Scientists in Korea have discovered a new technique for printing batteries on the surface of almost any object. This discovery has resulted in a new class of printable solid-state Lithium-ion batteries (called PRISS Batteries). Lead by Professor Sang-Young Lee from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology this technology could find its way into flexible electronics and smart clothing.
The researchers have published a paper on the new PRISS Li-ion batteries in a recent issue of Nano Letters and in the abstract they state that forthcoming flexible/wearable electronic devices with shape diversity and mobile usability garner a great deal of attention as an innovative technology to bring unprecedented changes in our daily lives. From the power source point of view, conventional rechargeable batteries (one representative example is a lithium-ion battery) with fixed shapes and sizes have intrinsic limitations in fulfilling design/performance requirements for flexible/wearable electronics.
Through a simple stencil printing process (followed by ultraviolet (UV) cross-linking), solid-state composite electrolyte (SCE) layers and SCE matrix-embedded electrodes are consecutively printed on arbitrary objects of complex geometries, eventually leading to fully integrated, multilayer-structured PRISS batteries with various form factors far beyond those achievable by conventional battery technologies.
Professor Lee states, "All battery components, such as cathodes, anodes and electrolytes, can be printed on arbitrary objects of complex geometries, thereby enabling the seamless integration of shape-conformable solid-state rechargeable batteries with various form factors into complex-shaped objects. We envision that the printable battery presented herein holds a great deal of promise for potential use in forthcoming wearable electronics and IoTs (Internet of Things), which eventually removes pre-designated battery space with fixed dimension and shape."
The schematic image on the left shows the typical manufacturing of Li-ion batteries with "Conventional Design". The images on the right-hand side show the manufacturing of printable Li-ion batteries with "Shape-Conformable Design".
PRISS batteries could be printed onto glass, paper, plastic etc for flexible power sources with exceptional shape conformability and aesthetic versatility.
Source and images: UNIST and Nano Letters