mPhase Technologies, the company behind the mPower Emergency Illuminator flashlight with a 20 year reserve battery shelf life that is triggered based on an external event, announced today they’ve secured a patent related to the development of the battery itself. It centers around the “concept of a porous membrane made from silicon that is capable of controlling the flow of a wide range of liquids, including electrolytes, used in both primary and rechargeable batteries.”

mPhase said that the technique behind the patent “is based on the idea of using nanotechnology to create surfaces to repel and absorb liquids, by engineering the surface of the silicon such that it can repel a wide range of liquids, yet made to temporarily lose its repelling properties using a technique called electrowetting.” It is held jointly by Alcatel-Lucent and mPhase Technologies and is “based on a prior cooperative research and development agreement between the two companies.”

image via mPhase Technologies

“This patent represents a significant step and a major technical achievement in creating new approaches for designing batteries that can be used in applications requiring long shelf life and high availability,” said mPhase CEO Ron Durando in a statement. “This concept, and the realization of the actual working silicon membrane, is a key component of not only something that can be implemented in our own products but also has applicability that could be incorporated by other vendors in the battery industry.”

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