(Jan 2006)NEC develops new ultra-thin rechargeable battery. The battery is thin, only 30 microns, which will enable it to be embedded into objects such as smartcards and intelligent paper in the future. The new organic radical (ORB) battery uses a type of plastic called organic radical polymer as its cathode.
Organic radical polymer assumes an electrolyte-permeated gel state (that is the state in which polymer suffused with solvent expands) and is the reason why the rechargeable battery is so remarkably flexible and pliant. In addition, the organic radical polymer electrode reaction is extremely fast and the supporting salts migrate through gel state polymer very smoothly. This results in little resistance to the charging reaction and an incredibly fast charging time of less than 30 seconds. Because the battery contains no metals such as mercury, lead or cadmium, it is environmentally friendly.
Currently, NEC has no plans for commercial production. But the company will continue to carry out aggressive R&D in this area toward enhanced performance and reliability of thin, flexible rechargeable ORBs.
NEC’s first proposed the use or an organic radical compound as a battery’s electrode active material in 2000. Charging occurs through the oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction of the radical region. The ORB exhibits an extraordinarily high discharge rate (large current discharged at one time). NEC was commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan during the period from November 2002 to March 2005 to develop a battery for data backup on desktop PCs, which fully exploits the advantageous characteristics of ORBs.
A pocket sized cooling chamber for maintaining diabetic insulin in a cool state while traveling has been produced by Olaf Diegel, of Massey University, New Zeland. The rechargeable video-cam type battery operates the ‘TravelMate’ for between 4-12 hours. Cooling is performed by a 5 W solid state Peltier device.
NASA Tech Briefs, April 2004, p. 20