NEC develops razor-thin battery

Engineers at NEC have developed a flexible battery that is less than a millimeter thick that can be charged in half a minute, the company said Wednesday.

Engineers at Japan's NEC have developed a flexible battery that is less than a millimeter thick that can be charged in half a minute, the company said Wednesday.

The battery has been designed for use in applications such as active RFID (radio frequency identification) cards and could provide enough power to keep such cards running for several weeks before requiring a recharge, said Yoshimi Kubo, chief manager of fuel cell and battery research at NEC's fundamental and environmental research laboratories, speaking at a Tokyo briefing.

The device is an "organic radical battery," a technology developed by NEC that uses materials that are more environmentally-friendly than the chemicals found in common rechargeable batteries, the company said. NEC began researching the technology in 2000 and its work has been partly funded by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

One of the features of such batteries is their ability to be charged quickly and the device unveiled Wednesday can be charged to about 80 percent of its capacity in about 30 seconds.

A prototype is being demonstrated this week at an NEC event in Tokyo. The battery on show measures about 4 centimeters square and has been fitted into a card about the same size as an identification or credit card. After a charge it can keep an LED (light emitting diode) embedded in the card lit for about 20 minutes before requiring a recharge.

Such thin batteries are important for active-type RFID cards. Most current RFID cards or tags are passive devices which aren't capable of transmitting data on their own and work when brought into proximity with a radio field from a tag reader. This typically means they work over a range of several centimeters. Active tags are more like miniature radios and can transmit over longer distances, which means they can be read without having to bring them so close to the tag reader.

NEC said it has no current plans for commercial production of the device or an estimate of how much it will cost at such a time as production begins.

It's not the first organic radical battery application developed by NEC.

A larger version of the battery was shown earlier this year and proposed as a possible future emergency power source for personal computers. Because the battery is capable of delivering a large amount of power in a short period NEC demonstrated it being used to power a PC for about 15 seconds, which is enough time for the PC to back-up important data and shut-down properly.

That application used four batteries each of which measure 55 millimeters by 43 mm and are 4 mm thick, which is about the same size a stack of 3 credit cards. Each cell weighs 20 grams. Like the prototype on show this week NEC didn't have any immediate commercialization plans for the technology.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?