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2/11/2005
12:05 PM
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Firm Says Nanobattery Is A Year Away

An exotic material called nanograss is part of a battery being developed by mPhase that could power products such as cell phones and PDAs.

A telecom technology provider says it's 12 to 18 months away from having a commercially available battery based on nanotechnology. Such a nanobattery could conceivably power anything that uses ordinary batteries, such as cell phones and PDAs.

The company, mPhase Technologies Inc., is using a discovery by Lucent Technologies to design batteries that can sit in their packages for decades, be activated instantaneously, and outlast conventional batteries. MPhase foresees using the batteries in everything from battlefield equipment to consumer electronics.

Lucent's R&D unit, Bell Labs, found that liquid droplets of an electrolyte--a variety of nonmetallic electric conductor--and microscopic material called nanograss can be used to produce an electric current.

Last March, Lucent licensed the technology to mPhase, which is developing it into a commercial product. The company hasn't said how much a nanobattery would cost or if such a battery would come in the familiar forms of conventional batteries.

Among mPhase's other products is the TV+ platform, which distributes digital TV, high-speed Internet access, and phone service over existing copper phone wires.

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