Nanogen, Inc. announced today that it was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,706,473, "Systems and Devices for Photoelectrophoretic Transport and Hybridization of Oligonucleotides," by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The '473 patent relates to new devices for nanofabrication that enable the photoelectric transport and positioning of self-assembling DNA nanostructures (and microstructures) on a semiconductor substrate material. These devices use directed light beams to create precise electric fields on the substrate material. Charged nanostructures (such as DNA derivatized nanoparticles) are transported to the electric field site where they become attached and can then lead to the further self-organization of higher-order nanoscale or microscale structures and devices. With the addition of the '473 patent, Nanogen now has 58 issued patents in the United States.
"The '473 patent builds upon our previous nanotechnology patents by describing nanofabrication and assembly approaches using photonics to create guiding electronic fields," said Howard C. Birndorf, Nanogen chairman and chief executive officer. "This technology would allow us or others to create very small scale electronic arrays where the addressable fields are independent of preset platform designs and could greatly increase the flexibility of manufacturing and use of electronic arrays."
"More broadly, the '473 patent represents a potential manufacturing technology that combines the best aspects of self-assembly and microfabrication processes for the nanofabrication of 2D and 3D structures and devices. This highly parallel process has the inherent hierarchical logic to control the organization, assembly and communication of structures and components ranging in size from the molecular scale through macroscale systems," said Dr. Michael J. Heller, co-founder of Nanogen, and currently a professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.
In addition to the creation of selectively addressable DNA electronic array substrates and materials, the technology described in the '473 patent could have numerous applications including:
- Creation of molecular-based electronic and photonic mechanisms, materials and devices
- Organization, assembly and interconnection of multiple scale components (from nanostructures to microcomponents) onto silicon materials and also, potentially, within the perimeters of microelectronic and optoelectronic structures on the silicon substrate
- Production of multiple layer nanocomposite materials
- Creation and manufacturing of novel photonic and electronic devices such as high-density 2D and 3D data storage materials and devices or photonic crystal structures
- Development of low density optical memory for applications in authentication, anti-counterfeiting, and encryption of information in document or goods
- Heterogeneous integration of hybrid devices such as large area light emitting flat panel arrays, displays and medical diagnostic devices with the fabrication platform itself becoming the final product (such as a flat panel array or display screen).