Maryland's Defense Patent Database

The defense community in Maryland is an R&D powerhouse. Use this database to see the innovative patents that are poised for commercialization.

Data is provided by DoD Naval labs in Southern Maryland. Database funding supported by the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment through a Defense Industry Adjustment grant program.

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Molecular concentrator based on thermal ratcheting

Patent Number: 9,157,842

AbstractA molecular concentrator comprising a thermal ratchet for driving molecules from one place to another. A plurality of linear, two-dimensional, and/or three-dimensional arrangements of heater structures are arranged on or suspended above a substrate. Each of the heater structures is configured to strongly sorb a vapor of interest when the heater structure is at room temperature and to rapidly desorb the vapor when the heater structure is at an elevated temperature. The vapor sorption of the individual heater structures is made selective by surface treatments, by monomolecular film depositions or by thicker absorbent polymer depositions. By selectively heating and cooling the heater structures, vapor molecules incident on the heater structures can be directed in a desired manner, e.g., from heater structures closest to a vapor-containing environment to a sensor.
Patent Number9,157,842 Issue Date2015-10-13 Link USPTO website

Primary Category

Biographical Information


  • Mario Ancona,
  • Arthur W. Snow,
  • F. Keith Perkins,


  • The United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy

Executive Summary

This patent was granted in 250 days, which is a slower than average speed.

It has 35 claims, which is many more than average for this category.

Its proximity to basic research is much less than others in this category, and it displays a slower than average technology cycle time.

This patent received far fewer citations from other patents, and references fewer other patents, as compared to other patents in this category.

Grant Time

250 days



Patent Grant Time

This patent had a slower than average grant time compared to others in this category.

Patent grant time can be influenced by many factors. Activities within the USPTO that are beyond the control of patent attornies can influence grant time, but short grant times can also indicate well-written patents and dedicated efforts to respond rapidly to USPTO office actions with strong arguments. Shorter grant times are preferable, and the scores for this section are inverse measures — higher scores are better.

Patent Claims

This patent has many more claims compared to others in this category.

The number of claims in a patent is correlated with its strength. Because greater claim counts increase the cost of a patent, more claims can indicate the importance an applicant assigns to a patent. Importantly, some may elect to file claims across multiple patents. A higher score in this metric indicates more claims, relative to others in this category.

Citations From Other Patents

This patent has received far fewer citations from other patents, than others in this category.

Citations from other patents are an important measure of the significance of a patent. More citations indicate that other technologies build on a patent. Higher scores in this metric are better, and indicate more citations from other patents.

Citations to Other Patents

This patent referenced many more citations to other patents, than others in this category.

A lower number of citations to other patents can be a sign of diminished patent strength. More citations indicate dependence on more other technologies. Higher scores in this category are better, and indicate fewer citations to other patents.

Research and Innovation Indicators
These are percentile ranks — they indicate the percentage of peers with lower scores.

Proximity to Basic Research



This patent has much less proximity to basic research compared to others in this category.

Proximity to basic research is measured by comparing the number of citations to non-patent literature among a cohort of patents. Because most non-patent citations are primary research papers, a higher count indicates greater proximity to basic research.