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Researchers create ultra-thin battery

Researchers create ultra-thin battery

The flexible battery tech is based on a dual-layer film coating a sheet of paper - and is just 300μm thick.

A team of scientists have created ultra-thin rechargeable batteries that sit on a single sheet of paper, heralding a future of slim, lightweight, bendable devices.

The breakthrough, made by Stanford materials scientists and reported over on Chemical & Engineering News, involves everyone's favourite future-chaining technology: carbon nanotubes.

By coating a solid support structure with the nanotubes, and coating that with a layer of metal-doped lithium - much the same material as used in today's lithium-ion batteries, the team created an energy-holding double-layered film. This film was then placed on both sides of a piece of standard paper, creating an ultra-slim, incredibly flexible rechargeable battery.

It's still early days for the technology, but the group's prototypes, which measure an incredible 300μm thick, demonstrate higher energy densities than existing thin battery types - and survived a 300 recharge cycle lifespan test.

If the technology takes off, and with its surprisingly simple construction methods there's no reason that it shouldn't, future portable devices could be no thicker than a sheet of card.

Better still, combined with work being carried out into flexible displays, it could be possible to create a smartphone, e-book reader or other portable gadget that rolls up for easy storage.

The team's work joins that of another group at Tsinghua University in Beijing, which PhysOrg reports has created an ultra-thin, flexible supercapacitor for wearable electronics projects.

Are you impressed at the work that has gone in to creating 'paper' batteries, or will it take an actual marketable product to get you excited? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 22nd September 2010, 09:31 Quote
Sounds cool. But a slim phone/gadget is not my idea of "best use".

I'd forget it was in a pocket and lean on it, I expect.
Mraedis 22nd September 2010, 11:16 Quote
I can only wonder how long those will last, and by that I mean both battery life and time before something breaks.
Tattysnuc 22nd September 2010, 11:45 Quote
Sounds like the disposable mobile phone is just around the corner....
Mentai 22nd September 2010, 11:53 Quote
Looking forward to the iScroll.
wuyanxu 22nd September 2010, 12:11 Quote
that flexible Nokia phone concept anyone?
Krikkit 22nd September 2010, 12:44 Quote
Never mind a flexible device, what about a battery that gets painted on the inside of the casing of your mobile or laptop?
tom9383 22nd September 2010, 13:12 Quote
mnnnnnn... electric cars...
[USRF]Obiwan 22nd September 2010, 13:28 Quote
The question is how many volts at what amperage and how long does it last before recharging.
SteveU 22nd September 2010, 13:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tattysnuc
Sounds like the disposable mobile phone is just around the corner....

Lol, like they're not already?!?!?
Xir 22nd September 2010, 13:30 Quote
a "higher energy densitie than existing thin battery types" good wording, in other words, probably not comparable to non-thin batteries.
You're right, it needs an application to rock my boat.
paisa666 22nd September 2010, 16:11 Quote
meh, they do something thin and you instantly think in even thinner devices!!

just improve the technology, then take 20 of this and put then together to make a smartphone that actually last enough to make calls and watch videos or movies while traveling and videoconferencing, all in one charge, there, that's a good use of the technology
MajestiX 22nd September 2010, 16:52 Quote
now paper not only cut you but will taser you at the same time.
eddtox 22nd September 2010, 17:51 Quote
I'm with paisa666 on this one. It may well help move existing batteries on
Tyinsar 22nd September 2010, 18:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
a "higher energy densitie than existing thin battery types" good wording, in other words, probably not comparable to non-thin batteries.
You're right, it needs an application to rock my boat.

;) Good catch on the wording there.

If you put this in a flexible device and combine it with something that would charge the battery when flexed ... I wonder how long before that gets patented.
HourBeforeDawn 22nd September 2010, 19:41 Quote
Cool so we will see throw away paper phones like on Ultra Violet and ePaper like we see on Caprica. Now that would be cool.
ZERO <ibis> 22nd September 2010, 20:42 Quote
I just hope this means that if I use this to make a battery the same size as one that exists now it will store more power...
Farting Bob 22nd September 2010, 23:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
a "higher energy densitie than existing thin battery types" good wording, in other words, probably not comparable to non-thin batteries.
You're right, it needs an application to rock my boat.
No, your comparably chunky phone battery will probably last longer than a battery as thin as paper. Thats just common sense. But you can stack paper on top of eachother, and suddenly youve got a battery the same size as your current one but providing much more power.
deadsea 23rd September 2010, 01:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farting Bob
No, your comparably chunky phone battery will probably last longer than a battery as thin as paper. Thats just common sense. But you can stack paper on top of eachother, and suddenly youve got a battery the same size as your current one but providing much more power.

Eh... Energy density my friend, energy density. Less power per unit volume = less power at any volume. Think wood blocks vs lead blocks.
Xir 23rd September 2010, 09:25 Quote
Considering "normal" round batteries (like AA or AAA cells) consist of rolled material as well, I think they'd have worded it differently if they could compete with that and not with "existing thin battery types"
But maybe they'll surprise us
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