David Kirkpatrick

December 9, 2009

Want a lightweight battery? Try nanotech paper on for size

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:02 pm

If this becomes market-ready, it’ll blow the walls off size and weight issues with portable devices. One more amazing use for carbon nanotubes.

From the link:

Ordinary paper can be turned into a battery electrode simply by dipping it into carbon-nanotube inks. The resulting electrodes, which are strong, flexible, and highly conductive, might be used to make cheap energy storage devices to power portable electronics.

It’s now possible to print lightweight circuits and screens for electronics like e-readers, but conventional batteries still weigh these devices down. Carbon nanotubes are a promising material for printing batteries because, in addition to their strength, light weight, and conductivity, they can store a large amount of energy–a quality that helps portable electronics run longer between charges.

Now a group of Stanford University researchers, led by materials science professor Yi Cui, have demonstrated that ordinary office paper soaks up carbon nanotubes like a sponge and can be turned into electrodes for batteries and supercapacitors. The advantage of paper, says Cui, is that it’s cheap and interacts strongly with nanotubes without the need for putting additives in the ink. “We take advantage of the porous structure of paper,” says Cui. “Carbon nanotubes absorb into the paper and stick on really tightly.”

July 3, 2009

Printable batteries

Yep, I’m using the title of this release for the title of this blog post because what else could be said? OMYGODWHATAMAZINGTECH? This is pretty amazing …

The release:

Printable batteries

This release is available in German.

IMAGE: The small, thin battery comes out of the printer and can be applied to flexible substrates.

Click here for more information. 

In the past, it was necessary to race to the bank for every money transfer and every bank statement. Today, bank transactions can be easily carried out at home. Now where is that piece of paper again with the TAN numbers? In the future you can spare yourself the search for the number. Simply touch your EC card and a small integrated display shows the TAN number to be used. Just type in the number and off you go. This is made possible by a printable battery that can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale. It was developed by a research team led by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz together with colleagues from TU Chemnitz and Menippos GmbH. “Our goal is to be able to mass produce the batteries at a price of single digit cent range each,” states Dr. Andreas Willert, group manager at ENAS.

The characteristics of the battery differ significantly from those of conventional batteries. The printable version weighs less than one gram on the scales, is not even one millimeter thick and can therefore be integrated into bank cards, for example. The battery contains no mercury and is in this respect environmentally friendly. Its voltage is 1.5 V, which lies within the normal range. By placing several batteries in a row, voltages of 3 V, 4.5 V and 6 V can also be achieved. The new type of battery is composed of different layers: a zinc anode and a manganese cathode, among others. Zinc and manganese react with one another and produce electricity. However, the anode and the cathode layer dissipate gradually during this chemical process. Therefore, the battery is suitable for applications which have a limited life span or a limited power requirement, for instance greeting cards.

The batteries are printed using a silk-screen printing method similar to that used for t-shirts and signs. A kind of rubber lip presses the printing paste through a screen onto the substrate. A template covers the areas that are not to be printed on. Through this process it is possible to apply comparatively large quantities of printing paste, and the individual layers are slightly thicker than a hair. The researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale. At the end of this year, the first products could possibly be finished.

 

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