Picture the image of a battery in your mind – what do you get? Something rectangular or cylindrical that is hard and should be carefully disposed of? Now how about a paper battery for a paradigm shift. New research has shown that carbon nanotubes could eventually be the most cost efficient manner of bringing flexible batteries and supercapacitors to the market, helping downsize gadgets even further. This means your iPod could get even slimmer, while notebooks with extended batteries won’t need to look as though there was a cancerous growth jutting out from the back. Imagine what Samsung cellphones would look like then, shaving off additional millimeters in the process?
Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MIT have developed a new material that does away with the need for a multilayer battery, and they achieved this by growing carbon nanotubes on a silicon substrate while impregnating the gaps between tubes with cellulose. In other words, those gaps are filled with plain old paper. Not only that, the cellulose also covers both ends of the nanotubes, where upon drying the paper material can then be peeled off the silicon substrate where one end of the carbon nanotubes is left exposed to form an electrode.
The end result would be a literally paper-thin battery that also boasts the flexible qualities of standard paper while retaining a rating that is respectable enough to be pitted against standard commercial hardware. For example, a 100g sheet can store enough power to take the place of a 1,300mAh battery. Since the medium used is flexible, this means you can concoct batteries of all shapes and sizes for specific use, depending on the device. Even more wonderful is the fact that dropping a single drop of electrolyte on a single sheet and covering each side with a lithium-aluminum metal foil will form a lithium ion battery instantly. Sounds like a dream, eh? I wonder when will such technology mature and integrated into everyday devices that we use.
Source: Ars Technica