- Oxford Instruments to Auction Off Patents
CHICAGO, March 10, 2011 — Technology patents from Oxford Instruments will be auctioned off at ICAP Ocean Tomo’s Spring 2011 Live IP Auction on March 31 in New York City. The related lots to be sold include patents involving an imaging system and a microbolometer.
Oxford Instruments has determined that these patents are no longer useful for its ongoing business.
Advanced imaging patent
Object detection systems are widely used at airport terminals and commercial buildings, but conventional systems often raise false alarms against many innocuous articles while failing to detect dangerous nonmetallic objects, such as explosives and drugs. Detectors based on ionizing electromagnetic radiations, such as x-rays, also expose human beings to harmful radiation.
Oxford’s patent up for auction discloses a system that reads submillimeter wavelengths. The system employs multiple detectors, each comprising an antenna coupled with a device (a bolometer) for measuring incident electromagnetic radiation.
An optical element collects the submillimeter radiations emitted by an object and directs them to the detectors in a focused manner. This enables the creation of high-resolution images of the target objects. The disclosed imaging system can be manufactured on a large scale by using integrated circuit manufacturing techniques, reducing production costs significantly.
Unlike conventional systems that consume a lot of power and employ expensive detectors, this system has low power consumption and can be used to detect objects from a distance without causing any health hazards – making it a safe and convenient alternative for human inspection.
The patent in this lot has been cited by many significant industry players, including Honeywell, Agilent, Raytheon, QinetiQ Ltd., Northrop Grumman and Walleye Technologies, and should be of interest to entities involved in the industrial sectors of imaging, defense, security, aviation, and to companies manufacturing access control systems, security or surveillance systems, and object detection systems.
Conventional metal bolometers used for detecting electromagnetic radiation have low temperature coefficients of resistance and hence low sensitivities, while microbolometers made of superconductor films suffer from noise problems.
The patent to be sold discloses an easy-to-manufacture, antenna-coupled microbolometer with a low noise-equivalent power figure. The structure comprises an antenna, a semiconductor substrate and a thin bridge of superconductor material with a low critical temperature. The coupling of preamplifiers with a microbolometer minimizes the noise and the losses of the imaging arrangements.
This lot should be of interest to microbolometer manufacturers and entities involved in semiconductor device fabrication and electromagnetic radiation detection.
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- A thermometric instrument used for the detection and measurement of radiant energy. Its essential component is a short narrow strip covered with a dead black absorbing coating and mounted at the lower end of a long cylindrical tube having a stop across it to exclude unwanted radiation. The electrical resistance of the strip changes with the changes in temperature that arise from absorbing varying amounts of radiant energy.
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