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Canada: Chester medical research firm part of lithium battery study

A Chester medical research company known for technology that records electrical current and voltage in living cells is turning its attention to measuring the chemical health of lithium batteries.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Stephen Jones, general manager of HEKA Electronics Inc., said in an interview Tuesday.

“We’ve never recorded under these conditions.”

HEKA has joined GM Canada and Brucker Canada, an analytical instrumentation company based in Milton, Ont., in a research project headed by Gillian Goward of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

The three-year initiative, which is getting just over $2.3 million in funding under the federal government’s Automotive Partnership Canada initiative, will help identify improvements in lithium batteries by allowing researchers to look inside them while they are operating to assess their electrical and chemical health.

HEKA’s main product is a patch clamp amplifier used in neuroscience and pharmacology laboratories to study heart cells and neurons. The amplifier is also used in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s research.

Jones said the company is bringing a fairly new electrochemical scanning microscope to the lithium battery initiative, which is being funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
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