New battery technology gives design flexibility

OCTOBER 8--Engineers no longer have to design products around a battery. They can simply design a product and then build a battery that will fit it.

OCTOBER 8--Engineers no longer have to design products around a battery. They can simply design a product and then build a battery that will fit it. Power Paper Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel), the developer of the technology, has entered its first American manufacturing agreement with Graphic Solutions Inc. (Burr Ridge, IL; www.graphicsolutionsinc.com), to manufacture the technology. Graphic Solutions is a manufacturer of printed circuitry, electroluminescence, RFID antennas, labels, nameplates, and panels.

This new technology produces an ultrathin, caseless, low-cost power source that is as flexible as paper. Because of the thin size--just 0.5 mm thick--and its versatility, it can be manufactured into any shape or size. These batteries are ideal for disposable microelectronic applications, smart labels and tags, portable electronic devices of all kinds, medical bracelets that monitor temperature and provide health readings, prescription labels that read directions aloud to patients and remind them to take their medication, some types of transdermal medication delivery, payment cards that record account balance, frequent-flyer miles, or other data. The options for use are quite open for low- to medium-power devices.

The batteries are made up of five ink-like layers of material: a collector and cathode layer on one side, a collector and anode layer on the other, and an electrolyte core. This not only provides the cells with their flexibility, but also produces a dry battery that eliminates the need for a hermetically sealed metal case. All ingredients are nontoxic and safe, permitting disposal without endangering the environment.

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