Transparent li-ion batteries may become reality

By on July 27, 2011, 8:30 AM

Pioneering researchers at Stanford University have announced what appears to be the first practical, transparent lithium ion battery. The experimental battery technology is said to be very flexible, utilizes a traditional Li-ion chemistry and can be manufacturered using a relatively simple process. 

To create a transparent battery, researchers fabricated an extremely fine, gold mesh through lithography. The result is a mesh-like pattern comprised of ultra fine "wires", each measuring about 35 μm thick. At this width, lines become very difficult to see but visible light continues to flow through gaps in the grid mostly unfettered. A clear electrolytic gel is then sandwiched between two mesh layers and then sealed in a clear housing to produce a rather inconspicous battery.

Despite the obvious cool-factor of these stealthy batteries, they do come with a few caveats. For one, lithography, as it is used for most electronics, would actually destroy the chemicals used to generate and store power. With this in mind though, the team managed to develop a simplistic yet novel process to overcome this obstacle (liquid assisted lithography).

Also, because the mesh current collector is less dense than the electrodes found in typical Li-ion cells, these batteries are expected to deliver roughly half the power of traditional Li-ion batteries. As one last noteworthy point, while researchers claim the battery is 'transparent', the research paper indicates a best-case scenario of about 60% transparency, so completely invisible batteries may not quite be here as of yet.




User Comments: 9

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stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Darn I dropped the battery! help me find it! can someone please give me a good pro to this battery besides it being see thru?

"...these batteries are expected to deliver roughly half the power of traditional Li-ion batteries..."

that doesn't should good unless they are able to put more cells in the same space as one tradional Li-ion battery cell.

SkyFall said:

They are flexible to an extent. Imagine putting these in a flexible, nearly transparent tablet or media device. You could essentially roll it up and stash it away for travel or maybe even be able to fold it up for whatever use. Hell, imagine having a roll up TV that you could carry anywhere.

And of course this technology sucks right now. You cannot expect it to be on par with current battery technology, however they will improve. Just think of how awesome it would be to have these batteries last as long as, say, a battery on a modern laptop.

1977TA said:

Like Skyfall said, unless it's for a transparent device, who cares? It is a cool tech though.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

who cares... why are we wasting our time with this? Why arent we finding a way to extend batteries charge capacity? or purhaps its recharge capability. either way... it seems like to me.. for some reason they are going to work up to making a transparent phone... which i wouldnt want either. whatever.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"we" sounds like too many people there Trillionsin. Besides "Pioneering Researchers" mean probably are students who are making their final projects, out of which some get atention and others dont even see daylight. Simple as that.

Oh and... internet has tought me one thing, even if you think your idea has not had any atention there are a trizillion projects aiming at that.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

trillionsin said:

who cares... why are we wasting our time with this? Why arent we finding a way to extend batteries charge capacity? or purhaps its recharge capability. either way... it seems like to me.. for some reason they are going to work up to making a transparent phone... which i wouldnt want either. whatever.

I don't see a transparent phone as very useful; however, I can see batteries like this one powering "electronic paper" devices, heads-up-displays in cars windshields and perhaps particularly useful for solar powered devices etc..

There are are some practical uses here, but mostly for tech that is either very cutting edge or simply doesn't exist yet.

Emin3nce said:

I don't see the advantage >_> Just saying.

chaboi390 said:

Yep, here we go, bring on the transparent phones.

Mindwraith said:

its not for devices like transparent phones, it will be more useful for aesthetic displays.

for example a mall with a glass ceiling, and the designers want everything to be transparent including the lighting.

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