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Patents

Graphitized-Carbon Fiber/Carbon Char Fuel
John F. Cooper
U.S. Patent 7,261,804 B2
August 28, 2007
This method recovers intact graphitic fibers from fiber–polymer composites. The graphite fiber–polymer composite mixture is pyrolyzed, and the graphite fibers are separated by molten salt electrochemical oxidation.

Serpentine and Corduroy Circuits to Enhance the Stretchability of a Stretchable Electronic Device
Mariam N. Maghribi, Peter A. Krulevitch, Thomas S. Wilson, Julie K. Hamilton, Christina Park
U.S. Patent 7,265,298 B2
September 4, 2007
This electronic apparatus can be stretched in a longitudinal direction generally aligned with its central axis. The apparatus has at least one circuit line connected to a stretchable polymer body. The circuit lines and their longitudinal components extend in the longitudinal direction, and an offset component is at an angle to the longitudinal direction. The longitudinal and offset components allow the apparatus to stretch in the longitudinal direction while maintaining the integrity of the circuit lines.

Solar Thermal Aircraft
Charles L. Bennett
U.S. Patent 7,270,295 B2
September 18, 2007
This aircraft is powered by heat energy from the Sun. The aircraft body carries a heat engine, such as a Stirling engine, that produces power for a propulsion mechanism, such as a propeller. A thermal battery supplies heat to the engine. A solar concentrator, such as a reflective parabolic trough, concentrates solar energy from within the aircraft and is connected to an optically transparent section of the aircraft body. A conduit collects the concentrated energy and transports heat to the thermal battery. A solar tracker uses a heliostat to determine the optimal alignment with the Sun. A drive motor then actuates the solar concentrator based on the heliostat readings.

Protein Crystallography Prescreen Kit
Brent W. Segelke, Heike I. Krupka, Bernhard Rupp
U.S. Patent 7,276,216 B2
October 2, 2007
This kit for prescreening protein concentration for crystallization includes several vials, reagents, and sample plates. Protein samples in solutions of varying concentrations are placed on sample plates with the reagents. After the sample plates are incubated, they are examined to determine which concentrations are too low or too high. The concentrations that are optimal for protein crystallization are selected and used.

System for the Co-Production of Electricity and Hydrogen
Ai Quoc Pham, Brian Lee Anderson
U.S. Patent 7,276,306 B2
October 2, 2007
This system for generating hydrogen gas and electricity can adjust the proportion of hydrogen to electricity from 0 to 100 percent. The system integrates fuel-cell technology for power generation with fuel-assisted steam electrolysis. A hydrocarbon fuel or a reformed or partially reformed hydrocarbon fuel can be fed into the system.

Silicon Fiber Optic Sensors
Michael D. Pocha, Steve P. Swierkowski, Billy E. Wood
U.S. Patent 7,277,605 B2
October 2, 2007
A Fabry–Perot cavity is formed by a reflective surface on the free end of an integrated elongate channel or an integrated bounding wall of a chip. Either configuration includes a partially reflective surface on the end of an optical fiber. Such a device can detect one or more physical parameters, such as strain, through the optical fiber. An optical detection system provides measuring accuracies of less than about 0.1 percent.

Fade-Resistant Forward Error Correction Method for Free-Space Optical Communications Systems
Gary W. Johnson, Farid U. Dowla, Anthony J. Ruggiero
U.S. Patent 7,277,644 B2
October 2, 2007
Free-space optical laser communication systems offer exceptionally wide bandwidth and secure connections between platforms that cannot be physically connected by an optical fiber or cable. However, these links are subject to strong channel fading from atmospheric turbulence and beam-pointing errors, limiting performance and reliability. A fade-tolerant architecture based on forward error-correcting codes is combined with delayed, redundant subchannels to solve this problem. The redundancy is feasible through dense wavelength division multiplexing or high-order modulation. Experiments and simulations show that error-free communication is feasible even with fades that last for tens of milliseconds. The system is designed to operate at 2.5 gigabits per second.


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