Surface Science Western Patents

The following is a list of patents granted and pending/applied for by research scientists at Surface Science Western.


  • “Modification Of Polymer Surfaces By Two-Step Reactions”
    R. Foerch, D.H. Hunter, R.N.S. Sodhi, N.S. McIntyre
    Canadian Patent CA 1335495 (1995)
    Abstract: Improved modification of polymer surfaces is achieved by two-step reactions on polymer surfaces, where the first reaction is nitrogen plasma treatment, preferably with a remote nitrogen plasma where the polymer is positioned downstream therefrom, and the second reaction is, for example, treatment with ozone, treatment in a corona discharge, or treatment with an oxygen, hydrogen or argon plasma.
  • “Plasma Treatment of Polymer Powders”
    J. Kodama, R. Foerch, N.S. McIntyre, G.S.P. Castle
    United States Patent 5439984 (1995)
    Abstract: Surfaces of fine polystyrene (PS) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) powders were modified by exposure to the downstream products of a nitrogen or oxygen microwave plasma. The effects of nitrogen and indium incorporation in the powder surface were studied with emphasis on variations in the triboelectric properties of the powder. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was utilized to determine the changes in surface elemental composition. After nitrogen plasma treatment, the C 1s peak profiles suggested the formation of amines in the case of PS, and the formation of imines and amides in the case of PMMA. Oxygen plasma treatment suggested the formation of hydroxyl and carbonyl groups on the surfaces of both PS and PMMA. After treatment with a nitrogen or oxygen plasma, the charge-to-mass ratio (Q/M) of PS and PMMA powders in contact with carrier particles was measured using the cage blowoff method. The surface charge density (Q/A) was calculated from Q/M. The Q/A of nitrogen plasma-treated PS powder was seen to shift towards positive charge with small increases in the nitrogen concentration. The Q/A of oxygen plasma treated PS powder initially shifted toward negative charge, but changed towards positive charge with higher oxygen concentrations. Plasma-treated PMMA powder showed a different behavior and the variation of Q/A on PMMA was much less than that of PS. Results suggest that triboelectrification of the polymer powder may be related to changes in the electrical surface states, and that nitrogen may act as a group V dopant within the PS surface.
  • “Plasma Assisted Grafting of Maleic Anhydride to Polyolefins”
    R. Foerch, D.H. Hunter, M.J. Walzak and B.A. Graham
    United States Patent 5612097. (1997)
    Abstract: A method for grafting maleic anhydride groups to the surface of polyolefins is described. The method uses an excited inert gas phase species in contact with the polyolefin and solid maleic anhydride. The surface functionality is identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The modified polyolefin has an increased ability to form a thermal bond with metals, including aluminum.
  • “Method for Nucleation and Deposition of Diamond using Hot-filament DC Plasma”
    B.W. Sun and W.M. Lau
    United States Patent 6161499 (2000) {licensed to CVD Diamond Inc.}
    United States Patent 6200652 (2001) {licensed to CVD Diamond Inc.}
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for nucleation and growth of diamond by hot-filament DC plasma deposition. The apparatus uses a resistively heated filament array for dissociating hydrogen in the reactant gas. For two sided diamond growth, configurations of substrate-hot filament-grid-hot filament-substrate or substrate-hot filament-hot filament-substrate configuration are used. For the latter configuration, two independent arrays of filaments serve as both hot filament and grid, and AC or DC plasma is maintained between the filament arrays. For this and the other electrode configurations, the grid electrode is positively biased with respect to the hot filaments to maintain a plasma. The plasma potential gradient across the grid and the hot-filament draws ions from the plasma towards the filaments. To further increase deposition rates, the filament array is biased negatively with respect to the substrate holder so that a DC plasma is also maintained between the substrate and filament array. During nucleation, the filament adjacent to the substrate holder is biased positively relative to the substrate so that more ions are accelerated towards the substrate, which in turn enhances the flow of growth precursors towards the substrate resulting in a high diamond nucleation density on the substrate without the need for scratching or diamond-seeding pretreatment. This nucleation method simplifies the growth process and provides a convenient and economical means for heteroepitaxial growth of diamond nuclei on single crystal substrates like Si (100).
  • “Decorative Hard Coating and Method for Manufacture”
    W.M. Lau and W.K. Au
    United States Patent 7264668 (2007)
    Abstract: According to an embodiment of the present invention, a decorative hard coating comprises zirconium-aluminium oxycarbonitride. According to another embodiment of the present invention, a decorative hard coating comprises an underlayer and an overlayer, wherein the underlayer comprises metal-rich oxycarbonitride, and the overlayer comprises aluminium in some form. According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of making a metallic white decorative coating comprises providing a substrate and forming a layer of zirconium-aluminium oxycarbonitride over the substrate. According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of making a metallic white decorative coating comprises providing a substrate, forming a layer of metal-rich oxycarbonitride over the substrate, and forming a layer of aluminium or aluminium-rich oxycarbonitride over the layer of metal-rich oxycarbonitride.
  • “Surface Treatment and Method for Applying Surface Treatment to Suppress Secondary Electron Emission”
    A. Zybura, J.T. Francis, I.A. D’souza and B.A. Kobe
    United States Patent 6179976 (2001)
    European Patent: DE60022681T (2006)
    Abstract: A surface treatment and method for applying the surface treatment to electrical components are provided that include a coating of yttrium-iron-garnet (YIG), which is applied to the inner surface of the component by sputtering.
  • “Statistical Methods Applied to Surface Chemistry in Minerals Flotation”
    R.St.C. Smart, M.C. Biesinger and B.R. Hart
    Canadian Serial No. 2507420 (2005).
    United States Patent Application 20060289740 (11/434261Worldwide Assignment) (2006)
    Abstract: The present invention provides a method of analysis which couples principal components analysis (PCA) with ToF-SIMS for obtaining surface chemical information from minerals. Statistical methods, based on the monolayer-sensitive time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) technique, combined with principal component analysis (PCA) identifies combinations of factors strongly correlated (positively or negatively) in images or spectra from sets of data. In images, PCA selects these correlations from the mass spectra recorded at each of 256×256 pixels in a selected area of particles. In the image mode, PCA provides a much better method of selecting particles by mineral phase with clearer definition of particle boundaries due to multi-variable recognition.
  • “Method for Fabrication of Layered Heterojunction Polymeric Devices”
    L.W.M. Lau, T. Trebicky and H.Y. Nie
    United States Patent 8648336 (2014).
    Abstract: Method for growing multilayer polymer based heterojunction devices which uses selective breaking of C—H or Si—H bonds without breaking other bonds leading to fast curing for the production of layered polymer devices having polymer heterojunctions deposited by the common solution-based deposition methods.

Pending / Applied

  • “Method of Selective Removal of Organophosphonic Acid Molecules from their Complete Self-Assembled Monolayer on Si Substrates”
    H.-Y. Nie, N. S. McIntyre and L.W.M. Lau
    US Patent Application 20070212808 (2007)
    International Application No: PCT/CA/2007/000393
    Abstract: A scanning probe based method to selectively remove self-assembled organic molecules from their self-assembled monolayer (SAM) prepared on a conducting/semiconducting substrate having a hydrophilic surface. This technique involves the use of a conductive probe tip scanning a SAM with a thickness of not more than a few nanometers under an electric field applied by the scanning tip with a field strength of about 109 V/m between the tip and the surface of the conducting/semiconducting substrate. The patterned SAM can be used a device mould for the development of a nano-lithography technology or a device element in the fabrication of a nano-device. The present invention accommodates the trend of ever-decreasing size of devices.
  • “Method of Controllable Morphology of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Substrates”
    H.-Y. Nie, M.J. Walzak, N.S. McIntyre
    European Patent EP 1682284 (2006)
    US Patent Application 20080075885 (2008)
    International Application No.: PCT/CA2004/001500
    Abstract: Method of controlling the morphology of self-assembled monolayers (SAMS) on substrates having hydrophilic surfaces. The hydrophilic surface is exposed to a fluid having a mixture of molecules which can self-assemble on the hydrophilic surface and hydrophobic molecules for a sufficient length of time so that the molecules which can self-assemble on the hydrophilic surface form a complete self-assembled monolayer. In a particular embodiment octadecylphosphonic acid (OPA) molecules have been self-assembled on oxidized substrates including but not limited to mica, silicon, sapphire, quartz and aluminum by spin-coating a solution containing the octadecylphosphonic acid (OPA) molecules and hydrophobic molecules such as chloroform or trichloroethylene under a controlled relative humidity. Control of the morphology of OPA SAMs is affected by adjusting humidity and the duration of spin-coating. Atomic force microscopy revealed that relative humidity has a profound influence on the morphology of the OPA SAMs formed. When sufficient molecules are applied either consecutively or separately, the final morphology will be a complete monolayer, regardless of the relative humidity.