At first glance, the square on the right actually looks like a transparent film of some sort, but you will be surprised to know that it is actually a battery. I know I was surprised myself, but what we see is actually a polymer based rechargeable battery developed by Japanese scientists from the Waseda University. This unique battery is made from a 200 nanometre thick (or should the right word be thin?) redox-active organic polymer film that come with nitroxide radical groups attached to it. These nitroxide radical groups act as charge carriers, offering a high charge/discharge capacity thanks to the high radical density. Other than this advantage over regular batteries, it was interesting to note that the power rate performance is nothing short of jaw dropping – it takes a mere minute to charge the battery fully and boasts a superior cycle life of over a thousand cycles.
This mechanically tough polymer overcomes the drawback of using organic radical polymers by a solution-processable method that is crosslinked thanks to a bisazide crosslinking agent after going through a bout of UV irradiation. Apparently, this upcoming battery is so impressive that Professor Peter Skabara from University of Strathclyde has praised the high stability and fabrication strategy of the polymer-based battery. I wonder when will these batteries be available commercially to the consumer market. Imagine charging our devices within one minute and heading out of the door on a full charge, something we only dream about these days.