May 10, 2017


The University of Pittsburgh reported that Pitt Innovators were issued 11 U.S. Patents in April 2017.

Featured Patent

9,627,024 “Magnetic-Assisted Nondestructive Self-Reference Sensing Method for Spin-Transfer Torque Random Access Memory”


Dr. Yiran Chen, formerly an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh and presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University, and colleagues at the Swanson School of Engineering have developed a new Magneto-resistive Random Access Memory (MRAM) device design used for nonvolatile and universal memory. In MRAM, data is stored by magnetic storage elements or cells, and data storage is realized by switching the resistance of a magnetic tunneling junction (MTJ) between high and low resistance states. Spin polarization current can be used to induce magnetization switching in MRAM design. Spin-transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM) has great potential for use in embedded and stand-alone applications. However, the scalability of STT-RAM can be limited by process variations and thermal fluctuations, which greatly influence the operational reliability of STT-RAM. The invention is a new field-assisted sensing scheme that improves the read/write reliability and performance of STT-RAM by applying an external magnetic field to a MTJ device during read operations, generating a resistive sense signal without referring to other devices. This new self-reference sensing scheme offers a very promising approach to overcoming the severe cell-to-cell variations in STT-RAM designs. The external magnetic field also can assist the MTJ switching during write operations without introducing extra hardware overhead. This new design has been shown to result in significant improvements in the read sense margin and significant reductions in the write error rate as compared to existing approaches. For more information on this innovation, contact intellectual property and licensing associate Robert Racunas.


Below is a listing of all patents issued to Pitt Innovators in April 2017.


  Title   Inventor(s)   Licensing Manager   Status


Small Molecule Inhibitors of RNA Binding MOTIF (RBM) Proteins for the Treatment of Acute Cellular Injury Patrick Kochanek; Jonathan Verrier; Travis Jackson Maria Vanegas Available for Licensing


Muscle-Derived Cells for Promoting and Enhancing Nerve Repair and Regeneration Johnny Huard; Michael Chancellor; Brandon Minnery; Christopher Capelli Alex Ducruet Licensed


Bioerodible Wraps and Uses Thereof Mohammed El-Kurdi; David Vorp; William Wagner; Yi Hong; John Stankus; Lorenzo Soletti; Christopher Flaherty; Jonathan McGrath Alex Ducruet Licensed


Monitoring and Regulating Physiological States and Functions Via Sensory Neural Inputs to the Spinal Cord Timothy Bruns; Robert Gaunt; Douglas Weber Janice Panza Available for Licensing


Methods and Systems for Achieving a Physiological Response by Pudendal Nerve Stimulation and Blockade Michael Chancellor; ChangFeng Tai Maria Vanegas Optioned


Compounds and Methods for Inhibition of AP EndoNuclease -1/Redox Factor-1 (HAPE1) Activity Barry Gold; Xiangqun Xie; Ajay Srinvasan; LiRong Wang Alex Ducruet Available for Licensing


Automated Epithelial Nuclei Segmentation for Computational Disease Detection Algorithms Srinivas Chennubhotla; Virginia Burger Alex Ducruet Licensed


Systems and Method for Driving Evaluation and Training Nahom Beyene; Amy Lane; Rory Cooper; Joshua Brown George Coulston Licensed


Magnetic-Assisted Nondestructive Self-Reference Sensing Method for Spin-Transfer Torque Random Access Memory Yiran Chen, Wujie Wen; Enes Eken; Hai Li; Xiuyuan Bi; Robert Racunas Available for Licensing


Ultrasound Molecular Imaging with Targeted Biocompatible Microbubbles Xucai Chen; Bin Qin; Flordeliza Villnueava Alex Ducruet Available for Licensing


System and Methods for Structure-Function Fusion for Surgical Interventions David Schwartzman; Prahlad Menon; Daniel Ludwig Maria Vanegas Licensed