Patents by Inventor William Ward Merrill

William Ward Merrill 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).

  • Patent number: 9939560
    Abstract: A diffusely reflective optical film includes a blended layer extending from a first to a second zone of the film. The blended layer includes first and second polymer materials separated into distinct first and second phases, respectively. The blended layer may have the same composition and thickness in the first and second zones, but different first and second diffusely reflective characteristics in the first and second zones, respectively. The difference between the first and second diffusely reflective characteristics may not be attributable to any difference in composition or thickness of the layer between the first and second zones. Instead, the difference between the first and second diffusely reflective characteristic may be attributable to a difference in birefringence of the first and/or second polymer materials between the first and second zones. The blend morphology of the blended layer may be substantially the same in the first and second zones.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2018
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventor: William Ward Merrill
  • Patent number: 9810930
    Abstract: Certain patternable reflective films are used as masks to make other patterned articles, and one or more initial masks can be used to pattern the patternable reflective films. An exemplary patternable reflective film has an absorption characteristic suitable to, upon exposure to a radiant beam, absorptively heat a portion of the film by an amount sufficient to change a first reflective characteristic to a different second reflective characteristic. The change from the first to the second reflective characteristic is attributable to a change in birefringence of one or more layers or materials of the patternable film. In a related article, a mask is attached to such a patternable reflective film. The mask may have opaque portions and light-transmissive portions. Further, the mask may have light-transmissive portions with structures such as focusing elements and/or prismatic elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9651726
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers that selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first to a second zone of the film. In the first zone the layers provide a first reflective polarizer characteristic, and in a second zone the layers provide a substantially different reflective polarizer characteristic. The second zone is characterized by at least some of the layers having a reduced birefringence relative to their birefringence in the first zone. In some cases the first reflective polarizer characteristic may have a pass axis that is substantially orthogonal to that of the second reflective polarizer characteristic. The film may have substantially the same thickness in the first and second zones, or a substantially reduced thickness in the second zone relative to the first zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2017
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Publication number: 20160375276
    Abstract: Various embodiments of a respirator (10) that includes a harness (13, 16), a mask body (12), and an exhalation valve (14) are disclosed. The exhalation valve (14) can include a valve seat (20) and a flexible flap (22) that is in engagement with the valve seat. The flexible flap can have one or more materials that can cause the flap to flash (26) when moving from a closed position to an open position or vice versa. The flashing valve can make it easier for a user to ascertain whether the valve is operating properly.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 15, 2014
    Publication date: December 29, 2016
    Inventors: Philip G. Martin, Caroline M. Ylitalo, Gina M. Buccellato, James M. Jonza, William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn, David T. Yust
  • Publication number: 20160334649
    Abstract: Certain patternable reflective films are used as masks to make other patterned articles, and one or more initial masks can be used to pattern the patternable reflective films. An exemplary patternable reflective film has an absorption characteristic suitable to, upon exposure to a radiant beam, absorptively heat a portion of the film by an amount sufficient to change a first reflective characteristic to a different second reflective characteristic. The change from the first to the second reflective characteristic is attributable to a change in birefringence of one or more layers or materials of the patternable film. In a related article, a mask is attached to such a patternable reflective film. The mask may have opaque portions and light-transmissive portions. Further, the mask may have light-transmissive portions with structures such as focusing elements and/or prismatic elements.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 25, 2016
    Publication date: November 17, 2016
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9423545
    Abstract: Certain patternable reflective films are used as masks to make other patterned articles, and one or more initial masks can be used to pattern the patternable reflective films. An exemplary patternable reflective film has an absorption characteristic suitable to, upon exposure to a radiant beam, absorptively heat a portion of the film by an amount sufficient to change a first reflective characteristic to a different second reflective characteristic. The change from the first to the second reflective characteristic is attributable to a change in birefringence of one or more layers or materials of the patternable film. In a related article, a mask is attached to such a patternable reflective film. The mask may have opaque portions and light-transmissive portions. Further, the mask may have light-transmissive portions with structures such as focusing elements and/or prismatic elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2016
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Publication number: 20160170113
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers that selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first to a second zone of the film. In the first zone the layers provide a first reflective polarizer characteristic, and in a second zone the layers provide a substantially different reflective polarizer characteristic. The second zone is characterized by at least some of the layers having a reduced birefringence relative to their birefringence in the first zone. In some cases the first reflective polarizer characteristic may have a pass axis that is substantially orthogonal to that of the second reflective polarizer characteristic. The film may have substantially the same thickness in the first and second zones, or a substantially reduced thickness in the second zone relative to the first zone.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 12, 2016
    Publication date: June 16, 2016
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9314961
    Abstract: A roll of multilayer optical film is described. The roll includes a substantially uniaxially-oriented multilayer optical film, where at least one layer of the multilayer optical film has indices of refraction in a length direction and a thickness direction that are substantially the same, but substantially different from an index of refraction in a width direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2016
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Jeffery N. Jackson, Andrew T. Ruff, John A. Wheatley, Dennis L. Krueger
  • Patent number: 9291757
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers that selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first to a second zone of the film. In the first zone the layers provide a first reflective polarizer characteristic, and in a second zone the layers provide a substantially different reflective polarizer characteristic. The second zone is characterized by at least some of the layers having a reduced birefringence relative to their birefringence in the first zone. In some cases the first reflective polarizer characteristic may have a pass axis that is substantially orthogonal to that of the second reflective polarizer characteristic. The film may have substantially the same thickness in the first and second zones, or a substantially reduced thickness in the second zone relative to the first zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2016
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9279559
    Abstract: A light directing film includes a back major surface having light reflection regions and light transmission regions and being planar, and a front major surface opposing the back surface. The front surface is planar and a plurality of lenses is disposed between the front surface and the back surface. At least selected light transmission regions are registered with selected lens elements. A method for forming the light directing film and illuminated signs utilizing the light directing films are also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2016
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: Audrey A. Sherman, Kevin R. Schaffer, David Scott Thompson, William Ward Merrill, Michael A. Meis
  • Publication number: 20150301255
    Abstract: Certain patternable reflective films are used as masks to make other patterned articles, and one or more initial masks can be used to pattern the patternable reflective films. An exemplary patternable reflective film has an absorption characteristic suitable to, upon exposure to a radiant beam, absorptively heat a portion of the film by an amount sufficient to change a first reflective characteristic to a different second reflective characteristic. The change from the first to the second reflective characteristic is attributable to a change in birefringence of one or more layers or materials of the patternable film. In a related article, a mask is attached to such a patternable reflective film. The mask may have opaque portions and light-transmissive portions. Further, the mask may have light-transmissive portions with structures such as focusing elements and/or prismatic elements.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 30, 2015
    Publication date: October 22, 2015
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9101956
    Abstract: Certain patternable reflective films are used as masks to make other patterned articles, and one or more initial masks can be used to pattern the patternable reflective films. An exemplary patternable reflective film has an absorption characteristic suitable to, upon exposure to a radiant beam, absorptively heat a portion of the film by an amount sufficient to change a first reflective characteristic to a different second reflective characteristic. The change from the first to the second reflective characteristic is attributable to a change in birefringence of one or more layers or materials of the patternable film. In a related article, a mask is attached to such a patternable reflective film. The mask may have opaque portions and light-transmissive portions. Further, the mask may have light-transmissive portions with structures such as focusing elements and/or prismatic elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 9097858
    Abstract: Retarder film combinations generally include a retarder film connected to another optical component such that light transmitted by the retarder film can impinge on the optical component, the combination being configured to allow independent patterning of the retarder film and the optical component by selective birefringence reduction. The patterning can change a first light retardation to a third light retardation in a first zone without substantially changing optical characteristics of the optical component in the first zone. The optical component may be a second retarder film having a second light retardation, and the patterning may change the second light retardation to a fourth light retardation, without substantially changing the first light retardation, in a second zone. The optical component may also be a multilayer optical film, or a diffusely reflective optical film having a blended layer of first and second distinct phases.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventor: William Ward Merrill
  • Patent number: 9081147
    Abstract: A retarder film provides a first light retardation and can be heat processed in one or more selected areas to provide a second light retardation in the selected area(s). The retarder film may have an absorption characteristic such that the heat processing can be carried out by selectively exposing the film to a suitable radiant beam. The retarder film is composed of a stack of contiguous ultrathin layers configured to provide an effective optical medium for visible light. Visible light propagates through the stack as an effective medium having effective refractive indices along principal x-, y-, and z-axes. At least some of the ultrathin layers possess intrinsic birefringence, and the effective indices of the stack are functions of the intrinsic refractive indices of the constituent ultrathin layers. The heat processing is carried out so that the ultrathin layer stack structural integrity is not substantially altered in the processed area(s).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 3, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2015
    Assignee: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn, David T. Yust
  • Patent number: 9019607
    Abstract: A reflective film includes a first optical stack that provides a first reflective characteristic and a second optical stack that provides a second reflective characteristic. The optical stacks also have first and second absorptive characteristics that are suitable to absorptively heat the respective stacks upon exposure to light including a write wavelength while maintaining the structural integrity of the stacks. The absorptive heating can change the first and second reflective characteristics to third and fourth reflective characteristics, respectively. A blocking layer that at least partially blocks light of the write wavelength may also be provided between the optical stacks to permit absorptive heating of any selected one of the optical stacks. The reflective characteristics of the optical stacks can thus be independently modified in any desired patterns by appropriate delivery of light beams that include the write wavelength.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2015
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn, Przemyslaw P. Markowicz
  • Patent number: 8982462
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers that selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first to a second zone of the film. In the first zone, the layers operate substantially as a reflective polarizer; in the second zone they operate substantially as a mirror. The layers may thus provide a first reflective characteristic in the first zone wherein normally incident light of one polarization state is substantially reflected and normally incident light of an orthogonal polarization state is substantially transmitted, and a second reflective characteristic in the second zone wherein normally incident light of any polarization state is substantially reflected. The film may have a first thickness in the first zone that is substantially the same as a second thickness in the second zone. Alternatively, the second thickness may be substantially less than the first thickness.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2015
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn
  • Patent number: 8975012
    Abstract: Multi-layer articles are described that are capable of forming color images. The articles include at least six layers, four thermally activatable layers (layers 1-4) and two blocking layers (layer 5 and 6). The layers are arranged such that layer 5 is disposed between layers 1 and 2 and layer 6 is disposed between layers 3 and 4. Thermally activatable layers 1 and 2 are activatable upon exposure to light of a first write wavelength, and blocking layer 5 is adapted to at least partially block light of the first write wavelength. Thermally activatable layers 3 and 4 are activatable upon exposure to light of a second write wavelength, and blocking layer 6 is adapted to at least partially block light of the second write wavelength. At least one, and possibly all of the thermally activatable layers include a light to heat convertor composition and a color changing compound.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2015
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: Douglas S. Dunn, William Ward Merrill, Przemyslaw P. Markowicz
  • Patent number: 8975011
    Abstract: Multi-layer articles are described that are capable of forming color images. The articles may contain at least two layers, a thermally activatable layer and a blocking layer, or at least three layers with two thermally activatable layers and a blocking layer between. The thermally activatable layers absorb light of a write wavelength and have an absorption threshold for activation. The blocking layer blocks light of the write wavelength at certain incident angles or polarization states and permits light of the write wavelength and certain incident angles or polarization states to pass through. The thermally activatable layers may be layers with a light to heat convertor composition and a color changing compound or they may be a group of layers arranged to change its reflective characteristic upon exposure to light while maintaining the structural integrity of the group of layers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2015
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: Douglas S. Dunn, William Ward Merrill, Przemyslaw P. Markowicz
  • Patent number: 8879151
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers arranged to selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first zone to a second zone of the film. The film has a first thickness and the interior layers provide a first reflective characteristic in the first zone; the film has a second thickness and the interior layers provide a second reflective characteristic in the second zone. The difference between the first and second reflective characteristics is not substantially attributable to any difference between the first and second thicknesses, which difference may be zero. Rather, the difference in the reflective characteristics is substantially attributable to reduced birefringence of at least some of the interior layers in one zone relative to the other zone. The film may also incorporate absorbing agents to assist in the manufacture or processing of the film. Related methods and articles are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2014
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn, Travis L. Potts
  • Patent number: 8792165
    Abstract: A reflective film includes interior layers that selectively reflect light by constructive or destructive interference, the layers extending from a first to a second zone of the film. The interior layers include a first set of layers composed of a first material and a second set of layers composed of a different second material. The first and second sets of layers are both birefringent in the first zone, but at least some of the layers have reduced birefringence in the second zone. The reduced birefringence produces a second reflective characteristic in the second zone that differs from a first reflective characteristic in the first zone, this difference not being substantially attributable to any thickness difference between the first and second zones. The film may also incorporate absorbing agents to assist in the manufacture or processing of the film.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2014
    Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Company
    Inventors: William Ward Merrill, Douglas S. Dunn, Stephen A. Johnson, David T. Yust