Scientists from the Irish University of Queens in Belfast have developed a new flexible organic battery, promising a serious step in the development of the field of medical implants. At the moment, medical devices, such as pacemakers, use solid batteries made of metal, which makes them not very convenient. In addition, such batteries do not have the feature of decomposition, therefore, after a while, it is necessary to conduct a repeat operation in the patient to remove the battery and replace it with a new one.
The new flexible organic battery is not only able to keep three times more charge, compared to commonly used batteries, but also offers very useful from the point of view of the environment properties, as it can decompose on its own. In this case, with such a feature, the device is completely unaffected by energy leaks, and it is also made of non-flammable material. In addition, for patients, its use will be somewhat more comfortable, since the battery has a flexible property, and therefore, can change its shape with the movement of the human body.
Dr. Gita Srinivashan, head of research at the Quill University of Queens Research and Research Center for Ionic Liquids (QUILL), told the BBC about how a flexible supercapacitor could become part of a new medical device.
"Medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, as a rule, consist of two implantable parts. One is attached directly to the heart itself, while the second contains a metal solid battery that is implanted under the patient's skin, "says Dr. Srinivashan.
"The implant under the skin is connected by a wire to the main device and can cause the patient discomfort, as it can rub against the subcutaneous layer. For this reason, it was necessary to develop new and easy-to-use batteries. The ideal solution was to make them flexible so that they could change their shape and adapt to the shape of the body. "
As noted above, the new battery is safer than now used, since it does not contain any combustible materials and, therefore, does not risk exploding. It is not only flexible, but also very light, which opens the way for it to be used in other consumer electronics, for example, in flexible laptops or telephones, where solid-state batteries are also currently used.
Moreover, the current batteries are very expensive to process, as they contain toxic materials. Organic batteries will eventually decompose independently without causing any harm to the environment. The new battery developed by the Srinivashan team uses biomaterials such as cellulose, rather than expensive and non-degradable metals or semiconductors, as in conventional ones. It is also worth noting that, despite the ability of self-expansion, the batteries are completely safe for the human body, since they begin to break down only when the temperature reaches 270 degrees Celsius.
Dr. Srinivashan in an interview with the BBC expressed her confidence that with well-funded funding, the batteries developed by her and her team could easily be commercialized and used in a variety of consumer and medical electronics in the next five years.