NEC develops ultra-thin battery for mobile

A thin, flexible battery from NEC with a 30-second recharge could be an instant hit in a wide range of device markets
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

NEC has developed an ultra-thin, flexible, rechargeable battery capable of re-charging in just 30 seconds, the company said on Thursday.

The new battery has been dubbed ORB, for Organic Redical Battery, by NEC, because it uses an organic radical polymer as its cathode.

Because organic radical polymer assumes an electrolyte-permeated gel state it makes the rechargeable battery very flexible. NEC says that the organic radical polymer electrode reaction is extremely fast and the supporting salts migrate through gel state polymer very smoothly. The result is little resistance to the charging reaction and an incredibly fast charging time of less than 30 seconds, making the battery suitable for embedding into smartcards and intelligent paper.

NEC also claims that the new battery is environmentally friendly because, unlike conventional rechargeable batteries, it does not contain any harmful heavy metals such as mercury, lead or cadmium.

The battery has a very thin structure (300µm) and a pliant and bendable structure because flexible plastic is used as the cathode material. If the ORB was used in an active RFID device, it could support tens of thousands of signal transmissions on a single charge, the company said.

NEC hopes that the new battery will "be used extensively in the future to power all kinds of tiny ubiquitous terminals" allowing "all kinds of objects to become terminals, bringing us closer to a ubiquitous networked society by allowing access to the network anytime, anywhere".

After this success, NEC said it will a strategy of "aggressive R&D" aimed at obtaining enhanced performance and reliability from ORBs.

NEC is having some success with nanoscale technology. Last Sunday it announced it had developed technology to make advanced chips with circuit widths of 55nm.

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