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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Professor Invents a Flexible Battery

NJIT Professor Som Mitra (left) invented a flexible battery with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a doctoral student in chemistry.

Researchers at NJIT have developed a flexible battery made with carbon nanotubes that could potentially power electronic devices with flexible displays.

Electronic manufacturers are now making flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, a pioneering technology that allow devices such as cell phones, tablet computers and TVs to literally fold up.

And this new battery, given its flexibility and components, can be used to power this new generation of bendable electronics. The battery is made from carbon nanotubes and micro-particles that serve as active components -- similar to those found in conventional batteries. It is designed, though, to contain the electro-active ingredients while remaining flexible.

“This battery can be made as small as a pinhead or as large as a carpet in your living room,” says Somenath Mitra, a professor of chemistry and environmental science whose research group invented the battery. “So its applications are endless. You can place a rolled-up battery in the trunk of your electric car and have it power the vehicle.”

A patent application on the battery has been filed, and the battery will be featured in an upcoming issue of “Advanced Materials.”  Mitra developed the new technology at NJIT with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a doctoral student in chemistry.

The battery has another revolutionary potential, in that it could be fabricated at home by consumers.  All one would need to make the battery is a kit comprised of electrode paste and a laminating machine. One would coat two plastic sheets with the electrode paste, place a plastic separator between the sheets and then laminate the assembly. The battery assembly would function in the same way as a double-A or a triple-A battery.

“We have been experimenting with carbon nanotubes and other leading technologies for many years at NJIT,” says Mitra, “and it’s exciting to apply leading-edge technologies to create a flexible battery that has myriad consumer applications.”

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.