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Stony Brook professor awarded prize for battery invention

Esther Sans Takeuchi, a Stony Brook University professor who invented the battery that boosted by fivefold the life span of implantable cardiac defibrillators, has won a prestigious European Patent Office award for her cutting-edge development.

Takeuchi, a materials scientist and chemical engineer, was the only American to be honored with a 2018 European Inventor Award for her 1987 development of a lithium/silver vanadium oxide battery. The device paved the way for much smaller and longer- lasting cardiac defibrillators. Takeuchi’s battery allows defibrillators to last five years. Earlier devices lasted about a year to 18 months.

The award was presented Thursday during a ceremony in Paris, officials at Stony Brook University said.

Implantable cardiac defibrillators, widely known as ICDs, sense and correct serious irregular heart rhythms by sending electrical pulses or shocks directly to the heart, preventing sudden cardiac arrest.

The devices have been implanted for nearly 40 years worldwide. In the United States, about 10,000 ICDs are implanted monthly, according to the American Heart Association.

Takeuchi’s invention changed the course of defibrillator history, a development that European Patent Office officials noted in honoring her with the award. She was one of four women to receive one this year.

“Esther Sans Takeuchi’s innovative work on energy storage and power sources is enabling lifesaving technologies that benefit millions of heart patients,” Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office, said in a statement Thursday.

“Her developments in the field of battery technology have also made her one of the most prolific U.S. women inventors. She serves as an exceptional role model for women in science today, while demonstrating the immense advances in human well-being that science and technology can bring about,” Battistelli said.

Takeuchi holds the William and Jane Knapp Endowed Chair in Energy and the Environment at Stony Brook and is also a chief scientist of the Energy Science Directorate at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She holds 150 patents.