Nanogen, Inc. today announced that it has been issued U.S. Patent No. 6,652,808, "Methods for the Electronic Assembly and Fabrication of Devices," ("the '808 patent") by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This patent is the parent of a series of pending patent applications that significantly broaden Nanogen's proprietary position in the nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing areas. The Company has now been issued nine patents during 2003, bringing the total number of patents issued in the U.S. to 56.
"One of the challenges in producing new electronic and photonic devices using nanoscale components is the integration of these components into viable higher order devices. The new Nanogen patent describes a unique electric field 'pick and place' process that facilitates the bringing together or integration of diverse DNA nanocomponents, thereby helping solve difficult scaling issues. Combining the top-down electric field process with the bottom-up DNA self-assembly process enables more selective and higher precision incorporation of nanoscale components into higher order devices and structures," said Dr. Michael J. Heller, co-founder of Nanogen, one of the inventors, and currently a Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.
"The technology described by Nanogen's new patent may provide a technological foundation for the effective use of nanocomponents in many diverse applications," said Howard Birndorf, Nanogen chairman and CEO. "As we continue to increase and broaden our intellectual property portfolio, we intend to realize value from our nanotechnology patents through licensing or partnering opportunities. Congress' recent commitment to nanotechnology research and development underscores the potential our technologies may have for impacting several industries, including medicine."
The new nanotechnology patent relates to a nanofabrication technology that combines an electric field assisted manufacturing platform and programmable self-assembling nanostructures (for example, DNA building blocks) for the fabrication of a wide range of unique higher-order nano and microscale devices, structures, and materials. The nanofabrication platform and process would be used for: (1) producing new nanoscale electronic and photonic devices and structures, including high-density 2D and 3D data storage materials, 2D and 3D photonic crystal structures, hybrid electronic/photonic devices such as large area light emitting flat panel arrays and displays, and for the fabrication of highly integrated medical diagnostic and biosensor devices; (2) organization, assembly and interconnection of nanostructures and submicron components onto silicon wafers and other materials; (3) integration of nanostructures within preformed microelectronic and optoelectronic structures; (4) production of precision modified nanoparticles (for example, photonic crystals, nanospheres and quantum dots) which can then more efficiently self-assemble into 2D and 3D structures and materials (photonic band gap structures, nanocomposite materials and so forth); and (5) fabrication of selectively addressable DNA nanoarray substrates and materials.
The patent represents a unique nanofabrication technology which combines the best aspects of top-down microfabrication processes with bottom-up biological type self-assembly processes for producing novel nanodevices and nanostructures. The process is highly parallel and has an inherent hierarchical logic allowing one to control the organization, assembly and communication of components from the molecular and nanoscale into macroscale devices and structures.
The '808 patent is jointly owned by Nanotronics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nanogen, and the Regents of the University of California. Nanogen has exclusively licensed the interests of the University of California where there is joint inventorship. Additionally, Nanogen disclosed the issuance over the last several months of three patents relating to electronic microarray technology. The three additional issued patents are U.S. Patent No. 6,582,660 "Control System for Active Programmable Electronic Microbiology System," U.S. Patent No. 6,589,742 "Multiplex Amplification and Separation of Nucleic Acid Sequences on a Bioelectronic Microchip Using Asymmetric Structures," and U.S. Patent No. 6,638,482 "Reconfigurable Detection and Analysis Apparatus and Method."