Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Thin-Film Temperature Sensors for Batteries

General Electric (GE) Global Research
ARPA-E Award: 
Fairfield, CT
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 12/31/2016
Project Status: 
Image of GE's technology
Critical Need: 

Today's electric vehicle batteries are expensive and prone to unexpected failure. Batteries are complex systems, and developing techniques to cost-effectively monitor and manage important performance measures while predicting battery cell degradation and failure remains a key technological challenge. There is a critical need for breakthrough technologies that can be practically deployed for superior management of both electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage systems.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing low-cost, thin-film sensors that enable real-time mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack, which could help predict how and when batteries begin to fail. The thermal sensors within today's best battery packs are thick, expensive, and incapable of precisely assessing important factors like temperature and pressure within their cells. In comparison to today's best systems, GE's design would provide temperature and pressure measurements using smaller, more affordable sensors than those used in today's measurement systems. Ultimately, GE's sensors could dramatically improve the thermal mapping and pressure measurement capabilities of battery management systems, allowing for better prediction of potential battery failures.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, GE's thin-film sensors would provide more accurate measurement of temperature and strain within battery packs, offering a substantial improvement over today's best temperature and surface pressure measurement tools.


Advances in energy storage management could reduce the cost and increase the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage technologies, which in turn would reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.


Improving the reliability and safety of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage facilities would enable more widespread use of these technologies, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.


Enabling alternatives to conventional sources of energy could insulate consumers, businesses, and utilities from unexpected price swings.

Innovation Update: 
(As of March 2017) 
GE set out to engineer a smart, cost-effective sensor system to significantly increase the utilization of stored energy in battery packs while maintaining or improving the system lifetime for electric vehicle (EV) applications. Amphenol Advanced Sensors, the project’s commercialization partner for the sensors, acquired GE’s advanced sensor business in 2013. Since the project started, new generation temperature sensors have contributed to a 20% growth in sales for Amphenol Advanced Sensors in EV applications. 
The team created ultrathin, 100 µm sensors (compared to the current state of the art of 2-3mm) to measure temperature and battery strain. The size reduction enables the sensor array to be placed between the battery cells within a pack. The team also developed reduced-order, physics-based models to utilize the information from the sensor array, extracting thermal and stress features to be used in a new type of battery control algorithm. To quantify cell swelling, innovative experimental methods and specialized laboratory fixtures were developed that measure battery free and constrained swelling as well as thermal behavior. The sensor data, paired with the order physics-based model, enable real-time optimization of pack performance while making predictions on the health of the pack. 
For a detailed assessment of the GE project and impact, please click here.

ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Aaron Knobloch
University of Michigan
Ford Motor Company
Release Date: