August 17th, 2007 12:41 EST
Origami Electronics, Carbon Nanotubes
By weaving black carbon nanotubes into paper, engineers have created printable, flexible batteries that are more resilient than many existing batteries, yet can be cut, folded and worked just like paper. The rechargeable material could find uses in a range of devices, from portable electronics to automobiles.
Researchers from NSF's Nanoscience and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., reported the new technology in the Aug. 13, 2007, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In addition to withstanding a temperature range extending from minus 70 degrees Celsius to nearly 150 degrees above zero, the new batteries are capable of providing both the constant output of a standard battery and the sudden energy bursts of supercapacitors.
Because almost any liquid salt can serve as the electrolyte, the researchers demonstrated that substances found in sweat, blood and urine can help power the battery, making the system ideal for medical applications.
Additional information is available in the RPI press release: