NEC develops ultra-thin, flexible battery

Tokyo (Japan) - NEC announced that it has developed an ultra-thin and flexible rechargeable battery that is compact enough to be integrated into electronic paper and smartcard devices. The company claims that the battery can be recharged within 30 seconds.

NEC has been involved in developing organic radical battery (ORB) for more than five years - initially proposing an organic radical compound as a battery's electrode active material in 2000 - and now claims that it is first to have developed a battery device that can fit in today's smallest electronic products.

The ORB announced today is built into a bendable structure only 300 microns thin. According to NEC, the battery uses organic radical polymer as its cathode and can be fully recharged within 30 seconds. Potential applications for the ORB include RFID devices, smartcards and electronic paper. The firm did not disclose the capacity of the battery or how long it could power target applications.

NEC said that it was able to build a flexible battery by simply using an organic radical polymer, which assumes an "electrolyte-permeated" gel state. Reaction at the electrode is "extremely" fast, the firm said, with salts migrating through the gel state polymer very smoothly. As a result, the device experiences little resistance to the charging reacting, NEC explained.