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ST taps FET's lithium battery tech

Posted: 11 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lithium battery technology? battery solid-state? fuel cell?

STMicroelectronics has signed a commercial agreement with Front-Edge Technology (FET), enabling ST to bring FET's NanoEnergy ultrathin lithium battery technology to a wide range of new markets and applications.

The new technology is meant to fill the gap created by conventional energy-storage devices not keeping pace with the demanding size and high-density power requirements of today's cutting-edge electronic devices. The new devices, which are destined for consumer and industrial markets, demand innovative energy-storage and battery technologies. Solid-state thin-film energy cells offer a revolutionary way of storing energy for 'micro-power' devices, such as high-end 'One-Time-Password' smart cards; battery-assisted RFID tags; wireless sensor networks; RTC back-up batteries; and multiple medical applications, including hearing aids, automatic insulin pumps and wearable health monitoring systems.

A key advantage of the ultrathin solid-state battery technology is its physical flexibility, enabling different sizes and shapes of 'bendable' batteries, as thin as 200?m, making it suitable for portable and extremely small form factor devices. Additionally, the battery's solid electrolyte is lithium phosphorus oxynitride, a material originally developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratories. This enables the thin-film FET technology, in comparison with a device with equivalent energy storage capacity, to deliver in the range of 10x to 20x more power than existing coin-cell batteries.

FET's solid-state micro-batteries have been shown to offer longer life, short-circuit prevention for greater safety, and a lower environmental burden than existing battery technologies. Other key characteristics of the FET technology include long cycle life, with more than 1,000 cycles at 50 percent discharge; fast current charge enabling batteries to be charged to 80 percent of rated capacity within 15 minutes; and high stability, with a low self-discharge of less than 15 percent per year.

"There is large and growing gap between the increasingly fast pace of the proliferation and demands of today's leading-edge portable electronic products and the capabilities of existing energy sources, in performance, operating life and environmental impact," said Carmelo Papa, executive VP and general manager of ST's Industrial and Multisegment Sector (IMS). "As one of the world's largest and most innovative semiconductor companies, ST has the vision, breadth and market reach to bring FET's revolutionary ultrathin battery technology to new industrial and consumer applications."

"Over the past ten years FET has developed NanoEnergy, the highest energy density thin-film battery technology in the industry, and three years ago we began commercially selling NanoEnergy batteries in small volumes," said Simon Nieh, president of FET. "We are truly delighted to team up with one of the largest and most innovative global semiconductor companies to address new opportunities in industrial and consumer markets for thin-film batteries."

ST is making significant investments in new energy technologies and nanomaterials to develop new miniaturized solutions for energy storage and deliver with a particular emphasis on powering portable electronic products. The R&D group of ST's IMS organization has been working for several years developing know-how and expertise in the field of micro-batteries and micro fuel cells, and has research teams based in Tours, France, and Catania, Italy, working with research institutes in both those countries.





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