mPhase Technologies, Inc. reported today that it has been granted a United States patent for the concept of a porous membrane made from silicon that is capable of controlling the flow of a wide range of liquids, including electrolytes, used in both primary and rechargeable batteries.
The concepts behind the porous membrane are being used in the development of the Smart NanoBattery to create a new type of reserve battery that has a very long shelf life and can be activated or triggered on command based on an external event.
The technique described in the patent is based on the idea of using nanotechnology to create surfaces to repel and absorb liquids, by engineering the surface of the silicon such that it can repel a wide range of liquids, yet made to temporarily lose its repelling properties using a technique called “electrowetting.”
The use of this patented technique may be incorporated into future battery designs by battery vendors and is being implemented in the design of the mPhase Smart NanoBattery. The Smart NanoBattery is being developed as part of the U.S. Army STTR Program to develop unique new battery technology for military purposes. The reserve battery design uses electrowetting and microfluidic techniques to selectively activate and control the power generated by the cells in the reserve battery.
“This patent represents a significant step and a major technical achievement in creating new approaches for designing batteries that can be used in applications requiring long shelf life and high availability,” said mPhase CEO Ron Durando.
“This concept, and the realization of the actual working silicon membrane, is a key component of not only something that can be implemented in our own products but also has applicability that could be incorporated by other vendors in the battery industry.”