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Advanced Thin-film Battery Development


OBJECTIVE: Develop novel light weight high efficiency thin-film batteries for use in Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs), remote sensors, expendables, energy harvesting and in"wearable"flexible electronics. DESCRIPTION: Energy harvesting is important for distributed networks used in remote sensors, perimeter protection, intruder alerts and for widespread monitoring of bio-threats. Most energy harvesting schemes currently under consideration require some means of energy storage. Batteries, with their low internal leakage, long life and their ability to source low levels of power for very long periods of time are ideal for such an application. The development of novel light weight high efficiency thin-film batteries is sought. The anticipated advantage of thin-film cells would be easy, seamless integration with the harvester. For example, thin-film cells could coat housings, structural components or the back-side of a solar panel, eliminating the need for a bulky"battery farm."Proposed solutions must be flexible, so that they can conform to a variety of surfaces or be processed to conform to standard battery formats. For example, they can coat the airframe of an airborne UAV. If successful, this would save cargo space for weaponry and instrumentation packages on board the vehicle. It is also hoped that the thin-film cells could be made to resemble"battery cloth"and as such, could be used as removable jacket liners. This would distribute the weight of the power source over a war-fighter"s body, eliminating the need for bulky, unwieldy batteries. The cloth could also be used to back flexible displays. Areas of research focus should be battery capacity, internal leakage, shelf life and cycle capacity. Proposed materials must be environmentally compatible and low-cost, as large numbers of batteries are required for all envisioned applications. It is not an objective to extend conventional battery technology. PHASE I: Demonstrate proof-of concept for thin-flim batteries. Analyze various battery requirements and target one or more of the key performance parameters (battery capacity, internal leakage, shelf life, cycle capacity, etc.) and carefully benchmark the current state-of development. Analyze compatibility with possible energy harvesting techniques. As a starting point, the demonstration target will include: - Capacity: greater than 1mA.Hr/cm2 - Internal leakage On Charging: less than 100 uA/cm2 - Demonstrated Shelf Life: 1 month at a minimum - Cycle Life: greater than 100 cycles at 80% of capacity, greater than 500 cycles at 20% of capacity Outline an improvement plan for the chosen metric(s) and provide a proof-of-principle demonstration that improvement is possible with the outlined plan. PHASE II: Develop a prototype thin-film battery. Demonstrate significant improvements in the cited metric(s) from Phase I. Demonstrate compatibility of the chosen process technology with volume manufacture. Demonstrate integration of the metric-enhanced battery with some product target as mutually agreed upon by the offeror and the Navy. Demonstrate battery charging techniques to include harvesting. At the end of Phase II, demonstrate the minimum performance targets: - Capacity: greater than 10mA.Hr/cm2 - Internal leakage On Charging: less than 10uA/cm2 - Demonstrated Shelf Life: greater than 6 months (or longer) - Cycle Life: greater than 500 cycles at 80% of capacity, greater than 1000 cycles at 20% of capacity PHASE III: Demonstrate large volume manufacturability of various batteries, conformal coatings and/or battery cloth(s) using the chosen processes. Transition the developed technology for use in DoD platforms. Supply the battery packs to system suppliers in ready-to-use format for the intended applications. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: A clear private sector commercial utility will exist for advanced thin-film batteries in any of their potential formats (standard, conformal, wearable). Selected technology may permit routine energy harvesting in the commercial as well as the military environments. The private sector potential includes: powering of"foldable displays,"battery liners for hand-held/lap-top devices, battery inserts for first-responder (e.g., firemen, EMTs, etc.) outfits, power supplies for structural integrity monitors (bridge maintenance and airframe integrity.) REFERENCES:
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