Friday, 03 Jul, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: 1mm-Thick Batteries That Can Be Printed Out


Researchers in Germany managed to invent ultra-thin batteries that can even be printed out. They believe that by the end of 2009 their latest invention will become commercially available.

The batteries have already been created by a group of researchers from Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems (ENAS) led by Professor Reinhard Baumann. Currently the batteries are available only in the laboratory, but according to Dr Andreas Willert, group manager at ENAS, the goal is to begin mass production of their latest invention "at a price of single digit cent range each."

Imagine that the batteries weight just below one gram and are just 1mm thick. Similar gadgets were described at previously, including ultra-thin speakers and thin flexible monitors There's no mercury, which means that these batteries are not potentially hazardous for the environment. Scientists printed out the batteries using a silk-screen method, which is often used to make t-shirts and signs.

Here's how it works: a rubber lip pushes the printing paste through a screen and on top of the substrate. The area that should not be printed on is coated with a template covering. Each ultra-thin battery is made up of different layers, including a zinc anode and a manganese cathode. The two react with each other in order to create electricity, reports TG Daily.

The batteries have a voltage of 1.5V, and if several batteries are put in a row, you get a voltage of up to 6V. There is just one major drawback in the latest invention - the anode and the cathode layer steadily dissipate during this process, which means that a battery can only be used for applications with a limited lifespan or limited power requirement such as greeting cards or bank cards.

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