Core Laboratories has filed a patent for a tracer particle that consists of a silica core and polymer-coated oligonucleotides. The polymer coating surrounds the oligonucleotide, and the particles can be located within the silica core or on its surface. GlobalData’s report on Core Laboratories gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Core Laboratories, oil well fracking was a key innovation area identified from patents. Core Laboratories's grant share as of September 2023 was 60%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
The patent filed is for a tracer particle with polymer-coated oligonucleotides
A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230279287A1) describes a tracer particle that can be used in various applications, particularly in subterranean formations. The tracer particle consists of a silica core and polymer-coated oligonucleotides that are either within the silica core or on its surface. The polymer coating surrounds the oligonucleotide, providing protection against degradation in harsh environments such as high temperatures, high pressures, high-salt environments, and acidic environments.
The polymer used in the tracer particle can be polyacrylic acid (PAA), polyethylenimine (PEI), poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), polylysine (PLL), or a combination of these polymers. Additionally, the tracer particle may have one or more inorganic layers surrounding the silica core. These inorganic layers can include transition metal salts with various transition metals such as copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, nickel, cadmium, barium, magnesium, iron, chromium, and aluminum. The anion of the transition metal salt can be silicate, phosphate, or borate.
Furthermore, the inorganic layers can also include quantum dots such as cadmium sulfide (CdS) quantum dots, cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots, zinc sulfide (ZnS) quantum dots, zinc selenide (ZnSe) quantum dots, and CdS/ZnS quantum dots. Magnetic nanoparticles with the formula MFe2O4, where M is iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), or copper (Cu), can also be part of the inorganic layers. In some cases, a silica layer may be present in the tracer particle. Additionally, the tracer particle may have a polymer layer surrounding the inorganic layers.
The patent also describes a method for using these tracer particles. The method involves adding the tracer particles to a fluid and introducing the fluid into a subterranean formation. The presence of the tracer particles can be detected within the subterranean formation using magnetic or optical sensors. Samples can be collected from the subterranean formation, and the tracer particles can be isolated. Oligonucleotides can be extracted from the tracer particles and identified, potentially through sequencing. The identified oligonucleotides can then be used to determine the flow of subsurface fluids within the subterranean formation. The fluid used in this method can be a fracking fluid.