The University of Wisconsin-Madison reports that its researchers have developed a novel organosilicon compound technology that can provide an electrical current for implanted devices for up to 12 years:
Designed to be extraordinarily reliable and work continuously for years, the tiny batteries that power implantables are indispensable in everything from pacemakers to the electronic stimulators that help restore function in the brains of Parkinson’s patients.
But lithium batteries don’t last forever. New surgery is often required to maintain many devices seeded into the body, or to replace batteries and devices at the end of their lives. Moreover, a new generation of tiny electrical devices to stimulate the nervous system, treat incontinence and overcome muscular impairment is coming on line as scientists and engineers continue to shrink the components that make up the devices.
Central to that ability, according to UW-Madison Professor Emeritus of chemistry Robert West, is new lithium battery technology, technology capable of making batteries smaller, last longer and, soon, accept a charge from outside the body without the need for surgery…
The new organosilicon compounds developed by the Wisconsin chemists, says West, have numerous advantages over traditional lithium battery chemistry.
“They’re very flexible. They don’t solidify. They’re stable, nonflammable, non-toxic and they pose no threat to the environment,” says West, an international authority on silicon chemistry. Silicon, the stuff computer chips are made of, is one of the Earth’s most abundant elements. Organosilicons are compounds composed of silicon and other natural materials.
In the context of the lithium battery, West’s group has been making and testing “designer silicons” that are specially formulated to conduct electricity in a very compact environment. In the lithium battery, charge is maintained as lithium ions flow between the battery’s positive and negative electrodes.
“The battery requires something the ions can go through easily. We had to tweak the (organosilicon) molecules to get higher conductivity and stability,” says West.
The press release…