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DuPont Donates Nanotechnology Patents

February 2, 2004

The University of California, Davis, College of Engineering has received a collection of patents and other intellectual property from DuPont on using nanotechnology to generate electron beams. The donation will support work in the Vacuum Microelectronics group led by Charles E. Hunt, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The donation includes: eight granted U.S. patents and current U.S. patent applications on field-emission vacuum microelectronics; multiple foreign patents and pending applications; other company technical information; support equipment; and funds to support graduate student research in Hunt's laboratory.

Hunt's laboratory applies nanotechnology to build tiny structures, hundreds of times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, that can confine enormous electric fields in a very small volume of material. This material then emits electrons that can be focused into a beam. These "field-emission" devices have numerous emerging applications ranging from high-efficiency lighting to novel biomedical devices, nanoscopic x-ray sources, cathode ray tubes and microwave devices, Hunt said.

The UC Davis researchers will be able to develop and add to the existing patents and license them to other companies or to startup companies spun off from UC Davis. Any future royalties or licensing fees will benefit the University of California.

"We are immensely pleased by the generous donation from DuPont," said Enrique Lavernia, dean of the College of Engineering at UC Davis. "It allows us to build on an area in which the college already excels, and it is a vote of confidence on the part of an important industrial partner in our ability to make the best possible use of the patents. We know that our researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are poised to build on this gift."

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