Utilizing Conductive Liquid (e.g., Mercury) Patents (Class 335/47)
  • Patent number: 8547191
    Abstract: Damping device to impose a reaction to the displacement of a manual operating device (28), said device comprising at least one chamber containing the magneto-rheological fluid, one or two means of generating a variable magnetic field (6.1, 6.2) in the magneto-rheological fluid so as to modify its apparent viscosity, one element (4) free to move in translation capable of shearing the magneto-rheological fluid and designed to be mechanically connected to the manual operating device (28), said mobile element (4) comprising a blade with a longitudinal axis (Y) comprising holes and/or recesses and/or projections.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2013
    Assignees: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
    Inventors: Xavier Boutillon, Moustapha Hafez, Jose Lozada
  • Patent number: 8143990
    Abstract: A microfluidic bubble fuse is formed from a hermetically sealed reservoir containing an electrically conductive liquid. The reservoir is interposed between a pair of electrodes such that each electrode is in electrical contact with the fluid within the reservoir, and such that the fluid within the reservoir provides electrical interconnectivity between the electrodes. The reservoir may be implemented on a substrate, in a tube, or in another manner. When the current or voltage across the electrodes increases beyond a threshold, the excess current or voltage will cause a bubble to be created within the fluid to reduce or inhibit the flow of electricity between the electrodes. When the current/voltage is reduced, the bubble will collapse to restore the flow of electricity between the electrodes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2012
    Inventor: Daniel Kowalik
  • Patent number: 8110396
    Abstract: The invention relates to a thermocycler module for heating and/or cooling of a thermocycling device comprising a thermal switch, a heating block and a heat sink. The thermal switch comprises a thermoconducting liquid, e.g. a magnetic fluid or a liquid metal, and a stimulating unit, e.g. a magnetic unit or a Lorentz-force unit, for moving the thermoconducting liquid. The movement of the thermoconducting liquid provides, in an on-state of the thermal switch, a thermal connection between the heating block and the heat sink.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2012
    Assignee: Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel Bommer, Thomas Schlaubitz
  • Patent number: 7745962
    Abstract: The invention is a converter for converting thermal energy into electrical energy. The energy conversion takes place by causing magnetic particles that are initially suspended in ferrofluid to circulate in the converter and to induce electric currents when they pass through one or more coils of electric wires that are coiled around parts of the conduits of the converter. The particles are caused to circulate around the main circuit of the converter by controlling the local temperature and pressure at different locations in the main circuit. The invention also is a method of using the converter to produce electricity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 29, 2010
    Assignee: Green Gold 2007 Ltd.
    Inventor: Haim Morgenstein
  • Patent number: 7315228
    Abstract: The present invention provides an apparatus and method of interrupting the current in a circuit wherein the magnetic pressure induced by current flow through a conductor causes the conductor to flow and thereby open the associated circuit. Magnetic pressure may be derived from Lorenz equations. Gravity is not relied upon to cause the conductor material to flow. The invention may be used in circuits having high currents relative to conductor size and material selection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2008
    Assignee: Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.
    Inventor: Kevin Allan Dooley
  • Patent number: 7271688
    Abstract: A three-stage liquid metal switch employing electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD), including a common EWOD switch 1310 having an input port 1302, a first shared-EWOD-switch output 1336, and a second shared-EWOD-switch output 1338; a first EWOD switch 1340 having a first-EWOD-switch input 1343, a first output port 1304, and a first-EWOD-switch output 1368; and a second EWOD switch 1370 having a second-EWOD-switch input 1373, a second output port 1306, and a second-EWOD-switch output 1398; wherein the first shared-EWOD-switch output 1336 is operably connected to the first-EWOD-switch input 1343, and the second shared-EWOD-switch output 1338 is operably connected to the second-EWOD-switch input 1373.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2005
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2007
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy Beerling, Steven A. Rosenau
  • Patent number: 7211754
    Abstract: In one embodiment, a switch includes first and second mated substrates defining therebetween a number of cavities. A plurality of electrically conductive elements extends to near at least a first of the cavities. A switching fluid, held within at least the first of the cavities, serves to electrically, but not physically, couple and decouple at least a pair of the electrically conductive elements, in response to forces that are applied to the switching fluid. A passivation layer covers at least a first of the electrically conductive elements and i) separates the first of the electrically conductive elements from at least the first of the cavities, and ii) is a dielectric for a capacitor formed between the first of the electrically conductive elements and the switching fluid. Other switches, and methods for making same, are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2007
    Assignee: Avago Technologies ECBU IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
    Inventors: Youfa Wang, Winna Chia
  • Patent number: 7189934
    Abstract: A self-healing liquid contact switch and methods for producing such devices are disclosed. An illustrative self-healing liquid contact switch can include an upper actuating surface and a lower actuating surface each having a number of liquid contact regions thereon configured to wet with a liquid metal. The upper and lower actuating surfaces can be brought together electrostatically by an upper and lower actuating electrode. During operation, the liquid metal can be configured to automatically rearrange during each actuating cycle to permit the switch to self-heal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2007
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel W. Youngner
  • Patent number: 7023307
    Abstract: The present invention provides an apparatus and method of interrupting the current in a circuit wherein the magnetic pressure induced by current flow through a conductor causes the conductor to flow and thereby open the associated circuit. Magnetic pressure may be derived from Lorenz equations. Gravity is not relied upon to cause the conductor material to flow. The invention may be used in circuits having high currents relative to conductor size and material selection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2006
    Assignee: Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.
    Inventor: Kevin Allan Dooley
  • Patent number: 7012354
    Abstract: A method and structure for an electrical switch. According to the structure of the present invention, a liquid-filled chamber is housed within a solid material. A plurality of switch contacts within the liquid-filled chamber are coupled to the solid material, while a plurality of piezoelectric elements are coupled to a plurality of membranes. The plurality of membranes are coupled to the liquid-filled chamber. The plurality of switch contacts are coupled to a plurality of liquid metal globules. According to the method, a piezoelectric element is actuated, causing a membrane element to be deflected. The deflection of the membrane element increases pressure of actuator liquid and the increase in pressure of the actuator liquid breaks a liquid metal connection between a first contact and a second contact of the electrical switch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2006
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6946776
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for maintaining a liquid metal switch in a state of readiness for switching. The liquid metal switch has a liquid metal volume contained in a cavity of a switch body. A signal path though the cavity is made or broken by energizing an actuator to move the liquid metal volume within the cavity in response to a switching signal. To maintain readiness, a signal generator supplies a vibratory signal to the actuator. The resulting vibrations in the liquid metal volume allow the liquid metal volume to be subsequently moved with reduced power.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur Fong, Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6903490
    Abstract: A piezoelectric optical relay array having one or more array elements. Each array element contains a transparent mirror housing, located at the intersection of two optical paths. A liquid metal slug is moved within a channel passing through the transparent mirror housing by the action of piezoelectric elements. The liquid metal slug is moved in or out of the transparent mirror housing to select between the optical paths. When the liquid metal slug is within the transparent mirror housing, an incoming optical signal is reflected from a reflective surface of the slug. The liquid metal of the slug adheres to wettable metal surfaces within the channel to provide a latching mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Arthur Fong
  • Patent number: 6900578
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of moveable switching contacts is attached to the free end of a switch bar and positioned between a pair of fixed electrical contact pads. The connections to the switching contacts and the fixed contact pads are shielded by ground traces. A surface of each contact supports a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. A piezoelectric actuator is energized to push or pull the switch bar and move the pair of switching contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contact pads and one of the switching contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact pad and the other switching contact is increased, causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit. The piezoelectric actuator is then de-energized and the switching contacts return to their starting positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6894424
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of moveable switching contacts is positioned between a pair of fixed electrical contact pads. A surface of each contact supports a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. An actuator is energized to move the pair of switching contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contact pads and one of the switching contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact pad and the other switching contact is increased, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit. The actuator is then de-energized and the switching contacts return to their starting positions. The volume of liquid metal is chosen so that liquid metal droplets remain coalesced or separated because of surface tension in the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Arthur Fong
  • Patent number: 6885133
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of moveable switching contacts is attached to the free end of a piezoelectric actuator and positioned between a pair of fixed electrical contact pads. The electrical connections to the switching contacts and the fixed electrical contact pads are ground shielded. A surface of each contact supports a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. The piezoelectric actuator is energized to deform in a bending mode and move the pair of switching contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contact pads and one of the switching contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact pad and the other switching contact is increased, causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6882088
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of moveable electrical contacts is attached to the free end of a piezoelectric actuator and positioned between pair of fixed electrical contacts. The contacts each support a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. The piezoelectric actuator is energized to deform in a bending mode and move the pair of moveable contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contacts and one of the moveable contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact and the other moveable contact is increased, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit. The piezoelectric actuator is then de-energized and the moveable electrical contacts return to their starting positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6879088
    Abstract: An electrical relay array using conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. The relay array is amenable to manufacture by micro-machining techniques. Each element of the relay array uses an actuator, such as a piezoelectric element, to cause a switch actuator to insert into a cavity in a static switch contact structure. The cavity has sides and a pad on its end that are wettable by the conducting liquid. The cavity is filled with the conducting liquid, which may be liquid metal. Insertion of the switch actuator into the cavity causes the conducting liquid to be displaced outward and come in contact with the contact pad on the switch actuator. The volume of conducting liquid is chosen so that when the actuator returns to its rest position, the electrical contact is maintained by surface tension and by wetting of the contact pads on both the static switch contact structure and the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Arthur Fong
  • Patent number: 6876131
    Abstract: An electrical relay using conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. The relay is amenable to manufacture by micro-machining techniques. In the relay, two electrical contacts are held a small distance apart. The facing surfaces of the contacts each support a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. An actuator is energized to reduce the gap between the electrical contacts, causing the two liquid metal droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. The actuator is then de-energized and the electrical contacts return to their starting positions. The liquid metal droplets remain coalesced because of surface tension. The electrical circuit is broken by energizing an actuator to increase the gap between the electrical contacts and break the surface tension bond between the liquid metal droplets. The droplets remain separated when the piezoelectric actuator is de-energized because there is insufficient liquid metal to bridge the gap between the contacts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6876130
    Abstract: A piezoelectric relay is disclosed in which a solid slug moves within a switching channel formed in relay housing. An electrical circuit passing between fixed contact pads in the switching channel is completed or broken by motion of the solid slug. Motion of the solid slug is controlled by at least two piezoelectric actuators within the switching channel. Motion of the solid slug is resisted by an electrically conductive liquid, such as a liquid metal, that wets between the solid slug and the contact pad in the switching channel. The surface tension of the, liquid provides a latching mechanism for the relay.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Arthur Fong
  • Patent number: 6876132
    Abstract: A method and structure for an electrical switch. A gas-filled chamber is housed within a solid material. Contacts within the gas-filled chamber are coupled to the solid material, while a plurality of piezoelectric elements within the gas-filled chamber are also coupled to the solid material. A slug within the gas-filled chamber is coupled to one or more of the plurality of contacts and further coupled to one or more of the plurality of piezoelectric elements. A liquid metal within the gas-filled chamber is coupled to the slug, and coupled to the plurality of contacts. One or more of the piezoelectric elements are actuated, with the actuation of the one or more piezoelectric elements causing the slug coupled to the one or more piezoelectric elements to move from a first number of contacts to a second number of contacts wherein the first number of contacts and the second number of contacts are wetted by the liquid metal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur Fong, Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6876133
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of switching contacts is attached to the free end of a switch bar and positioned between a pair of fixed electrical contact pads. A surface of each contact supports a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. A piezoelectric actuator is energized to push or pull the switch bar and move the pair of switching contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contact pads and one of the switching contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact pad and the other switching contact is increased, causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit. The piezoelectric actuator is then de-energized and the switching contacts return to their starting positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6850145
    Abstract: A self-recovering current-limiting device with a liquid metal includes a first and a second electrode for connection to an electric circuit to be protected. Each of the first and second electrodes are made of a solid metal. A plurality of pressure-resistant insulating bodies is provided, as well as a plurality of insulating intermediate walls supported by the insulating bodies. The plurality of insulating intermediate walls and the plurality of pressure-resistant insulating bodies define a plurality of compression spaces, and the plurality of insulating intermediate walls define a plurality of connecting channels. The plurality of compression spaces are disposed one behind the other between the first and second electrodes and are at least partially filled with the liquid metal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2005
    Assignee: Moeller GmbH
    Inventors: Wolfgang Kremers, Frank Berger, Andreas Kraetzschmar
  • Patent number: 6831532
    Abstract: An electrical relay that uses a conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. In the relay, a pair of fixed electrical contacts is held a small distance from a pair of moveable electrical contacts. The facing surfaces of the contacts each support a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. A piezoelectric or magnetorestrictive actuator is energized to move the pair of moveable contacts, closing the gap between one of the fixed contacts and one of the moveable contacts, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. At the same time, the gap between the other fixed contact and the other moveable contact is increased, thereby causing conducting liquid droplets to separate and break an electrical circuit. The actuator is then de-energized and the moveable electrical contacts return to their starting positions. The volume of liquid metal is chosen so that liquid metal droplets remain coalesced or separated because of surface tension in the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 14, 2004
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur Fong, Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6803842
    Abstract: A piezoelectric optical relay array having one or more array elements. Each array element contains a transparent mirror housing, located at the intersection of two optical paths. A solid slug is moved within a channel passing through the transparent mirror housing by the action of piezoelectric elements. A surface of the solid slug is wetted by a liquid metal to form a reflective surface. The solid slug is moved in or out of the transparent mirror housing to select between the optical paths. When the solid slug is within the transparent mirror housing, an incoming optical signal is reflected from the reflective surface of the liquid metal. The liquid metal adheres to wettable metal surfaces within the channel to provide a latching mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 12, 2004
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Arthur Fong
  • Patent number: 6762378
    Abstract: An electrical relay using conducting liquid in the switching mechanism. Two electrical contacts are held a small distance apart. The facing surfaces of the contacts each support a droplet of a conducting liquid, such as a liquid metal. A piezoelectric actuator is energized to reduce the gap between the electrical contacts, causing the two liquid metal droplets to coalesce and form an electrical circuit. The piezoelectric actuator is then de-energized and the electrical contacts return to their starting positions. The liquid metal droplets remain coalesced because of surface tension. The electrical circuit is broken by energizing a piezoelectric actuator to increase the gap between the electrical contacts and break the surface tension bond between the liquid metal droplets. The droplets remain separated when the piezoelectric actuator is de-energized because there is insufficient liquid metal to bridge the gap between the contacts. The relay is amenable to manufacture by micro-machining techniques.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2004
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Marvin Glenn Wong
  • Patent number: 6743991
    Abstract: A polymeric switch in which a switching channel is formed in a polymer layer. The channel is formed by a micro-machining technique such as laser ablation or photo-imaging. A liquid metal switch is contained within the switching channel. The liquid metal switch operates by making or breaking an electrical circuit using a volume of liquid metal. Electrical contact pads within the switching channel are wettable by the liquid metal and provide a latching mechanism for the switch. The polymer layer may be located between two switch substrates. Solder rings are attached to the perimeters of the switch substrates. The solder rings are wettable by solder and facilitate the creation of a hermetic seal between the substrates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 1, 2004
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Marvin Glenn Wong, Leslie A Field
  • Patent number: 6717495
    Abstract: The latching switch device includes a passage, a first cavity, a second cavity, a channel extending from each cavity to the passage, non-conductive fluid located the cavities, conductive liquid located in the passage, a first electrode, a second electrode and a latching structure associated with each channel. The passage is elongate. The channels are spatially separated from one another along the length of the passage. The electrodes are in electrical contact with the conductive liquid and are located on opposite sides of one of the channels. The conductive liquid includes free surfaces. Each latching structure includes energy barriers located in the passage on opposite sides of the channel. The energy barriers interact with the free surfaces of the conductive liquid to hold the free surfaces apart from one another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 6, 2004
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: You Kondoh, Tsutomu Takanaka
  • Patent number: 6714115
    Abstract: A self-recovering device current limiting device with liquid metal includes two solid metal electrodes for connecting to an electric circuit to be protected. Several compression chambers partially filled with liquid metal are arranged one after the other between the electrodes. The compression chambers are formed by pressure-resistant insulating bodies and insulating intermediate walls supported by the insulating bodies. The insulating bodies include several connecting channels. To adjust the current limiting device to a desired nominal current factor, the level of the liquid metal above the connecting channels can be modified using an adjusting device. A reservoir is connected to the adjusting device, which can be adjusted and fixed in place externally.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 30, 2004
    Assignee: Moeller GmbH
    Inventors: Wolfgang Kremers, Andreas Kraetzschmar, Frank Berger
  • Patent number: 6646527
    Abstract: Resonance within an attenuator relay caused by stray coupling capacitances to, and stray reactance within the switched conductor that replaces the attenuator section, is mitigated by reducing the stray coupling capacitances to as low a value as possible, and by using a conductor that is a section of controlled impedance transmission line that matches the system into which the attenuator relay has been placed. A substrate having SPDT LIMMS switches on either side of a switched transmission line segment and its associated attenuator, all of which are fabricated on the substrate, will have significantly lower stray coupling capacitance across the open parts of the switches when the attenuator segment is in use. This will increase the frequency for the onset of the resonance driven by the RF voltage drop across the attenuator. A reduction in the amplitude of the resonance can be obtained by including on the substrate an additional pair of LIMMS damping switches at each end of the transmission line segment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 11, 2003
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Lewis R Dove, John R Lindsey, David J Dascher
  • Publication number: 20030201854
    Abstract: Resonance within an attenuator relay caused by stray coupling capacitances to, and stray reactance within the switched conductor that replaces the attenuator section, is mitigated by reducing the stray coupling capacitances to as low a value as possible, and by using a conductor that is a section of controlled impedance transmission line that matches the system into which the attenuator relay has been placed. A substrate having SPDT LIMMS switches on either side of a switched transmission line segment and its associated attenuator, all of which are fabricated on the substrate, will have significantly lower stray coupling capacitance across the open parts of the switches when the attenuator segment is in use. This will increase the frequency for the onset of the resonance driven by the RF voltage drop across the attenuator. A reduction in the amplitude of the resonance can be obtained by including on the substrate an additional pair of LIMMS damping switches at each end of the transmission line segment.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 30, 2002
    Publication date: October 30, 2003
    Inventors: Lewis R. Dove, John R. Lindsey, David J. Dascher
  • Patent number: 6633213
    Abstract: A plurality of Liquid Metal Micro Switches (LIMMS) are mounted on opposite sides of a multi-layer substrate. Vias on the substrate and located within the footprints of the LIMMS serve to make connection with the LIMMS. Traces on the internal layers of the multi-layer substrate are routed around and over each other to arrive at a perimeter surrounding the LIMMS, where they emerge again as vias and are available for interconnection with further circuitry via conventional techniques, such as solder balls, wire bonding, a socket, etc. The multi-layer substrate may also incorporate a ground plane to assist in shielding and the fabrication of any interconnecting transmission lines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2003
    Assignee: Agilent Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Lewis R Dove
  • Patent number: 6501354
    Abstract: A microelectromechanical power relay uses mercury, or a similar liquid metal with high surface tension, as a flexible non-degrading contact mechanism. The basic systematic requirements for the micro-relay include large current carrying capacity, high speed, use of control voltages readily available in the given application, and an acceptable hold-off voltage. The preferred embodiment of the present invention includes the novel configuration of a liquid metal current carrying switching device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2002
    Assignee: InterScience, Inc.
    Inventors: Adolfo O. Gutierrez, Steven C. Aceto, James T. Woo, Christopher Cormeau
  • Patent number: 6466200
    Abstract: A computer input device used to input coordinates and three-dimensional graphical information into a computer. The device includes an acceleration sensor that has a fixed volume vessel containing a magnetic fluid. A non-magnetic inertial body is located in the magnetic fluid. Three magnetic field source are located on three perpendicular axes where each magnetic field source has an output for connection to a computer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2002
    Assignee: Innalabs, Inc.
    Inventors: Suprun E. Anton, Dmitri V. Simonenko, Romanov I. Yuri
  • Patent number: 6396371
    Abstract: A MEM relay includes an actuator, a shorting bar disposed on the actuator, a contact substrate, and a plurality of liquid metal contacts are disposed on the contact substrate such that the plurality of liquid metal contacts are placed in electrical communication when the MEM relay is in a closed state. Further, the MEM relay includes a heater disposed on said contact substrate wherein said heater is in thermal communication with the plurality of liquid metal contacts. The contact substrate can additionally include a plurality of wettable metal contacts disposed on the contact substrate wherein each of the plurality of wettable metal contacts is proximate to each of the plurality of liquid metal contacts and each of the wettable metal contact is in electrical communication with each of the plurality of liquid metal contacts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2002
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Robert D. Streeter, Lee A. McMillan, Roderick G. Bergstedt
  • Patent number: 6373356
    Abstract: A microelectromechanical power relay uses mercury, or a similar liquid metal with high surface tension, as a flexible non-degrading contact mechanism. The basic systematic requirements for the micro-relay include large current carrying capacity, high speed, use of control voltages readily available in the given application, and an acceptable hold-off voltage. The preferred embodiment of the present invention includes the novel configuration of a liquid metal current carrying switching device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2002
    Assignee: InterScience, Inc.
    Inventors: Adolfo O. Gutierrez, Steven C. Aceto, James T. Woo, Christopher Cormeau
  • Patent number: 6191754
    Abstract: An electronically steerable antenna array which includes time delay units connected to individual antenna elements for time delaying a microwave signal to and/or from the antenna elements. Each time delay unit includes small mercury wetted switches for controlling signal flow via a time delay path or a bypass path, through the time delay unit from a signal input to a signal output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2001
    Assignee: Northrop Grumman Corporation
    Inventors: Harvey C. Nathanson, Thomas J. Smith, Jr., Carl B. Freidhoff, F. William Hopwood, James E. Degenford, J. Douglas Adam
  • Patent number: 5912606
    Abstract: A switch having spaced apart conductors with a high resistivity gate member therebetween. First and second mercury droplets are respectively connected to the ends of the conductors. When a control signal is applied to the gate member, the mercury droplets are drawn to it and establish electrical connection between the conductors to close the switch. Upon removal of the control signal the mercury droplets separate and assume their initial droplet form thus opening the switch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1999
    Assignee: Northrop Grumman Corporation
    Inventors: Harvey C. Nathanson, Thomas J. Smith, Jr., Carl B. Freidhoff, F. William Hopwood, James E. Degenford, J. Douglas Adam
  • Patent number: 5581192
    Abstract: Novel conductive liquid compositions which have low resistivity when carrying an applied steady-state current (I.sub.Steady-State) but exhibit sharp increases in resistivity when subject to an applied fault current (I.sub.Fault). When used in circuit protection devices, the novel conductive liquid compositions having low resistivity are contained within an elongated flexible tube sealed by electrodes electrically connected to a load of an electrical circuit. The conductive liquid compositions carry an applied normal current under steady-state conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 3, 1996
    Assignee: Eaton Corporation
    Inventors: John J. Shea, James D. B. Smith, Karl F. Schoch, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5471185
    Abstract: The invention provides an electrical circuit protection device using a conductive liquid contained in a flexible tube contacted and sealed at each end by an annular metal electrode capped by a flexible membrane. The flexible tube is further sealed inside a solid insulating tube which contains a ferromagnetic liquid. The ferromagnetic liquid surrounds the flexible tube and remains in intimate contact with the outside of the flexible tube and is connected to a load sensing element which generates a magnetic field in the ferromagnetic fluid in response to excessive currents applied in the current path through the conductive liquid between the electrodes. This assembly is contained inside a tubular resistor. Under normal current conditions, a current flows through the conductive liquid which has relatively low resistivity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 28, 1995
    Assignee: Eaton Corporation
    Inventors: John J. Shea, James D. B. Smith, Karl F. Schoch, Jr.
  • Patent number: 4804932
    Abstract: A glass reed relay has an elongated glass enclosure with an electrode passing through and being sealed to each of the opposite ends of said enclosure. One of the electrodes has an associated reed for making and breaking contact with the other of said electrodes. The other electrode has a hollow tubular structure filled with mercury. The dimensions are such that only a limited amount of mercury can escape therefrom in order to wet the contacts without creating a pool of mercury.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 1987
    Date of Patent: February 14, 1989
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventors: Teruhiko Akanuma, Masaharu Enomoto
  • Patent number: 4683355
    Abstract: A shock sensor has a mercury-wetted insert for supporting a mercury mass normally space from a terminal. The mercury and terminal are contained within a sealed housing. When the sensor is subjected to a shock, the mercury is redistributed and protrudes from the insert so as to contact the terminal and complete a circuit between that terminal and another terminal that is normally in communication with the mercury.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1986
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1987
    Assignee: Fifth Dimension Inc.
    Inventor: Sheldon S. Bitko
  • Patent number: 4668927
    Abstract: A multi-positional mercury switch (1, 2) for use with miniature relays. The mercury switch apparatus has mercury wettable magnetic contact structures (11, 12, 13, 21, 22) supported in a sealed envelope member (10, 20) supporting the magnetic contact structures with free ends thereof positioned to engage or disengage each other in response to a magnetic field generated by current appearing in a coil (410) externally surrounding the envelope member. A mercury wettable member (3, 15, 23, 24) having a porous construction for holding mercury is mounted on ones of the magnetic contact structures within the sealed envelope member for wetting the magnetic contact structures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 1986
    Date of Patent: May 26, 1987
    Assignee: American Telephone & Telegraph Co., AT&T Bell Labs
    Inventor: James E. Bennett
  • Patent number: 4617542
    Abstract: A switch having gold-plated contacts on which is formed a gold-mercury amalgam, at least the contacts being immersed in a totally fluorinated hydrocarbon fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1984
    Date of Patent: October 14, 1986
    Assignee: IMCS Corporation
    Inventors: Erno B. Lutz, Bruce A. Weber, Jerry Markle
  • Patent number: 4366458
    Abstract: The disclosure relates to a mercury displacement relay and a method of making the same which utilizes a spring totally submerged within the mercury to support a movable displacement plunger. A cylindrical electrode contains the mercury, and the spring is uniquely connected to the bottom portion of the electrode. The spring opposite end is attached to a bottom portion of the displacement relay, which is received within the cylindrical electrode so that its bottom portion is submerged in the mercury. A pin electrode is also received within the cylindrical electrode and insulated therefrom. Adapted to the cylindrical electrode is a coil device, which, upon being energized, moves the plunger upwardly to cause the mercury to recede and break contact with the portion of the pin electrode in contact with the mercury. Upon deenergizing the coil device, the spring draws downwardly on the plunger to cause the mercury to rise and make contact again with the pin electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1981
    Date of Patent: December 28, 1982
    Inventor: George H. Elenbaas
  • Patent number: 4199739
    Abstract: The present invention comprises an armature suspended within a resilient means, wherein the resilient means also performs a capillary function in that a wetting agent, such as mercury, forms a captive reservoir which travels upon said resilient means to said armature and thereby performs a self-renewing wetting function with regard to the contact surfaces of said armature. The armature and resilient means are enclosed within an envelope. The envelope has secured therein one or more contacts which interact with the contact surfaces of the armature (in response to an electromagnetic stimulus) and are continually wetted by said interaction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 1977
    Date of Patent: April 22, 1980
    Assignee: C. P. Clare and Company
    Inventor: John Deith
  • Patent number: 4164720
    Abstract: A reed contact relay comprising within a capsule, reeds the coacting tips of which are provided with spots made of a material which can not be wetted with mercury. Two tubes in magnetic material are aligned in spaced apart relation around the reeds such that an axial gap is formed therebetween at the lenghtwise level of the coacting tips of the reeds. The inner wall of these tubes and the surface of the reeds, except the surface of the spots, are wetted with mercury.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 1978
    Date of Patent: August 14, 1979
    Assignee: C. P. Clare International N.V.
    Inventor: Romain F. Bollen
  • Patent number: 4148000
    Abstract: The magnetic elements of a mercury reed switch are supported within their non-magnetic capsule so that, instead of coming into contact in initially overlapping relationship, under the influence of a magnetic field they become essentially aligned with one another. The reeds are so constructed that by selection of the size or shape of their respective opposed ends, the magnetic flux pattern is modified to maintain desired relative alignment to achieve desired spacing between solid contacts. In a preferred form at least one of the magnetic elements carries a substantially non-magnetic conductive extension means, conductively affixed to its supporting element in position to complete an electrical circuit from its supporting element through intermediate conductive liquid and the other reed element in some switch condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 1977
    Date of Patent: April 3, 1979
    Assignee: Gordos Corporation
    Inventors: Laimons Lacis, Steven Horvath
  • Patent number: 4135067
    Abstract: An omnidirectional tilt switch includes an enclosure for a gravity response conductive ball. An annular shelf surrounds a central depression where at least one switch contact passing into the housing is exposed. The shelf is operable to support the ball in a position resting against a cup-shaped portion of the switch housing, with the ball centroid located within a imaginary right cylinder having the inner shelf periphery as a base. In response to tilting of the switch, the ball is movable away from the cup-shaped housing to the depression where it engages the aforementioned contact and closes a circuit between that and another contact.A switch holder mounts the switch on a substrate located, for example, in an electro-optical display-type watch. The holder includes a base with a positioning edge or surface and tabs for securing the base to the substrate. Remote from the positioning edge or surface, the switch is supported at an angle relative to the positioning edge or surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 1976
    Date of Patent: January 16, 1979
    Assignee: Fifth Dimension, Inc.
    Inventor: Sheldon S. Bitko
  • Patent number: 4123675
    Abstract: A viscous-fluid inertia damper, which damper comprises a housing composed of a nonferromagnetic material and having a chamber therein, a seismic mass containing a permanent magnet disposed in the housing chamber and in a closely spaced-apart relationship with the internal wall surface of the chamber, means to couple the housing to a dynamic element whose energy is to be dampened, and a ferrofluid of selected viscosity in the remaining volume of the chamber, the ferrofluid distributed generally uniformly in the volume, the magnetic saturation of the ferrofluid by the magnetic field of the permanent magnetic levitating the seismic mass in the damper, and the viscosity of the ferrofluid in the magnetic field providing a means to dissipate energy from the dynamic system through viscous shear forces in the ferrofluid disposed between the wall surface of the chamber and the seismic mass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 1977
    Date of Patent: October 31, 1978
    Assignee: Ferrofluidics Corporation
    Inventors: Ronald Moskowitz, Philip Stahl, Walter R. Reed
  • Patent number: 4103135
    Abstract: Switches operated by gas, preferably controlled electrothermally, include a capillary tube closed at both ends with a conductive liquid piston dividing the tube into two chambers each filled with a non-oxidizing gas. A pair of electrical contact points are disposed within the capillary tube with the piston positioned to, at selected intervals, contact both points simultaneously. In one embodiment of the switches, a closed glass capillary tube contains a pair of aligned nickel wires with ends selectively contacted simultaneously by a mercury piston or globule providing a circuit-closing position for the switch. The switch is set in the circuit-closing position by applying heat to a non-oxidizing gas within one end of the capillary tube. The switch is then reset to a circuit-opening position at any desired time by applying heat to a non-oxidizing gas within the other end of the capillary tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1976
    Date of Patent: July 25, 1978
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventors: Richard Santiago Gomez, Eugene James Scray, Jr.