Patents by Inventor Michael R. Hoffmann

Michael R. Hoffmann has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20210180116
    Abstract: A membrane, method and system are disclosed for rapid, sensitive and precise detection of an agent suspected of being present in a sample. The agent may be a cell or microorganism, e.g., a single pathogenic bacteria, and the sample may be small, e.g., milliliters of unprocessed environmental water. The sample is processed by filtering it through an asymmetric membrane having multiple layers. One layer has microchannels for capturing the agent and another layer has nanochannels for passing particles smaller than the agent. Amplification reagents, such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) reagents, are load onto membrane so that the microchannels act as nanoreactors, creating quantifiable amplicons within the pores on the exposed surface of the membrane in response to captured agent. The amplicons may be imaged and counted using a fluorescent camera. The membrane is capable of agent capture, concentration, purification, partition, lysis and digital LAMP without off-membrane sample treatments.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 28, 2019
    Publication date: June 17, 2021
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Xingyu Lin, Xiao Huang
  • Patent number: 11028491
    Abstract: An electrolysis electrode includes a metal-doped array of nanotubes formed on a substrate. The nanotube array (NTA) may be a stabilized metal-doped black TiO2 NTA formed on a titanium substrate, and the metal dopant may include any suitable metal, for example, cobalt. The metal dopant improves the reactivity of the electrode and enhances its service life. The metal-doped NTA electrode may provide improved chlorine evolution and/or oxygen evolution activity for electrochemical wastewater treatment. The electrode may also be useful for water splitting applications. Increasing the loading of the metal dopant may lead to the formation of a metal oxide layer on top of the NTA, which improves oxygen evolution reaction (OER) overpotential.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2021
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Yang Yang
  • Patent number: 10894724
    Abstract: A self-diagnostic maintenance system for wastewater treatment employs unique environmental sensor configurations to link operational states of a water treatment system with unique failure modes of the system. Upon detection of failure modes, the maintenance system alerts users and operators via a short messaging service (SMS) of the problem, and can display step-by-step pictorial repair instructions for the operator to replace broken or malfunctioning parts, without the operator needing to diagnosis the problem or understand the detailed workings of the wastewater treatment system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2021
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Cody E. Finke, Clement A. Cid, Michael R. Hoffmann, Anastasia K. Hanan, Donald Harvey Pinkston, III, Michael Christopher Vanier
  • Patent number: 10894254
    Abstract: A portable pathogen analysis system (PPAS) designed to detect microbial pathogens at the point-of-sample collection. The system comprises a concentration tube used for the concentration of microbes in large volumes of water samples using super absorbent polymer (SAP) beads and a hand-powered centrifuge; and a processing component, which functions as a portable lab-on-a-disc droplet digital nucleic acid amplification system, which integrates DNA extraction, nucleic acid amplification, and post-amplicon analysis in a single unit. The present invention provides a fast, cost-effective, and user-friendly solution for microbial water quality analysis in low-resource settings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2021
    Assignees: THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Sunny Jiang, Hamsa Gowda, Xiao Huang, Xunyi Wu, Marc Madou, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20200407248
    Abstract: Aspects of the invention include a porous and water-permeable electrode for electrocatalysis comprising: a porous and water-permeable reactive electrochemical membrane (“REM”) comprising: a porous and water-permeable support membrane; wherein the support membrane comprises a titanium metal; and an electrocatalytic coating on at least a portion of the metal support membrane, the electrocatalytic coating being a tin oxide bilayer comprising: a first layer adjacent to and directly contacting the metal support membrane; wherein the first layer comprises tin oxide doped with antimony; and a second layer adjacent to and directly contacting the first layer; wherein the second layer forms a surface of the REM such that the second layer is in direct contact with an aqueous solution when the REM is in contact with the aqueous solution; wherein the second layer comprises tin oxide doped with antimony and nickel or cerium. Preferably, the support membrane is formed of a titanium metal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 25, 2020
    Publication date: December 31, 2020
    Inventors: Yang YANG, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20190390423
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a skid wheel system that has a skid shoe and a first skid wheel and a second skid wheel. The first skid wheel is positioned adjacent a first side of the skid shoe and the second skid wheel is positioned adjacent a second side of the skid shoe. The skid shoe has at least one connection opening that is configured to connect the skid shoe to a snow removal device with a connection member. The circumferential edge of the first skid wheel and the second skid wheel extends past at least a bottom of the skid shoe in order to mitigate wear and damage caused by engagement of a ground surface with the skid shoe and the snow removal device while improving traversal of the snow removal device over the ground surface.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 20, 2019
    Publication date: December 26, 2019
    Inventor: Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20190203268
    Abstract: A method and system are disclosed for detecting microbial pathogens in a sample suspected of containing the pathogens. The method includes combining loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) reagents and a polymer gel, such as a hydrogel, together with the sample to form a mixture. The gel polymerizes over a short time to immobilize the viral particles within the mixture. If target DNA/RNA are present in the sample, amplicons are produced. The target microorganisms are detected by visually detecting the presence or absence of the amplicons. The target microorganism concentrations may be determined based on the number of fluorescent amplicon dots after the reaction using a smartphone or a fluorescent microscope. The method may be employed for rapidly and inexpensively quantifying microbial pathogens in environmental water samples with high sensitivity.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 31, 2018
    Publication date: July 4, 2019
    Inventors: Xiao Huang, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20190105653
    Abstract: A portable pathogen analysis system (PPAS) designed to detect microbial pathogens at the point-of-sample collection. The system comprises a concentration tube used for the concentration of microbes in large volumes of water samples using super absorbent polymer (SAP) beads and a hand-powered centrifuge; and a processing component, which functions as a portable lab-on-a-disc droplet digital nucleic acid amplification system, which integrates DNA extraction, nucleic acid amplification, and post-amplicon analysis in a single unit. The present invention provides a fast, cost-effective, and user-friendly solution for microbial water quality analysis in low-resource settings.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 5, 2018
    Publication date: April 11, 2019
    Inventors: Sunny Jiang, Hamsa Gowda, Xiao Huang, Xunyi Wu, Marc Madou, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20190048481
    Abstract: An electrolysis electrode includes a metal-doped array of nanotubes formed on a substrate. The nanotube array (NTA) may be a stabilized metal-doped black TiO2 NTA formed on a titanium substrate, and the metal dopant may include any suitable metal, for example, cobalt. The metal dopant improves the reactivity of the electrode and enhances its service life. The metal-doped NTA electrode may provide improved chlorine evolution and/or oxygen evolution activity for electrochemical wastewater treatment. The electrode may also be useful for water splitting applications. Increasing the loading of the metal dopant may lead to the formation of a metal oxide layer on top of the NTA, which improves oxygen evolution reaction (OER) overpotential.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 13, 2018
    Publication date: February 14, 2019
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Yang Yang
  • Publication number: 20180354821
    Abstract: A water purification anode has a first semiconductor contacting a second semiconductor at a heterojunction. The second semiconductor includes TiO2 and excludes bismuth and niobium. The first semiconductor includes iridium. In some instances, the anode includes a current collector in direct physical contact with the first semiconductor. The anode can be arranged in water such that at least one face of the second semiconductor is in direct physical contact with the water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 21, 2018
    Publication date: December 13, 2018
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Kangwoo Cho
  • Patent number: 10059607
    Abstract: A water purification anode has a first semiconductor contacting a second semiconductor at a heterojunction. The second semiconductor includes TiO2 and excludes bismuth and niobium. The first semiconductor includes iridium. In some instances, the anode includes a current collector in direct physical contact with the first semiconductor. The anode can be arranged in water such that at least one face of the second semiconductor is in direct physical contact with the water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2018
    Assignee: The California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Kangwoo Cho
  • Publication number: 20180222781
    Abstract: A water purification electrode composed of a porous carbon material is disclosed. The electrode may be used as a flow-through cathode in an electro-peroxone process providing high H2O2 production activity for electrochemical wastewater treatment. The porous carbon material is a binding agent-free carbon structure that enables H2O2 to be electro-generated in situ at cathode. The porous carbon material may be synthesized from resorcinol and can provide a relatively large reaction surface area of 200-800 m2/g. The porous carbon material also achieves low energy consumption as well as a wide pH working range, making it suitable for treating many types of organic, inorganic, and biological contaminants in water. The electrode may be integrated with an anode, ozone generator, and other components into a compact, integrated water purification system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 9, 2018
    Publication date: August 9, 2018
    Inventors: Kai Liu, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20180086652
    Abstract: An electrolysis electrode having an array of nanotubes is disclosed. The electrode may provide high chlorine evolution and hydroxyl radical production activity for electrochemical wastewater treatment. The electrode includes a substrate and a nanotube array contacting the substrate. A semiconductor material overlays the top surface of the nanotube array. The nanotube array may be a stabilized blue-black TiO2 nanotube array, and the overlying semiconductor material may include TiO2. Several other improvements may enhance the service life of the electrode. For example, the electrode may be subjected to secondary anodization to enhance the binding between the nanotube array and substrate. During manufacture the electrode may be processed with ethanol to reduce cracks in the nanotube array. Additionally, during electrolysis the voltage polarity applied the electrode may be periodically switched so that the electrode operates alternatively as an anode or a cathode depending on the voltage polarity.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 15, 2017
    Publication date: March 29, 2018
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Yang Yang
  • Publication number: 20180087164
    Abstract: The disclosure provides for thin films that can be used to tune the catalytic characteristics of heterogeneous electrocatalysts.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 28, 2017
    Publication date: March 29, 2018
    Inventors: Cody E. Finke, Michael R. Hoffmann, Justin Jasper, Laleh Majari Kasmaee, Stefan Omelchenko
  • Publication number: 20180057952
    Abstract: A heterojunction anode for electrolysis is disclosed. The anode has a first conductive metal oxide (FCMO) layer, a second semiconductor layer contacting the FCMO layer, and one or more islands of a third semiconductor contacting the second semiconductor layer. The FCMO layer may be formed on a metallic base, such as titanium. The FCMO layer may include iridium, the second semiconductor layer may include titanium oxide, and the third semiconductor may include tin oxide. The anode may be manufactured using spray pyrolysis to apply each semiconductor material. The anode may be configured such that when placed in an electrolyte at least a portion of the second semiconductor layer and the islands are in direct physical contact with the electrolyte. The second semiconductor interlayer and third semiconductor islands enhance the production of reactive chlorine in chlorinated water. A water treatment system and method using the anode are also disclosed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 22, 2017
    Publication date: March 1, 2018
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Yang Yang
  • Publication number: 20170008775
    Abstract: A self-diagnostic maintenance system for wastewater treatment employs unique environmental sensor configurations to link operational states of a water treatment system with unique failure modes of the system. Upon detection of failure modes, the maintenance system alerts users and operators via a short messaging service (SMS) of the problem, and can display step-by-step pictorial repair instructions for the operator to replace broken or malfunctioning parts, without the operator needing to diagnosis the problem or understand the detailed workings of the wastewater treatment system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 7, 2016
    Publication date: January 12, 2017
    Inventors: Cody E. Finke, Clement A. Cid, Michael R. Hoffmann, Anastasia K. Hanan, Donald Harvey Pinkston, III, Michael Christopher Vanier
  • Publication number: 20160009574
    Abstract: A water purification anode has a first semiconductor contacting a second semiconductor at a heterojunction. The second semiconductor includes TiO2 and excludes bismuth and niobium. The first semiconductor includes iridium. In some instances, the anode includes a current collector in direct physical contact with the first semiconductor. The anode can be arranged in water such that at least one face of the second semiconductor is in direct physical contact with the water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 28, 2015
    Publication date: January 14, 2016
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Kangwoo Cho
  • Publication number: 20140255270
    Abstract: A method of forming a liquid handling device includes forming a device precursor having a containment structure with a surface that surrounds a containment gap that is occupied by a solid sacrificial layer. The method also includes removing the solid sacrificial layer from the containment gap. In some instances, removing the solid sacrificial layer includes thermally decomposing the solid sacrificial layer.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2014
    Publication date: September 11, 2014
    Inventors: Penvipha Satsanarukkit, Michael R. Hoffmann
  • Publication number: 20140209479
    Abstract: A wastewater treatment system and method for remediating wastewater and human waste that is self-contained and that has no connection to a municipal wastewater system and no connection to an electrical grid. The domestic toilet and wastewater treatment system can be powered by a photovoltaic panel as a source of electricity. The system includes an electrochemical cell that allows a waste stream to be disinfected in a few hours to a condition where no viable bacterial colonies can be cultured. The system produces a liquid stream that is suitable for system flushing or for uses in which non-potable water is acceptable. The system can generate hydrogen as a product that can be used to generate power. The system can generate nitrate, urea, ammonia and phosphate for use as fertilizer. The disinfected residual organic solids are also completely disinfected for potential use as an organic soil amendment for agriculture.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 8, 2013
    Publication date: July 31, 2014
    Applicant: CALIFORNIA INSTITUE OF TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Michael R. Hoffmann, Asghar Aryanfar, Kangwoo Cho, Clement A. Cid, Daejung Kwon, Yan Qu
  • Publication number: 20100096337
    Abstract: A system for the treatment of groundwater is described, the system including: a first component for placement into a groundwater table, the first component having a first end and a second end and an interior space defined by an inner wall and extending between the first end and the second end; at least one ultrasonic transducer positioned with the interior space of the first component to provide ultrasonically induced cavitation to a volume of water within the interior space; a pump associated with the first end of the first component to draw water from the groundwater table into the interior space of the first component; an outlet associated with the second end of the first component, the outlet positioned to direct a volume of water away from the first component after the water has passed therethrough; a power supply; and a radio frequency generator capable of providing a radio frequency within the range from about 15 kHz to about 1100 kHz.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 4, 2008
    Publication date: April 22, 2010
    Inventors: Brian T. Mader, Chad D. Vecitis, Michael R. Hoffmann