Rechargeable Li-ion batteries that are paper-thin

Powering electronic devices like smart packaging and radio-frequency sensing devices could get a boost from paper-thin, rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

Sony showed off its prototype flexible electronic paper display. Basically, we want to be able to roll up our electronics and not be limited to its boxy appearance. In the future, we want our gadgets to be a super thin.

One of the major issues to work out is how to power these devices. We need the batteries to evolve to be just as small and flexible.

Stanford University researchers developed lithium-ion batteries on a sheet of paper by using a film of carbon nanotubes and coated it with a film of metal-containing lithium compound. The films were put onto regular paper.

That way, the film of the Li-ion could act as the battery electrode and the nanotube films would send currents through the device.

The scientists claim their battery is thinner and more flexible than traditional Li-ion batteries.

Typical lithium batteries need lithium ions to flow seamlessly between a negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode. Making the batteries paper-thin isn't of course the only way to improve conventional Li-ion batteries.

Remember when MIT researchers genetically engineered viruses to act as the electrodes of Li-ion batteries? It turns out, the virus-made batteries can be woven into fabrics so soldiers can turn their outfit into a battery pack.

But the market for Li-ion batteries goes beyond fashion: Li-ion batteries might be very well the next generation energy storage devices that power plug-in hybrid cars and personal gadgets.

There are other battery options though.

Coherent and Holst Centre announced a partnership to work together on flexible electronics for future organic photovoltaics and organic light emitting diodes.

via ACS

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