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mPhase Explains Key Technology Features of Smart Surface Technology

Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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The company has developed a technology that exploits the phenomenon of electrowetting - the ability to electronically manipulate the way liquids behave when in contact with a solid or porous surface.

This is based on the observation that liquids such as water will bead up on a surface that is superhydrophobic, but can be made to move or spread out by electrowetting. The same is true for an organic liquid if the surface is superlyophobic.

mPhase is pursuing this emerging technology, which is now being actively researched at a number of universities who are publicizing their work on electrowetting, superhydrophobicity and superlyophobicity.

The technology is being used to create so-called "smart" structures on metal, ceramic, polymer surfaces and other advanced materials that can resist getting dirty, fogging up, or forming ice. They also can be used for displays, lenses and other applications.

To date mPhase has been concentrating on smart battery applications by exploiting this same electrowetting phenomenon in their Smart NanoBattery by manipulating the liquid electrolyte via a proprietary porous silicon structure shown in Figure 1.

The breakthrough has enabled a unique reserve-style battery architecture that has proven adaptable to a wide range of chemistries, with the initial development based on zinc manganese dioxide (Zn/MnO2) chemistries, similar to the typical alkaline battery used in a flashlight or TV remote control, as well as development focused on higher-energy density, lithium manganese dioxide (Li/MnO2), chemistries found in laptops, cell phones and digital cameras. Future applications that can be implemented within the same architecture include rechargeable batteries based on lithium-based chemistries.

These correlate to first launching and proving out the technology for a reserve battery, then a primary cell with the Zn/MnO2 or Li/MnO2 chemistries, and later a secondary (rechargeable) battery.
At that point, if completed the family of mPhase Batteries will be (reserve, primary and secondary) potentially serving a wide range of applications.

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