Tech Briefs

Extremely small batteries could operate for years at nanoampere discharge rates.

Integrated microbatteries have been proposed to satisfy an anticipated need for long-life, low-rate primary batteries, having volumes less than 1 mm3, to power electronic circuitry in implantable medical devices. In one contemplated application, such a battery would be incorporated into a tubular hearing-aid device to be installed against an eardrum. This device is based on existing tube structures that have already been approved by the FDA for use in human ears.

A Microbattery Would Be Integrated into a tubular implantable device. The battery could supply a total charge of about 0.7 mA·h — equivalent to sustaininga discharge current of 80 nA for a year.
As shown in the figure, the battery would comprise a single cell at one end of the implantable tube. A small volume of Li-based primary battery cathode material would be compacted and inserted in the tube near one end, followed by a thin porous separator, followed by a pressed powder of a Li-containing alloy. Current-collecting wires would be inserted, with suitably positioned insulators to prevent a short circuit. The battery would contain a liquid electrolyte consisting of a Li-based salt in an appropriate solvent. Hermetic seals would be created by plugging both ends with a waterproof polymer followed by deposition of parylene.

This work was done by Jay Whitacre and William West of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to: Innovative Technology Assets Management


Mail Stop 202-233

4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refer to NPO-42287, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Integrated Microbatteries for Implantable Medical Devices (reference NPO-42287) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Please Login at the top of the page to download.

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.