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Materials Platform for Flexible Emissivity Engineering

This materials platform enables flexible engineering of infrared (IR) emissivity and development of thermal radiation devices beyond the Stefan-Boltzmann law. The materials structure is based on thin films of vanadium oxide (VO2) with judiciously designed graded W doping across a thickness less than the skin depth of electromagnetic screening (~100 nm). The infrared emissivity can be engineered to decrease in an arbitrary manner from ~ 0.75 to ~ 0.35 over a temperature range up to 50 C near room temperature. The large range of emissivity tuning and flexible adjustability is beyond the capability of regular materials or structures. This invention provides a new platform for unprecedented manipulation of thermal radiation and IR signals with a wide variety of applications, such as:  The emissivity can be programmed to precisely counteract the T^4 dependence in the Stefan-Boltzmann law and achieve a temperature dependent thermal radiation. Such a design enables a mechanically flexible and power-free infrared camouflage, which is inherently robust and immune to drastic temporal fluctuation and spatial variation of temperature. By tailoring structure and composition, the materials platform can create a surface with robust and arbitrary IR temperature image, regardless of the actual temperature distribution on the targets. This design of infrared "decoy" not only passively conceals the real thermal activity of the object, but also intentionally fools the camera with a counterfeited image. The materials platform can achieve strong temperature dependence of reflectivity over a broad wavelength from near-IR to far-IR, which is promising for high-sensitivity remote temperature sensing by thermoreflectance imaging, or active reflectance modulation of IR signals. 

Rheological Tuning of the Crystal Growth

Solutions of shear-thinning polymers are known to decrease in viscosity as a shear force is applied to the solution. In this work, the inventors show that by pre-shearing a shear-thinning polymer solution mixed with a precursor solution of a semiconducting crystal we can tune the size and morphology of the growing crystals, which governs the optoelectronic properties of the formed crystals. By pre-shearing the solution we are able to lower the viscosity of the solution, which plays a key role in the liquid phase processing (eg., coating processes). By forming a thinner, low-viscosity coating, we are able to tune the nucleation and growth rate of the crystals to form crystals that are smaller and more uniformly distributed in size, leading to a uniform and conformal coating. This approach allows us to coat a uniform layer of semiconducting crystals, which is necessary for developing functional optoelectronic devices.

Illumination Device for Dynamic Spatiotemporal Control of Photostimulation

A programmable LED device that illuminates multiple spatial locations (termed wells) with user-defined light patterns whose intensity can be modulated as a function of space and time. The devices are used for optogenetic stimulation of tissue culture plates (24-well and 96-well) kept in a heated and humidified tissue culture incubator, as well as photopatterning of hydrogels. In brief, light from LEDs passes through optical elements that ensure uniform illumination of each well. Parameters of the optical system, such as LED configuration, optical diffuser elements, materials, and geometry, were modeled and optimized using the optical ray tracing software Zemax OpticStudio. An electronics subsystem allows programmed control of illumination intensity and temporal sequences, with independent control of each well. Spatial precision is conveyed through a photomask attached to the culture plate. The hardware design also includes a cooling system and vibration isolation to reduce heating and damage to the sample. Lastly, a graphical user interface (GUI) was used to wirelessly program the illumination intensity and temporal sequences for each well. The devices can thus illuminate 24 independent channels with visible, NIR, or UV light with intensity ranges of 0 to 20-100 microwatts per millimeter-squared with 16-bit intensity resolution, and a temporal resolution of 1 millisecond and spatial resolution of 100 microns. In summary, the device allows uniform illumination of multiple wells for multiplexed photoactivation or photopolymerization of various substrates (light-responsive bacterial or mammalian cells grown in tissue culture, hydrogels, dyes, etc) with user-defined patterns. The device can be combined with a robotic handler, microscope, spectrometer, etc, to enable high-throughput illumination and simultaneous recording of the sample.

Stroboscopic Universal Structure-Energy Flow Correlation Scattering Microscopy

Flexible semiconductors are far less costly, resource and energy intensive than conventional silicon production. Yet, as an unintended consequence of semiconductor printing, the films produced contain structural heterogeneities, or defects, which can limit their capacity to shuttle energy, or, information, over device-relevant scales. To be able to fully embrace this new, greener process, it is essential to elucidate which physical material properties most influence energy flow and which defects are most deleterious to efficient energy transport so that they can be targeted for elimination at the materials processing stage. Although some rather complex approaches have recently been used to track energy flow, the applicability of each one depends on specifics of the semiconductor properties (bandgap, excitonic vs charge carrier form of excitation, strong absorption or emission). Existing techniques cannot therefore be applied to a broad range of materials, and often necessitate adapting samples to fit the specific requirements of the technique. A broadly applicable approach is therefore needed to non-invasively and simultaneously reveal and correlate material morphology and energy flow patterns across many scales.    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a new high-sensitivity, non-invasive, label-free, time-resolved optical scattering microscope able to map the flow of energy in any semiconductor, and correlate it in situ to the semiconductor morphology. This device has been shown as a far simpler approach to spatio-temporally characterize the flow of energy in either charge or exciton form, irrespective of the electronic properties of the material, and with few-nm precision. Furthermore, built into this approach is the unprecedented capability to perform in situ correlation to the underlying physical structure of the material. 

Micro-Optical Tandem Luminescent Solar Concentrator

Silicon photovoltaic (“Si-PV”) modules currently dominate the solar energy market. Increased progress into Si-PV efficiency enhancements combined with historically low module costs aim to decrease the overall Levelized Cost of Electricity (“LCOE”) to a point competitive with non-renewable energy sources. Despite recent LCOE reductions, Si-PV technology remains economically inferior to fossil fuels. Additionally, flat-plate Si solar modules generally require geographical locations with high direct normal incidence (“DNI”) sunlight conditions in order to maintain module performance. Both the strict DNI requirement and the high LCOE of Si-PV cells ultimately limit the dissemination of solar power into the global energy market. A solution for the capturing of diffuse sunlight includes the use of optical concentrators.  One class of optical concentrators includes luminescent solar concentrators (“LSCs”).  Luminescent solar concentrators have garnered interest due to their ability to utilize diffuse light and their potential for use in architectural applications such as large area power-generating windows. However, LSCs have not yet reached commercialization for photovoltaic power generation, largely due to their comparatively low power conversion efficiencies (“PCEs”) and lack of scalability.     Researchers at UC Berkeley and other educational institutions have developed luminescent solar concentrators that  can be designed to minimize photon thermalization losses and incomplete light trapping using various novel components and techniques.

Method For Imaging Neurotransmitters In Vitro and In Vivo Using Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes

Neurotransmitters play a central role in complex neural networks by serving as chemical units of neuronal communication.  Quantitative optical methods for the detection of changes in neurotransmitter levels has the potential to profoundly increase our understanding of how the brain works. Therapeutic drugs that target neurotransmitter release are used ubiquitously to treat a vast array of brain and behavioral disorders.  For example, new methods in this sphere could provide a new platform by which to validate the function of drugs that alter modulatory neurotransmission, or to screen antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs.  However, currently in neuroscience, few optical methods exist that can detect neurotransmitters with high spatial and temporal resolution in vitro or in vivo.  Brain tissue also readily scatters visible wavelengths of light currently used to perform biological imaging, and neuronal tissue and has an abundance of biomolecules that are chemically or structurally similar and therefore hard to specifically distinguish.  Furthermore, neurotransmission relevant processes occur at challenging spatial  and temporal scales.    UC Berkeley investigators have developed polymer-functionalized carbon nanotubes for in vitro and in vivo quantification of extracellular modulatory neurotransmitter levels using optical detectors. The method uses the fluorescent optical properties of polymer-functionalized carbon nanotubes to selectively report changes in concentration of specific neurotransmitters. The scheme is novel in that the detection method applies to wide variety of specific neurotransmitters, it is an optical method and therefore gives greater spatial information, and enables the potential for imaging of one or more neurotransmitters. The optical method also produces less damage to the surrounding tissue than methods that implant electrodes or cells and allows high resolution localization with other methods of optical investigation. The invention takes advantage of favorable fluorescence properties of carbon nanotubes, such as carbon nanotube emission in the near infrared and infinite fluorescence lifetime.  The near infrared emission scatters less than shorter wavelengths, enabling greater signal recovery from deeper tissue, and allows greater compatibility with other techniques. The optical properties also enable long term potentially even chronic use. 

Direct Optical Visualization Of Graphene On Transparent Substrates

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} The ∼10% optical contrast of graphene on specialized substrates like oxide-capped silicon substrates, together with the high-throughput and noninvasive features of optical microscopy, have greatly facilitated the use and research of graphene research for the past decade.  However, substantially lower contrast is obtained on transparent substrates. Visualization of nanoscale defects in graphene, e.g., voids, cracks, wrinkles, and multilayers, formed during either growth or subsequent transfer and fabrication steps, represents yet another level of challenge for most device substrates.     UC Berkeley researchers have developed a facile, label-free optical microscopy method to directly visualize graphene on transparent inorganic and polymer substrates at 30−40% image contrast per graphene layer.  Their noninvasive approach overcomes typical challenges associated with transparent substrates, including insulating and rough surfaces, enables unambiguous identification of local graphene layer numbers and reveals nanoscale structures and defects with outstanding contrast and throughput. We thus demonstrate in situ monitoring of nanoscale defects in graphene, including the generation of nano-cracks under uniaxial strain, at up to 4× video rate.  

Apparatus and Method for 2D-based Optoelectronic Imaging

The use of electric fields for signaling and manipulation is widespread, mediating systems spanning the action potentials of neuron and cardiac cells to battery technologies and lab-on-a-chip devices. Current FET- and dye-based techniques to detect electric field effects are systematically difficult to scale, costly, or perturbative. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have developed an optical detection platform, based on the unique optoelectronic properties of two-dimensional materials that permits high-resolution imaging of electric fields, voltage, acidity, strain and bioelectric action potentials across a wide field-of-view.

A New Method For Improving 3-D Depth Perception

The ability to see depth is a key visual function, as three-dimensional vision is used to guide body movements. Although many visual cues are used to infer spatial relationships, depth perception relies primarily on stereopsis, or the perception of depth based on differences in the images in the two eyes. More than 5% of the US population, however, is unable to see in three dimensions due to stereo-blindness and stereo-anomaly. Without depth perception, basic activities such as catching a ball or driving a car are not possible. Current therapeutic methods to address this issue include a set of eye-training exercises that aim to equalize the input from the eyes to the brain, which are collectively called orthoptics.   Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an orthoptic method to train stereo depth perception. This method includes devices and systems for implementation, and it can be used in the home. 

Compressive Plenoptic Imaging

Better understanding the brain's architecture and the behavior of neural networks requires non-invasive probes capable of monitoring brain activity at the scale of individual neurons.  Functional neuro-imaging methods have the advantage of being minimally invasive and can potentially resolve individual action potentials.  An ideal imaging method would be capable of quantifying many neurons simultaneously, have high spatial and temporal resolution, be non-invasive, and be accurate even in deep layers of brain tissue. There are a variety of current techniques available, many of which use mechanical scanning to reduce the effects of optical scattering and therefore have low temporal resolution. UC Berkeley researchers have developed a device capable of quantitative functional neuro-imaging in the thick brain tissue of live animals. By combining a detection method with algorithmic data processing, this device achieves single neuron resolution and fast sampling rates with high spatial and temporal resolution.  

Nanoscale Imaging

Cathodoluminescence (CL) is used for nanoscale imaging by detecting the light generated in the sample by the application of an electron beam. Direct CL has also been used to image biological samples, but typically causes damage to the sample and can result in poor imaging quality.  Methods which incorporate inorganic cathodoluminescent nanoparticle labels into a biological sample result in less sample damage, but imaging with nanoparticle labels requires the electron beam to penetrate into the sample, which precludes repeated measurements or observations of dynamics. A UC Berkeley researcher has developed an optical imaging system and method for producing nanoscale images with high resolution, images of fragile samples without damaging the samples and that can be used for repeated imaging of a sample which allows observation of sample dynamics.  

Eyeglasses-Free Display Towards Correcting Visual Aberrations With Computational Light Field Displays

Almost 170 million people in the United States (~55% of the total U.S. population) wear vision correction. Of this population, more than 63 million people (53%) up to age 64 have presbyopic vision. Eyeglasses have been the primary tool to correct such aberrations since the 13th century. In more modern times, contact lenses and refractive surgery have become viable alternatives to wearing eyeglasses. Unfortunately, these approaches require the observer to either use eyewear or undergo surgery, which is often uncomfortable and costly, and can lead to complications, in the case of surgery. To address these challenges, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and MIT have developed vision correcting screen technology which involves digitally modifying the content of a display so that the display can be seen in sharp focus by the user without requiring the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. By leveraging specialized optics in concert with proprietary prefiltering algorithms, the display architecture achieves significantly higher resolution and contrast than prior approaches to vision-correcting image display. The teams have successfully demonstrated light field displays at low cost backed by efficient 4D prefiltering algorithms, producing desirable vision-corrected imagery even for higher-order aberrations that are difficult to be corrected with conventional approaches like eyeglasses.

Accurate and Robust Eye Tracking with a Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

The tracking scanning laser ophthalmoscope (TSLO) provides fast and accurate measurements of fixational eye motion with flexible field of views. Currently, this system is the most accurate, fast and functional eye-tracking system used in a standard ophthalmic instrument. At a basic research level, the benefits of accurate eye-tracking are especially useful for delivering stimuli to targeted retinal locations as small as a single cone. In the clinical domain, advances in imaging and tracking technology help render accurate images which can lead to better outcomes in treating eye disease. Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) uses both a horizontal and vertical scanner to image a specific region of the retina. Current state of the art tracking SLO systems are only suitable for observing a narrow field of view (FOV < five degrees) and will lose signal with certain types of eye motion. This is problematic for patients suffering from varying retinal or neurological disorders, where unstable fixation hinders accurate eye-tracking and image acquisition. These include retinal diseases of the macula such as: age-related macular degeneration, or neurological disorders such as: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. In cases such as these, it would be desirable to capture a larger field of view whose image quality is sufficient to track the retina for larger and more rapid eye movements. To help address this problem, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed systems, software, and methods for an image-based high-performance TSLO. Early laboratory experimentation results suggest significantly enhanced eye-tracking in terms of: sampling uniformity of eye motion traces, detection of eye rotation, increased frame rate of image capture, expandable/adjustable FOV, stabilization accuracy of 0.66 arcminutes, and tracking accuracy of 0.2 arcminutes or less across all frequencies. The Berkeley system and techniques show promise for observing detailed structural and functional changes in the eye as a result of age and/or disease like never before.

Partially Coherent Phase Recovery By Kalman Filtering

Phase imaging has applications in biology and surface metrology, since objects of interest often do not absorb light but cause measurable phase delays (e.g. biological cells or uneven surface heights).  Here, a new extension to an experimentally simple method for imaging quantitative phase information is described, which uses a Kalman filter algorithm with a stack of intensity images taken through focus. The extended method involves incorporation of information about the microscope source shape in Koeler configuration, so that the coherence of the illumination may be included into the phase retrieval algorithm in order to produce more accurate phase results with arbitrary source shapes and sizes. Investigators have optimized and extended the Kalman filtering method to reduce computational complexity and to produce images using partially coherent illumination. This new software and method is faster and more efficient than previous methods, and in addition is robust to noise. It is compatible with a range of imaging systems, including optical, electron, X-ray and synchrotron, for example. Further, modifications are described for variations on the phase contrast mechanism, such that any complex transfer function (including but not limited to defocus) may be used. 

Active color controllable membrane

Being able to actively change the color of objects is highly desirable for a variety of applications, including sensing, anti-counterfeit, camouflage, jewelry and visual art. Conventional optical coating consists of one or multiple layers of thin films, relying on accumulative optical interference of the layers. However, these traditional coating methods do not provide means to actively control color.   To address this challenge, UC Berkeley researchers invented a color-controllable membrane with color tuning capability either by active actuation or passive stimulation. Colors are controllable via photonic, mechanical or electro stimulation. The active color display is promising for making artificial chameleon skin for camouflage and the color coating of visual arts. The color change ability via passive stimulation can be applied toward labeling mechanical changes at visible wavelength resolution. Other structural color applications include beam-steering devices for a fixed wavelength.

A Drift-Corrected, High-Resolution Optical Trap

Optical trapping systems are commercially available through several companies. In these systems, the optical trap precision relies on the passive stability of the instrument itself, and therefore demands costly engineering solutions to limit environmental noise that can be coupled into the optomechanical components. Consequently, high-resolution measurements are not possible in common biological laboratory settings that typically lack appropriate vibration isolation and temperature stability.  Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed an invention that addresses a critical problem currently limiting the performance of high-resolution optical traps: that the mechanical drift of optical components often results in physical drift in the location of an optical trap that obscures the displacement-of-interest. The motion of biological motor proteins that are specific to interacting with DNA often take steps along the double helix that is on the order of 0.3 nanometers in size. Accurate measurement of displacements on this scale requires that drift of the trap positions be limited to no more than a few angstroms. However, the current best-performing optical traps suffer from instrumental drift that is almost twice what can be tolerated. Owing to the critical role of these components in all optical trapping systems, and the previously undetectable levels of mechanical drift they undergo, we sought to measure the trap drift with angstrom-level precision using a new approach. This new approach has successfully measured for and corrected for the mechanical drift of these components and demonstrated that this novel invention is capable of consistently reducing the noise floor to levels that have not previously been accomplished.       

High-sensitivity Angular Interferometer

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed an invention that consists of an angular interferometer able to measure angle variations of a coherent, collimated light source with an accuracy below 30 nrad. The optical setup is compact and consists of a few simple optical components. The novelty of this innovation lies in the use of a simple, cost-effect technique to amplify the sensitivity of the instrument. The disclosed invention is in principle capable of being integrated into more compact, high-sensitivity commercial instruments for a fraction of the cost of current, state-of-the-art instruments (currently exceeding $30,000).   Commercial devices used to measure the angular deviation of a single beam include autocollimators and interferometers. The highest resolution offered by a commercial system is 25 nrad. The disclosed angular interferometer is able to measure relative angle variations (of a sample beam relative to a reference beam) below 30 nrad, though the resolution is known to currently be limited by the specific details of the current application and can therefore be further reduced with minor, inexpensive improvements.

Nanoneedle Plasmonic Photodetectors And Solar Cells

The invention is about an extremely efficient photodiode and solar cell using a novel nanoneedle structure to create a large internal field for electron-hole amplification and collection, and a plasmonic antenna for optical field enhancement.  Both of which work together to result in an extremely high efficiency. Investigators at UCB have demonstrated one version of this detector in the format of an avalanche photodetector (APD) based upon a crystalline GaAs nanostructure in the shape of a very sharp nanoneedle (NN) and incorporating a core-shell p-n junction for light detection. The tapered NN shape, high NN aspect ratio, and small NN dimension together allow a low bias voltage to produce a high electric field sufficient for current multiplication for high sensitivity. NN APDs also have an extremely high operation speed due to the reduced capacitance comimg from the small NN dimensions. The catalyst-free, low-temperature growth mode of the GaAs NNs also enables the integration to the as-fabricated Si CMOS devices as well as other crystalline or amorphous substrates.

Method For Patterning Crystalline Indium Tin Oxide Using Femtosecond Laser

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} In order to improve the device characteristic of optoelectronic products, such as solar cells and flat-panel displays, the amorphous material such as the transparent conductive oxide has to be transferred by thermal treatment into crystalline material so as to reduce the resistivity and enhance the transparency. Generally, six runs of process (five for pattern transfer and one for thermal treatment) are required to complete the crystalline pattern. To overcome the problems due to the multi-step and high-cost process, laser machining is used in some processing steps to ablate the undesired portion of the thin films. However, convention long pulse laser results in thermal effects to cause elevated ridges on the edge and defects in the layers below.   US Berkeley researchers have discovered a method for patterning crystalline indium tin oxide using a femtosecond laser which overcome the above-mentioned problems by using a focusing device with the laser to heat up the amorphous indium tin oxide (ITO).    

Improved Photodetection for Mobile Sensing Applications

Photodetection, especially for fluorescence applications, requires various optics including lenses and filters. The optics surrounding the detection and illumination system are complex and can often weigh more than the photodetector and illumination sources. Therefore in order to make such photodetection equipment mobile, much of the optics needs to be integrated and micro-sized. However that causes various microfabrication problems -- especially in yields and throughput. To address this situation, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new design for fluorescence detection subsystems. This new design integrates and miniaturizes the photodetection functionality and thereby makes it suitable for mobile application as well as efficient microfabrication.

Axial Light-force Sensor

Commercially available optical tweezers can move objects using laser light, but they are generally not used to measure forces exerted on those objects, since accurate force calibration is difficult. Research in the field of optical trapping has led to the development of optical tweezers that measure forces (transverse to optic axis) by changes in light-momentum. Force calibration is greatly simplified by using this method. However, in measuring the light force on a trapped object, it is also desirable to obtain all three vector components of that force. Representing an improvement on the light-momentum force-sensor, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed an axial light-force sensor. A system incorporating the Berkeley improvement permits simultaneous measurements of the axial and transverse forces acting on a trapped particle. Like the transverse sensor, the axial force sensor is calibrated from measured constant values: the speed of light, the objective focal length, and the power sensitivity of the planar photo-diode. Thus calibration is not affected by particle shape, laser power, particle refractive index, or sharpness of the trap focus. In addition, a highly-miniaturized, ultra stable, optical trap system has been developed that should permit a low cost instrument with force-measuring capabilities for use in normal lab environments.

Broad Bandwidth And Highly Reflective Gratings

Broadband mirrors with very high reflectivity are essential for applications such as telecommunications, surveillance, sensors and imaging. Among the various conventional mirror designs, metal mirrors have larger reflection bandwidths but lower reflectivities; as a result they are not suitable for fabricating transmission-type optical devices such as etalon filters. Dielectric distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) can achieve a higher reflectivity but deposition methods for DBRs are often not precise enough to yield the reflectivities of 99% or better needed for demanding applications, and typical material combinations constrain the mirror bandwidth and can be incompatible with conventional semiconductor processing technologies. In addition the tuning range is often limited for tunable etalon type devices such as MEM vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), filters, and detectors. There is a need for a mirror with broadband reflection, low loss, and compatibility with conventional optoelectronic processing methods. Researchers at the UC Berkeley have developed a single layer, sub-wavelength grating with a very broad reflection spectrum and very high reflectivity. The grating design facilitates monolithic integration of optoelectronic devices at a wide range of wavelengths from visible to far infrared, as well as integration with electronic circuits and other optoelectronic devices. Grating spectral characteristics can be tailored by choice of materials and structure to maximize both reflectivity and spectral coverage. The grating design developed at Berkeley has potential application in MEM tunable devices and reconfigurable focal plane arrays for such high value applications as optical communications, chemical/biological sensors, and imaging.

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