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Batteries/Nanotechnology 060213
 (Feb 2006) mPhase develops new generation of power cells utilizing super-hydrophopic nano-structured pattern .  These cells could store reserve power for decades and generate electric current on demand.  The prototype battery is based on a Bell Labs discovery that liquid droplets of electrolyte will stay in a dormant state atop nanotextured surfaces until stimulated to flow, thereby triggering a reaction producing electricity.  The super-hydrophopic nanostructures have been shown to be effective in keeping such a battery in a dormant state, theoretically for decades, by keeping electrolyte and electrodes physically separated until activated.  This is in contrast to conventional batteries that typically dissipate 7 percent of their stored energy each year.

mPhase is working with the Rutger’s Energy Storage Research Group (ESRG) and applying alternative chemistries to the architecture  based on the Bell Labs discovery.

An immediate application for the nanobattery is in defense and security where an energy source is needed to power remote sensors in areas lacking electricity.

CEO Ron Durando said the company is poised to deliver a substantial breakthrough in battery technology utilizing super-hydrophopic nano-patterned structures
 Considerations for Namomaterials in Lithium Rechargeable Batteries

Going beyond the usual global premise that nanotechnology will be wonderful for the world, Dr. W.F. Howard sheds light on the potential contributions which nanotechnology can offer the field of batteries. Advantages include increased rate capability, capacity enhancement and fade reduction. Details  of each advantage are presented. Further discussion focuses on candidate materials such as Lithium manganese oxides, layered lithium metal oxides, lithium iron phosphates, vanadium oxides, and binary transition metal oxides. Special contributions to anodes will lie with metal alloys and intercalants. Dr. Howard concludes with the likelihood that the first implementations of battery nanotechnology will be in high-reliability niche markets such as aerospace, micro electronics and medical technology.
Advanced Battery Technology, January 2005, pp 20-25
 mPhase Technologies and Bells Labs of Lucent Technologies    demonstrate first battery based on ‘nanograss’. This could be the answer to a  long lasting battery with the potential of infinite  shelf life. The prototype battery is based on a Bell Labs discovery that liquid droplets of electrolyte will stay in a dormant state atop microscopic structures called ‘nanograss’ until stimulated to flow, thereby triggering a reaction producing electricity.  The experimental work  proved that this super-hydrophobic effect of liquids can permit precise control and activation of the batteries on demand.  

Since mPhase and Bells Labs began colaborating in March 2004, mPhase has proven it is possible to fabricate nanotech-based batteries.  Steven Simon, vice-president of research and development of mPhase said, “In just one year’s time, we have taken a fundamental Bell Labs discovery into the proof of concept stage, and are already consulting with potential users of the nanobattery for such real-world applications as power sources for military sensors.”

The military should find the nanobattery   very useful since it does  not  suffer degradation before usage because the battery is not activated.  When  battery power is applied, the electrolyte droplet sinks to the bottom of the ‘nanograss’ and thus causes a reaction to occur.  Stacking ‘nanobatteries’ together would provide higher power.  

‘Nanobatteries’ may be seen in the commercial  market in another 12 to 15 months.  

In discussing nanotech battery research, David Bishop, vice president of nanotechnology research at Lucent’s Bell Labs and president of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, said, “Until now, battery technology has shown slow improvement rates of only 5-7% a year, but by using this new nanotech-based approach, we may be able to greatly accelerate the pace of battery innovation.....In general, improvements in battery technology have come very slowly in comparison to accelerating development cycles such as Moore’s Law in semiconductors.  We believe nanotech, specifically ‘nanograss’ technology, will allow us to make a significant leap forward in battery capabilities.”

 For more information on the technology, see article on nano-batteries in Langmuir, 05/11/04
Microsoft Excel Chart Nanomaterials are  beginning  to establish commercial presence in the U.S. market.  Despite “next big thing” hype on one side and “killer nanobot” alarmism on the other, nanomaterials are beginning to establish a commercial presence in the U.S. The development of nanomaterials (i.e., substances with particle size between 1 and 100 nanometers in at least one dimension) is a key step in the eventual production of more sophisticated machines, electronics and health care products.  

The  U.S. market for nanomaterials  (which totaled only $125 million in 2000) is expected to reach $1.4 billion in 2008 and exceed $30 billion by 2020.  

In the next decade of two,  the best opportunities are anticipated in health care and electronics.  However, the energy generation and storage category is expected to make a commercial presence in the market in  three years.  (See  news report on development work on batteries  with  ‘nanograss’ technology  by mPhase Technologies and Bell Labs in this Jan. 2005 issue.)

The data and information on Nanomaterials is courtesy of the  Freedonia Group, Inc.  The full length report is available for $4,200.00.  See website: +
 Mphase and Lucent Technologies demonstrate nanotech-based battery which has a shelf life of more than a decade. The prototype is based on Lucent’s Bell Labs discovery that liquid droplets of the electrolyte will  stay in a dormant structure called nanograss until prompted to generate current flow.  The technology is expected to be commercially available by the end of 2005.
 Ener 1’s new process to manufacture nanomaterials is shown to  yield electrodes with high discharge rates and low production costs. In an independent test at Yamagata University in Japan, the electrodes produced using Ener1’s vapor deposition nanotechnology enabled Lithium-ion batteries to discharge at a rate of over 111C with  76 percent capacity.  The tests were conducted using an electrode that was 10 microns in thickness.  Moreover, Ener1 states that the data from the test shows that his new electrode technology can achieve a 300C discharge rate with 45 percent capacity.   

The new Lithium-ion electrode structure was developed by Ener1 and ENERSTRUCT, Inc., a joint venture company that is owned by Ener1 and ITOCHU Corporation of Japan. Ener1’s vapor deposition process controls the base material of electrodes at the nanolevel;  ENERSTRUCT has licensed the technology and has exclusive rights to market  hybrid electric vehicles and other energy storage devices in Japan. ENERSTRUCT intends to work with automotive manufacturers and other companies to produce batteries for hybrid vehicles and other energy storage applications.

The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 8
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 7 Polymer and Power Management
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 6 Microbatteries, Military, Nanomaterials and Overcharge Protection
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 5 Hybrid Configuration, Life, and Low Temperature
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 4
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 3 Cathodes, Anodes, Electrolytes and Separators
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking - Part 2
The State of Lithium-ion Thinking-Part1
 (May 2004) Ener1 forms new subsidiary, NanoEner, Inc.  to develop new market and applications for Ener1’s proprietary technologies to manufacture nanomaterials.  Ener1 currently uses its nanomaterials manufacturing technologies in the development of nanomaterials for lithium batteries and other high energy storage devices.  The National Science Foundation estimates that the nanotechnology  market will reach $1 trillion by 2015.
 (April 2004) Bell Labs scientists discover technique to control fluids using specially fabricated silicon ‘Nanograss.”  The scientists discovered an entirely new method to control the behavior of tiny liquid droplets by applying electrical charges to specially engineered silicon surfaces that resemble  blades of grass.  

“Once in a while we get a research breakthrough that has wide applicability across many fields,” said David Bishop, vice president of nanotechnology at Bell Labs and president of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium. “The techniques resulting from this research might be applied to fields that range from optical networking and advanced micro batteries to self-cleaning windshields and more streamlined boat hulls.”

Bell Labs and the New Jersey Nanotech Consortium are exploring using the technique to create powerful, next-generation reserve micro batteries.  Conventional batteries have electrochemical reactions proceeding at some level all of the time, even when batteries are not being used.  Over time, the batteries degrade. By using the Bell Labs’ technique to isolate the liquid electrolyte so that electrochemical reactions do not take place until power is actually needed, nonograss-based micro batteries may be ideal for long-term, higher capacity battery applications, especially where bursts of power are needed.  Examples would be sensors out in the field that only need a lot of power when they detect something and need to transmit the information as a wireless signal.
 (April 2004) New batteries could boost current to phones and laptops

Using miniature carbon pillars, physicists at the University of California, Irvine have developed a method of growing hundreds of batteries in the space usually taken up by a single cell battery. The concept was made possible by growing tiny nano rods from plastic polymer which hardens when exposed to light. Heat drives off the atoms of hydrogen leaving behind a shrunken version of the plastic containing thousands of tiny  carbon rods which have lithium ions inserted into spaces between the rods; these rods are then wired together. Present silicon substrates need to be replaced with cheaper materials to make the process cost competitive.

Nature News Service Macmillan Magazines Ltd, Feb. 17, 2004
 (Febuary2004)Japanese Target Major Role In Nanotechnology

Having missed a controlling interest in info tech and biotech, the Japanese are not planning to take a back seat in nanotechnology. In 2002 alone, the Japanese government budgeted $1 billion for nano R & D. Three well known Japanese companies put in another $ 1 billion of their own money in that year.

There may be substantial payoff because the Japanese discovery of the original nanotube in 1991 has been extended to a new Japaneese discovery the nano horn. This micro device can be hoked together to form clusters with major roles in fuel cells. Sony is replacing graphite materials in electordes with nanotubes to increase battery life.
Microsoft Excel ChartTo illustrate the real growth in nanotube use, the total world output of nanotube material in 2002 was about one ton. The output of a single supplier, Mitsui will be 120 tons in 2004.
Toyota is pursuing a braided nanotube material to more efffectivley store hydrogen for fuel cell (or hydrogen powere ICE) vehicles.

Forecasters see growth of nanotech business into the realm of $200 billion by 2010.

Reference: Business Week, April 21, 2003, pp. 75-76
 (Dec. 2003)  ITRI’s Material Research Laboratories in Taiwan is working to produce the new nano-battery for portable communication devices such as PDAs and notebooks.  Utilizing nano-technology the new batteries are designed with capabilities over 160 Watts and are made by stacking polymer electrolytes with special materials.  The chemistry of the anode is a combined Lithium-cobalt material and the cathode  is composed of nanometer-scaled graphite sheets.  (Information was reported in “Nano-batteries promised energy savings by Jason Pan, Taiwan, 11/11/03)
 (Sept. 2003) University of Tulsa receives patent for method to make nanobatteries.  Professor Dale Teeters and students Nina Korzhova and Lane Fisher have formulated a manufacturing process that can build, charge and test nanobatteries.   The manufacturing process begins with an aluminum sheet that is placed in acid solution under an electric current, resulting in an aluminum oxide membrane.  A honeycomb structure forms when the metal is dissolved.  The pores are then filled with an electrolyte which is a plastic-like polymer.   The filled pores are capped with electrodes , either ceramic or carbon particles.  

Vital  instruments  in the process are a scanning electron microscope and an atomic force microscope, which can observe and manipulate particles as small as molecules and is used to charge the microscopic array of batteries. The microscope’s custom-made tip touches the electrode to charge and test the battery.  (This  custom tip is so tiny, being only two nanometers wide, that it cannot even be seen by an ordinary light microscope.)

The team has, to date, been able to develop batteries so minuscule that more than 40 can be lined up across the width of a hair.  

Today, these batteries are in the laboratory producing about a millionth of a miliAmp, but in the future, they could be found as a power source for a computer or a medical device.  

References: U.S. Patent 6,586,133 and Dewan, C. & Teeters, D., “Vanadia xerogel nanocathodes used in lithium microbatteries,” Journal of Power Sources, p.119-121, 310-315, 2002