Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Battery Technology Helps Stimulate Nerves

Date:
October 4, 2005
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
With the help of new silicon-based compounds, scientists -- and patients -- are getting a significant new charge out of the tiny lithium batteries used in implantable devices to help treat nervous system and other disorders. The lithium battery is the workhorse in implantable devices -- stimulators used to jump start the heart and help the central nervous system make critical connections in, for example, Parkinson's and epilepsy patients.

New lithium battery technology developed by UW-Madison emeritus professor of chemistry Robert West powers this tiny microstimulator, a device that effectively jump-starts broken nerve connections in conditions like Parkinson's, epilepsy and incontinence. The device was developed by a consortium including UW-Madison’s Organosilicon Research Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Bionics Corp., the Alfred Mann Foundation and Quallion, LLC. It was recognized earlier in 2005 with an “R&D 100 Award” from R&D magazine.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

MADISON -- With the help of new silicon-based compounds, scientists --and patients -- are getting a significant new charge out of the tinylithium batteries used in implantable devices to help treat nervoussystem and other disorders.

Related Articles


The lithium battery is the workhorse in implantable devices --stimulators used to jump start the heart and help the central nervoussystem make critical connections in, for example, Parkinson's andepilepsy patients. Designed to be extraordinarily reliable and workcontinuously for years, the tiny batteries that power implantables areindispensable in everything from pacemakers to the electronicstimulators that help restore function in the brains of Parkinson'spatients.

But lithium batteries don't last forever and new surgery to maintainmany devices seeded into the body is required, as it is to replacebatteries and devices at the end of their lives. Moreover, a newgeneration of tiny electrical devices to stimulate the nervous system,treat incontinence and overcome muscular impairment is coming on lineas scientists and engineers continue to shrink the components that makeup the devices.

Central to that ability, according to University ofWisconsin-Madison Professor Emeritus of chemistry Robert West, is newlithium battery technology, technology capable of making batteriessmaller, last longer and, soon, accept a charge from outside the bodywithout the need for surgery.

Using organosilicon compounds, West and his UW-Madison colleagues havedeveloped a new generation of rechargeable lithium ion batteries whoselifetimes are more than twice as long as the batteries now used in thetiny medical devices.

"It turns out the organosilicon compounds are really good for improvinglithium battery technology," says West, whose new battery technologypowers a "microstimulater" not much larger than a pencil lead and thatcan be injected near target nerves to help overcome the faulty nervoussystem wiring at the heart of Parkinson's, epilepsy and incontinence.

"The idea is that whenever you have a broken nerve connection, you cansupply the electrical impulse to complete the circuit," West explains.

The microstimulator was developed by a consortium includingUW-Madison's Organosilicon Research Center, Argonne NationalLaboratory, Advanced Bionics Corp., the Alfred Mann Foundation andQuallion, LLC. The device was recognized earlier this year with an"R&D 100 Award" from R&D Magazine.

West's group developed the electrolyte, theelectricity-conducting liquid that is the heart of the battery. The neworganosilicon 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 mostabundant elements. Organosilicons are compounds composed of silicon andother natural materials.

In the context of the lithium battery, West's group has beenmaking and testing "designer silicons" that are specially formulated toconduct electricity in a very compact environment. In the lithiumbattery, charge is maintained as lithium ions flow between thebattery's positive and negative electrodes.

"The battery requires something the ions can go through easily. We hadto tweak the (organosilicon) molecules to get higher conductivity andstability," says West.

A critical advantage of the new battery technology is lifespan: "Ifyou're going to implant these things, you want a (battery) lifetime ofat least 10 years," says West, whose organosilicon batteries areprojected to power the tiny implantable devices for more than 12 years.

In addition to implantable devices for medicine, lithium batteries are used in scores of applications, from spacecraft to iPods.

Patented through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the neworganosilicon compound technology is also being developed through a newstart-up company, Polyron, Inc. The work to develop the neworganosilicon compounds was funded by the National Institute ofStandards and Technology, a federal technology agency that works withindustry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "New Battery Technology Helps Stimulate Nerves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051004083648.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2005, October 4). New Battery Technology Helps Stimulate Nerves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051004083648.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "New Battery Technology Helps Stimulate Nerves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051004083648.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins