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Paper-Thin Batteries Provide Bendable Power 102

SkinnyGuy writes "New carbon nanotube-based technology could literally allow companies to paint layers of electricity-holding lithium-ion on standard pieces of paper. The possibilities are endless." You can also read the actual paper.
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Paper-Thin Batteries Provide Bendable Power

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  • Energy Density (Score:3, Informative)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:42AM (#33661462) Journal

    For the electrical geeks, the energy density is 108 mWh/g. Anyone want to compare that to a standard AA rechargeable?

    • Re:Energy Density (Score:5, Informative)

      by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:46AM (#33661514)

      From wikipedia: The specific energy for NiMH material is approximately 70 Wh/kg (250 kJ/kg), compared to 40-60 Wh/kg for the more common nickel-cadmium, or 100-160 Wh/kg for Li-ion.

      This looks like it would be comparable to Li-ion and an improvement over NiMH and NiCd.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by somersault ( 912633 )

        This looks like it would be comparable to Li-ion

        Really? I never would have guessed from the summary saying "paint layers of electricity-holding lithium-ion"..

        Will try to tone down the sarcasm for the rest of the day, honest.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by danbert8 ( 1024253 )

          The point is, he asked for energy density compared to AA batteries, and I was making the point that they didn't lose any energy density by making it paper thin. I guess looking back over it, it doesn't read that way. Oh well.

          • by mea37 ( 1201159 )

            "I guess looking back over it, it doesn't read that way."

            No, it does. GP is just a jerk.

            • Sorry if I find the sentence "li-ion is comparable to li-ion" slightly redundant.

              • by mea37 ( 1201159 )

                Ok, you're not "just a jerk", you're a persistent jerk.

                Put the comment in context, jerk. The "equivalent to Li-ion" comment was a correct answer to a specific question. (And no, the question wasn't stupid either. It would be unsurprising if this type of adaptation had significantly changed properties like energy density. Essentially someone asked if it did and someone else answered that it didn't, only you don't like the way they phrased it.)

                But sure, if you isolate the answer and ignore why it was give

                • Persistent yes.. interested in politics.. not so much. Are you having a bad day or something? You seem very angry.

              • by treeves ( 963993 )
                But in context, he meant "paper-thin Li-ion is comparable to AA-form Li-ion" which *is* informative. And it was not hard to tell that that was what he meant, so it seems like you're being deliberately difficult.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Moryath ( 553296 )

            The possibilities are endless.

            What are the possibilities if we fold it into a mobius strip? ;)

          • Yeah I suppose it was the OP asking a silly question rather than you giving a silly answer.

            Since the energy density is the same I'd be more interested in how much flexibility you can retain when you layer this stuff up - or if layering it would cause overheating issues, etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ryanleary ( 805532 )

        Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute produced "paper batteries" on nanocomposite paper with an energy density of about 13Wh/kg back in 2007. You can see the paper here [].

      • This looks like it would be comparable to Li-ion

        Only if it's a really, really flat and electrically charged, probably for having been hit by a lightning, lion.

      • by trum4n ( 982031 )
        the bad news is ratings on vaporware are useless. as an electric car builder, i see the hot new battery tech talked about and then just poof, its gone. when its in my hand, ill care.
      • Be careful with the direct comparison:
        Without paying to read the actual paper, it's tough to say if the energy density there is for the thin sheet that acts as the battery, or for the entire sheet of paper.

        Plus there's issues of packaging and scaling that lower the density you get out of a battery which hasn't been applied to the thin-sheet. Not to mention it doesn't really mention energy-density vs actual volume of the battery
        (It's nice if it's light, but can be limited if you need the volume of a soda-can

    • The information would probably be much more useful per square centimetre rather than per gram.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily ( 900488 )

      More importantly, will it fry my gonads if it bends too much in my pocket?

  • by slshwtw ( 1903272 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:43AM (#33661480)

    You can also read the actual paper [hhttp].

    What kind of a protocol is hhttp and what kind of a URL is pubsacsorgdoifull101021nn1018158?

    Actual link []

  • I wonder if the spying technology that doesn't reach the public, if there is such thing, has already reached a size that makes it impossible to find by non-electronic means. I wonder if such deviced didn't exist until the paper-thin batteries were invented.

    • by Joebert ( 946227 )
      German cockroaches. I know, you'd never suspect them right ?
      • German cockroaches. I know, you'd never suspect them right ?

        I'm pretty sure that's because specifically the German variety of cockroach was not originally naturally occurring. They were genetically modified from normal cockroaches by the Spanish Inquisition to look and act very similar to garden-variety cockroaches, except with malicious intent.

    • I wonder if the spying technology that doesn't reach the public, if there is such thing, has already reached a size that makes it impossible to find by non-electronic means.

      Since you can use RFID for spying (with a directional antenna to power and receive data from it) the answer is yes.

      I wonder if such deviced didn't exist until the paper-thin batteries were invented.

      since you can power electronics remotely with RF, the answer is no.

  • by PsyciatricHelp ( 951182 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:47AM (#33661524)
    I read the paper and it was Shockingly Powerful.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      So you got a charge out of it?

      • I did. It was a fairly Positive experience.
      • All I got was a stream of negativity.

        • Get with the times, my good man.
          Bottle up all of that negativity and send it to the positive people. They're much more accepting of it than we are.
        • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:26AM (#33661970) Homepage

          I clicked on the link and found that there was no charge. After I read the paper, I found it to be both positive and negative. I found the subject matter to be current and energetic. It was both powerful and enlightning. You seem to be applying some resistance to this where I think you should be looking to reduce your impedance. Of course your position on the matter can help determine your polarity.

          Well, thank god it's Faraday...

          • by Slicebo ( 221580 )

            Did you click on the ohm page and read the actual paper? Shocking!

          • Not trying to put a different spin on it, but I thought it was a bit thin. I could see just where they were standing on the issues, but couldn't quite tell where they were going or when they would get there.

  • Just add this stuff to the Red Ink Supply in Washington DC, and nobody will ever need another battery, ever again. Power from paper. With each session of Congress our economy will become *stronger*, and we will no longer have to rely on foreign oil for even our transportation purposes. All new Congressional Energy Bills passed can now pay for themselves! Problem averted. But, lets just hope that spontaneous combustion of recycled paper doesn't start causing any new problems. </sarcasm>
  • "... embed it in a carbon nanotube matrix, and it really is that simple ..."

    I swear, what are carbon nanotubes NOT good for?

  • I want a battery that I can recharge by holding either end and shuffling my socks on the carpet.
  • That Instantly went to "how will this advance the sex-toy market" instantly before thinking of good practical or scientific uses?
  • Apple Tech: "You don't understand, sir, you can't replace the battery because the iPod is the battery!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So that's what Gambit actually used in his playing cards!

  • Perhaps I'm wrong, but I seem to remember a Slashdot thread last year on this. What I am clear on is that this is the same scientist and the same material shown over at Gizmag Dec/2009. []
    This appears to be more of a refinement of the discovery and methods first reported by Dr. Yi Cui and team. Now the question is. When will we finally see products? Another year?

  • I'm convinced that we're pretty much forever stuck with the battery technology we have today. Of all the hype I've heard over the years of some great new battery technology, nothing of any major consequence has ever panned out. I didn't even read the article, cause I'll only believe it when I see it.
  • What About (Score:1, Interesting)

    by SnarfQuest ( 469614 )

    What about toxic effects on children? Right now we are dealing with lead paint and asbestos in our homes. What kind of problems will we see with kids eating this kind of paint/paper? If you don't think they would eat this, just look at how many of them still get pennys stuck up their noses. Eating paper is no big deal for them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

      Presumably the first shock from trying to eat the electrically charged paint would get them to stop. Or at least the third attempt.

  • Sweet! Now I have the much needed power supply for the lasers. Time to break out the duct tape.
  • My imagination machine must be broken today, but I'm having a hard time seeing what this would be good for? Is it more useful to have the battery spread all over the place than it is to have it nicely tucked away in a protected compartment, easy to access, detach and replace (unless you're an iPiddle user)?

    The only thing I could really see this being useful for is in cases where concentrated battery weight throws off balance or maneuverability for moving equipment, like electric cars or bicycles, and even

    • The obvious advantage is that you can pile up lots of sheets of paper. We could make little compact devices filled with this paper to power our equipments.
      • True...but would that really be more efficient than using stacks of traditional batteries? The energy density is not greater, remember.

        Perhaps one could 'wrap' the battery around the device, although I still fail to see how this could be a benefit...?

  • I came up with a "your mom" joke, but I think I better keep it to myself...
  • The delivery dates on these types of products is about as endless as the possibilities. And for once it is just not the net that ballyhoos these new inventions. Popular Science has reported on endless breakthroughs through many decades as have other magazines. Yet the number of these ideas that actually make it into production in any reasonable amount of time is next to none at all. Printing batteries on flexible paper sounds great. But give us thirty years and batteries might be a thing of the past.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Combine this with a printed solar cell... that could be interesting:

  • That seems kind of dangerous.
  • how about on the side of your car, and then also add some solar paint ....the combo of the 2 turns your car into a self generating self contained energy construct, and the fact you do not need a bulky battery you coudl also just do without a bulky heavy one sitting
    in there, you could end up getting more miles for the gallon (or what is it for electric cars, kilojoules???)

I've got a bad feeling about this.