Screen-Printed, Paper-Thin Batteries to Arrive by 2010
Suitable for short-term applications
Chemnitz, Germany-based Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems, scientists from the University of Technology, and Menippos GmbH have come up with small, thin batteries that are designed for mass-production by 2010 using conventional screen-printing presses. The next step is to commercialize these printable batteries that pattern organic semiconductors on thin, flexible substrates for smart credit cards with battery-powered displays that show balances and other account information.
Present designs use zinc anodes and manganese cathodes reacting with one another to produce electricity. Eventually, these materials dissipate over the lifetime of the battery. Applications are suitable for short-term applications such as greeting cards with built-in music players.
Printable batteries for smart cards would weigh less than 1 g and measure less than 1 mm thick. They would be screen printed, and a rubber lip would press the organic semiconductor material through a screen onto the flexible substrate. Using lithographic techniques, templates would pattern one layer upon the next, each the width of a human hair. The battery is designed to produce 1.5 v/cell and, unlike conventional batteries that use heavy metals, would be produced without hazardous chemicals.
The price point for these tiny batteries falls at 10 cents each. Later this year, Fraunhofer researchers predict the first commercial designs will begin beta testing. For more information, visit www.fraunhofer.de.