Can transparent batteries become a reality?

Can transparent batteries become a reality?

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

Using a spin-spray layer-by-layer (SSLbL) assembly technique the researchers created ultrathin and transparent films from single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) and vandium pentoxide (V2O5) nanowires to serve as battery anodes and cathodes.

According to Taylor control over deposition has long been an issue with films containing one-dimensional nanomaterials. The materials may promising for sensor and electrode applications, but achieving uniform properties – such as conductivity -throughout the film has proved difficult. The Yale researchers are looking to produce electrodes with nano-level precision using SSLbL assembly, a method previously developed in Taylor’s lab.

“We demonstrate the feasibility of making transparent battery anodes and cathodes with this highly controllable solution-based method,” said Gittleson. “Engineering ultrathin films to store lithium ions reliably is not trivial. What we have achieved, while only a first step, is quite a feat.”

There are still challenges to overcome before transparent devices can be mass-produced. “The biggest obstacle we face is improving the conductivity of these thin electrodes,” said Gittleson. To address this, the researchers created a new “sandwich” architecture that integrates conductive SWNT layers and active cathode materials to enhance performance.

The next step, Taylor said, is creating a transparent separator/electrolyte, the third major component of a battery. How the lithium ions travel between the anode and cathode is the key to meeting the challenge because the component is usually made from mass-produced polymers and the developers of these systems have not focused on transparency.

“Nature has already demonstrated that complex systems can be transparent,” suggested Taylor. “In fact, earlier this year they discovered a new glass frog species with translucent skin in Costa Rica. If nature can achieve it through evolution, we should be able to with careful engineering.”

The research results are published online in ACS Nano. Forrest Gittleson, post-doctoral associate at Yale University in chemical and environmental engineering, is the lead author.

Related articles and links:

News articles:

Solar-charged transparent Li-ion battery promises ‘smart windows’

Samsung partners MIT to create longer-lasting solid-state rechargeable

The future of print and paper: digital hybrids

If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles