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UCF Ranks 21st in U.S. Public Universities for Patents with 57 New Inventions in 2023

This is the 11th year that UCF has ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for patents.
By: UCF News | February 29, 2024
The patents were secured by UCF’s Office of Technology Transfer, which brings discoveries to the marketplace and connects UCF researchers with companies and entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas into successful products.

UCF continues to be a top university in the world for producing patents, securing 57 patents in calendar year 2023 and ranking 53rd among public and private universities in the world and 21st in the nation among public universities.

The worldwide rankings, released this month from the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), place UCF in a tie with Yale University (57) and ahead of U.S. institutions such as Vanderbilt (56), Princeton (44) and Florida State University (38).

The NAI rankings may be further adjusted as patent corrections are submitted by universities.

This is the 11th year that UCF has ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for patents.

“Innovation is at the heart of our mission at UCF, and these latest patent rankings reaffirm our commitment to pushing boundaries and making impactful advancements,” says Winston V. Schoenfeld, UCF’s interim vice president for research and innovation. “The diverse range of inventions reflects the dedication and ingenuity of our researchers across the research enterprise, and their efforts continue to position UCF as a leader in innovation, both nationally and globally.”

The patents were secured by UCF’s Office of Technology Transfer, which brings discoveries to the marketplace and connects UCF researchers with companies and entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas into successful products.

Svetlana Shtrom ’08MBA, director of UCF’s Technology Transfer Office, says university patents are a valuable asset for universities, industry and society.

“Patents facilitate transfer of technology from universities and foster collaboration between academia and the private sector,” Shtrom says. “Through collaboration with industry, university technologies provide solutions to pressing problems and create new products and services that benefit the public.”

She says the patents also reflect the commitment of a university’s researchers to innovation, and they serve as a beacon to attract more students and faculty who are interested in cutting-edge research and entrepreneurship.

Here are a few of the UCF inventions from the College of Engineering and Computer Science that led to patents in 2023:

Coating for Capturing and Killing Viruses on Surfaces

Lead researcher: Suditpa Seal, Pegasus Professor and chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

This technology is a nano-coating designed to capture, hold and kill viruses on a surface, such as on personal protective equipment and clothing, using natural light sources to protect against infections.

The COVID-killing coating is made with a nanomaterial that activates under white light, such as sunlight or LED light. As long as the nanomaterial is exposed to a continuous light source, it can regenerate its antiviral properties, creating a self-cleaning effect.

The efficacy of the disinfectant was shown through a study that was published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces this past year. The study found that the coating can not only destroy the COVID-19 virus, but it can also combat the spread of Zika virus, SARS, parainfluenza, rhinovirus and vesicular stomatitis.

Production of Nanoporous Films

Lead researcher: Yang Yang, associate professor, NanoScience Technology Center

UCF researchers have created a method for making metal composite films for use in energy applications, such as for fuel cells, hydrogen production, photocatalysts, sensing and energy storage, and electrodes in supercapacitors. The method improves performance and versatility and does not require use of costly precious metals, such as gold. Instead, the UCF technology uses low-cost, earth-abundant resources such as iron, cobalt and nickel. The nanoporous thin films are designed to help meet today’s challenges in renewable energy production and conversion applications.

Method of Forming High-Throughput 3d Printed Microelectrode Array

Lead researcher: Swaminathan Rajaraman, associate professor, NanoScience Technology Center

This invention is a 3D printed mini-lab that controls liquids and gases very precisely. The device has small channels and chambers that guide liquids, like samples or chemicals, to a central area where there are special electrodes. These electrodes can send and record electrical signals from tiny groups of cells called spheroids. Scientists can use this to see how cells react to different conditions and substances. The innovation offers an easy way to study biological cells, tissues and electrophysiological responses. The technology can help lead to advancements in disease modeling, toxicity assessments and drug discovery.

Adaptive Visual Overlay for Anatomical Simulation

Lead researcher: Greg Welch, Pegasus Professor, AdventHealth Endowed Chair in Healthcare Simulation, College of Nursing

This anatomical simulation allows users to wear a head-mounted display that presents an anatomical scenario onto a patient to allow for medical training, surgical training or other instruction. Users who experience the simulation will see a real body part or other anatomical items projected through an augmented reality system. The innovative, multi-sensory, interactive training system realistically mimics wounds and provides constant, dynamic feedback to medical trainees as they treat wounds. Almost like a video game in real-life, the Tactile-Visual Wound Simulation Unit portrays the look, feel, and even the smell of different types of human wounds (such as a puncture, stab, slice or tear). It also tracks and analyzes a trainee’s treatment responses and provides corrective instructions.

Inorganic Paint Pigment with Plasmonic Aluminum Reflector Layers and Related Methods

Lead researcher: Debashis Chanda, professor, NanoScience Technology Center

This invention, a plasmonic paint, draws inspiration from butterflies to create the first environmentally friendly, large-scale and multicolor alternative to pigment-based colorants, which can contribute to energy-saving efforts and help reduce global warming.

The plasmonic paint uses nanoscale structural arrangement of colorless materials — aluminum and aluminum oxide — instead of pigments to create colors.

While pigment colorants control light absorption based on the electronic property of the pigment material, hence every color needs a new molecule, structural colorants control the way light is reflected, scattered or absorbed based on the geometrical arrangement of nanostructures.

Such structural colors are environmentally friendly as they only use metals and oxides, unlike pigment-based colors that use artificially synthesized molecules.

The researchers have combined their structural color flakes with a commercial binder to form long-lasting paints of all colors. And because plasmonic paint reflects the entire infrared spectrum, less heat is absorbed by the paint, resulting in the underneath surface staying 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than it would if it were covered with standard commercial paint.

Plasmonic paint is also lightweight, a result of the paint’s large area-to-thickness ratio, with full coloration achieved at a paint thickness of only 150 nanometers, making it the lightest paint in the world.

System and Method for Radio Frequency Power Sensing and Scavenging Based on Phonon-electron Coupling in Acoustic Waveguides

Lead researcher: Hakhamanesh Mansoorzare ’21, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

To meet the growing energy needs of the internet of things (IoT) and wireless communication systems, this new technology is an invention that can convert radio frequency signals into direct current electricity.

The invention harvests ambient energy, specifically radio frequency electromagnetic waves, the most abundant form of communication among IoT nodes and hubs.

The technology can reduce the electronic industry’s reliance on batteries and broaden the expansion of the IoT and its energy needs.

See the original UCF Today story including all the highlighted UCF inventions: UCF Ranks 21st in U.S. Public Universities for Patents with 57 New Inventions in 2023 by Robert Wells.