ATP Helps Develop the World’s Smallest Rechargeable Polymer Battery for Use in Neurostimulation
Quallion LLC, Sylmar, CA (Project lead)
Valtronic USA, Inc (Ohio)
Argonne National Laboratories (Argonne, IL)
University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)
Alfred E. Mann Foundation (Santa Clarita, CA)
Duration and Cost:
funding amount: $4.4 M
- Industry cost-share amount: $4.5 M
|Case Study and/or Status
Report of the Completed Project:
Although the medical electronics field has grown dramatically over the past two decades, battery technology has been a major factor limiting applications for devices capable of being implanted in the body. Quallion LLC, a small, battery technology company, proposed a joint research venture to develop a new class of highly reliable miniature lithium secondary battery technology designed to last more than 10 years with integrated battery safety management circuitry. The power source would make possible new implantable devices that use electrical stimulation to treat over 6 million Americans suffering from stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, sleep apnea, limb paralysis, and urge urinary incontinence.
and Economic Impacts
ATP support enabled a small company, Quallion, to work on an innovative and high-risk technology project with Argonne National Laboratories and the University of Wisconsin. Through the ATP project, Quallion developed a novel, lithium-ion rechargeable polymer battery that is 1/35 the size of a normal AA battery. It weighs less than 1 gram and has the power of up to 3 mAhr. To accomplish this, many innovations were required:
- An advanced electronics system was developed to allow the batteries to be recharged from outside the skin without any physical connections
- A unique polymer siloxane electrolyte that enables high conductivity in a safe and reliable manner
- Unique manufacturing techniques for the handling of polymer electrolytes
- High energy density in a non-flammable, ultra-safe package
The results of these technical achievements have been well recognized:
- Quallion has been awarded 3 patents
- Quallion, Argonne, and the University of Wisconsin won a 2005 R&D 100 award.
The technical spillovers achieved from this project are already large. For example:
- Quallion’s rechargeable battery technology forms the core of a neuro-stimulation device, the bion®, which was developed by the Advanced Bionics Corporation. The bion® is currently in clinical trials for treatment of incontinence. As the microbatteries can serve as the power source of neuro-stimulators for other medical uses, the impact of this technology will be even larger. Once full commercialization of its current lithium ion micro-cell is completed, Quallion plans to introduce the ATP technology into its next generation of micro-cells. As part of these achievements, Boston Scientific purchased Advanced Bionics.
- Quallion has integrated advances made in lithium ion battery technology with its own advances in traditional technology to create other battery advancements specifically for implantable cardioverter defibrillators and pacemakers.
Additional economic benefits
Quallion LLC was founded in 1998 and at the time of the ATP award had 40 employees. The ATP award has helped the company grow to 75 employees. Quallion’s sales have grown each year and the company is branching out into new markets.
Date created: January 17, 2006
August 21, 2006