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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.”

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.