College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences


The following Physical and Mathematical Science professors have all received patents in their field. Topics covered include: spiral crystals, copper aluminum materials, radio frequency, etc. To find additional information on any of the patents below, search the U.S. Patent Office Database by linking to:

Willard H. Bennett Daniel Comins Charles McGee Heck James Martin


Dr. Willard H. Bennett

Dr. Willard Bennett joined NCSU in 1961 as Burlington Professor of Physics. He received his 67th and final patent in 1987 for his work on developing ways to accelerate very dense aggregates of ions to achieve higher energies per ion.

Photograph of Photograph of Willard Bennett and colleagues working on Bennett's experimental tube called the Störmertron.Dr. Willard Bennett and colleagues at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory working on an experimental tube Bennett developed called the St?rmertron. In this tube he produced all of the forms of streams found in space as well as the doughnut-shaped rings of charged particles around the earth later known as, the Van Allen radiation belts. Dr. Willard H. Bennett's was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1991. Bennett was honored for hisPress release describing Bennett's induction into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame. invention of the Bennett radio frequency mass spectrometer patented in 1955. To see the press release click on image:



Dr. Daniel Comins

Professor Daniel Comins' patents center on methods of making asymmetric DE ring intermPhoto of Daniel Comins.ediates for the synthesis of camptothecin and camptothecin analogs. He has received eighteen patents for this research. Camptothecin is an antitumor alkaloid, and this new approach to the compound has been used by scientists to prepare potential anti-cancer drugs.

The following is an example of one of Comins' patents.

Intermediates and method of making camptothecin and camptothecin analogs

U.S. Patent Number 5,162,532

Click on the images to view patent information. Description of Comin's Patent #5,162,532 entitled, "Intermediates and method of making camptothecin and camptothecin analogs."

Description of Comin's Patent #5,162,532 entitled, "Intermediates and method of making camptothecin and camptothecin analogs."


Dr. Charles McGee Heck

Photo of Charles McGee Heck with a meteorological instrument. Photo of Heck with microscope. Photo of Heck working with a meteorological instrument.

These photographs are examples of Prof. Heck's work with spiral crystals and various meteorological instruments including a heat measuring device.

Charles McGee Heck was a professor and Head of the Physics Department at NC State University. He discovered the first known spiral crystal and devised the multiple radiator for meteorological research and weather forcasting. Image of spiral crystals. Image of spiral crystals.

Dr. James MartinPhoto of James Martin.

Professor James Martin's patent of Luminescent Copper Aluminum Materials, U.S. Patent Number 5,876,637, concerns a class of materials that are brilliant blue phosphors. The luminescence of these materials is readily and reversibly quenched by small molecules such as CO, benzene, ethylene, and NO, making this material useful as a sensor and gas storage and separation material.

Luminescent copper aluminum halide materials

U.S. Patent Number 5,876,637

Sketch that illustrates Martin's Patent #5,876,637 entitled, "Luminescent copper aluminum halide materials."Click on image to enlarge.



Halo-zeo-type materials

U.S. Patent Number 5,885,542

A new Description of Martin's Patent #5,885,542 entitled, "Halo-zeo-type materials."family of materials, including several compositions of matter, have been created in which Lewis acidic and redox active metal-halide centers are constructed into microporous frameworks. Based on the structural relationships between SiO2 and ZnCl2 this new family of copper zinc halide materials form direct structural analogs to the widely used microporous aluminosilicate materials described as Zeolites. These microporous materials are formed by growing an inorganic network around a molecular or ionic template to create the cage and channel structures such as those shown. The microporous cage and channel structure provides very high surface areas to support chemical reactivity, making them valuable as catalyst materials. Furthermore, molecular and ionic templates create pores in the crystalline structures of molecular dimensions, so these microporous materials can be viewed as molecular-sized reaction chambers that induce a size and shape selectivity to chemical reactions. By constructing such frameworks out of reactive metal-halides (CuCl, ZnCl2 , and AlCl3) instead of the more stable oxides (SiO2 and Al2O3, the components of many rocks), new chemical reactivity of microporous frameworks can be achieved. Varied syntheses of these metal-halide framework materials result in the formation of nano-scale dispersions. Alternatively, glassy preparations of the templated networks exhibit birefringent optical properties.