultrasound and stress wave generating instruments.

  • High-Speed Automated Pavement Inspections

    The automated pavement distress measurement system (ADPMS) is an invention that can be employed to find and classify cracks in pavement in accordance with the Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) and the American Association of State Highway Transport Officers (AASHTO). PMIS data includes transverse, longitudinal, and alligator cracking, while AASHTO data includes crack density information. Also, this automated system provides the actual number of transverse cracks, longitudinal cracks, spalled cracks, and punch-outs. Finally, this technology can record the analytical information and provide an accompanying snapshot of the pavement. The invention uses the technology of a high-speed line scan camera with a high-power laser line projector to acquire real-time images of pavement, and includes the proprietary Crackscope-II software for smart camera control, crack detection, crack classification and visual editing.

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • A Novel Method for Characterizing In-plane and Out-of-plane Thermal Conductivity of Nanostructured Materials

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method based on the pump and probe system of time-domain thermoreflectance which measures the change of reflectance from the surface, under the assumption that the change of temperature at the surface is proportional to the change of reflectance. This method employs a photomask to generate a grating period image on the sample surface of both pump and probe lasers. The technique is able to get signals from many fringes which contain information about both cross-plane and in-plane thermal transport. After gathering the signal, thermal conductivities of the sample are extracted using the two-dimensional thermal transport model.

  • Spectrally-selective Polarized Infra-Red ID (SPIRID) Tags Based on Chiral Silicon Metasurfaces

    This invention introduces a simple ultra-thin platform for generating narrow-band circularly and elliptically polarized radiation, either by conversion from externally incident light or through thermal emission of heated objects. While infrared optical radiation is emitted by all heated surfaces, the overwhelming majority of it is emitted in polarization states that do not exhibit any preference for circular polarization. This offers an opportunity for Spectrally-selective Polarized Infra-Red ID (SPIRID) tags that thermally emit circularly-polarized infrared radiation confined to multiple spectrally-narrow bands. The invented platform can be fabricated in a CMOS. The resulting SPIRID tags can be employed for unique identification of vehicles, personnel, electronic components, etc. It can be used for preventing/identifying tampering with genuine electronic components.

  • Novel Technique to Discriminate Against Ambient and Scattered Laser Light in Raman Spectrometry

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin use a frequency modulation technique in combination with heterodyne detection to reject interference from ambient light as well as from scattered stray laser light.

  • Novel synthesis of highly reactive bi-metallic nanoparticle catalysts using microwaves

    The invention presents a synthetic methodology which facilitates the easy and convenient preparation of polymer-capped noble metal nanoparticles that have defined size, shape and composition, and consist of alloyed mixtures of two noble metals. The method relies upon the use of microwave assisted irradiation and solution-phase reaction of commercially available precursors using environmentally benign solvents. The reaction process is automated in order to ensure high reproducibility and to allow for scale up.The resulting bimetallic alloy metal nanoparticles exhibit unique properties that differ significantly from bulk metal. The relative amounts of each metal in the alloy antiparticle can also be varied, which allows for fine-tuning of the catalytic properties. 

  • Super X Diverters for Solving Heat Flux and Neutron Shielding Problems of Magnetic Fusion Plasma Devices

    Research at The University of Texas at Austin has yielded a series of inventions that can solve the nuclear waste problem. These have enabled designs of optimal nuclear fuel cycles combining existing light water reactors with new fusion-fission hybrid reactors. This allows a small number (six) of hybrids to burn the waste of many (100) fission reactors, reducing the total system cost to less than the cost of storage. Such high support ratios (much smaller than fission-only systems using critical fast-spectrum reactors (FR)) are possible only because at the core of the hybrid sits the powerful Compact Fusion Neutron Source (CFNS) made possible by the Super-X Divertor (SXD). The SXD allows safe handling of the extreme heat and neutron fluxes in the small removable CFNS module. The large flux of neutrons from the CFNS will allow a sub-critical fast-spectrum fission assembly to safely and rapidly burn 99% of the most difficult-to-burn transuranic isotopes. The modularity of the CFNS allows designing it mostly with existing technology because it can be replaced every two years. This reduces projected development times and cost.

  • Magnetic Electroporation

    The alternative introduced by this invention is generating a pulsed magnetic field through closed magnetic yokes in the processing flow path. The power required to generate the maximum flux through the system is considerably less than that required with electrodes since it avoids half cell reaction through the electrodes. Another primary advantage is elimination of electrode contamination and corrosion.This magnetic electroporation invention has the potential to revolutionize the food processing industry. By destroying cell membranes with penetrating bursts of electric fields, the new method simultaneously unlocks the gates to cellular resources and destroys any harmful microorganisms that may have found their way into the food supply. Unlike other electroporation techniques, the magnetic electroporation developed at The University of Texas at Austin is not a power-intensive process, and unlike the chemical and thermal extraction and disinfections steps, taste loss is minimal.

  • Fiber Image Analysis System

    This device uses pneumatic forces to cut a fiber bundle or web into 0.5mm fiber snippets and to blow the snippets into a chamber, where the snippets deposit onto a slide. It mainly consists of a cutter, a spring-loaded holding plate, a sample retainer cavity, and a fiber collecting chamber. The blades simultaneously cut through fibers at different positions along their axes so that diameter variations within a fiber can be represented within the snippets. The device automates the preparation of a sample slide for fiber measurements with a microscope and allows uniform spreading of fiber snippets.

Physical Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Novel and Inexpensive System for Vehicular Collision Avoidance

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a new signal processing framework and associated system configuration for RADAR that exploits available IEEE.802.11 devices. This invention enables wireless communication devices to operate as radio detection and ranging (RADAR) devices with high-resolution performance. 

  • Direct Contact Heat Exchanger for Thermoelectric Power Generation

    A thermoelectric device creates voltage when there is a temperature difference across it, or conversely when a voltage is applied it creates a temperature gradient by causing charge carriers at the atomic level to diffuse from the hot side to the cold side. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel design that enables the hot side of the thermoelectric device to be located directly in the hot gas exhaust stream. For the first time, the use of a thermoelectric energy generator can be employed directly in the engine exhaust system to generate electricity to be stored in a capacitor for rapid discharge (engine starting), or stored in a battery for use as power over time, or used directly to drive electrical systems using the engine exhaust.

  • Crash Predicting Network with Graded Warning for Vehicle Collision Warning

    NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (NEAT) trains neural networks for sequential decision tasks. NEAT gains experience in predicting collisions using a simulator such as the Robot Auto Racing Simulator (RARS), which simulates vehicle dynamics (including skidding and traction) and interactions between multiple vehicles. The crash predictor uses NEAT's recurrent network to analyze the possibility of a crash, including driving off the road and colliding with other cars. The algorithms works with range-finder and sonar inputs, as well as raw visual data, and provides a graded warning.

Computing & Wireless :
Application Software

Skip to next category
  • Environ: Environmental Degradation Educational Game Set

    Environ is that new media solution to empower the UN to achieve its outreach goals. Environ is an educational game set in near-future Earth where environmental degradation has started to damage the world economy. The player must enact policies, research technology, and build infrastructure to improve the environment while increasing economic prosperity. Resources are limited, so the player must deeply analyze different courses of action to make difficult and complex decisions. The software also allows players to create their own scenarios. In other words, we produced the core version of the game with research-support content; however, players can freely change that content and play or share their own version of the game. Consequently, Environ has immense potential as an innovative, community-driven technology solution for generating public engagement around the topics of climate change and sustainability, or any other subject matter that users choose to include.

  • HYDROFRAC3D: software for realistic simulations of hydraulic fracturing

    The invented software incorporates 30 years of research by Dr. Mark E. Mear in the area of computational fracture mechanics, which results in superior computational methods for simulating realistic three-dimensional curved fractures. 

  • Combustion Efficiency Calculator Using Gas Flare Images

    The Combustion Efficiency Calculator Using Gas Flare Images software takes a color flare image from a camera and processes the pixel information to yield a prediction of the flare combustion efficiency. This technology effectively reduces pollution and is amenable to closed-loop control of a gas flare by adjusting the steam or air injection rate. The prototype has been demonstrated successfully on pilot-scale flare tests.

  • 10-10 Project Benchmarking System

    The 10-10 Project Benchmarking System is the technological application for a new method of assessing capital projects in the engineering and construction industry. The system is a hosted web application that contains a user interface, a series of questionnaires, an administrative functions screen, and a report. The purpose is to assess the organizational maturity and application of known management practices to aid project performance from a cost, schedule, productivity, and safety standpoint. This system is unique in that it may be the first project benchmarking platform which is capable of canvassing the input of all the members of a project management team and incorporating these inputs into a scored output for each individual project. Intended users include members of a project management team for a facility owner, general contractor, subcontractor, or vendor/supplier in the industrial, commercial, and heavy civil construction sectors.

  • Super Planet Crash Game

    Super Planet Crash is a digital orrery, integrating the motion of massive bodies forward in time according to Newtonian gravity. It offers a simple and compelling visualization of the evolution of planetary systems created by the player. A point system and leaderboard encourages the player to explore different planetary configurations in order to increase their score. The main goal is to create a planetary system that is stable for five hundred years. The game has been played more than six million times by 400,000 players since its release in 2014.

  • Thrive Mobile App

    The Thrive app is built on an iOS platform and includes mini-documentaries of students, carefully distilled psychoeducation with practical advice, interactive exercises and daily notifications. In addition, there are visuals meant to inspire users, links to helpful resources, and platforms for sharing about the various subject areas both within the app and through social media.  

  • System Degradation Analysis Using the Degradation-Entropy Generation Theorem

    This theorem proposes a consistent thermodynamic approach using free energies and is based on conducted experiments validating the theory. Data has been collected to estimate entropies produced by the dissipative processes for: - Batteries (Li-ion & lead-acid): joule dissipation, thermal and electrochemical entropies- Grease: shear work, thermal and oxidation entropies- Fatigue of all solid components: plastic strain and thermal entropiesand the measure of degradation for each system was found to be a perfectly linear combination of the aforementioned entropies.

  • CII Performance Assessment System

    CII's (Construction Industry Institute's) PAS Program makes the gathering of project performance data efficient for CII. On the back end, the Key Report and Data Mining functionality of PAS makes getting project performance information out of the system very easy for CII's member organizations. PAS contains over 200 key performance indicators (KPIs) which can be filtered by over 200 separate criteria and variables in the Data Miner. This is done in real time with a customized display of quartiles for each metric selected. For CII, PAS greatly lowers the number of data requests completed, saving valuable time preparing customized analyses for each CII member organization. For the member companies, PAS allows for the creation of custom analyses of project performance data in CII's database. It also contains industry-specific extensions for upstream oil and gas projects, healthcare projects, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology projects. Intended users are any facility owner or general contractor that plans and executes capital projects in the industrial, commercial building, and heavy civil construction sectors.

  • 3D Body Modeling and Measurement

    3D Body Modeling and Measurement software acquires the three dimensional (3D) surface model and dimensions of a human body by using non-contact optical devices and 3D computer graphics techniques. It contains programs that perform 3D surface reconstruction (3D points), surface modeling (3D digital model), and body measurement (body landmarks, curve, circumference, volume). The system possesses advantages over current technologies in the following aspects: ease of portability, low cost, simple maintenance, and a short image acquisition time that makes it more suitable for child subjects. The intended users include professionals in health care, fitness clubs, custom clothing, and retail business.

  • Motor Controller for Free Piston Linear Compressor

    The invented software provides motion control for natural gas free piston linear compressor developed under ARPA-E funding. This controller is based on a state-feedback architecture and uses a Luenberger Observer. The software uses motor current and encoder measurements to estimate piston position and velocity. These position and velocity estimates are used by the controller to estimate force and current requirements for the motor coils so that the piston tracks a smooth sinusoidal linear path.

  • Multiscale-Multiphysics Network Simulator

    The invented software is a highly computationally efficient and predictive tool that simulates flow and transport on a large fully pore-scale domain, or a domain that consists of a mixture of pore-scale and Darcy-scale sub-domains. The network modeling module of this tool is quite flexible and comprehensive in its treatment of various flow/transport physics, algorithmic innovations, numerical considerations, implementation advantages such as vectorization, etc. Various transport physics are separately captured through the various network modeling modules.

  • Automated MRI Analysis for Abdominal Adipose Tissue Measurement

    This software provides a fully-automated assessment of abdominal adipose tissues. It identifies fat tissue voxels and differentiates visceral fat and subcutaneous fat tissue types without human intervention and prior knowledge. It contains programs that perform abdominal mask extraction, noise reduction, intensity inhomogeneity correction, image clustering and segmentation. This software is suitable for MRI data acquired by more advanced imaging modalities, such as water-saturation imaging and IDEAL (Iterative Decomposition with Echo Asymmetry and Least-squares estimation) technique.

  • Ontoexplorer and Emerald

    In conjunction with software system Ultrawrap, Ontoexplorer and Emerald form a basis for creating faceted search interfaces for one or more relational databases. This technology is an ontology-based data integration (OBDI) system that makes maximal use of Semantic Web technologies and the development of automatic techniques to support distributed data application. Conventional mapping processes restrict matchings to be between the same types of entities, which only cover part of real-world cases. By implementing two automatic systems that generate mappings consisting of classes, properties, and data values, Ontoexplorer and Emerald offers an improvement over conventional processes.

  • Software to Enable Rapidly Optimized Integrated Circuit Fabrication

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a process that uses physics-based models and integrated Bayesian statistics to dramatically speed up and reduce the cost for the empirical optimization of micro- and nano-fabrication processes compared to classical DoE. This methodology employs an iterative feedback between a model constructed on a robust theoretical foundation and experiments to guide the user to choose the best experiments to most quickly identify the optimal process conditions. The method enables the knowledge and experience of the user to be incorporated quantitatively to further decrease the time to optimization. Preliminary results show that number of experiments can be reduces by a factor of two to three compared to DoE.

  • EXOS: A Software Package for 3-D Simulation of Impact Dynamics

    EXOS is a physics-based code designed to simulate a wide variety of three-dimensional impact dynamics problems, such as the effects of weapons on vehicular protection systems or meteor-debris impact damage to satellites. It includes a preprocessor subprogram, an analysis code, and a simple rezoner subprogram in order to model hypervelocity impact problems. EXOS was developed using FORTRAN programming language and is compatible with many different hardware configurations and operating systems, ranging from personal computer to supercomputer. EXOS is energy-based and hence simple to formulate, with no need to consider continuum balance laws, interpolation functions, or weighted residual solution techniques. This technology is an improved version of the original EXOS and includes models of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials. It is also able to accept hex mesh geometries.

  • WAV-file Automated Analysis of Vocalizations Environment-Specific (WAAVES)

    WAAVES (WAV-file Automated Analysis of Vocalizations Environment Specific) is an automated USV assessment program utilizing the Signal and Image Processing Toolboxes created by MATLAB, in conjunction with a series of customized filters to separate USV calls from background noise, and accurately tabulate and categorize USVs as flat or frequency-modulated (FM) calls.

  • The Calm Before

    The Calm Before is a first person perspective adventure game, where players travel across strange lands, interacting with the world around them, in an effort to complete the final ritual. In The Calm Before, a sinister Storm looms over the land you once called home. Now you are called forth to defend it from certain destruction. Drawing upon the remaining vestiges of the power of the gods, and armed with their tools, you must breathe new life into timeless rituals to turn back the Storm before it consumes your homeland. You will come across a variety of challenges, but it is up to you to choose how to overcome them. Use your divine tools to drive back enemies spawned by the Storm, or seek out hidden paths to avoid them altogether. Use your light powers to slow-fall past obstacles, or solve ancient puzzles to open up lost temples of the gods. Whatever path you choose, every second counts. Donating light to the obelisks of the gods will grant you more time but sap your godly powers. If you can`t make it to the final ritual before the Storm, your island will be destroyed. Are you strong enough? Fast enough? Smart enough to stop the Storm once and for all?

  • AustinMan and AustinWoman Electromagnetic Human Models

    The AustinMan and AustinWoman datasets are very precise, high-fidelity with mm-scale image resolution (among the highest, if not the highest in the world), and contain 50+ different tissues. The methodology (past versions including simplifications, assumptions, and known errors in the models) used in developing the model is publicly available.

  • Campus Response to Intervention Progress Monitoring Tool (RTI-PMT)

    The Campus Response to Intervention Progress Monitoring Tool (RTI-PMT) is a cross-platform web-based app that helps campus leaders monitor progress in meeting campus goals to prevent learning difficulties in classrooms. The RTI-PMT lets campus leaders see, in real-time, how many students are at-risk, how resources are being used to provide them with intervention, and which teachers or grade levels need additional support. Using the tool over the course of an academic year allows campus leaders to identify areas where additional support is needed and to communicate progress towards achieving year-end goals with stakeholders.

  • A time-varying subjective quality model for mobile streaming videos with stalling events

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a dynamic model that can predict subjective QoE on videos that have been afflicted by stalling events. This model is perceptually-based and thus models potential linearities and nonlinearities in the human visual system (HVS) in addition to hysteresis or the recency effect.

  • Visible-Infrared Image Discerner (VIID)

    Visible-Infrared Image Discerner (VIID) provides the capability to distinguish infrared and visible light natural image, or video statistics, while simultaneously providing a quality measurement on the captured image or video, regardless of content. Prior to the development of VIID, no method or algorithm existed which could distinguish between infrared and visible light images or videos. Additionally, no software existed which could evaluate quality on-the-fly in a perceptually relevant way.

  • A Learning Agent for HVAC Thermostat Control

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a complete, adaptive reinforcement learning agent which applies a new control strategy for heat-pump HVAC systems. This learning agent can decrease energy consumption, adapt to the properties of a specific house, and learn to save energy while satisfying comfort settings. As proof of concept, a realistic simulator developed for the U.S. Department of Energy was used to test the learning agent. Results show that the learned control strategy leads to roughly 7% to 15% energy savings annually in weather conditions imitating those recorded in the New York City, Boston, and Chicago areas.

  • EFRAC 3D: A New 3D Compositional Hydraulic Fracturing Simulator

    The software is the first three-dimensional, compositional, non-isothermal, hydraulic fracturing simulator. The simulator adopts a dynamic, unstructured, finite-element meshing technique to simulate fracture height growth. The temperature and density changes are treated on a firm theoretical basis, by using an energy balance equation and an equation of state, both along the fracture and along the wellbore.

  • Natural Image Point Prediction Method

    The proposed method is a demonstrable improvement from existing solutions to the problem of estimating original image pixel values given a digitized array of image pixel values. It does this by first measuring, with a novel direct technique, the average local statistics in space and/or time of natural images captured with an arbitrary image-capture device of interest, such as a digital camera. These statistics are used to create look-up tables that provide optimal Bayesian estimates of point (pixel) values. 

  • Stache: a highly secure sensitive escrow service

    Stache provides an enterprise or highly distributed environment with a secure web-based solution to store sensitive credentials or strings (passwords, license keys, procedures, etc.) using FIPS 140-2 compliant hardware security modules (HSMs). Additionally, users are able to securely share and update this information as needed (e.g., as a member of a system's management team). Lastly, the service provides an escrow capability ensuring that the enterprise will be able to recover a sensitive entry in the event the owner of the team is not available.

  • Simulation-Medical Data Server

    The Simulation-Medical Data Server is modeling software which can emulate the treatment and movement of multiple patients across multiple locations to provide medical planners and disaster management personnel the opportunity to train with realistic situations through their various digital management systems or using analog human in the loop systems. This is provided without expensive, manpower-intensive activity by supporting personnel. The software has been developed using medical models and could be developed further using other logistics models to enable planning and training in other functional areas.

  • Textured Surface Defect Detection (TSDD)

    This software implements a computer vision algorithm that can inspect the surface of products covered with natural-looking textures for possible defects. The user first trains a one-class support vector machine to learn a general description of normal, defect-free texture in the feature space. Then switching to inspection mode, the user loads the image of the textured surface to be inspected, and the one-class support vector machine compares it to the general description of defect-free images. Finally, the location of detected defects will be displayed on the screen to the user.

  • PerfExpert: A Simple, Automatic Performance Assessment Tool for Programs Running on Multi-core Computers

    This invention is a software tool that automatically evaluates the performance of a program running on one or more cores, multi-core chips, or multichip nodes. It indentifies possible performance bottlenecks at the source-code level (functions and loops). The tool then states the likely causes and suggests possible solutions for alleviating each bottleneck in a manner that can be easily understood by programmers.

  • Reservoir Management Tool for Accurate Simulation of Fractures and Reservoirs

    A technique for reducing uncertainty in fracture characterization is embodied in this invention, JOINTS, a geomechanics-based model where a physical understanding of the fracturing process is combined with measurements of mechanical properties of rock and geologic deformation history to predict fracture network characteristics. This process-oriented approach provides a theoretical basis for deciding what types of fracture distributions are physically reasonable, and how attributes such as length, spacing and aperture are interrelated. JOINTS simulates subcritical and critical opening-mode fracture growth and can provide a combined prediction of all fracture attributes and their spatial distribution that can be used in discrete fracture flow modeling or in permeability upscaling for more traditional finite difference simulators. FRACPerm is a utility designed to assess the steady-state, single phase x and y permeability of JOINTS-generated fracture patterns for the purpose of export to larger scale, full-featured reservoir simulations. The FRACPerm code uses the finite difference method gridded to a fine scale to match the fracture pattern discretization.

  • A Dynamic Unit-Demand Auction Mechanism Supporting Bid Revision

    A unit-demand auction is a restricted kind of combinatorial auction in which a bidder is allowed to make a separate offer on each of a number of items, with the guarantee that at most one of these offers will be accepted. We propose a novel set rules for running a unit-demand auction. Our auction is dynamic, meaning that it proceeds in rounds. In each round, new bid data (bid revision requests and new bids) is received, and an update rule is applied to adjust the tentative outcome (allocation and pricing). The tentative outcome is made public at the end of each round. The update rule associated with the present invention is shown to satisfy a number of desirable mathematical properties. These properties make the proposed auction attractive for practical use.

  • 3D Body

    This novel invention discloses the creation of a whole-body imaging system that acquires the three-dimensional (3D) surface model and dimensions of the human body by using non-contact optical devices and stereo vision technology. It contains programs that perform 3D surface reconstruction (3D points), surface modeling (3D digital model), and body measurements (body landmarks, curve, circumference, volume).

  • Autonomous Intersection Management Simulator

    The software is a multi-agent traffic simulator used to evaluate algorithms for controlling autonomous vehicles at intersections. It simulates autonomous vehicles at intersections, along with intersection control algorithms.

  • UT Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) Applications

    The UT ASAP applications were specifically designed to support commercial airlines in the collection and management of incident reports. The applications also provide commercial airlines with an easy way to participate in national data-sharing programs by using a common format and taxonomy for ASAP reports.

  • ISORA - Risk Assessment Utility

    ISORA is a flexible, scalable, web-based enterprise risk assessment application that is designed to address system security, data security, and departmental implementation of enterprise policies. This application allows for granular delegation of responsibilities and access to accommodate large, federated environments. ISORA can be used to conduct entity-wide risk assessments, to ensure compliance of the target with specific regulations (e.g., PCI, HIPAA, state statutes, etc.)

  • Knowledge Machine

    Knowledge Machine (KM) and the Component Library solve this problem by creating a library of reusable generic knowledge components, which can then be encoded by a domain expert with minimal training to create a knowledge base for a specific domain. KM is a KRR programming language that allows the user to represent worldly knowledge in a language that the computer understands. The Component Library is a hierarchy of domain-independent knowledge units that can be re-used for each new knowledge base entered. Unlike other KRR systems, KM and the Component Library do not require a knowledge engineer to implement the system. In addition, the Component Library is easier to program because it uses a smaller set of terms to represent common knowledge than most other KRR systems, yet is able to obtain as broad coverage as other systems through the use of semantics—logical links between different knowledge components. In a pilot project sponsored by Vulcan Inc. called Project Halo, KM scored a passing grade on an AP Chemistry exam and outscored the other KRR systems in the pilot.

Computing & Wireless :
Utility Software

Skip to next category
  • 5demayo: A solution for representing a wide range of thermodynamic and rate data for concentrated solutions of piperazine loaded with CO2

    5demayo is a data insert/input file for AspenPlus that provides process modeling for the design and simulation of a process for CO2 capture from gases by aqueous piperazine. It will be used by designers of this process and by others who may wish to evaluate the process.  

  • SQLizer: Synthesizing SQL Queries from Natural Language

    SQLizer is a software that can generate SQL queries from a natural language (English) description. It can therefore be used by end-users to retrieve relevant information from a relational database without having to learn any formal query language whatsoever.

  • Performance Assessment Workbench

    The Performance Assessment Workbench (PAW) is a suite of simple codes designed to test baseline performance in high-performance computing systems.

  • A High-Performance GPU Implementation of the Classic Barnes Hut N-Body Simulation Algorithm

    This code implements the classical Barnes Hut n-body algorithm in the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) programming language for running on a GPU. Unlike most other CUDA programs, it performs complex traversals of an irregular tree-based data structure. The code is fully parallelized within and across thread blocks and is heavily optimized to minimize memory accesses and thread divergence. It demonstrates that complex irregular algorithms can be executed efficiently on GPUs.

  • Efficient Collective Communication Library for Intel’s Single-Chip Cloud Computer

    This invention is a collective communication library designed specifically for the Intel SCC that proficiently moves data across the SCC processor and between cores.

  • LSMPQS: a software package for simulating fluid displacement in porous media

    LSMPQS is a software package for simulating capillarity-controlled, immiscible fluid displacement (drainage and imbibition) in porous media. The software implements a novel level-set method-based progressive quasi-static algorithm.

  • UTWID 7.0 for Injection Water Management

    UTWID allows the user to address: How clean is clean? What filtration specs should I use? Can I inject raw seawater? How much oil in produced water will my injection well tolerate? How fast is a fracture growing? How often will the injection well require remedial treatment to regain injectivity? What is the right balance between injection water treatment costs and injection well stimulation costs? Should I fracture the injection wells?

  • Neuroevolution: Real-Time Creation of Sequential Digital Systems for Control, Design, and Decision Making

    Real-time NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (rtNEAT) is a genetic algorithm that trains and evolves neural networks of increasing complexity from a minimal starting point. This means networks that succeed continue while others are discarded, avoiding the problem of preparatory (non-real-time) training. Agents governed by rtNEAT neural networks can learn processes and even invent new solutions based on feedback without the guidance of a human programmer or controller, freeing the programmer from having to script extensive behaviors.

  • Telephone Call Center with Method for Providing Customer with Wait Time Updates

    Providing a customer with feedback, such as the status of the system?s progress, is important to the customer and increases usability and satisfaction with the system. This invention addresses customer feedback over the phone through the use of an auditory/visual progress bar (AVPB). The purpose of this AVPB is to provide the customer with a status of the system?s progress in accomplishing a specific task when providing visual feedback is not possible. One example of AVPB is to provide an ascending auditory tone to indicate the progress of a system process. The ascending tone is analogous to the filling up of a visual progress bar. The ascending tone would reach a certain pitch to signify task completion.

  • Compatibility Assessment of Educational Programs

    This tool allows schools to analyze existing programs and/or potential programs to see if they are compatible with the Accelerated Schools Project, specifically Powerful Learning and other components of Accelerated Schools. It is not intended to rate any program as good or bad, but rather to create a set of standards or principles with which to determine if the school complies with requirements/guidelines.

  • ModSite Computer Program

    Prior to the creation of the ModSite program, no computer software existed that could be used to teach contaminant transport modeling. ModSite is a Windows-based program written in Microsoft Visual C++.

  • SimSite Computer Program

    SimSite is a computer simulation application programmed in Microsoft Visual C++ for the Windows 95 environment. The purpose of this program is to simulate a Superfund site investigation to evaluate the need for remediation. (A Superfund site is an uncontrolled or abandoned area where hazardous waste is located that could possibly affect local ecosystems or people.)

  • Parallel Linear Algebra Package (PLAPACK) Release R3.1

    PLAPACK is a library infrastructure for the parallel implementation of linear algebra algorithms and applications on distributed memory supercomputers such as the Intel Paragon, IBM SP2, Cray T3D/T3E, SGI PowerChallenge, and Convex Exemplar. This infrastructure allows library developers, scientists, and engineers to exploit a natural approach to encoding so-called blocked algorithms, which achieve high performance by operating on submatrices and subvectors. This feature, as well as the use of an alternative, more application-centric approach to data distribution, sets PLAPACK apart from other parallel linear algebra libraries, allowing for strong performance and significantly less programming by the user.

  • PLAPACK Server Interface (PSI)

    PSI is an interface that allows PLAPACK (Parallel Linear Algebra Package), executing computationally intense problems on a parallel architecture, to be accessed from a mathematical software environment. Third-party software runs on a workstation, while parallel computation is performed entirely on a separate massively parallel machine. Memory and CPU power can scale linearly allowing interactive software packages to solve even larger, more complex problems.

Computing & Wireless :
Computing Methods

Skip to next category
  • End-to-end learning for segmenting generic objects in images and videos

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a computer vision system which is capable of segmenting (i.e., finding boundaries) of generic objects in images and videos. For images, our system learns about generic patterns that are indicative of objects and is able to separate them out from the background. For videos, our system relies on both appearance and motion patterns and combines them in a unified way for segmenting objects. This preprocessing can benefit several computer vision tasks such as image and video search, scene understanding, and editing. 

  • EBFIN (Equation-based flowsheet initialization)

    EBFIN is an add-on to the gPROMS Modelbuilder which has pseudo-transient reformulations of the steady-state models of unit operations, in which a subset of the steady-state model equations are converted to ordinary differential equations with an equivalent steady-state solution. EBFIN utilizes the fact that the resulting system of equations can be easily solved by time integration to steady-state. The integration process then converges to the correct solution from a set of initial conditions, which is much broader than the set of converging initial guesses for a Newton solver. These pseudo-transient models can be used in a time relaxation-based equation-oriented optimization algorithm to perform process design optimization.

  • Memristor Logic Using Memristor As Driver (MAD) Gates

    The MAD gates are inherently simpler and faster than the memristor logical implication technique. They are also more efficient than conventional CMOS or memristor-CMOS hybrid techniques. Memristor logical implication gates are limited to a fan-out of 1 and require multiple clock cycles to perform any logic operations. In contrast, MAD gates can have high fan-out and require a single cycle for any of the common two-operand logic functions. In this work, a new design for memristor-based Boolean operations, MAD gates, is presented. The proposed design offers a uniform cell that is configurable to perform all Boolean operations, including the XOR operation. Independent of the operation, MAD gates require at most 3 memristors and 2 drivers and a single step delay.

  • Methods and systems for PUF reliability estimation using high-dimensional stochastic modeling

    The cost of ECC and storage requirements for helper data grows rapidly with the error rate that needs to be handled, and thus any misprediction of error rates is highly costly. The proposed invention develops a method that improves the prediction accuracy.  

  • Dividers Implemented Using Memristor Gates

    In this work, new designs for memristor-based dividers are presented. The proposed designs include binary non-restoring dividers, SRT dividers, and Goldschmidt dividers. These are the first known divider implementations using memristors. 

  • Multipliers Implemented Using Memristor Gates

    These memristor based multipliers are much more efficient than conventional CMOS or memristor-CMOS hybrid techniques.In contrast to other memristor implementations of logic, MAD gates can support high fan-out and require a single cycle for any of the common two-operand logic functions. This facilitates the efficient implementation of digital multipliers. They also reduce the need to data movement and help maximize parallelism in the system. 

  • Methods and systems for reducing the cost of physical unclonable function helper data storage

    OTP memory adds cost to the entire process and should be reduced. The invention allows a substantial reduction of the memory footprint needed to store helper data.

  • Adders Implemented Using Memristor Gates

    In this work, new designs for memristor-based adders are presented. The proposed designs include ripple carry adders, carry lookahead adders, carry select adders, carry skip adders, and conditional-sum adders.  

  • Context Switch Aware Large TLB

     The invention proposes to partition the on-chip caches to house translation entries (TLB entries/page table entries) alongside data. The partitioning is achieved by means of a low overhead cache partitioning algorithm which allocates capacity for translation entries depending on the demand. Frequently used translation entries whose translation cannot be accommodated on the on-chip TLBs end up residing in the on-chip data caches. As a result, most of the TLB misses hit in the data caches reducing the average page walk latency. This is especially important in virtualized scenarios where context switching is involved.

  • Very Large DRAM Based TLB

    This invention proposes to build very large Translation Look-aside Buffers (VL-TLBs) that may be stored in DRAM. While DRAM access is slow, only one access is required instead of up to 24 accesses required in many modern virtualized systems. Even if many of the 24 accesses may hit in the special paging structures, the aggregated cost of the many hits plus the overhead of the occasional misses from the paging structures still exceeds the cost of the one memory access to the VL-TLB. Additionally, it might be possible to implement the VL-TLB in emerging technologies such as the die-stacked DRAM with bandwidth and slight latency advantages. The miss penalty of VL-TLB is high since page table walk has to wait until the latency of fetching an entry from DRAM. The hit/miss outcome can only be identified after entries are completely retried from L3 TLB. The penalty of an L3 TLB miss can be reduced using a predictor indexed by program counter and address offset.

  • Further enhanced screening curve tool

    The Further Enhanced Screening Curve Tool is an intuitive and fast model that estimates the least-cost generation mix for generation planning purposes. It is able to calculate an economically adapted generation mix for a target load duration curve within a few seconds. Innovations in this tool include the representation of existing capacity and the consideration of maintenance outages.

  • Evolutionary Failure Mode Calculator

    The Evolutionary Failure Mode (EFM) Calculator takes a DNA sequence as input and predicts hyper-mutable sites that would lead to it being genetically unstable when constructed. The EFM Calculator predicts multiple types of unstable sites, including two major sources of potential genetic instability: deletions mediated by homologous recombination and indels caused by replication slippage on simple sequence repeats. Furthermore, it has different mutation rate models for different host organisms that are trained from a meta-analysis of the literature.

  • Independence

    This software provides a rigorous rate-based model of the methyldiethanolamine (MDEA)/piperazine (PZ) solvent. This version incorporates the most recent thermodynamic data on CO2 solubility, amine volatility, heat capacity, and NMR speciations. The rate modeling includes updated correlations of viscosity, diffusion coefficients, and rate constants to represent the data measured in the wetted wall column. It works best for the following solvent compositions: 8 m PZ, 5 m PZ, 5 m MDEA/5 m PZ and 7 m MDEA/2 m PZ.

  • Algorithms for Enabling Point-and-Shoot 3D Camera

    This invention is a design of algorithms for enabling point-and-shoot 3D cameras. It creates a highly accurate 3D model of an observed scene by combining multiple views from a moving camera. The output of the system is a point cloud or mesh model. Models can be captured at arbitrary scales varying from small objects to entire buildings. The visual fidelity of produced models is comparable to that of a photograph when rendered using conventional graphics rendering. Despite offering fine-scale accuracies, the mapping results are globally consistent even at large scales.

  • Tangent-Plane Algorithm for Multiphase Equilibrium Calculations

    This invention is a design of algorithms for multiphase equilibrium calculations using a thermodynamic model. Minimization problems in thermodynamic equilibrium calculations are solved by searching for the tangent plane that defines the equilibrium phase properties in thermodynamic-variable space.

  • A New Approach for Modeling Oil Recovery using Low Salinity Water Injection

    This new LSWI approach leads to a better prediction of oil recovery by shedding light on the mechanism controlling incremental oil recovery by LSWI. Since evidence suggests that low-salinity water injection is more sensitive to oil relative permeability compared to water relative permeability, this invention uses two different scaling factors to model water and oil phases separately using the interpolation method.

  • Perceptual Non-Uniformity (PNU) Index

    The perceptual non-uniformity (PNU) index allows measurement of additive non-uniformity noise produced in infrared images or videos as a result of manufacturing differences across the sensors in thermal imagers. The purpose of this invention is to provide real-time feedback to the thermal imager about the level of non-uniformity noise present in the image or video to allow scene-based calibration.

  • Method and Apparatus for Correcting and Sharing Whiteboard Images using a Digital Camera

    The invented method and apparatus teaches how to acquire a video frame or frames from a digital camera, such as a webcam, tablet, or cell phone camera, and save the frames in matrices that serves as the data type for video manipulation throughout the system. The input video frame is passed to a whiteboard detection stage, where the limiting boundaries of the whiteboard image in each frame are detected. Using a suitable quantitative ranking technique, the system determines the quadrangle that is most likely to spatially coincide with the boundaries of the image of the whiteboard. The system then crops this area from the original image, corrects perspective distortion effects, and then applies color balancing and other image correction and enhancement methods. Once the system has performed geometric correction of the image, the continuous video is processed and displayed in like manner over suitable regular or irregular time intervals so that the viewer may view the changes occurring on the whiteboard over time.In a further aspect of the invention, the system processes and sends video frame or sequence of video frames to a "speaker removal" or "hide the professor" subsystem. The idea of this stage is to remove the image of the speaker from the video frame or frames to allow an unobscured view of the whiteboard content. This is accomplished by finding and tracking changes that occur over subsets of the multiple frames in the image. Changes arising from actual additions or deletions (e.g., writing or drawing) on the whiteboard itself are distinguished from changes arising from the speaker, including shadows and lighting changes, by measurements related to spatial area and temporal persistence. The resulting video frame or frames, with or without application of "hide the professor," are sent via wired or wireless link to a computer server, which saves the received streams so that they may be viewed at a later time. This would be accomplished, for example, through a smartphone/tablet app or via a website the user could log into. Such interaction by the user could occur on any personal computer, Android or iOS smartphone, or tablet portable device.Additionally, the video frame or frames may be processed to accomplish color processing of the frames to improve the readability and distinctiveness of the text and drawings in the whiteboard images. Further, the white video frame(s) can be subjected to video encoding to compress them for more efficient transmission and storage.

  • Hawkeye Cache Replacement

    The inventors have developed Hawkeye, a cache replacement policy that can learn from Belady?s optimal replacement algorithm by applying this algorithm to past cache accesses in order to influence future cache replacement decisions. Unlike other policies, which rely on short-term information, Hawkeye exploits long-term information to provide significant improvements in miss reductions.

  • Hybrid Encryption Apparatus and Method

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method that utilizes an "infinite" key and relies on software-reconfigurable hardware, which provides several layers of complexity that may render any attempt to crack the encryption key futile. Essentially, the software-reconfigurable hardware is capable of generating chaotic oscillator signals, which can then be used to encrypt the message using standard finite encryption key algorithms. Additionally, due to direct hardware implementation, this method allows for faster execution of encryption protocols than current methods of similar complexity.

  • Improved Fused Floating-Point Two-Term Dot Product Unit

    This invention presents improved architecture designs and implementations for a fused floating-point dot product unit. Many DSP applications such as FFT and DCT butterfly operations can benefit from the fused floating-point dot product unit. The fused floating-point dot product unit takes four normalized floating-point operands and generates the sum or difference of the two products. It supports all five rounding modes specified in IEEE-754 Standard. Several techniques are applied to achieve low area, low power consumption, and high speed.

  • Algorithm for Optimal Solar Placement

    The invention is an algorithm that uses local solar, weather, and economic data to provide the optimal azimuth and tilt for a given location. This data can be used in the actual installation of solar arrays, and the updated expected output can inform project payback calculations. This will result in accurate and detailed information for users.

  • Image Search with Relative Attribute Feedback

    This invention proposes a user-specific attribute model that adapts a generic model trained with annotations from multiple users, tailoring it to satisfy user-specific labels. Furthermore, this offers novel techniques to infer user-specific labels based on transitivity and contradictions in the user's search history. It demonstrates that adapted attributes improve accuracy over both existing monolithic models as well as models that learn from scratch with use-specific data alone. In addition, this innovation shows how adapted attributes are useful to personalize image search, whether with binary or relative attributes.

  • iRecommend: An Accurate, Scalable, User-Powered Distributed Recommendation Architecture

    This invention is a user-powered distributed recommendation architecture, where a user will define a recommendation request paired with a community declaration. Community declarations can flexibly define fine-grained communities of interest in a declarative fashion by individual users. The user can then obtain recommendations accurately tailored to their interests by aggregating opinions of users in such communities.

  • Fast, Localized Document Recovery for Distributed Apps with K-Optimistic Logging

    This invention relates to fault-tolerant systems and methods. More particularly, the invention relates to fault-tolerant systems and methods using optimistic logging with a synchronous recovery in message passing systems. A fault-tolerant message passing system includes a plurality of interconnected processors with storage and a watchdog process wherein the processors may undergo failure. A method restores a consistent system state using optimistic logging protocol with asynchronous recovery. If, upon receiving an incoming message, a process failure is detected, then the failed process is re-started.

  • Distortion Identification Based Image and Video Quality Assessment

    This is a novel process for gauging the quality of an original image or video from a distorted representation, without knowledge of the type of distortion the media has undergone. This process is composed of two parts: the identification of the type of distortion, and the execution of a quality assessment algorithm to quantify the quality of the original.

  • Firewall Decision Diagrams

    This invention is a firewall design and administration toolkit that enables the creation of error-free firewall rule sets, provides comprehensive firewall testing, and significantly simplifies the process of creating, updating, and maintaining firewallsUnderlying the toolkit is a unique data structure based on decision diagrams. The decision diagram user interface provides a superior visual framework for rule entry and updating because it enables the administrator to see how the rules interoperate. Based on this decision diagram, a table of error-free, compact rules can be generated for use with existing firewallsIn addition, the reduction of a rule set to a decision diagram enables the processing by computer of a number of administration functions that are not possible with the expression of rules in a table, including simulation of firewall results and comparison of two different sets of rules against each other.While the toolkit employs a new data structure, it is compatible with existing firewall products because it is capable of compiling a decision diagram from a table of rules and generating a table of rules from a decision diagram.

  • Hoard: A Scalable Memory Allocator for Multithread Applications

    Hoard is a fast, highly scalable memory allocator software library that largely avoids false sharing and is memory-efficient. It is the first allocator to simultaneously solve both performance and scalability problems that develop from false sharing and memory consumption, which many allocators have in one form or another.

  • Goto BLAS

    GotoBLAS is an optimized implementation of the BLAS library and is available for a range of computing architectures. GotoBLAS speeds up the most commonly utilized components of the BLAS library and has been used to greatly increase the performance of a variety of scientific applications. It has increased the speed of some applications by as much as 50 percent. GotoBLAS focuses on optimizing the matrix multiplication routine, a computationally intensive standard matrix operation that can significantly slow processing time. While Goto BLAS uses performance-enhancing cache management techniques similar to other standard BLAS routines, it is able to achieve superior performance on a broad spectrum of supercomputing architectures by decreasing computing overhead caused by TLB (Translation Look-aside Buffer) table misses, an issue that results in significant performance degradation but is generally not addressed by other BLAS routines. GotoBLAS is fully developed and commercially implemented with updated versions available as new computing architectures emerge. Currently, GotoBLAS is supported on the following architectures: Itanium2, Alpha 21264, Power 3/4/5, Pentium 4/Xeon (32-bit and 64-bit architectures), Opteron, Blue Gene, PPC970MP, and Sparc IV.

  • Fusible Data Structures for Fault Tolerance

    The subject invention is a new methodology, called “fusible data structures ” for server backup in distributed processing environments, that enjoys the computational efficiency of replication-based approaches and the space efficiency of coding theory techniques. Through use of fusible data structures, data from several servers can be efficiently backed up using a fraction of the space required by replication-based approaches. The methodology relies on specific algorithms developed for each unique form of data structure (e.g., sets, queues, stacks, arrays, hash tables, link lists), allowing for computational efficiency in backup. These algorithms create a new data structure, called the fused data structure, which is a fusion of the data in the multiple servers being backed up. If one server fails, it is recovered based on the information in the other production servers and the information in the fused data structure on the backup server.

  • Formal Linear Algebra Methods Environment (FLAME)

    FLAME provides a method of formal derivation for the implementation of linear algebra operations. The syntax of the related FLAME API closely resembles that of the mathematical language of linear algebra, reducing implementation errors and increasing the readability of the algorithm. In addition, the derivation model allows quick and rigorous formal proving of the correctness of the code. FLAME provides a rapid development path of sequential implementations to implementations for multiprocessor (SMP) systems and massively parallel distributed memory architectures. The resulting implementations achieve best-in-class performance.

Computing & Wireless :
Wireless and Communications

Skip to next category
  • GRID Software Suite (GSS) 2017

    The GSS is a real-time science-grade multi-frequency software-defined Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver and a suite of supporting applications for interacting with the receiver and its data products. GRID, the GNSS receiver that forms the core of the GSS, can be used for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) but is also useful as a science instrument and a technology demonstration platform.

  • Ultrathin Conformal "Invisible" Mantle Cloak

    A research group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UT Austin has invented a cloaking technology, highly conformal to the object to be concealed, capable of suppressing scattering over a broad bandwidth. The cloak may be composed of multi-layer patterned films to support dual- or multi-band operation, dual polarization, or for extending bandwidth of a single band. By tailoring the geometry of each layer, the frequency response for either bandwidth enhancement or strong scattering suppression can be tuned. The researchers have also shown that such a cloak may be used for arbitrary shapes, rather than just canonical. Further, arrays of covered objects of arbitrary geometry can be designed.

  • A MAC Level Scheduling Protocol in Multi-User MIMO Wireless Systems for Improved Transmission and Reliability

    A MIMO wireless data system that schedules multiple users to the same resource (i.e., in the same time slot, using the same frequency, and using the same transmit antenna) every scheduling instant requires a MAC structure that supports such simultaneous transmission to multiple users. This invention allows multi-user transmission scheduling in multi-antenna systems by implementing a mobile subscriber pre-MAC processor, a feedback formatter, a MlMO scheduler at the base transceiver station, and logical control channels. The base transceiver is equipped with the scheduler that coordinates transmission. The scheduler allocates time-slots, frequency blocks, and antennas. In addition to selecting the appropriate one or more users for transmission, the scheduler may also configure the transmit precoding block. Essentially, the transmit precoding block maps the users to the antennas to achieve the required performance metric. The mobile subscribers are equipped with MAC preprocessors that provide feedback information to the base transceiver to support the MlMO scheduling operation.

  • Apparatus and Method for Generalized Linear MIMO Transceiver

    This invention is a generalized BD algorithm to transmit interference-free groups of data to different users. It not only overcomes the dimensionality constraint, but it also reduces OCI degradation. The invention is a hybrid type (linear/non-linear) precoding technique that supports multiple stream transmission in a multiuser broadcast channel. Similar to prior approaches, it assumes complete and perfect channel state information (CSI) at the transmitter.

  • Apparatus and Method for Hybrid Type Multi-User Multi-Antenna Precoder

    We present a hybrid type (linear/non-linear) precoding technique that supports multiple stream transmission in a multiuser broadcast channel. All prior approaches assume a minimum complete and perfect CSI at the transmitter. Using this assumption, our proposed scheme exploits the BD linear precoding algorithm to transmit interference-free groups of data to different users. To avoid the need for a complex receiver, however, we use a ZF prefilter combined with a multi-stream vector perturbation to avoid the corresponding power enhancement.

  • Method and Apparatus for Encoding and Decoding Dirty-Paper-Coded Nested-Lattice Codes

    This invention is a practical way of encoding more than two messages simultaneously on a multiple antenna downlink of a wireless channel. This system operates at capacity of the multiple antenna downlink, meaning that there is no loss in performance when using this encoding scheme. It also operates at an average complexity that is polynomial in time, thus making it the only known practical coding strategy that achieves capacity in a multiple antenna downlink in wireless network.

  • Feedback Framework in Multiuser MIMO Systems

    We propose a solution for improved network performance by creating a system and method for enabling a reduction in the amount of feedback required for scheduling in multiuser environments. The invention consists in part of optimizing the feedback mechanism based on the channel state information. This allows the system functionality to be improved when there are few users in the system, and feedback is not a problem, as well as when there are many users in the system, when feedback is a problem. We also propose a new set of protocols for sending feedback information. Specifically, we propose a new random access protocol that enables the channel state information of multiple users to be acquired quickly and efficiently by the base station.

  • Interference Avoidance Techniques and Decentralized Channel Access Schemes in Hotspot-Aided Cellular Networks

    This invention provides decentralized strategies for alleviating cross-tier interference in a hotspot-aided cellular network. Related contributions include enhancing indoor and outdoor coverage and maximizing spatial reuse in both underlay (universal frequency reuse) operation and overlay (frequency orthogonal) operation of the macrocell and femtocell Base StationsThe invention will enable interference management and provide low complexity medium access schemes in a two-tier cellular network. Benefits associated with this invention are higher capacity, better frequency reuse, low complexity, minimal network overhead and minimal control signaling across tiers.

  • Partial Handoff in MIMO-OFDM Cellular Systems

    To achieve optimal performance during handoff, the mobile receiver can be linked to antennas from both the base stations of the adjacent cells (partial handoff). Unlike conventional systems that use soft handoff, potentially different data streams are transmitted to obtain the gains of MIMO communication. This method, with its provision for partial handoffs in MIMO cell systems, allows for optimal performance; its strengths come from many areas, including the measurement process, the antenna selection process, and the handoff execution process.

Computing & Wireless :

Skip to next category
  • Transparent Dielectric-Core Antenna

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have suggested the use of dielectric-core antennas surrounded by patterned metallic meta-surfaces to realize radio-transparent antennas. The proposed mantle cover acts as a conductive medium for surface current to flow and efficiently radiate fields driven by a power source. It has been also been shown that the cloaking cover can strongly reduce the electrical presence of a dielectric-core dipole antenna to nearby systems, in principle, at any desired frequency band.

  • Reconfigurable Opamp-Free Delta-Sigma SAR ADC

    The delta-sigma SAR ADC combines the advantages of both SAR ADCs and delta-sigma ADCs, providing a low-power and low-cost architecture for high-resolution ADCs. Due to the inherent properties of the SAR ADC, simple passive integrators are designed to replace the active integrators in conventional delta-sigma ADCs. The proposed architecture can also be easily reconfigured according to the noise shaping order requirement. To prove the proposed concept, a delta-sigma SAR ADC capable of operating in three working modes--no noise shaping, first-order noise shaping, and second-order noise shaping--was created using CMOS technology.

  • Multiple-Input Isolated Push-Pull Connected Power Converters

    A research group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin has proposed an innovative MIC family with both isolation and push-pull connection. Isolation incorporated with common push-pull approach makes the new MIC family more desirable than previously presented MICs, in terms of reduced component numbers, and smaller switches voltage stress. In addition, the utilization of forward conducting and bi-directional blocking (FCBB) switches makes new MIC family more flexible.

  • Multiple-Input Soft-Switching Power Converters

    A research group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin has proposed new multiple-input soft-switching converter topologies based on phase-shift full-bridge converter (PSFB), parallel resonant converter (PRC), and series resonant converter (SRC). An additional multiple-winding magnetic coupled multiple-input phase-shift full-bridge power converter (MW-MIPSFB) with fewer components than original MW-MIPSFB is also proposed. The soft-switching characteristics of a PSFB converter are preserved in the multiple-input version.

  • Three-Dimensional InGaAs Gate-Wrap-Around Field-Effect-Transistor with Multiple Channel Layers

     In this invention, University of Texas at Austin researchers designed an innovative approach to current CMOS scaling challenges utilizing 3-D gate-wrap-around structure, multi-channel layers and III-V materials.

  • Vertical III-V Nanowire FETs Using Nano-sphere lithography

    In this invention, University of Texas at Austin researchers designed Field Emission Transistors utilizing vertical 3-D nanowire structure constructed with III-V group materials. This structure is realized by an innovative nano-sphere lithography method.

  • Quantum Dot Applications for Flash Memory, Semiconductor Lasers and Photodetectors

    Non-volatile flash memory technology can continue to scale down for lower voltage and/or power applications if new materials are used or new memory cell designs are adopted. This invention capitalizes on a combination of technologies. Primarily, a new gate design using a protein-templated array of quantum dots reduces failure rates. When combined with a new tunneling layer material, programmability is made easier without the traditional problems of data leakage. A new channel material and a new channel design also reduce the energy required for programming. The combined result is a new flash memory cell capable of fast programming under low voltage and/or low power operating conditions with a much lower failure rate.

  • Four-terminal Hybrid Silicon/Organic Field Effect Sensor Device

    This technology consists of two coupled channels, one compromising an organic or polymer semiconductor, and the second compromising a silicon semiconductor. These channels are coupled in such a manner that one gates with the other. The organic channel is exposed to the air so it can interact with the chemicals in its surroundings. In addition, this device is in its most powerful sensing mode when the both the channels are coupled, also known as both on? mode. In addition, by reverse biasing the device for 60 seconds, can be refreshed the sensor electronically.

  • Voltage Controlled Oscillator

    Most voltage controlled oscillators are implemented via ring oscillators, which consist of an odd number of inverting stages with the output of the last stage being fed into the first stage. This invention consists of a single-stage ring oscillator. It also includes the capability for both coarse and fine adjustment of the oscillator frequency.

  • Method and Apparatus for Capacitance Multiplication Within a Phase-Locked Loop

    The method and apparatus of the invention uses two charge pumps to multiply the apparent capacitance of a physically small on-chip capacitor to appear to be a much larger value of capacitance which is used within the phase-locked loop circuit to provide a very low bandwidth, thereby reducing the phase noise and random jitter of a clock signal.

  • Bridged, Three-Path Fused Multiply-Adder

    The Bridge and Three-Path FMA architectures provide two unique solutions to the major tradeoffs seen by classic FMA designs. The Three-Path architecture provides a solution to the massive alignment and component size implementations of the classic FMA by using three mutually exclusive hardware paths that carve out different major arithmetic cases of the internal FMA datapath—allowing for not only a reduction in component size, but also a reduction in latency, a reduction in power, and a model that scales well with smaller technologies. The Bridge FMA architecture provides a solution to the second major tradeoff of the classic FMA by presenting a simple architectural improvement that may be integrated into existing floating-point units without deteriorating the performance of single additions and multiplications or requiring a complete structural overhaul of the machine.

Computing & Wireless :

Skip to next category
  • Take Time. Save Lives.

    The "Take Time. Save Lives." hospital hand hygiene campaign was designed to improve hand hygiene practices at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The campaign features multiple versions of the key message that clean hands protect. Crucially, it is left to the viewer of the message to internalize who it protects--patients, providers, or even others outside the facility. This was a key element of the formative research that led to the design of the campaign messages. It was developed and implemented in one hospital, and successfully adopted in another to improve hand hygiene compliance. The second facility--for which the campaign was not originally developed--saw improved outcomes as a result of its implementation. This suggests the underlying human behavior and psychology the campaign was meant to target can be generalized across facilities and providers. Evaluations of the campaign have been published twice in the American Journal of Infection Control, and the available materials can be (1) customized with relevant logos for organizations using the campaign and (2) used in both new digital media and printed for use as posters and other handouts.

Computing & Wireless :
Other Computing

Skip to next category
  • A Novel Method and Apparatus for Perceptually Optimized Natural Image Repair

    The invention is a novel algorithm that can automatically control camera parameters using perceptual quality features that are uniquely derived from natural scene statistics; e.g., models of natural (non-synthetic) images. Thus, the invention can simultaneously ameliorate any one or more of a set of camera setting-related distortions on a given image. 

  • Model-based Framework and Algorithm for the Detection and Annotation of Spiculated Masses on Mammography

    This invention is a new model-based framework for the detection of spiculated masses on mammograms and an evidence-based active contour algorithm to explicitly annotate these spicules on mammography. The detection algorithm:a) enhances spicules through Spiculation Filtering and detects the spatial locations where the spicules convergeb) detects the central mass region of the spiculated masses, andc) reduces the false positives due to normal linear structures.The foundation of this algorithm is strong, as all the parameters are based on actual physical properties of spiculated masses measured by experienced radiologists. The algorithm, when tested on a set of 100 challenging images from the publicly available DDSM database, showed a sensitivity of 88% at 2.7 FPI (sensitivity is the fraction of regions marked as suspicious that are actually lesions and FPI (false positives per image) is the number of regions marked per image that are not lesions). This technique aims to find the highest risk abnormalities and will be a useful aid to radiologists in detecting breast cancer.Additionally, this invention comprises of a new image processing device we call Snakules that has been designed to explicitly annotate spicules on mammograms. Starting from a natural set of automatically detected candidate points, we deploy snakules that consist of converging open-ended active contours, also known as snakes. The set of convergent snakules (snakes that seek spicules) have the ability to grow and adapt to the true spicules in the imageObserver studies involving experienced radiologists to evaluate the performance of snakules demonstrate the strong potential of the algorithm as an image analysis technique to improve the specificity of CADe algorithms and as a CADe prompting tool.

  • New Image and Part Recognition Technology

    The subject invention is a 2d coding system that uses alignment markers in order to discriminate the orientation of the image. The invention provides a compact and highly accurate labeling technique for determining orientation in a broad range of 2d coding systems. The invention relies on the use of three or more alignment markers to determine the orientation of the 2d array.

  • Digital Earth Science Materials

    Geologic maps with reduced file size, simplified attributes, improved labeling, and standardized formats in order to import data into specified geographic information system (GIS) and virtual reality modeling language (VRML) applications. Using this method makes technical geologic and contextual information accessible to K-12 students over the Internet.

  • Texas Geographic, Geographic America, and Geografa de las Americas Periodic Journals for Education of Students Across Texas, plus North, Central, and South America

    The instructional materials are developed using the Texas InfoMart, a web-based data dissemination system developed in cooperation with NASA and the Raytheon Systems Company. The Texas InfoMart vertically integrates remotely-sensed data and products, acquired by satellites belonging to NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Program, with other satellite data collected at the University of Texas Center for Space Research and very high resolution databases available through the State of Texas GIS user community.

Life Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Skysystem: Green-Roof Native Plant Mixes for Hot and Arid Climates

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center have created a novel plant growth medium composed of readily available, inexpensive materials that have proven to provide a high level of moisture retention along with a lower density than standard soil mixtures. Combining this novel growing medium with drought-tolerant native plants that can tolerate high soil and air temperatures enables the effective green roof concept to be applied in semi-arid, arid, and higher temperature locations.

  • SkySystem Growing Media

    Researchers at UT Austin have created a new green-roofing/wall growing media that is ideal for the harsh summer climates of the American South and Southwest. Years of studying how different soil media are affected in this region have allowed these scientist to create the ideal mixture that stands up to intense heat and drought conditions.

  • Habiturf® - The Ecological Lawn

    Researchers at UT Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center have developed a novel blend of grass seed that is specially formulated to grow greener, more lush lawns even under the most extreme weather conditions. The formulation, based on native grasses, has been formulated for rapid establishment, lush growth, and attractive color, all requiring minimal use of water.

  • Altered circadian rhythms regulate growth vigor in hybrids and allopolyploids

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an innovative method of manipulating gene expression in plant hybrids that allows for improved growth vigor, including higher plant content of starch and sugar. More specifically, this new method involves the manipulation of circadian-rhythm gene expression in order to create more robust crop yields. The inventors have demonstrated the link between circadian-rhythm genes and improved growth vigor in hybrids as well as non-hybrids through genetic modifications. This novel method to regulate growth vigor will be broadly applicable to the production of superior plant hybrids such as corn and rice with high yield and quality. In addition, this invention is applicable to many other crops such as wheat, canola, cotton, potato, sugarcane, and fruits and vegetables such as strawberry, tomato, cabbage, and peppers.

Life Sciences :
Drug Delivery

Skip to next category
  • Method of Preparation of Biodegradable Nanoparticles with Recognition Characteristics

    The present invention addresses the preparation and use of binding cavities that are particularly attractive for fast, accurate recognition of proteins. In addition, the new MIPs are biodegradable, and the biodegradation can be controlled to occur after the complete recognition of the beneficial agent that we try to recognize/diagnose or often eliminate from a biological system. These MIP nanoparticles could ideally be used for in vivo diagnostics by accurately detecting variations in the concentration and localization of a certain biomacromolecule that is overexpressed in a disease such as cancer. These purpose of using the biodegradable nanoparticle core is so that the body could easily break down the nanoparticle core into non-toxic components after diagnosis. Additional applications of the invention include the use of these novel MIPs in the consumer and cosmetic field.

  • Delivery of Small Interfering RNA and Micro RNA Through Membrane-Disruptive, Responsive Nanoscale Hydrogels

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have prepared nanoscale, pH responsive polycationic networks containing ionizable amine groups engineered for delivery of anionic biological therapeutics, including DNA, small interfering RNA, and microRNA. These networks are highly effective at binding RNA, enhancing cellular internalization, mediating endosomal release, and subsequently inducing gene knockdown. These networks are synthesized using a rapid and scalable photoemulsion polymerization. Physicochemical properties of nanoscale hydrogel networks, including volume swelling ratio, critical swelling pH, membrane-disruptive ability, and cytocompatibility can be modulated by tuning polymer composition. These tunable properties endow the polymer networks with an excellent combination of properties for intracellular drug delivery—highly efficient membrane destabilization and low cytotoxicity.

  • Hot-Melt Extrusion of Modified Release Multiparticulates

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel method of pharmaceutical preparation that utilizes hot-melt extrusion of multiparticulates. The present invention seeks to combine the benefits of a monolithic dosage form that releases multiple unit dosage systems after administration.The present invention comprises a modified release pharmaceutical formulation and a method of preparation for the embedding of multiparticulates into a polymeric or wax-like matrix. Said multiparticulates comprise an effective amount of a therapeutic compound and a drug-release controlling principle and/ or a drug-protecting principle.

  • Airway delivery of therapeutic enzymes for the treatment of Acute Lung Injury

    UT Austin researcher Dr. Bill Williams, the Johnson & Johnson Centennial Chair in Pharmacy, has teamed up with Dr. Steven Idell of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler to devise a new method that allows for therapeutic enzymes to be aerosolized without losing a critical amount of their activity. This enables an entirely new treatment method for ISALI which includes administering a therapeutic enzyme via an airway.

  • Non-Invasive Method for Delivery of Recombinant Adenovirus-Based Vaccines

    Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a non-invasive vaccine delivery method that can be administered orally by placing a thin "breath-strip"-like material loaded with antigen. This is achieved by a process of attaching and drying a recombinant vaccine to a biocompatible cellophane-like material, which can be rapidly absorbed upon contact with the tongue or cheek. This delivery method would provide a long-lasting immunity. Beyond its delivery method, the invention offers the advantage of circumventing the requirement of vaccine refrigeration, thus making storage and transport economical. Additionally, it eliminates the costs and pain of needles as well as the biomedical waste they produce.

  • Method of Preparation and Composition of Micro and Nano Devices for Recognition and Signaling

    Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a novel label-free detection chemistry method for diagnosis of a broad range of biological and chemical analytes. This is accomplished through a novel method of preparation and composition of recognition, conductive polymers with electrical signal capabilities called RECONGEL. This versatile platform technology can selectively sense an analyte and upon recognition emit an electric signal without the need for an additional interface. The durable and stable synthetic polymer material is capable of a broad range of form factors including films, coatings, or microparticles. The system is customizable to detect minute levels of a single or multiple biological molecules with high selectivity and affinity. The RECONGEL systems can also be used in association with standard photolithography processes to create novel biosensors with sensing/recognitive capabilities, as well as associated signal transmitting capabilities. This technology is applicable to a number of markets of interests including personal health monitoring, medical devices and diagnostics, food and beverage testing, and industrial processing.

  • Novel Polymers and Methods for Economical Drug Loading and Controlled Release

    A new method for the development of drug delivery carriers has been developed. A novel and flexible polymer synthesis technique allows for the creation of high-loading-capacity controlled-release devices. This technique produces drug delivery carriers that are molecularly tailored to a desired drug molecule and releases with desirable profiles using biocompatible polymer materials. This method may be applied to both biodegradable and non-biodegradable carriers.

  • Method for Fabrication of Micro-Holes on Metal or Non-Metal Non-Planar Surfaces

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a process for fabrication of micro-holes on non-planar surfaces. The micro-hole can be formed on a wide range of substrates, metal or non-metal, and shapes, such as tubes, depending on the application. The micro-hole varies in size from a fraction of a micron to hundreds of microns in diameter and can have a variety of shapes. The fabrication process is based on photolithography and reactive ion etching technologies. Devices containing the micro-holes can be used for a wide range of medical and biomaterials applications, including the use for medical implantation and controlled drug delivery. This technology can be used to fabricate circular holes on polyimide tubes to develop drug delivery devices. The same process can be used to fabricate MEMS structure and sensors for other applications.

  • Multifunctional Medical Device Having Zero-Order Kinetics For Controlled Delivery Of Pharmaceutical Agents

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a controlled-release drug delivery device that provides zero-order drug release kinetics. The drug is packaged inside of an impermeable matrix with at least one hole on the surface, which allows the drug to move out of the reservoir at zero order. The UT inventors have laboratory data which displays the controlled release kinetics of the device. Variations in the size, number, and spacing of the holes enables the controlled release of a drug at the target site. This device is advantageous because it provides local drug delivery, which allows for a decrease in side effects and an increase in drug efficacy. In addition, the novel technology offers zero-order drug release kinetics, is polymer free, and can be utilized to provide long-term activity, lasting for years if necessary. This novel UT Austin technology can be utilized for a variety of implanted drug delivery devices such as for the brain or ear. The device has numerous medical applications, including insulin delivery for management of diabetes, drug-eluting implants for cancer therapy, drug-eluting stents to treat atherosclerosis, pain management applications such as management of lower back pain by implantation into CNS or invertebrae or discs, and much more. As such, millions of patients could benefit from its usage every year around the world.

  • Highly Concentrated Suspensions for Subcutaneous Delivery of an Active PolyPeptide Pharmaceutical

    UT Austin researchers have developed a formulation method for the stable suspension of protein and polypeptide at high concentrations that are suitable for subcutaneous delivery. The solvent system used to suspend the protein is pharmaceutically acceptable and may be adjusted to varying viscosities as needed. The suspensions are uniform after being lightly shaken for up to one year, and particle aggregation is not seen at micro- or macroscopic levels.

  • Non-Settling Flocs for Surfactant-Free Enhanced Pulmonary Delivery with Pressurized Metered Dose Inhalers

    UT Austin inventors have created a technology which allows efficient pulmonary delivery of a wide variety drugs with a pressurized metered dose inhaler. This cutting-edge technology has the advantage of higher fine particle fractions in the lungs and more stable suspensions for improved pulmonary delivery. Through the use of this novel technology, stable suspensions of open flocs of plate-shaped particles produces desirable aerosol particles for efficient pMDI delivery to the deep lungs. This novel concept for forming extremely stable suspensions of open flocs of rod-shaped particles and templating and shrinking the flocs to produce particles for efficient pMDI deep lung delivery is applicable to a wide variety of drugs without the need for surfactants or cosolvents to stabilize the primary particles. In addition, this concept is also applicable to the formation of stable, poorly water-soluble drug pMDI formulations.

  • Formation of Stable Submicron Protein Particles by Thin Film Freezing

    Thin Film Freezing (TFF) is a new process for producing stable submicron protein particles. Droplets of aqueous protein solutions containing the protein and excipients are made to fall on a rotating stainless steel drum. The drum is hollow and filled with a cryogen. Upon impact, the droplets spread out into thin films that freeze in less than a second. The frozen films are removed from the drum by a steel blade mounted on the rotating drum surface and then lyophilized. The submicron protein particles have properties which are advantageous for depot and pulmonary delivery applications. The TFF process is also of interest for preparing protein solids for storage stability.SFL is a process in which a spray nozzle is immersed under the surface of a cryogenic liquid. The rapid freezing and the elimination of a gas-liquid interface results in less protein denaturation and aggregation. SFL and TFF are highly complementary processes for making stable protein particles. UT has two continuous units that can produce up to 100 grams per day. The process equipment is relatively simple and based on large-scale processes used in chemical engineering.

  • System for Site-Specific, Controlled, On-Demand Drug Delivery

    This technology embodies a nanofabricated drug delivery device incorporating physiologically directed delivery mechanism. The main approach utilizes nanofabrication technology to develop micro- and nanocontainers that are capable of releasing both drugs and imaging contrast agents in response to stimuli. This novel device not only achieves accurate drug delivery, but it also provides for the simultaneous non-invasive monitoring of both therapeutics and the delivery device. Further, because this device is systemically injectable, no implantation surgery is required. In addition, this device contains a physiologically responsive lid that only allows drug release at target site when triggered by specific stimuli. This avoids drug delivery to normal tissues and cells, and systemic or local toxicity side effects.

  • Biodegradable MicroSpheres for Drug and Vaccine Delivery

    This patent overcomes the limitations of non-covalent adsorption and cationic surfactants through the covalent conjugation of branched polyamines and biodegradable polymer particle surfaces to produce cationic microparticles for nucleic acid loading. Secondly, this technology allows for surface conjugation of transfection enhancing polyamines with intrinsic endosomal buffering ability, which could lead to a more efficient delivery vehicle for nucleic acid vaccines and immunotherapy. Thirdly, this technology has the ability to co-deliver multiple types of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA and oligos) as well as peptides and proteins in the same vehicle. One or more molecules on the surface and other molecules encapsulated inside the particles ensure that multiple drugs are delivered efficiently to the same cells.

  • Novel Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery

    This UT Austin technology is a method and composition for disease-responsive, shape- and size-specific nanoparticles that use silicon nanofabrication technology adapted for biologically compatible materials and drugs. Key advantages of these novel nanoparticles are (a) release of drugs to the target cells primarily in response to a tissue-specific or disease-specific stimulus, and (b) precise control over size and shape of the particles, thereby assuring predictable control over bio-distribution, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Key applications include delivery of siRNA, DNA, antibodies, and other proteins or peptide-based drugs, as well as imaging contrast agents through intravenous or mucosal routes. A second related invention was developed to deliver RNA or DNA drugs to cells in vitro and in vivo. Favorable efficiency and toxicity profile are two key advantages. This original method overcomes the limitations for intracellular delivery found with polysaccharides such as chitosan. This is achieved by the conjugation of secondary and tertiary amines with a small molecular modifier to biocompatible polysaccharides (i.e., sugar-type polymers), which can be used to produce nanoparticles with nucleic acids and other molecules for enhanced intracellular delivery with minimal cytotoxicity. This invention can be used to improve delivery of gene therapy and DNA-based vaccines for numerous diseases. It can also be used for delivery of siRNA and miRNA or antisense oligos for disease-specific and organ-specific gene knockdown. The nanoparticles are effective through a variety of routes including intravenous, intranasal, and oral. The research team has demonstrated the potential of this technology through in vitro and in vivo studies in mice.

  • Bioadhesive Films for Topical and Transmucosal Drug Delivery

    This invention embodies a transmucosal patch that is a bilayered, hot-melt extruded film that adheres to the mucosa in the mouth and slowly swells to release medication in a unidirectional path. The drug containing layer is applied to the gum and the cover layer prevents adhesion to the lip. Further, the film can also contain a therapeutic agent that can be sized and shaped to provide controlled delivery of the said agent through the skin or to the buccal mucosa of the mouth. Lastly, the films can be used for wound treatment as well.

  • Nanoparticles for Improved Drug Delivery and Stability

    The present invention is a drug carrier system that uses a hot-melt extrusion technique where fine drug particles are suspended in an immiscible polymeric carrier. The carrier system acts to stabilize the fine drug particles in such a way that particle aggregation and agglomeration do not occur during processing or upon storage at various temperature and relative humidity conditions. The fine drug particles are achieved using current methods and the melt extrusion process breaks up aggregates and suspends the primary particles as isolated drug particles that are homogenously dispersed throughout the carrier matrix.

Life Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Highly potent gemcitabine conjugate for pancreatic cancer

    University of Texas at Austin researchers synthesized a novel gemcitabine conjugate by covalently linking gemcitabine with a biologically active natural product. The conjugate exhibits enhanced activity (up to 100,000-fold) in inhibiting pancreatic cancer cell growth, as compared to gemcitabine alone in in vitro experiments. Importantly, the conjugate is also significantly more effective than gemcitabine alone in controlling pancreatic tumor growth in several mouse models.

  • Texaphyrin-Pt(IV) Conjugates and Formulations that Overcome Platinum Resistance

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have recently developed two texaphryin-platinum drug conjugates that address the problem of uptake and resistance. The conjugates were found to be significantly more cytotoxic than cisplatin in resistant ovarian cancer models. The conjugates are capable of delivering more platinum to the resistant cancer cells than any FDA-approved platinum agent. Initial studies in mice have shown that the animals are much more tolerant to the conjugates than towards other platinum-derived agents and that the conjugates show promise for further development and drug trials.

  • Glypisome Therapeutics for the Treatment of Peripheral Vascular Disease

    Dr. Aaron Baker has developed a newly invented class of compounds, termed glypisomes, to overcome the limitations of growth factor therapies. Glypisomes improve the activity and delivery of growth factors that stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. New treatment methods consisting of combinations of injectable glypisomes and growth factors can help restore blood flow and reverse the effects of PAD and critical limb ischemia.

  • A method of preparing dry powder vaccines that contain aluminum salts

    Inventors from The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new method to dry vaccines that contain aluminum salts as adjuvants. The dried vaccine powder can be readily reconstituted without significant loss of potency. The dry powder vaccine is not sensitive to freezing temperatures and may be stored in a wide range of temperatures, including room temperature. The researchers have conducted proof-of-concept studies using vaccines including human hepatitis B vaccine and animal tetanus toxoid vaccine. The potency of the reconstituted vaccines had been tested in animal models. The researchers are currently working to apply the method to other aluminum-adjuvanted and non-adjuvanted vaccines to further show its broad applicability.

  • Calcium Formate as a Supplement to Prevent Neural Tube Defects

    Dean Appling’s folic acid research team at The University of Texas at Austin has discovered that maternal supplementation with sodium formate decreases the incidence of neural tube defects in a folate-resistant mouse model. Based on these results, formate supplementation could prevent neural tube within the folate-resistant resistant population. Because calcium formate has been shown to be safe for human use, calcium formate included in a pre-natal vitamin could be an ideal vehicle for delivery of formate.

  • Improved Lipid A Based Adjuvant for Cancer Vaccines

    The inventors have genetically engineered E. coli to synthesize the MPL lipid A structure on its surface. MPL can be harvested directly from this bacterium without risk of contamination with other potentially toxic lipid A species, eliminating the need for subsequent chemical processing. This method promises to be substantially cheaper and faster than current methods of producing MPL. In addition to this MPL-producing strain, the inventors have genetically engineered E. coli strains expressing a wide range of lipid A profiles. Each lipid A variant elicits a unique profile of cytokine production and TLR4 responses, allowing the adjuvant to be tailored to achieve the desired immune response for a specific vaccine. In addition to the production of adjuvant, these strains can also be used for the production of safe whole cell vaccines.

  • Creating Zonally Organized Articular Cartilage from Marrow Stromal Cells: A Biomaterials Approach

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an innovative strategy for regenerating structurally organized cartilage tissue which has the capability of mimicking the zonal characteristics of natural articular cartilage. This technology offers the advantage of regenerating cartilage tissue that more closely matches native articular cartilage in structure and function. This technology uses novel bio-material compositions used to fabricate a three-dimensional multi-layered hydrogel scaffold capable of inducing stem cell differentiation into zone-specific chrondrocytes.

  • Apparatus for Ultrashort-pulsed Laser Treatment for Vocal Cord Surgery

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel technology composing of a surgical device for delivering ultrashort laser pulses to create voids at targeted depths below the surface of human vocal folds. During injection of the biomaterial, the injected material will flow along the path with least resistance and fill the planar void, thus localizing the material where it is needed. Furthermore, the creation of these planar sub-epithelial voids may also result in the secondary benefit of freeing the outer layer of vocal fold tissue enough to restore some degree of proper voice function even without the use of an injected biomaterial.

  • Influenza Inhibitors

    This technology provides an approach to inhibit the influenza virus and its corresponding RNA targets. Key sites have been identified on the 3-D structure of the virus that are essential to its viability. If these sites are mutated or inhibited in some way, the effects and life of the virus can be eradicated. Particular assays have been employed to identify inhibitors of the interactions between the virus and its RNA targets, which can then be utilized to develop antiviral drugs to treat influenza.

  • 5-Hydroxy-2, 3-indole Derivatives for Therapeutic Use in Treatment of Cancers and Other Diseases and Disorders Involving Excess Cell Proliferation

    University of Texas at Austin researchers have developed compounds that inhibit the division of the cells so that the tumor will stop growing (and thereby not spread to other parts of the body or systems), as well as a method to synthesize them. The 5-hydroxyy-2,3-indol derivatives were shown at various concentrations to inhibit the proliferation of human breast cancer cells and human promyelocytic leukemia cells. Six of the 18 novel compounds of the present invention are strong inhibitors of cell growth. These compounds can be delivered by a variety of methods.

  • New Telomerase Inhibitors as Possible Anticancer Treatments

    The inventors from The University of Texas at Austin found that normal human stem cells produce a regulated non-processive telomerase activity, while cancer cells produce a processive telomerase activity. Nucleotide analogs, such as 7-deaza-2'-deoxyquanosine-5’-triphosphate (7-deaza-dGTP) were found to be substrates for processive telomerase and incorporated into telomeric sequence. The incorporation of this nucleotide subsequently affected the processivity of telomerase, converting processive telomerase to non-processive telomerase. The incorporation of this nucleotide analog was also found to inhibit formation of G-quartets by telomeric sequence. Understanding the mechanisms of telomerase modulation by the 7-deazanucleotides has allowed the design of new telomerase inhibitors, modulators and agents for affecting telomere structure and function.

  • Molecular-Specific Photoacoustic Detection of Tissue Composition in Atherosclerotic Plaques Using Plasmonic Nanoparticles

    Macrophages are highly involved in the progress of atherosclerotic plaques. Macrophages located in the artery wall endocytoze the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and form foam cells. Foam cells can form lipid pools under the endothelial layer of the arterial wall, which contribute greatly to the vulnerability of the plaque. Therefore, detection of macrophages benefits the study of the pathology of atherosclerosis and the diagnosis of vulnerable plaques. Macrophages can be detected by intravascular photoacoustic imaging (IVPA) using gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) as a contrast agent. By recording and analyzing the photoacoustic response of labeled cells, the foam cells and macrophages can be identified.

  • Lookup Table-based Method for Quantifying Optical Properties of Turbid Media

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a lookup table based method to extract optical properties of biological tissue. This approach is based solely on experimental measurements on calibration standards of known optical properties. Unlike other current technology, it does not rely on complex analytical equations or computationally intensive algorithms for extracting optical properties. Instead, the method measures the spectrally resolved reflectance from tissue phantoms and maps the dependence of reflectance on the absorption and scattering properties. Every value of reflectance, therefore, has a corresponding set of scattering and absorption properties in the lookup table memory that is easier to retrieve than running intensive computations.

  • Laser Treatment of Cutaneous Vascular Lesions

    This invention is based on a parent patent and considered an extension. The laser doses required are dramatically reduced over other hypervascular lesion treatment methods by using hyperosmotic chemical agents applied prior to laser irradiation. These chemical agents include, but are not limited to, glycerol, dimethyl sulfoxide, sucrose, and glucose. After desired optical and morphological changes are induced, laser radiation is applied to the lesion-reducing scattering in the biological tissue and reduction and cessation of flow in arterioles and venules. The changes allow the laser to thus be more directly applied to the vessels and concurrently reduce the required energy to destroy a given vessel.

  • G-Quadruplex-Interactive Compounds as Possible Anticancer Agents

    This technology has a variety of methods for screening libraries of compounds for G-quadruplex interactive agents. These methods are both computational and biochemical, allowing the screening of real as well as virtual libraries. Using these methods, we have discovered a number of classes of novel G-quadruplex interactive compounds. These compounds are inhibitors of the cancer-cell specific enzyme telomerase, and have potential as anticancer agents. Considerable evidence suggests that these structures can exist in vivo in specific regions of the genome including the telomeric ends of chromosomes and oncogene regulatory regions. Recent studies have demonstrated that small molecules can facilitate the formation of, and stabilize, G-quadruplexes. Certain sequences of DNA are able to form unique G quadruplex structures. These structures are implicated in a variety of biological processes. One example of such a process is the cancer-cell specific elongation of chromosome telomeres by the enzyme telomerase. G quadruplex structures have also been implicated in the transcriptional control of specific genes, and in inherited diseases such as fragile X syndrome.

Life Sciences :
Medical Devices

Skip to next category
  • Radial Volume Device for Prosthetic Sockets

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are working on a device which includes radial prosthetic volume adjustment to accommodate changes in residual limb volume.Based on a mechanism similar to that of a camera aperture, this invention relies on the rotation of a plate fixed to the distal end of a prosthetic socket to produce radial movement of sections of the prosthetic socket. Manufacture of this device is accomplished using common materials and hand tools.

  • Active Temperature Control During Cryotherapy for Improved Healing Potential and Reduced Risk of Ischemic Injury

    This invention defines a new generation of cryotherapy devices that are designed to provide the therapeutic benefits of cooling injured and inflamed tissues while reducing or avoiding the undesirable side effects and possible injuries associated with an induced prolonged state of ischemia. The invention embodies new technologies for thermal stimulation applied to the tissue and for ensuring that there is not a long-term loss of blood flow to the treatment area and to distal locations.

  • Improved Ophthalmic Administration of Drugs

    UT Austin researchers have developed a novel technique for the administration of ophthalmic drugs. Using this device, drugs can be delivered to the eye and other mucosal membranes using a controlled "puff" in the form of a toroidal vortex, much like a smoke ring. Medication can be gently applied to existing lacrimal fluid, avoiding stimulation of lacrimal clearance and irritation of the eye. The device dimensions can be fine tuned to accurately administer very small volumes of a variety of medicinal agents.

  • Photoacoustic Imaging for Detection and Monitoring of Metal Syringe Needles

    Instead of relying on the ultrasound signal during imaging, photoacoustic (or optoacoustic) imaging allows for clearer imaging of foreign objects within a patient. Dr. Emelianov, from the University of Texas at Austin, presents a method for utilizing photoacoustic imaging for accurately tracking the position of clinical needle interventions and other foreign objects inserted into the human body. Because the photoacoustic signal propagates omni-directionally and only from highly absorbing objects, an ultrasound transducer cannot detect the signal and render the needle with high contrast and visibility. Photoacoustic shares the same ultrasound transducer for signal detection; therefore, the concurrent performance of both imaging methods allows for the production of automatically co-registered images. As opposed to ultrasound imaging alone, the combination of a pulsed laser with clinical ultrasound produces contrast according to the optical absorption of the objects being imaged, resulting in better visibility of an imaged object with respect to its the tissue background.In addition to needle tracking, the technology gives the information about the surrounding tissue environment. Combining photoacoustic and optoacoustic imaging technologies enables clinicians to determine the tissue composition surrounding an inserted needle or metal object in a human body. This tissue differentiation occurs due to variations in optical absorption rates of different tissues. For example, a needle inserted into muscle will have a very different signal amplitude than the same needle inserted into fat, a fluid pocket, or cancerous tumor.

  • Portable Thermoregulation Device through Negative Pressure and Peripheral Stimulation

    The thermoregulation device uses negative pressure or vasodilation through peripheral stimulation at a separate location to produce a rapid cooling effect which provides treatment for a variety of ischemic conditions. In addition, the device can be applied to optimal performance tools for work in heat stress environments. The technology has many advantages, including the unique feature that it can be used in the absence of an external power supply. In addition, it is light weight, allowing the system to be easily transported in an EMS vehicle, a medical helicopter, or a military operations vehicle. Finally, the device can be implemented with a small battery pack for personal portability in a prolonged use application or in a 100% manual operation mode requiring no operational energy source. Under these conditions the rapid cooling should be easy to administer, require minimal training, be low risk, and preferably involve noninvasive procedures. The potential for achieving a high level of medical benefit and wide adoption is large.

  • Molecular Specific Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have identified a new imaging methodology that could readily be linked to effective therapies. Using photo-acoustic imaging methods and targeted gold nanoparticles, researchers have enhanced imaging capabilities, with greater tissue penetration and earlier detection through visualization of targeted nanoparticles. Once imaged, photo-thermal therapy can be applied by the same equipment to ablate the tumor area. Tumor necrosis can be monitored by a combination of photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging.

  • A Miniaturized Optical System for Combined Multiphoton Endoscopy and Ultrashort-Pulse Laser Micro-Nanosurgery

    UT Austin researchers have achieved dramatic improvements in a miniaturized system that combines multiphoton microscopy and ultrashort-pulse laser micro-/nanosurgery for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in biological tissues through a miniaturized probe. This system is designed with an optimized imaging field of view (FOV), resolution, and collection efficiency without the trade-offs normally encountered in miniaturized multiphoton fluorescent microscope designs. These improvements are achieved by using an inexpensive miniature relay lens optical system between the scanning device and the imaging objective lens. A unique result of this design is that it allows for targeted delivery of higher-energy ultrashort pulses for combined ultrashort-pulse laser micro-/nanosurgery and multiphoton imaging. The resulting system is a tool for combined medical diagnosis and treatment of diseased tissues that can be utilized to investigate a variety of biological tissues throughout the body. Specifically, this tool would be capable of real-time diagnosis and removal of small cancerous lesions in skin, in body cavities, or intraoperatively.

  • The Use of Non-Ionizing Radiation to Temporarily Change the Index of Refraction of Biological Tissues

    When the biological sample is the eye, the near-infrared laser radiation disrupts the path length the light travels through the eye, impacting visual acuity. If the refractive conditions are known, the degree of visual alteration from a selected near-infrared wavelength could be known when the characteristics of the thermal lens are well understood. Exposure conditions, below the maximum permissible exposure level, to the retina from near-infrared laser radiation can induce a significant thermal lens, safely, and reversibly disrupting visual acuity.

  • Photoacoustic Imaging for Early Detection of Cardiovascular Plaque

    University of Texas at Austin researchers have achieved dramatic improvements in cardiovascular plaque composition visualization through the integration of photoacoustic techniques into intravascular ultrasound catheter devices. This novel invention allows for quicker, more sensitive analyses of blood vessels using a single, integrated catheter. Contrast in different plaque constituents is achieved, while acoustic techniques gather plaque structural information, empowering physicians to determine the nature and status of plaque vulnerability. One of the key advantages of this approach is it offers the option to perform arterial visualization in the presence of intraluminal blood, greatly facilitating its operational potential. The inventors portfolio of technologies allows a broad range of imaging needs to be executed by a single device, ranging from survey of all potential affected vessels to high-resolution imaging and compositional analysis of particular, high-risk plaques.Interested parties will benefit by the UT Austin inventors' funding by the American Heart Association Grant plus National Institute of Health funding. Additionally, the inventors are collecting pre-clinical data through UT Medical School at Houston. An industry partner will also benefit from current funding for a research group of 18 doctoral and post-docs.

  • A Solid Biodegradable Device for Use in Tissue Repair

    This invention employs a light-activated device for use in laser-assisted tissue repair and synthetic polymers that can tailor to a wide range of tissue geometries. The device combines existing laser tissue soldering technology with a scaffold composed of polymer membranes formed using a solvent-casting and particulate-leaching technique. Polymer materials have FDA approval for clinical procedures. Furthermore, the present invention provides a porous network into which traditional protein solders are readily absorbed, and degrades as need for the support diminishes. The solder and excipients are biocompatible, reducing foreign body reaction and minimizing infection exposure. The method provides for appropriate material shrinkage to maintain edge alignment, thus relieving the need for excessive stay-sutures often associated with laser tissue repair techniques. These novel solder-doped polymer scaffolds promise to greatly assist the wound healing process.

  • Biodegradable, electrically conducting polymer for nerve regeneration

    Electrical charges and electrical fields have beneficial healing effects on various tissues, including bone, cartilage, skin, connective tissue, cranial and spinal nerves, and peripheral nerves. In addition to its utility for peripheral nerve regeneration, the polymer could also be applied to other areas of tissue engineering as well, such as spinal cord regeneration, wound healing, bone repair, and muscle tissue stimulation.

  • Improved Nanosurgical Efficacy Through Plasmonic Laser Ablation

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new process utilizing a two-laser system: the first allows rapid scanning to “see ” the accumulated nanoparticles (representing a range of nanometal structures) and the second, an ultra-short pulse laser, focuses only on areas with accumulated nanoparticles. The effect of the dual lasers is the generation of plasma that directly vaporizes the nanoparticles and associated tissues. This low-energy methodology does not rely on thermal heating and results in minimal collateral damage and increased efficacy.

Life Sciences :
Materials and Compounds

Skip to next category
  • High Throughput, High Resolution Optical Metrology for Reflective and Transmissive Nanophotonic Devices

    Functional metrology, in this case imaging spectrophotometry, is the ideal metrology for high-throughput nanophotonics manufacturing because it is both high-resolution and high-throughput. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed multiple configurations of imaging spectrophotometer systems optimized for throughput for a variety of specific types of nanophotonic device manufacturing scenarios, each with their own unique metrology needs. The high-resolution spectral images provided by these systems generate a wealth of data that can be utilized for defect detection and root-cause analysis which assists yield management.

  • Improved Oxide Cathodes for Rechargeable Batteries

    The solution is a novel oxide cathode design that overcomes the disadvantages previously encountered and successfully enhances a rechargeable battery's capacity, cycle life, and rate of charge. For example, the invention's integrated materials engineering approach improves the reliability of lithium-ion batteries while enabling new lithium-ion batteries to weigh less and recharge faster than present lithium-ion batteries of the same charge capacity. Alternatively, the invention enables new lithium-ion batteries to power portable electronic devices for longer periods of time than present lithium-ion batteries of the same weight.

  • Solvent-free tissue engineering scaffold fabrication with immiscible polymer blends and solid-state foaming

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have recently developed a solvent-free fabrication method of polylactic acid (PLA) tissue engineering scaffolds using non-toxic materials (e.g., sucrose). The method not only eliminates the need for organic solvent, but also allows the creation of highly porous scaffolds with controllable pore size. The investigators were able to show that glioblastoma cells grew very well on this PLA scaffold and that the scaffold facilitates nutrient transfer and cell spreading. The ability of this product to achieve small pore sizes (25-200 micrometers) eases the assembly of the cells on the 3D scaffold. Because this method of fabrication does not require the use of organic solvent, long-term cell culture can be achieved without the worry of undesired cell death due to solvents. 

  • Biological Control of Nanoparticle Nucleation, Shape and Crystal Phase

    This invention has shown proof of concept of a highly novel technique for selection of peptides that can 1) recognize and bind technologically important materials with face specificity, 2) nucleate size constrained crystalline semiconductor materials, 3) control the crystallographic phase of nucleated nanoparticles, and 4) control the aspect ratio of the peptides and therefore the optical properties. The use of mixtures of inorganic-biological materials as building blocks could serve as the basis for a radically new means of fabrication of complex electronic devices, optoelectronic devices such as light emitting displays, optical detectors and lasers, fast interconnects, wavelength-selective switches, nanometer-scale computer components, mammalian implants, and environmental and medical diagnostics.

  • Laminar Construct for Tissue-Engineered Dermal Equivalent

    Inventors from The University of Texas at Austin and U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research have jointly developed an innovative dermal equivalent or tissue-engineered skin. The cells can be sourced from an individual patient, which results in an autograft with fewer immune complications. Additionally, the cells do not require culture times, which results in a simpler production; and the present invention provides for the formation of blood vessels within the cell/matrix structure which may increase the viability of the construct. This technology consists of multiple layers including a cell population and a hydrogel matrix.

  • Secretion of Folded Recombinant Proteins for Enhancing the Production of Complex Proteins in Bacteria

    The invention provides methods for using the Twin Arginine Translocation (TAT) pathway in bacteria to produce heterologous polypeptides that have multiple disulfide bonds. Further, a dramatic increase in the production of useful complex proteins can be obtained in cells that have been engineered to co-produce high levels of disulfide isomorases. The dual application of the TAT pathway and expression of disulfide isomerase greatly broadens the array of proteins that can be produced in a properly folded and functional form by bacterial systems, opening vast new production and discovery opportunities for researchers.

  • Biodegradable, Electrically Conducting Polymer for Tissue Engineering Applications

    To take advantage of the role of electrical charges in cell proliferation and differentiation stimulation, this novel, biodegradable polymer derives itself from an electrically conducting polymer. The polymer functionalizes to form segments connected by hydrolyzable ester linkages, making it useful for in situ stimulation of nerve regeneration. In addition, the polymer could be applied to other areas of tissue engineering, such as spinal cord regeneration, wound healing, bone repair, and muscle tissue stimulation. This polymer can also be used as a drug delivery device, where a drug or other biologically active compound can be coupled to the scaffold and released when implanted in the body.

  • Method for Identifying Novel Telomerase Inhibitors with Utility in Cancer Treatment

    These compounds are inhibitors of the cancer-cell specific telomerase and have potential as anticancer agents.

Life Sciences :
Research Tools

Skip to next category
  • Short, Synthetic Promoters for High Level Expression in Yeast

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created short, synthetic promoters (typically under 100 bp) for both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Yarrowia lipolytica, two yeasts that are used in biofuel and chemical production. These promoters can be used in an expression cassette to control the gene expression in these organisms, require very little DNA, and exhibit no homology to endogenous promoters and terminators. In many cases, the function of these short parts meet or exceed the value of standard endogenous promoters, enabling more rapid enhancement of gene expression.

  • Short, Synthetic Terminators for Controlling Fungal Gene Expression

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a line of short, synthetic terminators for fungal systems that are distinctly different from and more potent than native terminators. These terminators increase the net RNA from a promoter, thus allowing control over the gene expression of the fungal systems. This tool has been shown to work in two different fungal organisms and is likely applicable to all fungal systems.

  • DNA smart glue that directs assembly of 3D structures with micro-scale features

    The Ellington lab at UT Austin has generated DNA-based smart glue that may address some of the pitfalls of state of the art technology. First, the smart glue can precisely direct the assembly of micro-scale particles to form a gel-like substance that can support cell growth. Modifications of the DNA-mediated connectivity can modify the structure of the material in a predetermined fashion, which can, in turn, modify the behavior of cells growing on the substrate. Second, because of the specificity of DNA:DNA interactions, the material is programmable in a reliable and predictable way that can adjusted to suit needs of a given application. Third, the material can be 3D printed allowing for the possibility of scalable means of production and allowing for control of shape over final aggregate. Finally, this is the first demonstration of DNA smart glue that can control micro-scale particles, making this a novel and powerful way to generate 3D scaffolds for cell growth.

  • Unique Bifunctional Nanotubes for Biological Applications

    Researchers at UT Austin have invented a unique 1-D PM nanotube consisting of silica nanotubes with embedded nanomagnets and surface-coated plasmonic Ag nanoparticles. The nanotubes provide a large number of hot spots for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with an enhancement factor(EF) of 3.8 x 1010, making it possible for reproducible and ultrasensitive molecular-level detection. The magnetic anisotropy of the nanotubes owing to the embedded nanomagnets can be tuned for high-efficiency nano-manipulation to desired positions, such as on the membrane of a single biological cell, for location-specific analysis.

  • Rapid high-throughput in vivo screening method for chemicals that prevent human age-related neurodegenerative diseases

    The Pierce-Shimomura lab at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a rapid, cost-effective method to test potential AD therapeutic compounds in vivo with a C. elegans AD model. These model strains express a single copy of human APP or an extra single copy of the worm gene equivalent (apl-1). They are the first "humanized" C. elegans strains that demonstrate age-related neurodegeneration and APP accumulation related to AD. In addition, these model worms express GFP in a subset of neurons to determine neuronal health as an animal is aging. To visualize APP accumulation, additional worm strains were generated that knock-in a single copy of mCherry-tagged APP or apl 1. All four model worms recapitulate neurodegeneration demonstrated in human AD. The mCherry tagged worm strains also display an age-related increase in APP accumulation in neurons prior to cell death.

  • Selective Fluorescent Probes to Detect Nitric Oxide

    The researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a simple indicator molecule which, upon contact with nitric oxide under aerobic conditions, reacts to form a red-shifted molecule capable of fluorescent imaging and characterization in the system. Fluorescence as an imaging method is valued for its ease of use. The molecule is highly sensitive to nitric oxide while being specifically non-reactive to ascorbic acid. Furthermore, this indicator can be synthesized in two steps from commercially available reagents and does not require the assembly of a dye skeleton, which greatly simplifies the production process and reduces the associated costs. This indicator also has a selectivity for nitric oxide and has favorable reaction kinetics.

  • Systematic Discovery of Non-Obvious Human Disease Models and Candidate Disease Genes Through Phenologs

    The mapping between genotype and phenotype is often non-obvious, and predicting genes underlying a particular phenotype is difficult. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel computational method that identifies non-obvious human disease models in a manner that simultaneously identifies candidate disease genes. This quantitative, software supported, system has generated leads to several new disease-relevant genes. The novel UT Austin invention has already been applied to identify a non-vertebrate model for neural-tube closure birth defects, such as spina bifida. The model was successfully applied to find new vertebrate genes associated with neural-tube closure defects. Other demonstrated applications include identification of a yeast model system capable of identifying vertebrate genes that participate in angiogenesis. In principle, this technology can be applied to any human disease for which a limited initial set of candidate genes is already available. Interested parties will benefit from the inventors' funding from an NIH grant. The current key application for this novel UT Austin invention is disease-related gene identification. However, the inventors predict that their novel system could, in the near future, be incorporated into model organism-based lead compound drug screening assays.

  • Enhancing the Production of Complex Proteins in Bacteria

    The invention provides methods for using the Twin Arginine Translocation (TAT) pathway in bacteria to produce heterologous polypeptides that have multiple disulfide bonds. In addition to the composition of novel secretion mechanisms, methods of screening polypeptide libraries produced by secretion through the TAT pathway are also available. This system allows improved production of recombinant proteins with at least one disulfide bond and opens new opportunities for bacterial expression of complex proteins in a properly folded and functional form.

  • Anchored Periplasmic Expression (APEx): A Powerful Technology for Antibody Discovery and Combinatorial Protein Library Screening

    APEx is a validated method to isolate binding polypeptides, including antibodies or antibody fragments, that recognize specific molecular targets. A library of polypeptide (e.g., antibody) mutants is constructed and expressed in E. coli bacteria. The mutant polypetides are expressed as fusion proteins that are anchored on the cytoplasmic (inner) membrane of the bacterium facing the periplasm. Subsequently, the outer membrane of the bacterium is made permeable by chemical treatments or other methods. Permeabilization of the bacterial outer membrane renders the polypeptides anchored on the membrane accessible to target molecules labeled with fluorescent dyes that have been added to the external solution. The bacterial clones expressing polypeptides that recognize the target bind to the fluorescently labeled target and in turn become fluorescent. The fluorescent bacteria expressing the desired proteins are enriched from the population by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS).

  • Interfacing Narrow Capillaries to MS via Electrospray Ionization Utilizing a Novel Porous Tip

    Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel porous tip design for interfacing capillaries that simplifies the exchange of materials between separation devices and the MS units. This design has several marked advantages: 1) optimal performance is observed under nanoflow conditions; 2) no dead volume associated with design; 3) due to design, redox reactions with water at high voltage does not affect separation or MS performance; 4) design allows automated production of reproducible interface capillaries; 5) the same interfacing capillary is compatible with CE or LC source materials; 6) interface can be used with existing electrospray ionization source from a variety of manufacturers; 7) interface has been successfully used in the analysis of amino acids, peptides and intact proteins.

Life Sciences :

Skip to next category
  • Model-based Framework and Algorithm for the Detection and Annotation of Spiculated Masses on Mammography

    This invention is a new model-based framework for the detection of spiculated masses on mammograms and an evidence-based active contour algorithm to explicitly annotate these spicules on mammography. The detection algorithm:a) enhances spicules through Spiculation Filtering and detects the spatial locations where the spicules convergeb) detects the central mass region of the spiculated masses, andc) reduces the false positives due to normal linear structures.The foundation of this algorithm is strong, as all the parameters are based on actual physical properties of spiculated masses measured by experienced radiologists. The algorithm, when tested on a set of 100 challenging images from the publicly available DDSM database, showed a sensitivity of 88% at 2.7 FPI (sensitivity is the fraction of regions marked as suspicious that are actually lesions and FPI (false positives per image) is the number of regions marked per image that are not lesions). This technique aims to find the highest risk abnormalities and will be a useful aid to radiologists in detecting breast cancer.Additionally, this invention comprises of a new image processing device we call Snakules that has been designed to explicitly annotate spicules on mammograms. Starting from a natural set of automatically detected candidate points, we deploy snakules that consist of converging open-ended active contours, also known as snakes. The set of convergent snakules (snakes that seek spicules) have the ability to grow and adapt to the true spicules in the imageObserver studies involving experienced radiologists to evaluate the performance of snakules demonstrate the strong potential of the algorithm as an image analysis technique to improve the specificity of CADe algorithms and as a CADe prompting tool.

  • Real-time Quantitative Imaging of Blood Flow During Surgery: A Method to Efficiently Produce Laser Speckle Contrast Images

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an original method to generate real-time imaging of blood flow during surgery through the use of laser speckle contrast. The invention tackles the major limitations on current technologies. The first limitation on present methods is the speed at which images of blood flow can be processed. Current methods require processing speeds much slower than real-time, making this application unfeasible for use in surgical applications. The UT invention utilizes novel software and algorithms which solve this problem, allowing real-time image processing. Real-time visualization has the potential to revolutionize surgical procedures in which blood flow imaging is critical. This novel technology also leaps over the low quantitative accuracy of current methods. Present imaging technologies are limited to relative changes in blood flow. The method this UT invention employs improves quantitative accuracy by utilizing an original camera technique. A simple yet revolutionary technique is employed by this original laser speckle contrast imaging method. This technology offers a novel tool for an existing market. Teams of neurosurgeons from two separate medical institutions have validated the end-user need for such a device. Interested parties will benefit from the fact that Dr. Dunn has received a combination of NSF and NIH funding that totals to almost $1M. In addition, the product is relatively inexpensive to produce, and both the device and software can be readily integrated into existing surgical microscopes. The high processing speeds of this device offer real-time imaging of blood flow, allowing for advancements in techniques utilized by surgeons.Furthermore, Dr. Dunn has developed a novel approach for spatially mapping oxygenation levels in biological tissues in vivo that provides spatial specificity, which previous approaches for determining oxygenation levels either do not provide or use a more expensive means for achieving.

  • Non-Invasive Detection of Glaucoma and Other Diseases

    The purpose of the invention is to characterize functionality of nerves by measurement of mechanical changes associated with neural activation. The method has been demonstrated and is being developed as a tool that may be applied to diagnose neural pathologies at an early stage. The invention may aid in the early diagnosis of glaucoma, and possibly other neural diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer?s. Moreover, the system may be useful for non-invasive physiologic monitoring in response to the application of pharmacologic agents. The method is applicable to study the functionality of all nervous tissue, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

Nanotechnologies :
Physical Science Apps

Skip to next category
  • Method for Passive Alignment of Semiconductor Wafers

    A novel method has been developed for rapid and repeatable passive alignment of silicon wafers. The method is based on three pins which keep the wafer constrained and a nesting force which keeps the wafer in contact with the pins, and consists of a number of features that minimize the probability of wafer jamming and maximize wafer positioning repeatability. This process has been shown to be capable of positioning repeatability on the order of 1 micron with a setup time less than thirty seconds.

  • Reactive Bubble Printing

    Researchers at UT Austin have developed a reactive bubble printing (RBP) technique, which utilizes a plasmonic-microbubble-based approach to simultaneously reduce and print silver (or other metal-based) nanoparticles from a precursor ink. A microbubble generated by a continuous-wave laser acts as a micro-reactor to concentrate the precursor ions and thermally reduce, in this case, Ag from the precursor along the bubble/water interface and yield a ring morphology instantaneously. Ag rings with tunable radius from 1 to 2 μm were fabricated. Further, by the rational design via computer programming, researchers have achieved various spatial arrangements and ring arrays which exhibit optical activity in the mid-IR and visible wavelengths. With its advantages of combining the fabrication and printing step, near-instantaneous reduction from the precursor, and nano/microscale reaction confinement, RBP reduces the number of fabrication steps and complexity. In addition, RBP is compatible with spatially constrained microfluidic devices, which is crucial for point-of-care (POC) diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

  • Protein-Templated Fabrication of Nanocrystal Flash Memory

    Non-volatile flash memory technology can continue to scale down for lower voltage and power applications if new materials are used and/or new memory cell designs are adopted. This invention capitalizes on a combination of technologies. Primarily, a new gate design using nanocrystals can significantly improve the non-volatile charge retention time and also reduces charge leakage. In addition, nanocrystal floating gate flash memories can improve FLASH EEPROM in many areas such as device scaling, erase/write/read speed, operating power and device lifetime. When combined with a new tunneling layer material, programmability is made easier without the traditional problems of data leakage. A new channel material and a new channel design also reduce the energy required for programming. The combined result is a new flash memory cell capable of fast programming under low voltage and/or low power operating conditions with a much lower failure rate.

  • Novel Solution to Problematic UV Darkening of Electrochromic Glass

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel concept to block the intrinsic photochromic mechanism of WO3 that causes UV darkening. The invention utilizes a very thin (<10 nm) conformal coating of high-dielectric and ion-conducting material as a protective layer on the electrochromic WO3 film. This thin protective layer efficiently shuts off photochromism by blocking the hole-transfer while it still allows the transfer of ions required for the electrochromic switching.

  • Photo-Assisted Charging for Electrochromic Devices

    In working with WO3 electrochromic materials, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a film designed to power itself in the presence of sunlight. WO3 is known as a wide bandgap semiconductor, capable of absorbing solar energy and converting it to electrons. These electrons could be transferred and stored at a counter electrode such as CeO2, essentially creating a solar cell battery used to power a smart window.

  • Transparent conducting oxide films of heterogeneous dopant distribution

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a concept for fabricating highly conductive TCO films by achieving high mobility while having high carrier concentrations. Nanocomposite films composed of doped/undoped metal oxide show high mobility which are comparable to that of undoped metal oxide, and also show high carrier concentration from the doped region.

  • Nanowires and Methods of Making and Using

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel synthetic route for copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) nanorods and nanowires. CIGS nanoparticles are currently being tested in photovoltaic devices, and using nanowires could offer improvement upon that approach.

  • Selective Redox of Thin Films using a Thermal Nanotip Probe

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new, more efficient method of creating metal and metal oxide patterns using selective reduction and oxidation. This invention offers significant opportunities for the advancement of microelectronics. Selective redox allows for direct write patterning of the surface, and there is even potential to achieve sub-5 nm features.

  • Formation of Self-Aligned Sub-Lithographic Mask for Nanostructure Patterning

    An innovative method has been developed for the formation of self-aligned sub-lithographic patterns for fabrication of high-quality nanostructures. It is based on the formation of a self-aligned mask using polymer residue formed during reactive ion etching (RIE) and followed by etching step(s). Fully compatible with most lithographic techniques, including standard optical lithography, this method produces high-resolution, high aspect ratio patterns with a far simpler process that is both cost-effective and high throughput. This process has been successfully demonstrated in the formation of 3D Si nanochannels with a single lithography step, producing highly uniform nanochannels with atomically smooth sidewalls and controllable aspect ratio.

  • Method for Fabricating Ultra-Thin and Ultra-Dense Silicon Nanowire Arrays

    The invention is a novel, three-step process for fabrication of silicon nanowires. It starts with a metal film deposition on a substrate comprising Si. Then the metal film is treated to form a nanoscale interconnected metal network. The SiNWs are formed during the following Si etch process where the metal network works as catalyst.

  • Novel Method of Patterning Quantum Dot LEDs with Applications as an NSOM Probe

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method for depositing uniform quantum dot films on a flat substrate. the films are CMOS compatible, which means they can undergo post-processing such as photolithography, etching, and patterning techniques to define contacts and the working area of the LEDs. The applications of this CMOS compatible technology could include nanophotonic microsystems for sensing and imaging. With modification, the deposition technique can be used in combination with a previous Universtiy technology (US patent # 7,621,964) to fabricate an NSOM probe with a built-in LED light source on the tip. Fabricating NSOM probes in this manner is advantageous over existing metthods since the process could be automated using MEMS techniques, instead of typical manual assembly. Integrating the LED directly onto the tip would also eliminate the need to focus lasers through small apertures.

Nanotechnologies :
Life Science Apps

Skip to next category
  • Design and Fabrication of Nanomotors of Ultrahigh and Uniform Rotational Speed

    A research group led by Dr. Emma Fan in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin has demonstrated an innovative design of the microelectrode set (nanorotor) and a facile fabrication process for an ultrahigh speed rotational nanomotor that can rotate to at least 18,000 rpm for significantly longer operating lifetime (15+ hrs) than current state-of-the-art devices. The group further designed the magnetic components within the nanomotors to achieve uniform speed rotation (i.e., no periodic oscillations) that can be operated as a step-nanomotor.

  • Method of Preparation and Composition of Micro and Nano Devices for Recognition and Signaling

    Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a novel label-free detection chemistry method for diagnosis of a broad range of biological and chemical analytes. This is accomplished through a novel method of preparation and composition of recognition, conductive polymers with electrical signal capabilities called RECONGEL. This versatile platform technology can selectively sense an analyte and upon recognition emit an electric signal without the need for an additional interface. The durable and stable synthetic polymer material is capable of a broad range of form factors including films, coatings, or microparticles. The system is customizable to detect minute levels of a single or multiple biological molecules with high selectivity and affinity. The RECONGEL systems can also be used in association with standard photolithography processes to create novel biosensors with sensing/recognitive capabilities, as well as associated signal transmitting capabilities. This technology is applicable to a number of markets of interests including personal health monitoring, medical devices and diagnostics, food and beverage testing, and industrial processing.

  • Enhanced Delivery of Drug Compositions to Treat Life-Threatening Infections

    Researchers at UT Austin have developed highly bioavailable forms of broad spectrum antifungal drugs, which can be further commercialized into highly competitive and affordable pharmaceutical drug products. The novel drug delivery systems comprise nanoparticles of antifungal agents produced by technologies invented and developed at UT Austin, including Evaporative Precipitation into Aqueous Liquid (EPAS), Spray Freezing into Liquid (SFL) and Ultra-Rapid Freezing (URF). The method significantly enhances the delivery and efficacy of antifungal drugs. Nanoparticles of antifungal are incorporated into oral and pulmonary drug delivery systems to achieve enhanced bioavailability. Improved bioavailability and antifungal effect have been confirmed in animal studies.

  • Demonstrated Use of Quantum Dot LEDs to Eliminate the Need for External Laser and Aperture Enabled NSOM Probe

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method for depositing uniform quantum dot films on a flat substrate. The films are CMOS compatible, which means they can undergo post-processing such as photolithography, etching, and patterning techniques to define contacts and the working area of the LEDs. The applications of this CMOS-compatible technology could include nanophotonic microsystems for sensing and imaging. With modification, the deposition technique can be used in combination with a previous University technology (US patent 7,621,964) to fabricate an NSOM probe with a built-in LED light source on the tip. Fabricating NSOM probes in this manner is advantageous over existing methods, since the process could be automated using MEMS techniques, instead of typical manual assembly. Integrating the LED directly onto the tip would also eliminate the need to focus lasers through small apertures.

  • Formation of Nanostructured Particles of Poorly Water Soluble Drugs and Recovery by Mechanical Techniques

    UT Austin inventors have devised a new process for rapidly separating nanoparticles of chemicals (pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, nutraceuticals) from an aqueous suspension or dispersion. The dried particles may then be redispersed in water or other polar solvents to their original size and morphological form (for example, amorphous or a specific crystalline structure). The particle recovery process involves agglomerating the nanoparticles to a larger flocculate, in order to be rapidly separated by standard methods, such as filtration or centrifugation. After separation, the particles are able to achieve enhanced solubility equal to or better than an identical formulation isolated by conventional means, such as freeze-drying or spray-drying. The flocculated particles can exhibit slower release kinetics than the original nanoparticles, allowing controlled release of the chemical agent. In addition, the particles may be mixed with other excipients to make pharmaceutical dosage forms including tablets, gels and capsules. Previous processes used spray-drying, evaporation, freeze-drying, or spray-freezing to isolate nanoparticles from suspension. These processes can have a detrimental impact on the morphology of the particles. For example, the addition of heat or solvent removal may cause growth in the primary particle size or crystallization of amorphous domains. The invention is a process to control the aggregation of the nanoparticles with excipients and stabilizers. The unique aspect of this novel separation process is that it may be utilized without changing the morphology of the drug particles. The current invention is capable of producing much smaller particle sizes and more monodisperse particle size distributions, as well as polymorphs, which enhance aqueous solubility.

  • Remotely Triggered Nanocarrier for Imaging and Therapy Applications

    Researchers have created an injectable, biocompatible nanocarrier that is multifaceted. The exterior of the nanocarrier is coated with targeting molecules that help facilitate their accumulation in a targeted tissue. Once accumulated, among many other possibilities, the nanocarrier can provide optically triggered or radiofrequency controlled drug release. Furthermore, the nanocarrier can be used to facilitate vessel occlusion therapy, photothermal therapy, and microwave ablation therapy. Simultaneously, the nanocarrier acts an imaging contrast agent for combined photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging, optical coherence tomography, and other optical imaging methods, including the potential to allow for continuous wave photoacoustic imaging. This technology also has the potential to be used with other imaging methods, including magnetic resonance imaging and magnetomotive imaging. The remote triggering of this nanocarrier is critical for its functionality, both as an imaging contrast agent and a form of therapy. In other words, the system remains inert in the body until specifically triggered by a clinician. Furthermore, this agent is nano scale (less than one micron), biocompatible, and has a shelf life of six months or more.

  • Enhanced Delivery of Immunosuppressive Drug Compositions for Pulmonary Delivery

    Inventors at UT Austin have developed a novel delivery means for TAC. It entails preparing nanoparticulate formulation of this immunosuppressant using biocompatible hydrophilic excipients for pulmonary administration. This composition produces inhalable nanoparticles that provide high, sustained levels of drug in the lungs, overcoming the poor oral bioavailability of TAC.

  • Process for Production of Nanoparticles and Microparticles by Spray Freezing Into Liquid (Aqueous Process)

    UT Austin inventors have developed an innovative process to produce hollow, porous nanoparticles and microparticles containing a pharmaceutical drug substance. The powders produced using this technology can be used for many routes of delivery, including pulmonary delivery. Pulmonary delivery usually requires the administration of the active ingredient by a pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI). Dry powder delivery using the porous, low-density powders generated by this technology will provide a dosage form which is much easier to manufacture, as well as a product which is much easier to self-administer for therapeutic use. This technology may be used to develop controlled-release drug delivery systems for delivering active drugs to humans and animals. It may also be used to produce polymer blends, polymer composites and inorganic metal and metal oxide nanoparticles.

  • Injectable, Disease-Responsive Nanocontainers

    This technology embodies a MEMS/NEMS-based drug delivery device. The main approach utilizes micro/nanofabrication technology to develop micro- and nanocarriers that are capable of releasing both drugs and contrast agents in response to stimuli. This novel device not only achieves accurate drug delivery, but it also provides for the simultaneous non-invasive monitoring of both therapeutics and the delivery device. It does this by delivering the drug and the contrast agent at the same time; this technique allows the easy evaluation of processes such as whether the particles reach the desired target, intracellular uptake, and subsequent release. Further, because this device is injectable, no surgery is required, and potential inflammatory responses are diminished. In addition to being injectable, this device contains a physiologically responsive lid that only allows drug release when triggered by specific stimuli.

  • Biodegradable MicroSpheres for Drug and Vaccine Delivery

    This patent overcomes the limitations of non-covalent adsorption and cationic surfactants through the covalent conjugation of branched polyamines and biodegradable polymer particle surfaces to produce cationic microparticles for nucleic acid loading. Secondly, this technology allows for surface conjugation of transfection enhancing polyamines with intrinsic endosomal buffering ability, which could lead to a more efficient delivery vehicle for nucleic acid vaccines and immunotherapy. Thirdly, this technology has the ability to co-deliver multiple types of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA and oligos) as well as peptides and proteins in the same vehicle. One or more molecules on the surface and other molecules encapsulated inside the particles ensure that multiple drugs are delivered efficiently to the same cells.

  • Rose-Shaped Gold and Iron Oxide Nano Structures and Their Applications: Tissue Imaging Contrast Enhancement, Medical Diagnostics, and Photothermal Therapy

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have synthesized a novel type of nanostructure consisting of a “nanorose ” nanostructure, gold and iron oxide, and an FDA-approved polymer coating. The inventors then worked with colleagues at UTHSC- San Antonio to test the feasibility of nanorose absorption by macrophages.Advantages of the nanorose technology over existing contrast agents such as nanoshells, nanorods, and nanocages arise out of its physical shape and size. The nanorose structures are only 20 to 80 nm in size, smaller than other types of nanostructures. They also have excellent optical sensitivity in the range of 500 to 1100nm, a much wider range than that of nanorod structures currently in use. This is also the range where blood is most transparent, meaning that images in this range are more challenging to produce.

  • Improved Nanosurgical Efficacy Through Plasmonic Laser Ablation

    Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new process utilizing a two-laser system: the first allows rapid scanning to “see ” the accumulated nanoparticles (representing a range of nanometal structures) and the second, an ultra-short pulse laser, focuses only on areas with accumulated nanoparticles. The effect of the dual lasers is the generation of plasma that directly vaporizes the nanoparticles and associated tissues. This low-energy methodology does not rely on thermal heating and results in minimal collateral damage and increased efficacy.

  • Molecular Specific Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

    Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have identified a new imaging methodology that could readily be linked to effective therapies. Using photo-acoustic methods and targeted gold nanoparticles, researchers have enhanced imaging capabilities, with greater tissue penetration and earlier detection through visualization of targeted nanoparticles. Once imaged, photo-thermal approaches can be applied by the same equipment to ablate the tumor area. Tumor necrosis can be monitored by a combination of photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging.

  • Nanoparticles for Improved Drug Delivery and Stability

    The present invention is a drug carrier system that uses a hot-melt extrusion technique where fine drug particles are suspended in an immiscible polymeric carrier. The carrier system acts to stabilize the fine drug particles in such a way that particle aggregation and agglomeration do not occur during processing or upon storage at various temperature and relative humidity conditions. The fine drug particles are achieved using current methods and the melt extrusion process breaks up aggregates and suspends the primary particles as isolated drug particles that are homogenously dispersed throughout the carrier matrix.